I met a man by the name of Paul,

in a room full of red chairs,

down a hall with three closed doors,

in a building with hanging purple banners;

home to three masters,

puppets of these purple banners,

followers of anyone with a crown.

I earned a pass,

a right to enter their closed doors,

and sit in their rooms with red chairs;

even though my surname was crownless;

even though my first name did not fit

their straight-edged frames.

Thus, it began;

Paul took away my pass,

and sent me out of his halls;

                Paul did not remember,

                he gave me that pass.

                Paul could not remember,

                he was the one that told me to enter.

All that changed upon meeting me;

all that was forgotten when he looked at me,

and concluded there was no space,

for an outsider like me:

                You are too quiet,

                too hidden;

                your words too scattered,

                to ever be written.

Paul took back my pass,

and threw out my words.

I stood;

my mind on those words,

floating behind his high windows.

I went out to the hall;

I stood there looking to my right.

I walked to the second door and knocked;

I waited,

for another chance to sit in their rooms with red chairs.

I waited a little more,

for a second try,

to write my words beneath their purple banners.

A voice from within answered:

                Come in;

                present your prose to me;

                I will build you up;

                I will see you all the way to the top.

All were empty words;

meant to lure but never fulfill

that promise given.

It was there that I was torn apart;

knocked to the ground,

upon meeting that storm of intolerance.

His name was Peace,

or so he said to me.

His right to keep his seat,

depended on my removal from that building.

I tried looking at him,

but saw through him,

all the way to his ancient walls.

He looked at me; 

he did not see me –

I was nothing but an invisible soul,

one more shadow passing

through these unforgiving halls.

He felt my quiet demeanor;

saw it as a sign of weakness.

He thought my calm heart,

would not bear well in a fight.

But, still, I asked,

still, I sat and hoped:

                Will you give me a pass

                to the other side?            

                There, where great ideas are born,

                and great names become known.

His answer barely heard my request;

he was quick and cruel without effort,

like turning a page

on a chapter that did not agree with him:

                There is nothing for you here;

                put away your pen,

                for the remainder of your days;

                throw away your books,

                there is no room for you here,

                nor a pass with your name.

Heartbroken, I stood, yet again,

not believing him. 

I left the building that day;

went to my room that night,

and fell asleep,

a sleep I found hard to awaken from –

I did not know how;

I did not care to find out.

I slept until the last star faded;

I found myself in a dream;

I found myself on a bus,

somewhere far;

somewhere unknown to me.

A man stood over me,

one among many;

I did not look at the rest –

I only saw him;

his eyes told me everything,

everything I was searching for.

His eyes showed me the path

towards redemption,

the one I had been looking for,

where great ideas are born,

and any name can become known.

My pass I found in his left hand,

and a pen with my name in his right.

He spoke to me;

his words filled me

with a strength I had forgotten to look for:

                When you are down,

                look up;

                when these thoughts cross your mind,

                in the coming days and nights,

                write them down and look up;

                see them hanging there,

                beneath your name.

                The sky will darken, yes,

but only to make room for your words to be written.

I did not know

what he saw in me,

but he saw me.

Even now,

long after my dreary nights have ended,

I still look up. 

I walked back to that hall,

with a pass in my left hand,

and a pen in my right.

I was saved;

an outsider like me,

with an invisible surname,

now visible.

I was redeemed with a forgotten name,

now remembered.

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