Art is our home. This door is open, always, to all, and yet permits not the entry of draft or rain. The doused may find solace, and repose, in the warmth of this hearth. For the sparks of these words – the spectres conjured by its incandescence – are a family whose love is unconditional, and will ever blaze, kindling within us the faith to weather these tempests. The ashes may then be scattered upon the winds – to ignite the lost, and unify our souls as one, in unquenched illumination; to be the light which guides us home, through the darkest of eclipse.
Though these flames were not ignited by me, I continue to retrieve kindling from the woods. I surrender myself to their throes. Though I did not incite this war, I still vainly brandish my blade at ghosts. The clash of steel perpetuates still the song which deafens me. This fire was the furnace which tempered these manacles – yet I forged them therein, and bound them upon myself.
The maelstroms submerged me, and cast me to this perdition – yet I crafted and steered the vessel, and chose my crew. My own imperfection damns me here. I suffer because I deserve nothing more. I am a shadow framed by the light because I will not bear my own torch, and blaze a way through the abyss – because I will not stray beyond the confines of this map, which guides me along my cyclical, directionless path. My abjection is my own.
I’m not sure I’m ready to swim against these currents alone, relinquishing these pieces and my company of demons. I would not brave these uncharted waters, only to flounder amidst their turbulence, and be swept forth to a perpetuity of shade – for I could not resist the wrath of these waves. There is safety, in this bludgeoned fortress; comfort, in the persecutions of the light. I’m not sure I’m ready to sheathe this sword. I fear liberation. I fear joy, ever more than I fear sorrow. I fear peace, ever more than battle.
I’m not sure I can breathe without this smoke and brimstone. I’m not sure I can extinguish the infernos which consume me still. I’m not sure I can live without these ghosts. I’m nothing beyond that which I am not. I’m nothing beyond that which I was. I’m nothing beyond that which I cannot be. I’m not sure there’s an antidote for this malady. I’m not sure there’s a song beyond these storms, or an orchestration lost amidst its cacophony. I’m not sure I’m anything beyond charred flesh, and a thirst sated, unquenched, by salt water. I’m not sure infernos or hallowed water can purge the venom of these wounds. I’m not sure if these stars will ever glimmer as bright as they once did.
I think all that’s left is a memory, like an autumnal petal, leached of colour, scattered upon the wind – a relic of the grace of bloom, fleeing from the grasping, rough hands of a withered soul, and lost amidst the blaze.