Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Ranger Hall Revelation

Sitting on a lonely bench outside Ranger Hall,
Humid, hot October 5, 2005,
I light a cigarette, sick of it all,
Wishing for death, not totally alive;

I watch the paper burn back,
Revealing the cancer within,
I look down at my cigarette pack,
"Lucky Strike," what truth, what wisdom;

I too want to burn back my paper,
Let loose the pain of my cancer,
Watch the smoke curl like vapor,
Searching for truth, for an answer.

I let the smoke go to my head,
Numb away the turmoil and pain.
Earlier I felt like a phantom,
Knowing only that no one knows my name;

Earlier I knew I was only a shape,
Nothing solid, just some steam.
Now I have this desire to escape,
To make myself come clean.

Now I don't feel anything,
The smoke icing the heat,
And I watch all the mistakes I've made
Suddenly repeat.

I light another cigarette,
So it's come to this,
I use a substance to forget
The angst that writhes in me.

I'm a coward, I'm afraid,
Too scared to hope for love,
Now I just want to trade
This for the sky above.

I light another, this makes three,
How the third is supposed to be the charm,
But deep down I know I'll never be free
Because all I know is self-harm.

I only know how to sabatoge
Anything that brings healing,
I live life merely as a mirage,
I'll never feel my paper peeling;

And so I cower back to my dorm,
A cell amongst everyone else's paradise.
I hug myself to stay warm
And crack open another vice.


Paul said...

I think this poem is one of the better examples of teenage angst that I've seen, Anne. Better because of it's intimate use of imagery. The poem recalls my own teenage fears and years -- vividly recalls them.

Anne said...

Thank you so much for you comment, Paul. While I am not totally satisfied with the final result of this poem, it remains among my favorites of my own poetry.

Paul said...

I remember you telling me you wrote Ranger Hall when you were 18, and that you've changed quite a bit since then. I wonder, if you were to write the poem today, do you think you would write the same poem? Would it be different in any way?

Anne said...

Well, the thing about this particular poem is that it will never be rewritten. It stands the same as the day I wrote it (10-5-2005). But if I were to write such a poem today, it certainly would be different. I have matured and grown quite a bit since then, but this particular poem I couldn't change, nor would I. It captures the way I felt at the time perfectly, I think.