I enter­tained an idle thought and
in that idle thought a grain
Of some­thing that, I think, was pain,
that fell upon my brow like rain.
Yet, I could hardly sense those drops
upon my face or hear their thrum;
Sight dim, sound flat, taste ashen and
Scent stale, flesh unfeeling — numb.
How active my pulse-throb­bing
pas­sion was when first I lit
Life’s promise of a ful­ness
by no walls, floor, ceiling knit!
Expan­sive, infi­nite it stretched
across the cosmos of my mind,
Until that tiny cosmic shrine of
self was picked down, mined
Of all its ores raw, ripe, rare;
stripped down thread­bare,
Now just a weak knot-ridden net,
a sieve for hope­less wish­ful­ness,
The so-soon lost we minute-minded
fools forget in minute­ness;
Replaced by banal trivia, mun­dane;
to fold the clothes and steep the tea,
To clock-punch, pencil-push, sub­sist
in ade­quacy, to sweep the floor’s debris.
To make our chil­dren just as we,
mechan­ical in all their modes,
Spend lives in laying roads to nowhere
and to nowhere carry nothing loads,
Burden of an empty, unlived day
fol­lowed by hun­dreds more unlived as they,
The promise broken, incar­nate tomb;
the golden aura of my lot, my doom,
Earn and spend and earn again, sole
move­ment through my being’s room,
And when I wake, each after day,
each yes­terday, tomorrow, I am numb
And to feel any­thing at all, each
numbing day, bite hard my thumb,
As it whitens ’neeth my yellow teeth,
I think of how the sun­rays are not warm,
That they can’t cut the gloom-thick
pall of vapor hov­ering like a swarm
Over my head and in my eyes, that clogs
my ears with loud white noise,
Stretches my tongue, cuts it out —
can’t taste, speak, shout — and destroys.
And as my yellow teeth break skin and
blood seeps from that shoal-ravine,
I see my past and my soon future
spelled in jaun­dice-yel­lowed spleen
And wonder if this weight is not
a weight that lives alone inside of me,
Some­thing leaked into my ear, that fed
my fear and forced my hope to flee.

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