Flower and Thorn

exhaust yourself.
and this is hard work —
play long, run free,
swim upstream.
make yourself a drum
and beat a hard rhythm
until you have nothing left.

spin through the streets
of a strange city.
run on the edge of harm,
the lost places
where one false move
could break your soul
and reveal what it’s been hiding
all along.

sweat, replenish, repeat.
become dry, and empty.
give yourself to the dance.
to your loves, to your friends.
to strangers.
be a lyric, be a problem.
believe, be live, berate.
be flower and thorn.

and this too is hard work.
it requires a lot of nothing.
sitting, or tumbling,
and not doing a damn thing.
it is hard to not do,
to not think,
to float without a plan, a care, a need.
vectorless, unpointed, worry free.
to allow everything to be.

but this labor is worth the effort.
at the end of a hard day
you come home exhausted,
stinking of release, and freedom.
you stand like a fool
at the mouth of a temple,
collapse on the ground —
dripping, grinning, spent.
burning with nothing,
full of laugh, and step, and song.

you are the hole at the center of the wheel.
the empty space in the jug.
you look ahead and see a path
full of sharp stones and peril.
this will take you
not where you want to go,
but where you need to be.
the horrors of the world rush in,
and you realize —
that you don’t mind.
and only then do you understand
what it means to pray.