Meeting my former self

If I were to find him in
some shady bar,
stuffing his mouth with lemon
chicken or chilly pork between
gulps of harsh rum, I’d say,
“Let go. You’ll never get
your revenge. Not every dog has
his day.” He’ll probably smile
and harbour more bitterness,
add me to the list of people who’ve
wronged him, hoping that he’d one
day walk holding some hot girl’s
hand while I look on with a
glint in my eyes, or that he’d
have his moment on the football
field, nutmegging defenders,
performing elegant step overs
and Cruyff turns before
scoring a hattrick while I
turn away
because of the jealousy
gripping me
and making me tremble.
I’d love to tell him
that there is no empyrean
realm where he sits on a gold throne
and rules those who’ve wronged him,
doling out justice with a lopsided grin,
no brilliant red, tall fort
that is the apogee of sturdiness,
replete with harems
and rivers of wine flowing
through it,
but that would break him,
he’d spend sleepless nights,
screaming, “How dare he!” and
punching the headboard in agony.
So, I guess I’d have to let him
observe his reflections in myriad
make-believe mirrors of success:
One with short hair and a goatee,
whispering, “You’ll be given everything
you seek.” Another with longer, messy hair
and a five o’clock shadow screaming,
“You’re the best! The pound for pound
king!” Or yet another with wavy hair and a full beard
saying in a monotonous voice,
“Beauty awaits you at every turn.
You’ve seen your share of sorrow
but now you’ll find the bliss of
beautiful women, the fragrance of
unbelievable triumph, and the
echoes of your enemies’ shrieks
while you put them to the
sword.” It’s only when
he’s in the trenches
of madness, fighting for an iota
of sanity, that he’ll beg me to find him,
to help him let go.
And then we’ll finally merge,
the six-pack and the effervescence of
youth forgotten, the so-called friends who are
on top of the social pyramid blotted out,
and the pen, becoming a means of
salvation. Not redemption of a scintillating,
seraphic kind, but one that makes us
get up and get through the day.

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