…So it goes, this task/of rolling the body’s stone forward then back,/ forward then back, until one forgets one’s name. //How many trips have I made? I’m listening/ still, trying to figure out how to answer/ paradox without breaking silence, how to sever //the contradictions that faithfully dog my steps. ---Luisa A. Igloria, “The Jewel in the Fruit,” Via Negativa, 02-09-12
How much of this is punishment?
Where is the jewel wrapped in stone?
Would my Sisyphus escape Tartarian
Tedium, rolling itself to a boulder
Of sin, of fear and endless trembling?
There was another stone rolled away,
From a cave that could not bury love
Even as it was nailed to die on a tree.
Which rock would I now cleave to?
Which promise? How many times
Must I roll downhill with this burden?
Why should I fall with his craven cross?
Is the absence of choice a birthright?
Or is it the fearsome fate of being alive?
On sundowns like this, I will not break
My silence, nor weep to beg for light.
Without a whimper, without regret,
I will take my rock uphill or downhill,
Pare it until it becomes the river pebble
That must one day crack downstream
Like a wounded oyster birthing a pearl
From the dirt of an abandoned quarry,
Like this place, this injured home,
This Earth, this leftover dungeon of fear.
On the death of days like this, I kneel
Before a cliff that can only take me down.
Like the tedium of sunrises and sunsets,
I steel myself into a still point of hope.
---Albert B. Casuga