Leaving the Past Dead Leaves
Leaving the Past Dead Leaves
I am ten years removed from the talons
Clutching, clutching, clutching
A glance at my surface reveals vibrancy
Beneath lies the carcass of an old self
The vultures know it
Circling, circling, circling
Hungrily seeking out the first taste
If rotting flesh rises to the surface
This is no coincidence
These people rising from me post
Haunting, haunting, haunting
Sure I am easy to find in a search
But why are they looking?
Why don’t they leave me alone?
Alone, alone, alone
History’s cowboy awkwardly, angrily, absorbed my rejection
I thought I was released from not loving properly
Release me, release me, release me
An inmate seeks forgiveness for wrongs never rightable
I seek to say neither yes nor no
I seek silence
Letters from strangers whose words were penned in dream states
You were all supposed to be buried
Ten years later I discover the bodies emerging
The shell of a self from another tormented time rises
Reminding, reminding, reminding
Solid flesh walls of a modern me
Encasing that disintegrating self that I thought was deceased
The vultures threaten
I wrap my autumn arms around spring flowers
Hold tight to my commitment to my own growth
Say leave me alone as I prepare for winter
And promise myself healing
Leaving the Past Dead Leaves is a poem about how personal history haunts us over time. Just when we thought that we had outgrown our old confused selves, something comes back to remind us of where we came from. That place doesn’t have to be a bad place, but it’s a place of a former self and being reminded of it can make it feel like all of the work that we’ve done in the area of personal growth is useless because we are what we came from no matter what and we’ll always carry that with us.
Sometimes it can feel really threatening when life threatens to expose the person we were before. Again, this is not because who we were before is a bad person, but it’s because who we were then does not jive with how we see ourselves now as a complete adult being. In simpler words, when something happens today that triggers memories of the past, we sometimes feel like we are that child again that those things happened to and we don’t want to be that person. The imagery in the poem of the vultures circling is about that personal threat.
This poem sprung from an odd place. In the span of about a week, I had been contacted by four people from the past. These were not people who knew each other and they were all people I hadn’t spoken to in at least ten years. It felt eerie, like the past was coming back to haunt me when I was just starting to feel well and healthy in my adult life. As you can tell from the poem, it brought up some dark feelings. Nothing ever came of the contact. I wrote some people back and ignored others and it was a non-issue in the scope of my full life but the feelings it brought up were very real and I pressed myself to capture them on the page here.