(this one is a performance piece I’ve yet to perform)
You told me you feared dying,
And old age made you nervous.
And I didn’t want to say anything stupid like “that’s nothing” or “childish” or “out of the blue personal”
And I definitely wasn’t going to tell you that sometimes I feel exactly the same way,
That my nightmare isn’t a monster under the bed but an expanding nothingness that never leaves peacefully.
Or that my worst future would be an old folks home where every breath is forced out of me,
As everything goes away in one long whisper.
Instead I hold you closer and look up.
I hold you closer and look up and ask for the angels to bring down the coals used to purify Isaiah
But I don’t just rub them on my lips,
I swallow them,
so I can start a furnace in the heart of my being and put every word through it.
I don’t make bullets or guns though,
I forge my words into a sword and shield and armour and spears like the old days
And I turn to you and say ok, where are your demons?
I got these callouses from wielding a pen not a blade, but they both fit just fine so what else can I do?
See I will use words to banish whatever monsters are creeping into your thoughts,
And I will do it personally, up close and violently beautiful,
Decapitating seven headed dragons and cursed apple peddling witches,
And it’s not because you can’t take of yourself.
Lord knows you’d do just fine without me.
I know you could kill serpents with nothing but a look and a ball point pen and you do.
But I raise my sword anyway
Because it’s easier to fight your demons than it is to fight mine.
Doubt is a sentient fog, it won’t kill me directly but it’ll lead me into the roads that are less travelled for a reason.
Fear is a shadow man, a voodoo witch doctor sticking pins in my spine and watching me dance.
Death is a great black bird, a murder of crows with 7 billion sets of eyes waiting for each of us and I sometimes feel like he is watching me closely.
If I could be a superhero I would be Aquaman.
And not because I thinks he’s the most powerful, he isn’t.
Or the most commanding, he isn’t.
Or even an underdog, depending on who you ask he might be.
It’s because he fights regardless.
Despite ridiculous jokes and a world convinced he is useless,
He fights on anyway.
There is nobility in his sacrifice.
Honour in his refusal to let this world break him.
He exists and does what he does because that is who he is,
He is a force of nature,
And I want to be like that.
See we all have our demons,
And they are our own,
But this world tells young boys they aren’t men unless they kill their demons alone.
That asking for help somehow makes you less of a man,
That crying is for the damsels in distress.
It tells women that armour is something for the men to wear,
Neglecting to mention that mothers fight regardless,
Sisters fight regardless,
Women fight regardless,
And they wear just as many battle scars as the men do.
None of us has to fight alone.
And on the days I confront my demons I’m hoping to have an army with me,
Marked with the crosses they’ve all been bearing.
And I hope you’ll be there.
So I put on my armour, hold you closer, raise my sword and say ok, where are your demons?