Gift

When the purest of blank verse is only that:
blank, and a strong and better man would be
out mending walls, or tending reputation,
or reading from his work to paying folk,
I sit here, scribbling out a heart. Not mine,
but one I conjure, thinking it is real,
and mine. The wishing makes it nearly so,
or close enough for semblances I seek.

I once was real, but wryly gave that up,
to sample dreams and synthesise them in
a mythic past, a future that still comes,
and presents noted for their absent joys.
The wanting that I hankered for was real
and almost satisfying, in the way
it stifled action those productive years.
It stuck like cotton candy two days on.

The action-packed adventure we call life
is but one option, poorest of the three
that we receive on being born on Earth.
The better, middle, option is to dream,
to fly by reading, stealing no one’s turf:
to witness without comment or emotion.
I lived the middle option twenty years
and suffered less than in the active ten.

When drugs succeeded pressing symptoms flat
the medics disinterred me and I left.
I climbed the ladders of a corporation.
I joined clubs that served my fellow man
I never met; the best clubs work that way.
The exploitations that I organised
brought profits to my country and the stocks
appreciated. Some of us grew rich.

One time, when I was overworked and tired,
a virus struck me. Once again I dreamed.
The doctors clocked electroshocks for weeks,
and bosses hid my children in a cave
till promises extracted (I’d not dream)
had satisfied all parties (I don’t vote).
My family reunited (we’re a team);
I doubled my own quota, won a raise.

I had three cars, and thus was four hands short,
till chauffeurs hired to drive the other two
arrived in tasteful livery (I chose blue).
I chose, those days, the all-important ways
to earn, invest, rechurn, divest the shares
of this grand world we dominate by thought.
We think it’s ours. Such thinking means it is.
A good outlook if one’s to live a thousand years.

Yesterday, accepting one more prize,
I fell against the podium. Fell hard.
The doctors tell themselves there’s something wrong,
but they are wrong. The third, forgotten, way
has ripped and tipped its way into my head
and spread throughout my body. I am free.
The lower ways, of action and reflection,
lose their empty lustre. I am free.

No words, no threats, no deed can occupy
the private places I have learned to fly.
You see, you think, that I am sitting here,
but I ride down to glory, or I sleep.
Worlds collide, and somewhere robins chirp.
It’s all the same, and different. It’s a dance.
My lady holds my hands. I think we weep.
A starving hedgehog’s nostrils gleam with fire.

A moon or two disintegrate in sound.
You watch me. I’m immobile if I’m here.
A bass guitar sounds new chords that I know.
I hug my lady. Dust assumes new forms
we knew of old when myth awaited birth.
The thinnest light a mortal ever sees
is wide enough to ride on. We depart.
We are the suns, the moons. We are the earth.

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