Icarus’s Heel


We all struggle to get to the top of something
Be it a crowning achievement, goal, way of life
Or marker that sets us apart
And allows us to look down, while the rest looks up
But getting there is a 10,000-hour journey
Maybe longer, maybe shorter
All depending on luck, patience, persistence
And allowing yourself to get lost along the way


It starts at the bottom, where dreams are built
But you are not alone, except for in thoughts
For at the base, you are surrounded by millions of people
Content with never reaching the top
They stare at you, laugh, and call you crazy
Say things like
“Dreams don’t pay the bills”
“Where are you going with those holes in your shoes?”


They criticize
Tell you all the things you’re doing wrong
Tell you you’re not talented enough
And ask, who are you to dare?
But there is only one person
With enough belief to keep this train moving
That person is you
And you’re all alone


Like a child, waiting on a wish
The only adult still believing in Santa Claus
You cling to faith, hope, fantasy
And something inside of you that refuses to let go
The keeper of the heart
The dreamer of dreams
The blood that artists bleed
The light that shines in you


You have to get it out
Or die trying
There is no other way
No other choice
Never has been
Never will
You are in it
For better or worse


And for what?
Why struggle? Why bleed?
What’s the point of it all?
Life is questions, death is answers
All this work for little reward
And the worse part
You don’t know what’s at the top
You just know that you have to get there


Is it the journey or the destination?
You can’t tell what’s more important
You’re too caught up in one or the other
To appreciate where you’re at
During the journey,
All you can think about is the destination
And while at the top,
You can’t help but ruminate about getting there


The past
The anchor to all of life’s ships
It can slow us or stop us
But never lets us go
Where we’ve been
Competes with where we’re going
And where we’re going
Isn’t decided until it has passed


We all need something to look forward to
A carrot dangling in front of us
But once we get it, we just want more
Always more, never satisfied
For there is never just one top
Only a range
And the sad truth, no matter how hard we try
We can’t climb them all


So how do you get
To where you are going?
When all you have
Is where you’ve been?
How do you compete with the millions?
Who don’t care what becomes of you
There are no answers
Only movement


People offer you short cuts
For money or something in return, of course
But there are no easy paths
Only hard work, sweat, and tears
Can set you free
But sometimes that isn’t enough
Sometimes luck is all that separates
Our dreams from reality


There is no elevator to the top
Only stairs and suffering
Bruises, blisters, and battered hearts
Forward motion and exertion
There’s a mule in all of us
While depression and loneliness
The fossil fuels of the heart
Compete with love, a breath of fresh air


You see people above you
Who don’t belong there
Imitators in life’s game
That play by their own set of rules
You see people deserving of the top
Homeless at the bottom
Begging for change
And reaching out a hand to you


Short-time lovers distract you with warm beds
Alcohol entices you with escape
Old flames prod you awake during sleepless nights
Ghosts seek shelter beneath the cracks of your existence
If only you were something you were not
Then you could be everything you are
But you can’t be a tiger without stripes
Insanity is the search of love without love


Life will give you lemons
When you need to make lemonades
Sometimes it will give you apples
To make apple juice instead
Whatever it gives you, use it
Whatever it doesn’t give you, don’t despair
Keep searching
You’re bound to find something



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