Life on rails

To spend your life moving inexorably in a given direction and, to come there by pains slow and steady, is no trivial thing. Our anxieties define themselves silently along these paths and give birth to paralyzing fears when the destination is upon us. The choice of a life on rails is not “what will I do?” but rather, “what will I do when I get there?”

I unmask myself in the face of fear
through the simple act of removing my
My vision gives shape to the world but
It also animates my anxieties, rendering
Them with a permanence and livelihood
That’s ugly to me.
It’s not a shameful act, but it has a perverse
Incongruity –
Freedom through a degrading sense.
Breadth at the expense of focus.

If ever there were a theme of my life, 
This is it.

Uncle Charlie fell ill with a dyspeptic violence

In 1858, Charles Darwin corresponded with a budding young naturalist and adventurer named Alfred Russel Wallace.  Although Darwin was famous for his journey aboard the HMS Beagle, he had yet to publish his ever lengthening treatise on evolution.  Wallace, unaware of the extent of Darwin’s views, solicited Darwin’s assistance on his own evolutionary theory, which was remarkably similar in depth and detail.  Concerned that Wallace might preempt him, Darwin’s closest confidants arranged for a joint presentation of their theories before the Linnaean Society.

The brief poem that follows reflects my interpretation of that moment.

		Leading is a lonely life.
		Exudation and upheaval,
		before the type is set.

But first--and fierce--
the prize of pride,
do so many tumble for her.
	Then the meta-moment:
	owning up to self,
	but that pride is found
	alone in upheaval.