Robt O’Sullivan Schleith

Heart for Darkness
I am fighting against the forces of nature,
I have come to realize;
repressing  old memories & 
redressing old wounds-
I sense it still,
a madness that has tempted,
seduced& haunted me all of my life.
Give in, the inner voice cajoles.
Let go, give in to it-
it will make your gifts easier to bear,
and simpler to confess.
It is my nature
to be reckless, exhibitionist,
abandoning, prophetic . . .
cruelly honest.
But to preserve my flesh & sanity,
thereby lengthening my timeline,
I have chosen to present myself as
careful, introspective,
voyeuristic,  enabling . . .
Afterwards, there is always shame;
a sense of deep personal loss,
of being disconnected, disassociated,
unplugged from the source of Us;
unpartnered from everyone you’ve ever loved,
as well as from those you
only wanted to hold close to you for awhile.  
When the time finally comes,
will it be hard to give up the things of this life?
It has been hard enough just
to let go of the things of youth.
My eyes are old enough now
to discern that faint chalk line
between heartache & the soul’s deepest longings;
     to connect with another human being,
     to remember one’s source.
I think
I will find out who I am by what I do-
But in truth, it’s probably 
I will do what I came to accomplish
by finding out who I am..
I think.
If I were Africa, I swear to Christ that Stanley
&Livingston would have never met in this darkest heart of mine.  
We are the scribes, the historians, the exorcists-
exalted in ancient cultures,
barely noticed in the modern age.
We predict the future as we record the past.
We have lived a million lives at once,
a million times or more.
Sometimes I feel like a simple man
who wants nothing more from life than love,
sweet love.
Other times I feel more like a prophet,
yet it’s always my own demise I foresee.
Mostly I feel like the angel fallen
hard from grace, hitch-hiking the loneliest roads,
no ride within sight for days..
having deciphered the code, 
just never having broken the curse.

Robt O’Sullivan Schleith has hosted the monthly open reading at the Escondido Municipal Art Gallery since 2007; he has served as a regional editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual since 2009, and is a (retired in 2003) co-founder of the San Diego Poetry Slam. He publishes under his mother’s name O’Sullivan, as well as his stepfather’s name Schleith, so as to honor both of them with his writing.

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