Anger roils within me, though I give it no surface.
One dozen careers have I had, brief though some have been,
and through them all, I’ve upheld my share of the coffin,
pallbearer have I been for my own ambitions.
A few fellow coffin-haulers did so with glad hands
back-clapping me in gleeful celebration
of my contemptuous acceptance of inevitability.
Three-dozen years after freeing myself from the binds of education
my employer freed me from the binds of employment
a parole I accepted, at first hesitantly, then vigorously.
And on my walk, went I, heading toward the dreams,
not deferred, but stillborn and then re-impregnated late in life.
I would be a writer, though as a lad it was a turn I never considered
particularly as I blithered with logic, rather than talent.
I suppose it was folly to expect loved ones to embrace it,
or, perhaps the folly was in expecting to have loved ones,
but in either case, it was a turn I took alone.
I sit at a hexagonal desk attempting to turn dreams
to literature, a task akin to painting cloud of smoke
before it dissipates.
On most attempts, I fail. The smoke clears before the words appear
and I return to my couch to sulk and regroup.
It is a turn I take alone, as have all of the others,
since any passengers on my ride would require their making
and I’ve no history of such behavior in the past.
I have prided myself on adapting to others with such finesse
that they never seem to notice my having done so.
Which, of course, was never a clever idea.
One cannot get credit for a thing not done.
I sit here, attempting to squeeze the future from the present,
to coerce beauty from a drop of blood
before my demise…
knowing that no one will care even should I be successful,
and for the first time, I begin to wonder why.
Perhaps I write only because not doing so is death
and its certainty would kill me, assuredly,
thus there is no recourse but to continue along a road
full of burrs, prickles, and rent flesh
that smells remarkably like my own.
Their indifference chokes me. My eyes water.
I smell the paint of their pity, but the hues only wash over me
and I am paled by them.
And, once I manage to overcome the waves of apathy,
mustering up a minute flood of enthusiasm,
even my captain crests above my wave,
drowning me in another swell of ennui
and I am lost. The smoke has cleared and the dream
and I cannot bear to begin again.
But one small voice—only one, mind you—asks,
“Was the dream a secret, or will you tell me it?”
and so, I squeeze my remaining lung
eking out a wisp of fresh, pinked smoke,
and try once more to dream.
But my eyes water so, burn so fiercely
that I fear I will not see the dream even if
it should appear.