the silk road

donít ask me why I have given myself to this journey. it will not make sense to someone like you. you whoíve settled for the calm familiarity of the motherland will think only that I have lost my senses, have traded away my happiness for the promise of adventure and unknown pleasures. for you, to be alone is a kind of death. and by that measure, I am already a dead man.

alone under the silver crescent moon. alone talking to the spirits in the rocks, the whispering, conspiring stars. huddled next to the firelight, peering out beyond its circle I have cast my fortune into the darkness. I left my comfortable household because the silk road called out to me. it has been many moons since I set out upon this path to find the aromatic spices and succulent fruits of other lands. and I have nothing to show for my journey save the sun and wind burned skin of the infidel and the empty mind of one out in the desert too long.

the dust of many lands clings to my boots. Iíve seen the tattooed horsemen of the desert plains riding hard to the horizon, and stalked the crowded bazaars of Tajiqistan overflowing with precious fabrics and jewelry. but my quest to enter the Forbidden City and bring back itís secret wisdom and rare essence remains unfulfilled. the miles stretch ahead as far as they do behind me. and whether I ride like the wind all night and day, each new horizon brings no glimpse of my destination. to you this is proof that what I seek is an illusion. simply the reverb of my egotism. this may be, but will I ever know until Iíve either arrived or died by the roadside?

each day you wake, you put on yesterdayís mask and hide from the new day. you let your family out of jail and force them to recite prayers of fidelity and devotion for their supper. their dreams must become your dreams and even to wonder about the world outside must become a crime. I too had my prison for you. it was shaped like an altar set with your picture and hundreds of tiny candles. my shining Ambry held your heart, like a relic preserved in a hollowed sphere of glass. I used to hold it up to my face and feel itís warmth and rhythmic beat against my cheek and be entranced. I would only take it out when I was feeling lonely and the rest of the time guarded it jealously. hid it away in itís shrine. I never knew why it didnít sprout wings and fly away the few times I took it from itís container and cupped it in my hands. I on the other hand stole away and never returned when you left the door of my cell open one night. since then I have followed this road that never seems to end. I am sometimes hungry, but do not miss your humble nourishing stew and hard bread. your captive heart would have fetched me a kingís ransom had I kept it close until I reached my chosen end. but you deserved more than to be my cherished possession or some sultanís curiosity. even though from your look of disbelief and sadness it seems you may never understand that I had no other choice. long ago, shivering under the new moon and empty stars, I broke the glass and set you free.