By Louis Efron
Afloat on still, open waters Carriage over an abyss Sun drawing its last breath Biting gale tunnels looming showers A murky cotton blanket rolls across the sky With deliberate strokes I swing the oars Searching for shore, any shore Another lonely night Without lullaby Without guiding light Lids heavy with exhaust Deep beneath the surface A restless serpent awakes Snapping of the whip Squirming from the bowels Of fiery molten mouth Tarnished cold blackened rind Adorned elongated spine With coat of polished broken glass Obscure sapphire marbles punched In skull socket caverns Piercing snout sheathing Ribboned tongue, claw toothed Wood creaking at the hull Signals a menacing disturbance My balmy palms grasp the rails The briny foreplays teasing slaps Arousing the buoyant vessel A rock pillow breaks slumber of my cap My body with no ground to anchor Joining the sun until day breaks My little rowboat made of sugar Melts away in a sea of lost souls Those who came before me shall see the light again
Earthy, resilient, harshly frail Fingertips sliding, glass shards on braille Dirty hands mar clean frosty cloth Moving fast, then a deadening sloth Frozen grins thawing to disturbing frowns Inspiration fades, struggles, and drowns Purpose, labor, an enduring cause Crushed to death in powerful jaws Love, a sweetly sung lullaby Muted by painful excuses to cry God, existence, meaningful living A darker force, anxiety, misgiving Expression in art, music embraced, delight A deafening death march, an unwilling plight
Speeding down the road of life Potholes, roadkill, hazards, and strife Headlights blaring in the dead of night I reach down to extinguish that brief light Now driving blind towards a certain death I anticipate the irrevocability of my final breath The wrong turns I’ve taken have been unusually cruel An explorer always eager to play the fool Don’t blame yourself, it was all me Fear and self-destruction weren’t apparent to see Don’t cry either, it has been a colorful ride I’ve simply exhausted places to hide Goodbye my broken angel, may your wings again take flight This will be the last night I turn out our light
It’s not the bars but the voids between That imprisons our truest expression of self The weeping trees just out of reach Sap edging beneath layered lids Syrupy glass strands briefly catching our light Distanced from the body A burden limb Gives way by a simple Breath of wind To the unforgiving earth below If dead, a crack Alive, a bow Separation, a honeyed lament Firm roots doggedly tunnel beneath me Hands that cradle fragile wings A sanctuary for diverse belonging Removed from judgment Exposed to all Fingers poised towards ghosts, toward heaven Pushing out through unguarded gaps Flanking heat, cold shafts bend Into an elegant canopy for tears
STOP! Sirens. Flashing lights. STOP! Screeching cars. Horns. Shuffle of urgent footsteps. STOP! Commotion subsides. Silence. A crack. A crevasse. A void. Wasted shadows. Shards of light. What happened here? We don’t know. Violence. What? Brutality. What? What happened here. What happened here? Crime. . . . against beauty. . . . simplicity. . . . peace. STOP! Silence. Stillness. A crack. A crevasse. A void. Hateful! A blood orange sunset. Meaningless! A loving embrace. . . . a first kiss. Spit on your face! An open palm. A clenched fist! New beginnings . . . One sunny day a single flower was ripped from the earth.
Having studied at Cornell University, Harvard Business School, and Capella University, Louis Efron is a senior management consultant at Gallup and the founder of The Voice of Purpose, a brand focused on individual and organizational purpose fulfillment and success. Louis’ articles have been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, and other major publications. He is also the author of How to Find a Job, Career and Life You Love; Purpose Meets Execution: How Winning Organizations Accelerate Engagement and Drive Profits; Beyond the Ink: Lessons from the Transformation of an Industry; as well as the children’s book What Kind of Bee Can I Be?.