As if every melody
is being played at once
and you have to sing along
unerringly to one from that
swarm of sound and if you don’t
you lose, you fail, you die.
As if every movie
must be watched at the same time
and you must answer questions
about the credits for all of them
and get all of them correct
or you die, you lose, you fail.
As if you were clutching
a lifetime’s worth of photographs
of you family, friends, lovers, haters
and told you must reduce the pile
to the one picture that holds all for you,
you have an hour to choose that one
and memorize the rest as best you can
or you fail, you lose, you die.
As if for a decade or more
you’d woken up and stretched
and reached for the phone at the bedside,
dreading the blinking light that says
you have mail and news and messages
and you were about to be inundated
with urgency and insistence and importance
and no matter how you stand against it
you must fail to stay upright,
you shall lose your footing,
to stop it from hurting you must die.