Poetry

Mirror Mantras

"Erosion" © Steve Crane, 2013. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Erosion” © Steve Crane, 2013. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Talk about how easy this would be
if we could make ourselves understand
there’s nothing wrong with us.

“I am not fundamentally broken.
Shit. Why can’t I believe it?
What is wrong with me?
Try again. Repeat.

I am not fundamentally broken.
There is nothing wrong with me.
Repeat. Again. Repeat.”

Don’t do anything the way we should.
As if there is a certain set of procedures
we must follow to build
our lives correctly.

Lack enough self-discipline,
enough practice or proof
to believe we’ll be successful—
whatever that even means—
at anything.

“I am not fundamentally broken.
There is nothing wrong with me.”

The words are audible,
breathed heavy in the mirror every morning.
Good ideas, yes.
But not anything we know how to believe.
They drip with sharp reminders
we’ve never done anything to be proud of.
That nowhere has been safe and
there is no hint of permanence.

Every step in the right direction is only
fodder for the inevitable dissolution of
everything we care about.

“I am not fundamentally broken.
There is nothing wrong with me.”

Pound it out in squat racks and afternoon runs.
In the form of sun salutations in 6:30 AM yoga classes.
Notebooks full of letters to no one.
Conversations with dear friends
on walks, in text messages, in emails, and long conversations.
All them offering the promise
we’re doing everything right.

The repetition does not gain traction.
No matter how much evidence
presented to the contrary, we know.

Know we are broken
in all the dreadful locations.
Incapable of making anything beautiful
or worthy of lasting love to
kiss us in the hurt and tender places.

Always looking for something troubling.
Creating problems where there are none
and refusing to let our guards down.

Never had a reason
to do it any other way.
Stuck remaking the reality
presented to us perpetually.

We’re trying.
Harnessed the idea we could
learn to do this different.
But how could we master such a thing?

Our lives eroded by a series of heartbreak.
Separated only by moments of
standing back and looking up.
Shaking our heads and thinking,
“It’s nice, but it won’t last.

Things like that are not made for
people like us.”

4 thoughts on “Mirror Mantras

    1. Thank you so much, Steve! It means a lot that you would take time to come read this.

      I really appreciate you licensing your photo under Creative Commons and I’m very flattered you let me know you like my piece, too.

      Like

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