I remember swimming laps in the YMCA pool at five thirty in the morning. After thirty minutes my legs began to cramp, my head ached and my throat dried up. In the midst of all that a discovery kept me going. My body was in pain but I found a place deep inside of me, unaffected by it all. In that place there was no aching, no cramping. What remained was a silent peace as vast as a desert. I began to train myself to swim from that part of me, separate from pain. I felt like a general removed from the battlefield, able to make those hard decisions that win battles. It’s easy to forget this and sink back into that default animal state; that place where stimulus determines destiny and the path to the untouchable place inside is forgotten.
This secret place is not just a haven, it’s the invisible armor worn in the fight of your life. When it comes to evil in this world, the options to fight it can be limited at times. Sometimes the best way is simple defiance; continuing on in the midst of your own personal Hell.
As the body is racked with pain, feelings hurt and raw, your life becomes a battleship taking on water after being hit by the enemy’s torpedo. You retreat to that strong room, sealing the hatches, safe from the rising water. Your life may be ending, your body may be broken, your voice may be silenced, your actions appearing unimportant.
But that eternal part of you remains defiant. Waiting the storm out inside the eternal stronghold holding up a fat middle finger to the evil outside. No matter how much it tries to drown you in those, explosions of pain and waves of hatred, somewhere inside you know…part of you can’t be sunk.
John Homan is a poet and percussionist from Bend, Oregon. He is a graduate of Indiana University. His work has appeared in Chiron Review, Former Cactus, and Misfit Magazine among others. He is the founder and coordinator of WordPlay Open Mic Night in Elkhart, Indiana where he lives with his wife and two cats, Henry and Lucy. John’s Website is: https://about.me/john_homan
Photo by Artem Verbo.