Somebody give me one of two things:
a top hat full of noble blood
or a statue of me wearing the hat.
You can call me lord of a lovely
principality. Isn’t it the same thing?
Isn’t a statue of the imaginary me
the same as the red juice of privilege?
I hereby declare that they are the same.
If you give me the blood
and the statue as well, won’t I be
regal and in charge? Go get me
the title as well, something on parchment.
I want to choose who I am
and discard what I was raised to be. It matters less,
it seems, than what I decide a scrap of me
has to report. All that history to wrestle
that once could exalt or drown a person
and now all we have to do is check a box
or stuff one and we are what we claim.
Easy enough for everyone.
I’m enjoying the stony hat on my head now.
I’m enjoying the hell out of my pale marble face.
I’m dreaming of what it all means,
when all it means is that I’m dreaming.
I don’t mind your drug full eyes
any more than I mind how cloudy
the steel of my own brain becomes
under the threat of smoke. I am
no hypocrite. I prize the undue mix
of clarity and deep confusion one needs
to get by in this climate of insult and
anger. You have to get ripped up like
a wrecked paper crane, unfold your awareness
in pieces on a desk, try to reassemble it;
if you need a chemical to make the glue stick,
use it. You need an herb or a pill, burn it
or swallow it. A clear head can mean different things
to sane people now and then, and now
it might mean survival to let it go. I do not mind
your sweet muddle, your gentle fog,
for the same reason I do not mind my own.
I cannot embrace the world today
without acknowledging how illogical
one must be to do so.
Now and then I am challenged
to define my spirit and my beliefs,
usually by someone deep in the binary.
I see dichotomies coming a mile away:
are you a good Christian or an evil Satanist?
Are you a stupid believer or a brilliant atheist?
Do you hajj? Do you kneel? Would you
have lit the pyre or been one of the burned?
I do not speak of these things precisely
to avoid the silliness of such talk, but since
you did not ask and yet seem curious
I will say this: whenever I come to a place
where my road ends in a choice of right turn
or left turn and everyone around me urges
their preference upon me, I turn around
and go back the way I came, or I sit down
on a spot in the middle of the road
and observe the land and sky all around,
see if perhaps there is a pond or ocean
nearby, or a river or stream.
If you do not understand this
you could never understand what I might say
about how I apprehend the nature of God.
You would not learn enough of who I am.
If you decide that I must therefore be
among the ones to be marked for burning,
go ahead: burn me. Burn me
for what kind of fuel I am to you.
It seems that in your world there must be
a name for everything, whether or not
you understand it. Decide later,
after I’m gone. Name my ashes instead.
I’ll shrug off your name for me
as the wind carries me off
in small eddies and tornadoes,
in all directions at once.