Grip the ropes, both of you,
and get ready.
another round of tug-of-war in my head.
Throw me off-balance,
drain me of energy,
just as long as you keep up the push and pull.
Grasp the rope harder
and let it rip;
I feel the tightness bounce back and forth
within this rattled skull,
constantly knocking me off-center.
I trip in the mud,
get caught up in the muck,
and I slide,
feet dug in like a bulldog,
but still you pull and twist the rope
toward the line of transgression.
Angrily I jerk back the overly taught line
and you fall forward
long enough for me to gain some ground.
Reel me in,
drag me down,
face first in the mud.
I fight feverishly to grab at leverage
that just isn’t there.
The line inches closer,
tauntingly closer, and I am exhausted.
Still somehow I fight,
and out of nowhere comes a second wind,
and I drag you out of your safety zone,
out of the limelight
toward the middle of the gray dense fog.
Out of sight,
out view so no one knows you’re still there.
But I feel you there protesting,
churning and agitating,
pushing and pulling to escape
and release yourself upon me once more.
You come at me again
when I am most unaware,
when I am at peace.
How do I negotiate
a madly contorted rope
while dangling from the wire?
There is no leverage here;
there is no stability;
there is no solid ground beneath me.
And you come over,
beaming from ear to ear
with that menacing grin,
bend down and without flinching,
pluck my fingers one by one
out of the firm grip I had
on the last thread holding me together.
Yet with the skill of an acrobat,
though hanging by one lone finger,
I manage to hurl myself around,
somersault in the air and land
with both feet firmly adhered to the wire.
“Give in,” you say.
“Go on, let me have my way.
Just do my will or I will force you anyway.”
Knowing the ill-at-ease
feeling you leave in your wake,
I refuse to comply.
And you send the flood,
rip me free of my balance
in a riptide.
I am pulled under
and relentlessly push against you,
barely getting my head above water
for one last gasp of air
before you pull me under.
Push and pull,
you drag me under,
I desperately bring myself back to the surface.
In anger you dash me on the crags,
pin me down with your invisible weight,
my chest heaves to catch my breath,
and I yell in protest
scream in pain,
cry out in anguish.
But you render me mute,
bind my appendages
with blindness wrapped in tunnel vision.
You cage me inside,
secure me with chains,
and take control.
The train rages down the tracks,
burning wildly out of control,
burning fuel with the brilliance
of the summer sun,
hurling down the track with
the force of a cannonball.
“Release the throttle!”
“Put on the brakes!”
but you laugh heinously,
kick it in to high gear,
and continue toward the edge of the cliff.
Desperate I free myself from the bindings,
bend and contort free of the metal cage,
loosen and shatter the chains
and wrestle you to gain control of the lever
the one last saving grace
the last resort–
the emergency brake–
the brakes shudder and squeal,
whine, wail, and jolt
but slowly it comes back under my control
and grinds to a sudden halt
right before the twisted and wrecked track
plummets over the edge.
You recoil back
and pout in the corner,
anger in your eyes,
a devious air surrounding you,
impatiently drumming your fingertips
against the smooth, porous white floor
of my skull
as you conspire and dream up
your next wave of attack.