A million lives are packed in this city,
and each one struggles to be its own self:
the starving, rotund, ugly, and pretty --
the tailored and those who buy off-the-shelf.
And everyone fails, yet they all succeed
in being different, while being alike.
And they all heal, while they also all bleed,
and almost all would survive a first strike.
Everyone knows someone - just not neighbors.
They love to remain enigmatic at home,
while transparent with those who share labors --
though some want everyone to leave them alone.
A city is a strange place full of strangers,
and those who choose it thrive on its dangers.
If you can follow rivers to the sea
by drifting without thrashing or grasping --
just let the flow take you upon a spree,
a spree of dunk and breathe, without gasping,
then you will witness all there is to know.
You'll see shaky shanties and vast estates,
the birds in flight and creatures: fast and slow,
the weeping willows, and fish tempting Fates.
If you can roll around the rocks -- always --
and never crack your head and silence all
the voices saying you've reached your end-days,
and never rush and never, ever stall...
If you can do all this and keep the flow,
it won't matter you don't know which way you go.
In mountain meadows, bleating sheep abound,
and green grass grows as high as their hunger
allows -- about as high as cricket grounds,
but I am lost in fantastic wonder.
It seems to me this is a storied land,
not merely grazing space, but where dragons
once flew, and one might see giants, firsthand --
a place that's never known a plow 'r wagons.
It's where magic must once have arisen,
if ever such a place had existed --
where sparkling streams still burble and glisten
whose secret is kept ever tightfisted.
If you stumble into this storied realm
don't let its siren sight overwhelm.
The dance they did amid the marigolds
was such a captivating sight to see.
It made a storied world of the household,
and it filled hearts and minds with quiet glee.
Their bodies glistening, naked and wild.
They stomped in muddy soil with grubby feet,
and hearts did sing as childlike souls did smile,
and all dancers hinged and moved like athletes.
But with an ankle twist, the party lulled -
one dancer fallen from the frenzied horde.
The momentum was lost, and minds were dulled,
and musicians played only some sour chords.
The flower petals all began to wilt
and dancers wandered home in shame and guilt.
When time stopped behaving, I should have known
that war was coming - perhaps, something worse.
Those who saw themselves sinless grabbed their stones,
and started chanting bile -- their wicked curse.
The hopeless cried with wide eyes, but in vain
as they were huddled around burning fires.
The best of us opted to go insane,
and build crude armor from old belts and tires.
We'd flank a castle that did not exist
like Don Quixote, tilting at windmills.
Better to charge a false monster and miss
than to have Folly chase one to the hills.
Who says it's worse to slouch to lunacy
than suffer the world's fury lucidly?