Can we crash through the ceiling
and rise like newly begotten dreams
to become sky,
transmute into fire to merge with stars?
Do we welcome this new year
like a mad conjurer pushing a pachyderm
up the stairs to a fifth floor walk up
on the Lower East Side?
Do we live in the elephant’s shadow,
waiting for it to fall or do we
cheer the madman on, hoping to resolve the past
while fires burn from the fallen brimstone below?
Do we live, shuddering, half-living phantoms
in a lightless, aphotic crevice of an ancient lunatic’s jaw,
crouched behind a broken, blood soaked tooth?
Or do we lift arms like wings and rise?
Do we greet this as a dawn, rewritten,
the old mistakes as erasures curling inward
and fetal, floating as smoke and dying in the newborn wind?
We raise signs. We shout refrains. We occupy
streets. We declare our sacred humanity
in the faces of endless jaws,
all of them boasting rows of broken teeth,
all of them leaking out decrepit and crackled souls
balanced barely on the edge of decay, bloated with money
and with eyes filled with Revelation death schemes. We weave dreams
in the face of the dreamless. We crash through ceilings
in the face of the weighted down earth bound
with leaden and sick bellies turgid with blood. We transmute
into fire to defy the burnt out ends of older days,
bleary-eyed and spent, exhausted from the chase of what
can never be found, coin-heavy and power-charged. We merge
with stars in the face of those that declare that Heaven is a figment,
or an insane man’s wish, or a wasteland not fit for
Hear me, Oh people. You must know one thing:
ceilings only serve to hold in. They deserve to be
crashed through, torn through their bellies like paper declarations,
eviscerated to clear the dirt of sleep from freshly opened
Eyes. You must know that the stars can be
held in the palms of simple hands and that
dreams can be weaved again, re-imaged from
the rubble of broken years. You must know that
fire will not burn you if you become it and that
angels are ordinary people. Check for the
wings emerging through your back, for the power
to lift beyond ceilings and clouds that you never knew
existed. And as you move through this year, ever checking
your compass, eying uncertain prophecies
and promises of oblivion, remember that wings
serve to make their owner fly — and if you rise to
the sun, they will never melt away.
© 2012 Nicole Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.
This poem was written for We Write Poems Prompt #91: Kissing the Ceiling (the image for the prompt is here). This inspired me to move beyond a mere kissing of said ceiling…and with all the doomsday 2012 stuff in the zeitgeist lately, I wanted to write at least one thing that would counter all the fear and negativity. I hope I did my task justice.