This poem was written thanks to the inspiration brought forth by The Alcheist’s Studio‘s August Name That Vase contest. I was caught the moment I read that the theme for this month was “the myth of family’.
The Dark Geyser
I never knew the myth of family existed
Until I had the chance to step through it.
Memories born as solo cub to mother’s den
Grows steamer on muscles trained
and wide eyes take in a world of wild
a familiar pulse of mammalian construction
is mated male pushed to periphery
and smaller footprints settle amongst
those of mother.
When I stepped out into a world of expectation
I encountered words I knew nothing of
a family drawing hung on a wall as two
amongst those of three and four and five
I understand the words of father
of brother and of sister
but not the gravity that stood behind them.
Flowers hung and rings exchanged the drifting change
Swept like a rushing storm of expectation
my mind was tossed into a box
by those who understood the comfortable niche
of returning themselves to what they understood
a skeleton of terms that mother, father and son
as foreign to me as man to boy.
Extended family extends across an entire province
The least of which dwelt in proximity
I watched brother fight brother
amongst them but still not a part of
I learned that even though blood ties
the ties of blood and home grow stronger
and that adult arguments cleave and divide.
The anchor of misunderstanding and of need
Drove me to project family on those committed
I forged my own chosen family gleaning
collecting other damaged souls that dreamt
I engineered a new reality that was we
before I was confronted by the shadows
confronted by the terms I never was.
Daytime television had sold me a story of reunion
That completion followed the magic of connection
yet when I met my father and became
prodigal son, second son, brother
a twining of expectations of those around me
from a familial charter I had never seen
the second death of contextualized me.
Old family and new, a set of irregular obligations
Pined for, yet the reality folded dissimilar
I ran from one but guardedly toward another
I loosened my grip and wished
that if now I were outside both spheres
I could rearrange the pieces from enigma
into a mosaic doorstep of the future.
So I departed the third jewel of my childhood
And ran to the arms of chosen family
new city rushed around me and those closest
we the refugees of family and expectation
we gave support where once there was none
and clung to each other through absent holidays
the way we raged against the past.
Even with each other we could not ignore the chord
Plucked and sounded deep within by attraction
the fabric of chosen family fraying
as naturally as sanguinity follows forward
those drifting into new families lost
into a new world of obligation and ties
I bought in that there was one more step to completion.
I exchanged rings with the hope of addition
Not expecting that other expectations may follow
that my heard and my soul could be be safe
that I would be taken care of without asking
I didn’t know that it was also he who wished
to be both husband and wife
to be both taken care of and in control.
Families both chosen and sanguine evolve
The evolution of child to parent imposes swiftly
the people in may life became stories
of what we had been when we were phoenix
and what their children did now imposing
and becoming someone new necessitates
leaving behind the old.
I crushed myself with concessions to hold onto him
Giving him all of my focus and regard
I gave him the open door to leave with blessing
a test I thought could prove what I meant
was fair to no one involved
for only I knew that I was keeping score
resting my happiness opposed to desired autonomy.
Two cities past I tried to erase my choices
By returning to the myth of home
I gained strength from past allegiances
and planted the seed of a new family
without hope and without expectation I desired
to still create a reality of freedom
wherein exchanging rings was without prison.
In a new family I tried to explore assimilation
And moved to a new city of supposed support
I slipped again into promises unfulfilled
an image of myself slowly devolving
as the weight of who I wanted to be
pulled me beneath the waves of their understanding
and a crossroads appears from the veil.
In an attempt to seize control I threw myself
Into terms I knew nothing of: father, brother, uncle
I became father to a house without children
I created an archetype of which I was brother
and watched the struggled and acceptance of uncle
quietly I waited for the integration of men
into a persona I could recognize.
Bereft of conclusion or inertia or reciprocity
One stood beside me as I looked inward for direction
to when chosen family shared beds and lives
without the division of societal norms
to divide love and desire into couples
and to allow ourselves the love of a group
and two men became three and one house.
In a dream I was reborn under my own control
As my truth became the measuring instrument
I stood in front of the cold chill of Gitchee Gumee
the expectations of family as words schooled
as a dark geyser they formed before me
and with the strength of love to dispel
the dark character of unformed expectations.
The break in me from a lifetime of emptiness
Was only filled once I chose the contents
When I gave up the who I thought they wanted
When I gave up on following others’ choices
and I understood that obligation
does not automatically equate understanding
and fulfillment comes from truth and family within.