Sitting in a hotel room in Milwaukee one afternoon,
suddenly knowing I had absolutely
no control over anything
of any importance
in my life,
at all.

Not the whirling thoughts;
nor the continuously recycled,
short list of emotions;
not the impressions that
the assemblage of persons inside me made on others;
and, catalyst for this crisis,
certainly not over my own flesh and blood,
spiraling down their young, self-destructive paths.

“Then who is running the show?” I asked. . .
“I am,” It answered—the hard, knotted nub
of neuroses entrenched in my psyche—
the shock of it shaking me to the core.
Then its image appears—a bird of prey,
its myriad talons stuck in my skull
making my head go this way and that,
looking out of my eyes,
talking out of my mouth,
using my life energy to play out its obsessions.

But miraculously, simultaneously, inside,
a deep knowledge emerged
—that the power of this vision of
The Way Things Are
contained within itself
the seeds of freedom from it;
that there was, lo and behold,
someone actually here experiencing this tableau,
someone somehow separate from all that, watching.

In the act of seeing,
in that moment,
hope and resolution were both born,
the beginning of the lifetimes-long,
painstakingly slow process
of gently
pulling the talons out,

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