60 Steps

By Carlos Santana

Stepůstepůstepů

The man of the struggle,.
In his search for solace,
He tries to focus on and rest in the eye of the storm.
But he knows his destiny -
He dwells within the fiery walls of death row.

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No where is there one single bright or beautiful
Or gracious thing for his eyes to rest upon.
And with each slow, heavy, and belabored stride,
There is the thought of each new moment that could have been
And each new friend he could have touched.

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He sees no future for himself, only an endless, empty present,
Which induces him to cry out indignantly about his helplessness;
About his terrible loneliness. About the cruelty of people.
He cannot understand it and tries to find shadows to hide his face.

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Oh! But his legs grow weaker and his heart feels
The ever gnawing injustice of life.
He is suffering the ultimate submission of giving his own,
Because he was caught up in society traffic jam -
With the wrong crowd, and the wrong time.

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Sister memory is ever present with him, torturing him with the past.
Songs of long ago are alive in him as though they had happened today.
In his imagination, he calls to mind
The best moments of his pleasant life. Yet, strangely enough,
All the seeming joys of it vanish before his sight
And turn into something trivial and nasty.

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The pain of losing everything he loves is too much to bear.
Those thoughts - not just those thoughts, it seems,
The reality of itself - weight so heavily on his being.
The legs that once played, ran and danced are now
Devitalized specters of a vital young strength that once started.

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He tries to revert to a way of thinking that has
Obscured the thought of death from him in the past.
But strangely, everything that has obscured, hidden, obliterated
The awareness of death no longer has the effect.
Alas! His despair and his anguish are extreme!

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In his agonizing struggle, loneliness seems to overwhelm him
And stifle him, wrapping him up as his thoughts
And suspicious losing everything he loves have done.
He is seized with horror, and fights with loneliness
As if it is a living thing sweeping him into destruction.
But he is so alone; his loneliness is too much to bear.

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Oh, where are his friends now! He thinks of them, and calls on them,
But no one answers him.
He calls on his sweetheart, and wonders: "Oh, where is she? ů
She had been with me just before the dawn
And now we seem to be two worlds far apart.
This loneliness gnaws at his already aching muscles.

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Suddenly everything is uncertain to him; what he does is meaningless.
Suddenly his whole heart is full of dee sorrow for himself,
For the world; suddenly his vexation with life leads him
To wish to reach his destiny.
But he knows too well that the acceptance of death when it arrives
Is one thing, and that to allow it to upstage the joy of living
Is quite another.

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He struggles to go on - to defy the agonies and torments
Inherent to life on death row.
But he is just able to take each slow, debilitated stride,
As the weight of this isolation is too much for his legs to bear.

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Oh, the horror of such a place. There seems to be no hope,
And no death that could relieve his suffering -
No morning that should dawn upon the night of his miseries!
But his goal is nearer. He knows that he must continue,
And reach his destiny.

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The pain of losing everything he loves is excruciating,
And the weight of injustice is to much to bear.
He legs crumble under the pressure and he falls
On the hard, cold and raw cement path that leads to his destiny.
His hands scrape the rough, sharp surface and begin to bleed.
Again, suddenly everything is uncertain; suddenly
Everything is meaningless - except his destination.

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He knows his painful journey is coming to an end.
Therefore, amidst an array of fugitive thoughts -- of death -
He fights to catch his breath; he struggles to walk
And finish this last journey in his own strength.
But those men that have tortured, subjugated him
And exercised the most boundless oppression upon him,
Thus far are not fully satisfied.

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They want to destroy his moral, his sense of dignity;
They want to humiliate him, degrade the awesome act of his dying
To the level of shame and dishonor.
To that end, they pray on his weakness, helplessness and powerlessness.
They send their squad - the grey angels of death - to pick him up;
To drag him down to the dark spot where he should die; T
he ritualistic chamber where they offer human sacrifices
To their gods of vanity, and senseless pride.

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Oh, the pleasures they derive from beholding the suffering
Of their victims.
The dark angels shackled and enchained him with unholy passion,
And pick him up with a cold indifference
That chills his bones to the core.
Their eyes - like those of a starving lion, perhaps -
Shoot gleams of living fire at him,
As a deep shade of anticipation crosses their eyes.

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"How can people be so blind?" his soul seems to cry.
This is another human being!
He's a universe filled with the joys, memories,
Loves and hopes of his life.
Why can't they see that by destroying this life
They are destroying their own?
Obviously, everything they live by is a lie;
A deception that blind them from the reality of life and death!

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Oh, how his heart aches to finally finish this last journey,
As he begins to realize that he will escape this dream of life.
These foolish specters around him are theone who are dead.

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"Thank God," he silently says. He has finally reached his goal.
He is reaching for the cold indifferent steel door.
He knows that behind that door lies his escape;
There lies his freedom and peace.
The door is slowly opened, and like the portal of eternity,
They beckon him to enter.

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He wishes they would hurry and not prolong his agony.
The dark angels of death lie him down on the cold, white gurney.
The cunning of the serpent is in their looks
And the pitiless hunger of the vulture in their smiles.
Like snakes that constrict upon and suffocate their victims,
The straps are tied tightly around his legs, arms, chest, and head,
They insert a long needle into a vein in his right arm,
And then wait for the nod of the head angel,
To liberally release a deadly poison into his body.
They slowly walk out of the room and close the door -
A door that separates injustice and vengeance from truth,
Compassion and mercy!

As one who falls upon the thorns of life that pierce man's soul,
He prays to the Lord: "Please take me to thy side; release me
And take me to thy love, peace and joy."
He sees the fool placing his finger on the switch, and says:
"Go ahead, pull it. Fool, you are setting me free;
You are the one who is in a prison - a vacuum of nothingness,
Because nothing exists in your hollow shell.
Pull the switch. Pull the switch!" Oh Lord, make him pull it!
Pull it! Pull it! Pull it!