I stand a tired raft and tremble
A rolling mist is cutting off
A fog is rolling back my grasping vision.
The gray night is closing in on me
And cutting away the sound and sight of men
Till my shivering soul stands all alone,
And the loneliness plugs in my nerves
And turns the switch, charging senses
I never knew I had with shock.
And so, a radar man, I move away
Away and beyond the other men
Those older men whose souls hold up
“No Trespassing” signs etched in hurt and hate
And my swimming raft is tired and drowning,
While my shivering brain and my shattered soul
Are sick and beaten and ripped and scarred,
A nameless man in a nameless sea,
Tortured by doubts, but conquered by mountains,
I’m afraid to live and afraid to die.
Wait! The breathing mist is sprinkled
I thought I saw a light spread out —
For an instant. Gone. Was it really there?
Dark. Gray dark. Breathing dark.
I dreamt, I closed my eyes
and saw bolts of lightning.
Carefully I kneel and touch the sea
My live trembling hands touch,
reach down to the warm, stale water.
Maybe I’ll just paddle over there a bit,
And see what it would be like – to possess a purpose.
“Uselessness” – the only word I know,
Other words are wistful shadows.
If I close my eyes and sleep, sleep . . .
Crouching and careful, I let myself deflate,
Go limp, try to become a thing,
A brutish, unfeeling bump on the top of the sea.
But my electric eyes will not stay shut,
They look for the light, they strain for the maybe . . .
For a long, long time –
till my stretched eyes
Are weary, and my despairing body
laughs at my hoping eyes.
Then again! Again a light blurs against the shadows.
On and off and on and off
“Come here, come here, come here and find me.”
My brain grows tense and knotted by the unknown.
Someone is out there!
Another hope floods up to my face
And drains my muscles and twitches my muscles
And blows blood through my bundled brain.