Gut Check


This is where you stand

amongst your angels

and your demons.

Learned to speak their languages,

righteousness and sin,

the accurate and the aimless.

Cut off ties that bind

and thoughts that linger.

In the darkness

of cold morning,

seeking solace amongst the suffering,

for only in the aftermath

could anyone know deliverance.

“Are you going to do it?”

The voice of Doubt

rises from the pit.

Crush it out,

like the embers from your last cigarette.

The taste in your mouth is bitter,

the ashen flavor of an old, broken promise.

Stand and deliver.

It is now,

or it is never.

Salvation crashes down upon you,

the weight of a life misgiven,

the cold heart of the frozen Earth.

The hero and the invalid

both scream to make it stop.

That little voice of Doubt

becomes a chorus,

mad with fear and panic.

The Prince becomes a beggar,

pleading for mercy,

every weakness exposed.

Then silence.

A dark and peaceful void.

Slipping between

perception and sensation

to crack the hidden door

and peer within.

When it is all over,

your eyes will be more attuned

to light and color.

You will be

a better hunter,

a better lover,

a better king.

Fear will still exist,

But so too

will knowledge and experience,

until the next time

you face yourself

at the dawn of the day.



DJR – 2023

2 thoughts on “Gut Check

  1. What a beautiful and thought-provoking piece! I love the imagery and the sense of conquering one’s inner demons. It really resonates with me. I’m curious, was there a particular experience or inspiration behind this poem?

    Yoy E.

    1. Thank you for your kind words. Very happy that you found something about this piece that spoke to you. It is why we write after all. As far as a specific experience; yes and no. I recently began taking ice cold showers in the morning. Here in Northern Alberta Canada the ground is still frozen and the nighttime temperatures are still around -20°C, so the water is painfully cold. I have been doing this every day for a few weeks and have noticed some benefits both physically and mentally. This piece drew on my experiences with psychedelics, overcoming addiction, having Faith, and just the everyday struggle of trying to do better and be better for the people in my life. I think we all contend with adversity in our lives, but when we choose to seek it out and defeat it, it is where we find a deeper knowledge of who we are and our place in the universe.

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