Friday, April 6, 2012

Don't Drop Your Imagination

This world pretends it is made of plans, vacations that must be saved for,
compensation that must be provided and cash settlements for those injured in earnest due to negligence or fraud.
But it is not that.
It is trying to distract you
from all the truth worth knowing, worth holding,
so that your imagination may shatter on that distraction
like a soft-shelled egg on a concrete floor.

This world builds cubicles and bills and advertisements and receipts.
It conjures up television sets which replay the lives of those it holds sacred,
but it keeps those in false hands that are not fit to carry you.
And its sets, as all sets, must be broken down to see what is beyond them.
Your are not your role in this multi-camera nuisance.
You have to keep with dignity the things the world
dismisses as myths so that it may better lie to you
of what it knows and what is certain.

It says that you are a simple person in a plain cotton shirt.
It tells you what parts you have and when to collect payments.
It wants you to forget what you have as a child dreamt
so that it may sweep the forgotten with its bitter stride
into the spaces between refrigerators and kitchen counters,
never to be found again, mounting tenant liabilities on deposits;
abandoned even by the cleaning crew who note it dubiously if at all.

This world pretends that all it has to give is public parks
with benches the homeless ruin by existing on,
amusement parks with long lines of sweaty tourists
and their anxious absent children,
or golf courses for bankers and brokers to spend leisure on
when they're exhausted from the swell of their constant criminal regimen.

But this world has space and rockets.
This world has epic skies
and dogfights in the clouds.
This world has atoms exploding
and turning the history of a town
into debris.
It has mystery in dark corridors.
It has suspicious characters
forcing creeks
into
the wooden
staircases.
This is not a small plastic mayonnaise container
and you are not a simple frog.

This world keeps universes hiding on circuits, in wires
and through cables at the bottom of the sea.
It keeps beasts in oceans
lower than your tallest mountains
that wander the floor undiscovered in majestic beams
of disgusting color
with flimsy teeth, and crooked eyes
and coarse, cutting scales.

This world says it is cancer and subscription services,
that there is no cure,
only constant treatment and insurance premiums.
But I feel the pulsing fear of the matador,
the exposed skin of motorcycle outlaws,
the inventions at fairs that are not for sale,
that are there only to speak
to the visions young children hide from in old age.

This world wants you in its shelters,
on its public assistance,
in the aggravated subways howling under broadway junction,
certain of violence.
But you are not the human resource case,
or the mercy of your social workers
or the casualty of a cop minding his pension.
You are of revolutions.
You are of skin by the millions roaring against each other in the heat of justice come.
You are of the quaking earth.

This world gives you its Republicans,
its abortion clinic protesters,
and its corporate tax attorneys.
It crowds the possibility of escape
with blocks of non-profit internships
where you learn what it is
to type and hate good things done poorly.
And it says freedom is the shallowness
of its conference rooms,
of its privatized pensions,
of old men picketing healthcare
and reaching in their bitter incontinence
for the gutters they confuse for stars.
But it has not been long
since imperfect beings rallied together
and laid claims of substance and love
like thunder
through the barren, narrow minds
of killers in uniform.
It has not been long since
we remembered the dead true smoke of stars
carried within all those
who run with their shoddy hobbled feet
among the bulls
in marathons of courage.
It has not been long since we dreamt of deserts and seas,
of Ivanhoe and Moby Dick,
and known grace on earth and in flesh
whose tales grew larger than the myths we built
so they could have somewhere to begin.

It has not been long since we were bigger
than this world told us we could be.
And it will try to tell you it has no space
for giants,
that its mountains do not move,
that all the statues have found pedestals
and history is now dull, uneventful
anecdotes.
But is lying.
Carl Sagan has been dead for a minute,
but a minute is not long enough to forget.

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