Mark Zegarelli
Mark Zegarelli


It’s only long past midnight

When you’ve all gone to sleep

That this knife presses into my heart

When I can’t call to tell you I love you

A lifetime of sorrow and regret awakens

Here with me – and I can only share it

With the crickets outside my window

During the deepest part of night

It all rises in desperation to the surface

Inside me in the silence

As if only silence could coax these feelings free

They overwhelm me. I want to shut them down

In horror of only half living.

Here I am in the center of life, so exposed

Unsheltered by childhood

I have seen too much light to hide in the caves

But still unbuilt these houses inside my heart

Cry for completion

They are beautiful in my dreams

But when I wake up they are empty structures

And I wander lost inside them

Wondering – where are the others?

I can’t find them anywhere

And when I do, it’s only a shadow I glimpse

I turn towards you, but you don’t see me

We miss each other – we want words

To speak for us but no words come

They lay buried inside and die.


This is the irony – that in the midst of so much motion

What lies pure inside, most worthy of expression

Lacks – or seems to lack – the resilience and the willingness

To speak. It demands attention now

Is it long overdue? – it feels that way sometimes –

Or just come due now in each new moment

Calling for a new capacity of courage to be present

To be willing

To be patient that here in these hands – only these –

Are held precious ancient seeds

Lain deep within so long unseen

My heart forgot I had them –

That’s what’s waking up –

Nothing less than everything I worship

The thoughts I have about them don’t matter

The things I have I’m thankful for

They’ve gotten me this far

I only want to be awakened in my worthiness

Slowly it comes clear as dawn emerges who I must be

What I must do

There’s only one here now.


But after dawn – assuming I survive –

Everything begins to clash and jangle

As the sun reveals what’s left – what’s really left to do

I don’t know how to approach you

Any of you. I’m worse off than a child

Because I know – and know we all know –

But can say nothing

Prisoner of some terrible pact

We’re all in shame afraid to speak

Pleasantly, politely, permanently apart

Together in some elevator amid the Muzak

Awaiting the arrival of our separate floors

And this is not the moment to shriek

In an ecstasy of fear and frustration

For all our remorses and accumulated grief

To cling crying to whichever stranger’s nearest

Praying she will somehow understand and show pity

This is not the moment for truth

We are only passing through here – or so we think

We are holding it together

And that’s what really hurts – it’s our success.


We can’t stay here

But neither can we send ourselves to hell again

To shock us awake

It’s not an option

I’m open to suggestions

There must be a room somewhere around

Where we can begin to sort ourselves out.


If you see me on the street today, know this much

I’m sick of my own shortcomings

Just as sick of them as you are of yours

Some of us may be zombies still

Unready as yet to emerge whole

But most of us have surfaced in secret to ourselves

Yes we lack direction and often faith

But we’re alive!

We are our own ancestors

Looking out into the world through a billion pairs of eyes

We are beginning to understand it and to trust

And if you don’t believe me, I invite you

I entreat you

I challenge you this day to look me in the eye.