New year, new eyes, new skin — poem and reflection

New year, new eyes, new skin

I am a snake
Slinking out of my old skin.

Maybe that is what I am doing.
A very slow, awkward process.

Some of it clings to me like wax
As I squeeze through tight places to work it off.

When it’s off I will be at home in this cluttered universe.
This image of me as snake is only a means

To get through this weird period of metamorphosis.
There is a ton going on,

But maybe it all boils down
To only a few important things after all.

Things that only new eyes can see.
My skin will shine.

Reflection: I wanted this poem to carry an awareness of its own metaphor, to have that ability to step in and out of the metaphor of the snake as the animal that teaches us how to crawl out of our old self or old skin. I didn’t want to completely identify with snake and lose myself in the process, but to stay with the awkward and difficult work of resurrection . . . to change but to also to suffer change. Does the snake enjoy rubbing against the abrasive rocks in the stone wall to shed her skin?  I feel that these times call for renewal without forfeiting our commitment to stay with this cluttered universe that we have created, to own the crevasses, the sharp intrusions, the edges. The clutter is a clutter of ideas that have outlived their usefulness, beliefs that have lost their luster, illusions that take up enormous psychic space, junk-materialism and bad-behavior toward one another. We must transform but can’t allow ourselves to transcend the mess and the spaces we have made, leaving it all for someone else to clean up. So, let’s clean up our act, focus better on what matters, work for change, get our hands dirty . . . but through it all let’s not forget to shine forth who we are becoming. One person who stands as a model for this kind of tough transformation through deep self-acceptance is Patti Smith, whose autobiography I am reading — Just Kids.



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