The Perfect Is There
November 1, 2002
by CE Piper
stand in sad distress before the painting that is my life.
Can hope erase the smudges?
Can a misplaced tree or a disproportionate mountain
by pure dissatisfaction?
What purpose then to lament about the disequilibriums?
It is as it is.
I was an avid reader as a youth
would hide for hours and devour a book.
Fantasy and such, not books with any real substance, just entertainment.
But I remember
who became disillusioned as adults:
They lost their idealistic youth.
I read more substantive books now,
and cry at despair.
(I think I do, at least.)
I'm not sure anyone actually truly understands.
They endure it and make appropriate adjustments.
I have to stand back and simply
accept the mistakes;
accept the pattern of my life's design.
The lost loves.
The forbidden dreams.
The empty promises.
It is what it is,
and I suppose it is what it is supposed to be.
I am no philosopher:
just a simple drone.
I almost went into the Navy when I was twenty
(for the money). HA!
And it turned out they thought
to train me for the nuclear field.
So much for military intelligence.
Two years of school, four years on assignment.
so I almost swore-in, and within two (2) years, I would have been swimming
under the big pond
Guys like him have been around
since Sargon the Great,
The Imperialistic dream is alive and well,
and I was proud
our country could stem such incursions today.
Let them pretend their leaders are gods:
I've known too many gods to be all that impressed with them.
One god even reminds me of my Uncle Marty.
I have never
with trying to figure it all out,
and I guess that's how I have dealt with my hidden doubts
Here I am,
doing my job,
hoping my life
serve the greater good of humanity.
Some people seem to get upset if they think of themselves as just pawns;
they want to be King or Queen.
I kind of like chess,
but it takes so long.
And the King.
I admire the King.
He doesn't perform a lot of moves,
but that gives him the image of giving all the commands to the other pieces
to protect him and his power.
And the Queen.
I can only hope to get a good woman like that to stand with me.
Her presence alone
influences almost every other piece on the board.
I have seen great chess masters sacrifice their queens early on, though,
and I remember thinking:
'Don't they know how important she is?'
That strategy is beyond me,
to intentionally lose your mate.
But I assume her absence
the other pieces to wield more influence.
big picture wisdom:
I can't even comprehend a simple chess game, am I to comprehend life itself?
2: Force of Will
Everything around me was red: a chalky, sandy, dull red.
But behind my eyes, everything was black.
I hiked up the flowing slopes,
which were like hardened waves pouring from the sky:
My Red Sea, and I, perhaps blasphemously, was calling upon myself to part it.
I would deploy myself in a random direction,
and advance until I came to a barrier: the bottom of a cliff or the ridge of a ravine.
I fought my way up that sandstone sea,
trying to get to the highest point.
Ironically, this great monument of stone, deposited there by the tumultuous waters of times past,
had a top which looked like a great ship with steep, sheer walls, rising hundreds of feet above
where the hull contacted my ocean. I was left for destruction.
I had no climbing equipment, merely the force of my will.
It thwarted me, as a useless god decides to thwart me
and my search for love.
Childishly, I yelled at the obstacle which ridiculed me,
refusing me passage to the heights I wanted to obtain.
Then I would find a way up.
Much of my efforts now were beyond angerthey were complete madness.
I clung to minuscule ridges and cracks in order to continue on,
and I burrowed through brittle, dense underbrush,
more than once ending up standing at a precipice, unable to continue.
But the anger I felt justified itself by making me believe I could conquer any barrier on my own;
that I didn't need God, and that today I would eradicate my foolish belief that a God existedany god, let alone a supreme creator.
3: Undaunted Tide
But she materialized into my reality;
an unwanted specter through a coveted mist.
Her faceno, her featureswere soft and warm.
I wished I could see more, but she glimmered like a light on the other side of a haze; vaguely familiar, but distant, as from another land.
She haunted me.
Not as a ghost, but as an angel.
She was there, just beyond my grasp; visible, yet invisible; known, yet unknown.
So I withdrew.
I hid from her and all the dreams she fulfilled.
I could not bear to have her, and yet not.
She ignited flames I needed to be doused; she reminded me of joys
that I wanted to forget.
I even hated her; her persistent appearances.
I did miss her when she was gone,
but when she returned,
I wanted to miss her again.
I preferred missing her to treasuring her.
She was a jewel whose wealth you owned, but could never spend;
a diamond locked within a displaya private display.
She haunted my reality: that melancholy, dark-hearted world around me.
She kept invading what I had accepted.
I wished she would stop. The pain of hope is difficult to bear.
Soon, however, she appeared more frequently and I couldn't displace her.
So I succumbed to her; I let her dwell within me.
It became a sort of sacred courtship.
Oh, she glowed when I brought her a dozen roses,
and her feet warmed the earth she trod upon, and flowers grew forever thereon.
Now, her face wasn't shrouded by a mist, but by a light; not quite divine, but holy.
Her hair was silver, like a star, and the clothes she wore brilliant white.
The interesting thing is I have never seen her face, even now,
but I know what she looks like.
In dim times, she softened my world with wooded browns and gentle greens.
I did not always need her to be white, but she was never imperfect.
It was weak of me, I think, to allow her to enter, but she persisted.
I had to know why.
Perhaps my reality needed her type of softness.
Perhaps I needed her loving responses to my affections.
I am alone, you know, and the world is straight and stainless-steel sharp; rigid, colorless.
I sensed beyond my view were lovelier things: I remember them, I know I do.
Was she that world pressing itself back upon me?
But often I wondered if she were a gilded demon, sent to disarm me from higher good.
Perhaps my cold, glancing world was most accurateharsh as it is
and she had been sent to keep me from perfecting it.
These are the times I hated her and fought with her; chased her away; shouted at the cliffs to out-roar the ocean.
But her gentleness always swelled back into my heart like an undaunted tide.
It is difficult for the Forms to become flesh, but it is the stuff which magnifies our dreams. I would lie down in misery, cold and sweating, until her smile, which I couldn't see, would compel me to look once more.
And she was beautiful. Radiant golden eyes; lips as pink as a dewy rose petal; skin like the silken wings of a pale butterfly.
And I praised her as every girl dreams of being praised.
And we often danced under the boughs of cherry trees in full bloom under the moon.
I allowed her in, and she changed me. But for the better?
She was my worst nightmare,
for I always saw the world as it wasn't when I looked at her: I saw peace.
The Perfect is there, I know it isshe isbut in this flesh, can it ever truly be?
Can I find now on this earth what we shall become in heaven?
Reality beats a far bloodier pulse than hers,
but holding a real hand, though imperfect, isn't it an Ideal?
And so here I am; without you, without me.
Alone, but not so alone, as long as you are with me.
Desperate, yes, but not despairing;
Mad, yes, but not insane;
Hopeless, yes, but filled with hope.
I am the flickering candle. Burning for what purpose I know not,
but can the purpose ever be known?
If we will extricate ourselves from our existential souls for a moment,
how much of what has happened to us did we actually choose?
But still, doubts and fears assail me.
I am a ship loaded with the cargo of turmoil:
abandonment, frustration, inadequacy, foolishness.
At every moment disaster is imminent, even though I hope for the best; believe the best.
Too often I have walked blindly into the worst of relationships,
trying, as of a will, to make it better.
I'm not denying that maybe there is something to making things happen
by positive thinking,
but my experience is that fate happens,
even though my will is opposed to it.
I will believe in a good future for me, just as I know that the sun will rise tomorrow.
I can believe it that surely, and yet it doesn't happen
I held my wife in my arms as the light left her eyesto where?
I know heaven, but I so hoped she wouldn't go.
Yet she did.
I have heard many people say that it is just the natural course of life,
but why does it seem so unnatural?
Why do I feel in my heart that death is so wrong?
If positive thinking allows me to believe a lie, what advantage is that to me?
I hate death.
I hate everything about it: the suffering, the slow decline towards it,
and the acceptance of it.
I don't like it when people give up.
It makes me feel as though someday I will not care to live either: I cannot imagine that.
I want to live forever.
At times I have imagined my death, what I will feel like, what I will say.
I believe that at the final moment I will yet cry out, 'I want life!'
I will not have given up on life. I hope. God help me. At least now I feel that way.
And I hope I ever will.
I hope I will never give up on life.
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