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.