How Could I Not Be Among You

This is beautiful, but I did not write it:​


by Ted Rosenthal

Never yield a minute to despair, sloth, fantasy.
I say to you, you will face pain in your life…
It is not aimed at anyone
but it will come your way.
The wind sweeps over everyone.

 You will feel so all alone, abandoned,
come to see that life is brief,
And you will cry, “No, it cannot be so,”
but nothing will avail you.
I tell you never to yearn for the past.
Speak certain knowledge.
Your childhood is worthless.
Seek not ritual. There is no escape in Christmas.
Santa Claus will not ease your pain.
No fantasy will soothe you.

 You must bare your heart and expect nothing in return.
You must respond totally to nature.
You must return to your simple self.
I do not fool you. There lies no other path.
I have not forsaken you, but I cannot be among you all.
You are not alone
so long as you love your own simple selves.
Your natural hair, your skin, your graceful bodies,
your knowing eyes and your tears and tongues.

I stand before you all aching with truth

Trembling with desire to make you know.
Eat, sleep, and be serious about life.
To be serious is to be simple;
to be simple is to love.
Don’t wait another minute, make tracks, go home.
Admit you have some place to return to.
The bugs are crawling all over the earth, the sun shining over every one.
The rains are pounding, and the winds driving.
The breeze is gentle and the grass burns.
The earth is dusty. Go ankle deep in mud.

 Get tickled by the tall cattails.
Kick crazily into the burrs and prickles.
Rub your back against the bark, and go ahead, peel it.
Adore the sun.
O people, you are dying! Live while you can.
What can I say?
The blackbirds blow the bush.
Get glass in your feet if you must, but take off the shoes.
O heed me. There is pain all over!
There is continual suffering, and puking and coughing.
Don’t wait on it. It is stalking you.
Tear ass up the mountainside, duck into the mist.

 Roll among the wet daisies. Blow out your lungs
Among the dead dandelion fields.
But don’t delay, time is not on your side.
Soon you will be crying for the hurt, make speed.
Splash in the ocean,
leap in the snow.
Come on everybody! Love your neighbor,
Love your mother, love your lover,
love the man who just stands there staring.
But first, that’s all right, go ahead and cry.
Cry, cry, cry your heart out.
It’s love. It’s your only path.

 O people, I am so sorry.
Nothing can be hid.
No circle in the round.
It’s group theater,
no wings, no backstage, no leading act.
O, I am weeping, but it’s stage center for all of us.
Hide in the weeds, but come out naked.
Dance in the sand while lightning bands all around us.

 Step lightly, we’re walking home now.
The clouds take every shape.
We climb the boulders; there is no plateau.
We cross the stream and walk up the slope.
See, the hawk is diving.
The plain stretches out ahead,
then the hills, the valleys, the meadows.
Keep moving people. How could I not be among you


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