Poetry / February 2008 (Issue 2)


by David Braden

If you're lucky
you live in a world
you can't understand
You don't know the process,
the way things are made.
Your clothes, your shoes,
the chair you sit in,
the computer where you work,
the office, apartment,
the street where you live,
are strangers
as strange as the people
next door
and the others you pass
on the street.

You wake each day
to the familiar
and you contribute
whatever you're paid for
to keep it all going
to keep it safely
the same.

So it goes
and grows
adds floors
and corridors
that stretch
to a pinprick
vanishing point,
each passage lined
with a billion rooms.

Where some
know how
to make or understand
part of something
they can taste
with their hands.

They are mostly
not so lucky as you
and live with less
in smaller rooms.
which is nothing
you don't know.
The arguments are familiar,
the faces, unknown.

We have color
local and other,
art and ideas,
famous or not,
rich, poor, dead,
medical conditions,
blood, pills, and news.

There is a way
to fit you in.
Whatever you say,
we can cut and paste it.
We have facets,
chandeliers of glittering
opinions spray light
through the dark
you thought
you saw.

One way or another,
you're gonna be a star.
Could be big,
That's okay.
You get a whole side.
We'll paste our own stars
to your eyes
and adore you.

No need to worry,
junkie, prostitute,
jeweler, pimp,
teacher, actress,
salesman, speaker,
writer, normal,
sick, living, dead --
it's all okay.
You fit.

You're on a side,
you get a place
you get
to keep us going.
There's a product
and a niche
with room to change
and grow,
add decoration
icons, definitions
till you glow.

But don't
go down
that hallway
left, right, middle,
skewed, or crosswise,
to the end.
You don't want to see
what the pinprick
opens out on.

It isn't part
of our hotel.
There are things
out there
that don't belong.
No market,
and there's people
we can't split
from ideas
that just won't fit.

There's blood
we haven't measured
body parts and famine,
Animals, fish, bugs
plants – life
we haven't had the time
to treasure.
It's wholly undivided,
a dangerous mess.
You really don't
want to go.

Don't look at our city
and ask what we've done.
Our lights are for you.

Take it easy,
go for a drive,
turn on the air.
Don't see,
don't hear.
Don't speak,
don't sigh.

Stay here with us
where you belong.
Have some fear
and keep your mouth

Website © Cha: An Asian Literary Journal 2007-2018
ISSN 1999-5032
All poems, stories and other contributions copyright to their respective authors unless otherwise noted.