Face

What is this face

So sacred to us

That we must save?

 

How bitter and strange it is

To maintain face

To avoid the stinging wind

Upon naked skin.

Lo the awful Gospel 

Of God's piercing gaze!

To know no soul stays hidden

And all shall be revealed,

But we mask ourselves

And stand our ground, 

Afraid,

Maintaining image and place

In society fake

And family estranged,

Fighting a sea of shame

By keeping truth at bay.

 

How much then can a father

Say to a son, or

A son to his old man,

Trapped between the boundary lines

Of strict familial metrics,

Where truth and triumph

Lay buried beneath 

The impervious weight

Of silvery second place?

Here, the deceitful easy harmony 

Of moments reigns supreme.

What are these laws of fear 

That bind us?

Who made them ours

To uphold?

Who plagued us

With such angry allegiance?

 

You curse me with courtesy

And honorable greetings,

The lauded fraud 

Of the family,

In all the sickened talk

So unfathomably small, 

And all this whilst 

Our children crumble;

All this whilst 

You sleep in separate beds.

When will a hero come

To say merely what is real,

To speaks words 

That match their meanings

In tones that tell the truth?

 

Liberated to feel,

Free to wage 

In open fields

The wars of life, 

Together or apart,

In grasses green 

Or deadened brown:

Heroics here

Means the liberty to be,

Taking the exodus path

Across a dead and salty sea,

To pass through

Fury and gray,

Burying self and honor

And face,

Made exposed, thirsty,

And pitifully poor;

Salvation is taking 

The miraculous, disastrous

Passage from self-safekeeping

To a place of jettison

Utterly unsafe,

Much like laying naked

In a desert, 

Begging for rain and shade,

And then, 

When each day,

A few sips fall,

Made to wait,

Until the desert fire

Turns each day's darkness 

Into an only friend,

Till exposure sets in

And defenseless, you see

Your silty skin

Begin to whither in return,

And with a wondrous flash

A glimpse is given:

All is fleeting,

But the broken.

And then to cry,

The shame:

"Woe is me! 

Who am I

Save for grace?"

Yes, the sea of a man's salvation

Leads through a scorching desert,

meekness in the making.

 

Yes, indeed it burns

Outside these rules.

Our bitter dinner table conventions

Call for grave escape.

The rebellion will be punished,

But we'll become true

And ever truer.

Life and death

Is the difference made

Between saving oneself

And saving face,

Lo alone the meek are saved.