the people along the sand all turn and look one way;
they turn their back on the land, they look at the sea all day.

as long as it takes to pass a ship keeps raising its hull;
the wetter ground like glass reflects a standing gull.

the land may vary more, but wherever the truth may be -
the water comes ashore and people look at the sea.

they cannot look out far, they cannot see in deep -
but when was that ever a bar for any watch they keep.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Beast

I have finally admitted to myself that within me lives a beast. For most of my life, I have tried to either deny it, or lock it up so deeply that no one would ever know, and I would conveniently forget.

However, I kept hearing him roar in that deep sub-basement. I would ignore the terrifying sound, and go about my life. But occassionally, with no warning, I would see the consequences of his escape. My kids would be afraid of me, my wife cold and distant, a hole would appear in the wall at the end of my fist, something would be thrown and broken on the floor. Friends avoided me.

The stink of the beast was on me.

I would corral him, re-imprison him, put more locks on the cage, and go about my way. But more and more, his presence became something I could not ignore. He kept escaping. He kept doing damage. I kept denying...which, I later learned, was like feeding him steroids. The more I denied, the more powerful he became.

Then, I had a revelation. I thought he kept escaping, but then I learned that I was a sleep-walker. My beast was not escaping...I was letting him out. In the haze and daze of soul-sleep (which happens when overwhelmed by the meaningless stresses of our culture), I was going into the deepest recesses of my sub-conscious, and opening the cage of my beast.

I understood why I was doing it. My beast was my protector. He was my guardian angel. He was that part of me that rose up when I was afraid, or confused, or hurt...and he would strike back with his fierce and vengeful wrath. He has no rational he struck at whatever was near, whether or not it was the source of my pain. His job was to destroy that which I feared would destroy or hurt me. Period.

I love my beast. I created him...or maybe I discovered him, hidden down there in my deepest being. But once discovered, I loved him. I wanted him. I needed him. All of us need a sense of protection - and my beast was always able to protect me. Yes, he hurt others. He drove them away. He placed me in a world of isolation and loneliness. But that did not matter. In my most primitive, ancient heart, I was afraid. And to the primitive part of us, fear equals annihilation. And there is only one primitive response to death...KILL OR BE KILLED.

So the beast attempts to kill whatever my primitive mind and soul feared was trying to kill me. If he cannot do that...he will lash out at whatever he can. Innocent people suffer. Those who love me fear me.

And I am left alone.

In a way, my beast has done exactly what I wanted him to do. He has destroyed the threat, and now he and I live alone in the world we have created.

I love my beast. I hate my beast.

But now that I know about him, and why he exists, and how he operates...I think...I hope...I may, one day, be able to overpower him. I cannot banish him altogether, but I can become stronger than him.

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