I want to see ruins.
Not just abandoned houses,
siding peeling in places,
doors off hinges,
although there is a certain hollowness there.
I want to see actual ruins,
stone thousands of years old,
ivy and grass and weeds plunging out of every surface
consuming the once proud architecture.
I want to see towers crumbling
and imagine their past
their height and strength and majesty
I want to feel the dust of ages in my palm
the great wisdom it provides.
I don’t want to just walk up to it, either.
Another tourist snapping photos.
I don’t want to just look,
with a fleeting glance,
go back to my life like it never existed.
I want to feel the ruin.
In my heart,
in my lungs,
in my bones.
Feel something that stood for millennia
and understand how it let the world pass it by.
I want to get down close to the ground
and breathe it all in.
Lay on the cold earth
and look at the sky.
Embrace a pillar and feel the caress of cold stone.
Lean against that pillar for hours
just to learn what it feels like
to stand still.
when I finally feel that I’m one with this place,
this monument to ages past,
I want to stand in the middle and scream.
ask, at the top of my lungs,
Ask it how—
how it felt,
going from something beautiful and proud
to something withered and old,
something tourists take pictures with
to pass the time.
Ask if it was quick--like a meteor,
divine intervention blasting its world apart in seconds flat,
or more like a slow decay,
if it could feel each vine seep into the mortar
new and cursed veins slowly sucking away
its precious life-blood,
feel the emptiness left by each brick as it fell
every layer washed away,
every slow erosion of its heart.
Ask it how it felt to watch--
the progress of millenia,
as strange structures began to invade the countryside,
watch--abandoned and utterly alone,
as the world continued to revolve--evolve,
leaving it to molder,
nothing more than a stinging reminder of what once was,
nothing more than a piece of history to be forgotten.
Ask if it can still remember when it was whole,
remember its strength and grace with a sordid pride,
or if now all it has to cling to is a sort of half-life,
knowing that its missing something it cannot remember.
Wonder if it ever wishes it could scream.
Wonder if it thinks anyone would hear.
Mostly, I wonder if the ruin will answer me.
hope it will lend me its wisdom,
even if its just for a moment.
Wonder if by answering these questions,
helping me understand,
I might start answering my own.