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Liminality (Poem)

Updated on March 25, 2016
Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull writes articles on topics such as religion and skepticism - original poetry and short-stories - and film/tv/book/game reviews.



Isolation, self-inflicted far from home

Liminal ridges of starlight rising

Heat spills like a flood across the surface

The desolation basking in the glow

When this heart stops beating

With memories and beliefs burned inside

This world will serve an ample stone

To sit upon the grave of the man who was alone

That impossible night above us

So fathomless even in its measurement

And paralleled by the emptiness within

To give us our passion and our longing

A dying sun in the throes of desperation

Casting crimson with grasping hands

Seeking meaning in the blackness

To find a way to make it last

But rushing sand falls ever downward

Cutting short the lifespan of a star

Unremarkable with a hundred billion brothers

But only wishing to be loved

The air cut short and final moments closing in

Rushing in with the morning light

Waiting anxiously to be extinguished

And have the anguish end

What rock do you and I call home in the end?

Alone in a sea of desperate tranquility

Who is left to marvel at the contents of your spirit?

Spilling out so loudly in a void without sound

Silence comes with appetite blazing

To swallow every empty syllable we speak

How do we define that which carries purpose?

Is it only a matter of what tastes sweet?

Can the saccharin satisfy the void that indwells us?

Or is the existential dread our natural selection?

Engulfed under the brightness of the pure sun

With no atmosphere to dilute the illumination

I saw you dancing in the dunes you devilish mirage

And thought I'd lost what little mind I had

On the horizon of the moon I beheld your visage

And felt myself rising into orbit holding your hand

Can love redeem a man?

What phantoms haunt this head of mine?

To divorce myself of reality divine

To seek the wraiths that dwell inside the mind

As the scarlet beams of daybreak return

Who will hide the head of the broken?

When the meanings inside are all we ever learned

Who is to demand that we survive?

The prison I built is burning now

Ash is all that's left

From the chains of fear I fled

Into the arms of death

I saw her dancing in the shadows

Before the sunlight stole her breath

And sought the beauty of her cold touch

Beneath the blazing lunar sand

fake album cover for a fake band I made up
fake album cover for a fake band I made up

Author's Notes

There are two layers going on in this poem, the first is about an astronaut on the lunar surface at the end of our sun's lifespan waiting to die. He sees a specter, a heat mirage, of a woman dancing who turns out, in the final stanza, to be death. The deeper layer is about various existential longings and explores them through metaphors and outright statements about isolation and waiting for death. The idea is that in the end we have a very brief time to come to terms with life and reconcile ourselves to the reality around us. Some will seek the wraiths inside their mind and forsake reality in the end.

The title comes from the idea of ritual, Liminality is the middle portion of a ritual, before crossing the threshold into the end result. The sun is about to enter its final phase which represents our lone astronauts final phase of life. He has isolated himself away from the world and in the end chases the ghost he saw dancing in the dunes to free himself from the chains of life.

Many of the questions asked are never answered satisfactorily. Are the passions we use to make our lives fulfilling truly satisfying in the end? Does it all even mean anything when the silence at the end of time takes us all? When the meanings inside are all we've ever learned who is to demand that there must be something more, that we must survive eternally, that oblivion is not, eventually, a return to the proper order?

A parallel is drawn between the vast emptiness of space peppered with stars and worlds and life and the emptiness inside us, complete with oases of meaning and depth but – perhaps – empty in the ultimate sense – or perhaps not.

Hope you enjoyed the poem and got some meaning out of it, thanks for reading!


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    • Titen-Sxull profile image

      Titen-Sxull 23 months ago from back in the lab again

      Thank you for your kind words!

      I may not believe in the spirit as a supernatural thing but that does not mean the spirit or soul do not exist as a mental thing, a deep emotional aspect to human beings. I don't limit my poetry to the solely naturalistic either, I just go where the words take me.

    • A.Villarasa profile image

      Alexander A. Villarasa 23 months ago from Palm Springs

      For someone who does not believe in the spiritual... your poem evoked a lot of spiritual thoughts and feelings. That may not have been your purpose at all, but what the heck, a good poem is a good poem even if you did not write an explanatory footnote to it.

    • Titen-Sxull profile image

      Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

      Thank you Jodah. Many poets just leave their readers hanging as to the meaning of their poems, I figured this one could use some unpacking of the ideas I explored. Glad you enjoyed it!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      A wonderfully layered poem titen-sxull. Thank you for the author's note at the end explaining the poem and title. Voted up.

    • Titen-Sxull profile image

      Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

      Thank you very much for the comment whonu, glad you enjoyed my poem :D

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 2 years ago from United States

      I enjoyed your soul spirited poetry my friend. Perhaps the one thing that we have to keep us going onward...our love of others and to help as much as we can before our times are up. Nicely done. whonu