POETRY Reading: What I Though I Wanted, by Fella Cederbaum


What I Thought I Wanted

Have you ever wondered who you would be
Without your profession, without your role
Without a position in life that holds
The you, that you know to be in this world
The you, who you think is important
The pearl
That is singular?
One and specific?
Identified by name and position?
Even if sometimes less than terrific?

When I was young
I thought I wanted to be a doctor
Until, one day, I tried it out
Imagined myself clad in white
A stethoscope hanging
Around my neck
My gait would flout
Essential place
In the ranks of humanity
Curing sickness and other calamity

I imagined the feeling of being equipped
To help in an instant
While life could just rip
The weakest and strongest
Right out of your midst
Interrupting the flow of expected unfolding

And then I would rush to the scene
Bag of tricks that was holding
The cure, or a balm for the suffering and pain
Irrelevant if I knew the ailment’s name

It seemed as a doctor my life was essential
Even in the face of disaster potential
Yet then
A sense of entrapment arose
And my dream turned bland
Before my own nose

So I thought why not try this, once again
But this time choose the wildest game
Irrespective of required skills
That would allow me to fit the bill
Of any, most desirable, exotic profession
Maybe nuclear physicist would be
A suitable passion?

I tried it out, imagined my brain
Amazingly filled without restrain
Understanding the laws of this world
To know this reality?
What else could be needed!
And then?
Once again the blandness appeared
An inner straining against a role
I feared
To be held inside and somehow defined
By a something that was not the truth of my mind

Again, I proceeded to the next excursion
To define myself with speedy incursion
Into what must be the truest calling
Tried out the most cherished, enthralling
Exciting endeavour
I became a pianist
Inhabited music
To my greatest surprise
The same constriction appeared to arise
Maybe painter, composer, or artist were right?

It was simply hexed
From deep inside a resistance
Not slight
Nor tame in the least
Arose to fight the beast
Of identity sought in the various items
Offered by life to appease the frightened
Sometimes apparent soon after birth
Irresistibly seductive because of its worth
Because of Truth peeking through
At its finest expression
Its explosive magnificence of artistic passion

So I searched and pondered this question of “me”
Of who I am in the midst of the glee
Of creative exuberance that flows like magic
Sweetest response to life
Even at its most tragic

Do you know what I found
In the midst of this journey
Through the land of bland?
Of following hints of the One Divine hand?

Do you know how delighted I was
To recognize Truth
Suffusing the titles I had searched since youth?
The titles, professions that could not describe
The essence I searched
Underneath all of life
The essence of excitement and blandness as one
Do you know who you are
When your titles are gone?

When retirement looms
Your colleagues cease fawning?
When your roles have expired
Your demise starts dawning?
Are you ready to relinquish
Identity’s myth?
Are you ready to know
The Truth of all this?
Are you ready to face
The Truth of your being?
With nothing left to impede your seeing?

Probably best to check it out
With life in full swing
Search, investigate
On a whim
The quirks of life
Take you quite by surprise
And you find yourself
With doubts on the rise

A wise man once told me:
Beware of the ladder
You climb all your life
Then get sadder and sadder

‘Cause you found
That in search of more and more “me”
The ladder was perched
The wrong

©2016 Fella Cederbaum


Author: poetryfest

Submit your Poetry to the Festival. Three Options: 1) To post. 2) To have performed by an actor 3) To be made into a film.

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