Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Waking the Dead in the Land of Make-Believe

Craig Shay

I am turning a concept of reality over in my mind.
Dragging it blindfolded through dead streets,
dissolving it in puddles of blood
and leaving it out in the rain.

I am lighting it on fire,
then saying a prayer to heal it.
I am giving it away to the homeless,
then grieving in the darkness for hours.

It is a lonely concept, this reality.
I am watching it through the keyhole of a church door.
I am looking through a spyglass atop a skyscraper.
Smoke rises from its breath,
and it sounds like the revving engine of a wrecked car.

Smoke curls appear around it, like the tail of a dragon.
It is everywhere, and inside of everything.
It is everything I am at my core and the absence of what I am.
It is immeasurable and microscopic.
It is every drop of rainfall over the ocean –
It is a pledge of freedom on a despondent planet.

It is living in the brains of the people of my town.
Breathing like a prisoner held quietly at gunpoint.
It is crying so loud, I cannot understand what it is trying to say.
It is the grotesquery of this modernized world.

It becomes a flock of white birds and then a giant albatross,
as it glides overhead –
Its body has changed so many times.
It splits and duplicates itself.
It even disappears for a time
and reemerges from the darkness as a billion drops
of October rain.

It is unexplained and mysterious,
the last man who tried to solve its riddle
lost his mind and became a shepherd.

It is in that body, pirouetting on the tightrope
over the edge of civilization.
It is in the oil soaked banknotes

It is in the gaze of women in dark sunglasses,
intensely reading, while curling her hair between her fingers.

It is turning itself around to face us,
becoming more and more like us,
opening a can of worms and seeing it there
inheriting our thoughts and emotions,
replicating our ideas and imagination.

It is leaving the school of wisdom
and setting the past on fire.
It is spreading out its vampire wings,
shedding its suit and tie
and flooding through the opened gate of the underworld.

It is in the condemned warehouses of time,
where heretics are placed to wander the streets after a nuclear holocaust.

It is the cracked hands of a pianist, a writer, or a painter
who remains, trembling beside the tomb of a pharaoh.

It is the stirring of life, in a reality upside down.
It has been diagnosed schizophrenic.
It is in no man’s land,
collecting shoes and dog tags of the dead.
Walking through the kingdom of creation completely disoriented.

It is a winter long bout of delirium.
It is a lifelong battle of xenophobia.

It is the energy of light, traveling across the cosmos.
It is a wink of the eye,
it is in piercing cry of the lunatic
as he wakes the dead in a land of make-believe.

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