The Stranger Within

The party plays on,
I sit and watch from afar.
Invitation unextended
Dreams unrealized.

I am a hypocrite
I say no
But I mean yes
No one hears--they've stopped listening.

A lone stranger am I,
Rough, dark, sarcastic.
Or so I'd have you think.
Illusions my game, deception my piece.

You think you know me
but you don't.
What you see is vapor,
a spectre of deception.

No one knows.
No one sees.
The light within
the beautiful power that is me.

What I could do
if I had the courage--the will
The power to step out from behind this veil
The inner beauty to reality.

But the power is not there
should you know or even care
The body here, but the soul unrevealed
Is this to be my destiny sealed?

And so time will march on
Never to see that which is me
Never to dance
Never to love

Can I accept this fate
to die bitter and alone?
Not to have tried
to struggle against the inevitable?

But my silence is a habit
hard to break
Impossible to resist
The ultimate addiciton.

And yet, when I see the happiness
around me, near and far
I know I must make the decision
to rally and fight.

No one can battle in my place
Face my ultimate enemy,
that which is me.
I want to flee, but I cannot escape myself.

I will begin the fight now
confront my deepest, darkest fears.
The time for them is long past,
I am not a child--I am a man!

The conflict is fierce
The enemy infinite
But I cannot quit--I am locked in.
I have so much to gain and nothing to go back to.

When the smoke clears, I see
The party plays on
The music blares
and I am the guest of honor.

The enemy was illusion, too.
Much to see, little substance through.
I have learned nothing is impossible
...if I try.

- Tony Klepack, 1996 1