View Full Version : Wrote this a couple decades ago ...

11-13-2014, 08:33 PM
(Just keep in mind that gender is irrelevant.)

I Dare Not Speak Her Name

by Don Sweet

In the haze, the dark haze, she lingers and lurks. She is The Deceiver. I see her clearly now, but haven't for most of my life.

She lives with us, around us, and yes, even within us. She is that thorough.

I am one of the few. One of the few that, at first, felt her, then caught glimpses of her out in that dark mist, the haze. That's how she wants to be, and even less. But she is more than that.

You cannot think in terms of size, neither can you consider fixed appearance. Shape-shifter is wholly inadequate. She is both thought and form, and any she chooses. But she is also in that sunny day, that blue sky, green grass, puffy white cloud day we all know so well, that place so many of us consider "home."

We endure for those days. We tolerate the pain and deceit. We go hungry and cold to feel just one more on our faces. But she is there, too. She waits and watches, listens and plans, off to the side. She is one and she is many, like ourselves. Do you see the many parts of yourself? Look out at the stars or glance across beach sand. That is only a speck on a speck of her.

Yet that one grain will find you, penetrate you and she will know you. She will know things you deny. She will remember and relive things you've long forgotten. Every moment of yours will be hers. At that moment you have lost and you won't even know.

Some of us have shields. Some of us have Protectors, but many do not and she is free to perform her mischief. She is never bored. She never lacks dimension. Every moment is fresh and new and entertaining. Her favorite moment is that of pure misery, so pure you believe in it, so perfect you'd defend your right to it, when, in fact, it's merely a slice of your own demise.

It strengthens her. It is her manna. "Thrives" is a wholly insufficient precept. Were you to discover her, even just a glimpse, which is very hard, she'd simply slink into a dark corner or hover in the brightness that makes you avert your eyes.

Even if you believe, you turn away from the thought. Even if her one bold act was to stand before you and say "Here I am!" you'd quickly occupy yourself elsewhere.

What you would never admit is that she was there, and knew what she knew and did what she did. When your thoughts stray towards her, a deep panic you also fear deflects you back to your world, safe and warm. Or so it would seem.

That's the way she likes it.

Neither old or young, but how could that be? Simple. She is reborn through you, never fully faded and brightened by the theft, she weaves her way around us. Is there a way to fully understand? No. How could there be? We are small and very very young. From the first flash of light, even before light, she was there. She knows. She cherishes her gift.

That gift is all that is, to use as she sees fit. That fit is most certainly pain and the form of the most exquisite kind. When you do not know, when you cannot see, when it's too late to turn back, when you're too deep to crawl out, she shines.

There are other moments, too. After all, she lives to string them all together. She looks back on her creation and laughs. Without the string, the story she's written, it would merely be a punchline standing alone. No fun in that. Even in the midst of utter destruction to ashes, she sits and recounts. Her anonymity is her comfort zone, her soft pillow and well-worn mattress. She covers herself in the blanket of your loss.

At those moments when you've found contentment, little do you know the part she's played. How many suffered for you to find this peace? Who sacrificed to her so you could find yourself in that moment? Her stain spreads across the most pure of scenes.

Do I hate her? I suppose I do. Compelled, I suppose. Even knowing that's what she wants, I am compelled. Do I wish her ending? Yes, I suppose again, but as me and knowing her, only for myself. I need that garden she cannot find. I need that middle Earth she does not know. That would be her ending to me, if there were such a place.

How have I come to know her? I haven't, really. More of a distant relative or acquaintance. I know "of" her. Her reputation is obfuscated. She is known under other circumstances. Me? I've seen her face.

How do I go on? How do I see this little glimpse of the way of things and not find a bridge or long sleep? What would make me think any of us had a chance with her? Well, I suppose it has to do with those little moments outside of her influence. She is not All.

I believe this is my redemption. This is my little garden, although I have no proof. I only have the hope.

As a tiny creature of life, I cannot know what's beyond this. I cannot know a place without her, since her permeations are so vast. Wherever I went, with whomever I spoke or loved, she would be just behind me, or around the corner.

We do not know joy without her, and that is the travesty. That is our loss and our undoing. It ties her to us. It is symbiosis. We must have her to give us reference. She is dimension itself. She is imperfection incarnate.

It does not appease my heart to know this. I don't hurt or yearn less. In fact, I cry more, and, perhaps always, knowing she will always Be.

A little man in a little place with little to his name has little chance. Those of power have little chance. Our only refuge is the Faith of what will come to pass. In the end, that one thing can be only One Thing ...

... Perfection.

In that place and at that time she will perish. Her form will be balanced out. Her secrets revealed, she will be absorbed.

My garden is not a place I can go now, so I hold it in my heart ... like a shield ... like a cry to my Protector.

For now I take my days as they come. For now I am her amusement. But there will be a moment in time when I am free of her, and that helps me draw my next breath.