The Burn Barrel

Frank J. DiMaio DC, MS, Canada

A tenuous ego sits waiting for memories folded warm and cozy…aware of their place in the shadows, amongst the mold and cobwebs of emotional death.
The artifacts of youth mark the precipice…without anchorment their purpose long forgotten imprinted remnants.
The dust of dreams coat the surface, penetrating fractures of memories hoarded… stored but never hidden. Always peering out.
Razor sharp tears of anger slash deep along the skin, an attenuate memory provokes
the quicken of flies’ legs, a tickle.
Yet, darkness awakens with the skin swathed in alcohol. Serves the flies’ larger hunger for morsels nestled in the ruptures…
The folds of shadows warm and cozy quell not the soundless gargoyles screaming on the edge of duress…remnant soft dust and dreams in the interstices.
The kindling of regeneration, rejuvenation, and transfiguration
ignite the remnants of dust and pain, building a blaze, releasing the heat of regret…
Welcoming the blessings to let go, as the warmth of transfiguration engulfs the soul,
embers rise to the ethers…illuminating the darkness, home to old fears.
Rise…rise…rise to the occasion, leave room for dreams, the nascent appearance of hope… the inkling of new purpose beckons.
Dust embraces the ethers,
Fear embraces the ethers,
Pain embraces the ethers, scattering and healing.
A heart warmed by the burn barrels embers…envelop relinquishment, envelop freedom, embraces blessings with inner strength for forgiveness
A new path…a new journey, continuing…

Author Statement

I was honored invitation to participate in the poetry project. However, I faltered in the execution of the poem itself until the framework of my artistic endeavors embraced the regeneration and rejuvenation of my personal connection to the five elements, and led me to find my voice. This poem reflects my journey. Sometimes you got to get through your fear to see the beauty on the other side. — Poppa Henry, "The Good Dinosaur" Writing this poem took my deepest feelings and fears out of deep storage, for which I am simultaneously grateful yet trepidatious. Truth: I have spent my life walking between two worlds, one in which everything was as calm and bright as outward appearances would show, where I sought adventure, and often found it. I have had several successful careers and, at 72, I am still “young” – at least at heart. I have a wonderful, colorful family, and friends around the world with whom I still communicate Despite my successes and triumphs, I have spent much of my life angry, ashamed, disconnected, and alone in the deepest sense of the word. When my wife passed away from breast cancer, my grief offered no solace, compassion, or gentle hand of support to hold a person up; so, writing became my best friend. Through symbolism, I exposed shards of my shattered childhood and my deepest pain. Being part of the Gatehouse experience in the beginning was an overwhelming period. The demons of my youth were woven into the very fabric of who I became as an adult. In retrospect my inner child was at the helm of my ship, and me along for the tumultuous ride of my life. Finding the Gatehouse was a blessing. Through supportive individuals, I began to journal again, expressing my inner turmoil. The process forced me to face my demons and gain the courage to put them where they belonged – in the burn barrel. The pain of my childhood betrayal will never go away; but I can talk about it without breaking down. The process is ongoing; my friends call me “the turtle” because my actions are slow and deliberate. All of the above does not exhibit how far I have come - the next chapters are still unwritten, because something wonderful is always about to happen. The poem I submitted for the Global Poetry Initiative stirred up emotional dust for me, at the same time releasing it. My wish is that sharing my experience of healing, however slow the process is, will be words that comfort others, chosen by those looking for a guidepost for hope. My poem reflects my journey, and the journey continues. And I am blessed…


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