What if our lives are an alien planet’s computer game?
Or what if we’re the dreams they have in another dimension?
Dana’s been doing a drug that has her
asking the questions a prophet would ask.
Or a six-year-old. All night, all night.
Those goosey conjectures always sound better
attributed to the ancient sages.
Zen masters. Rumi. Sumerian priests.
Hobbling village wisdom women.
Blind beggars with inner sight.
Will there come a day when the CEO convenes
the Board of Directors in the oak and leather Meeting Suite,
and clears his throat sententiously, and begins:
What if we measured our profits
in units of serotonin?
What if the cosmos we know were built of series of “strings”
and countless invisible “bubble-universes”? Right. What
if the utterances of our seers were the same
as the visions of the insane: and the pronouncements of the insane
were the same as the theories of astrophysicists?
What if the gods are walking us,
as we would dogs?
A crazy idea. Still. . .
how do we know that our free will isn’t
the length of a leash in a deity’s hand?
I say the dendrochronologist
I say the foster parents up the block
the astronomer specializing in lunar cycles
the married porn star couple
I say the saint
are addicted I say if addiction is coming back
repeatedly to the source of pleasure
repeatedly to the x-spot of fulfillment then it isn’t
crack or meth or the mesmerizing lights
of the casino across the state line
it’s the man who can’t remove his head
from its halo of orbiting tree rings
in his dreams in his blood in the way they circle
his love and his prayers and his money it’s
the woman calling Family Care maybe they have another
adorable baby to send her maybe a woman has sacrificed
her child and her husband to a gibbous moon
a bewitching honeydew moon an eclipse a cuticle this
is what the brain relies on in a world
we enter only once we’re forcibly ejected
from the womb the all-providing the utero Eden
into this nightmare realm of giants
and sharp sharp edges and monsterdark
and so we crave the nipple the thumb the booze
the leering crowd of voyeurs
that enhances a couple’s stage-set fucking I say
the saint in the story returns to the pus
of lepers crawls through pestilence to minister
to the oozing sores of lepers returns
and returns because this is where her wellspring Nile
of psychic comfort originates she’s addicted we’re
addicted and if there isn’t any specific
drug to point to we’re addicted still
to life itself the claw marks
in the algae-bloom on the side of the pool
attest to how the drowning wasn’t suicide and what’s
that green scum under his ragged fingernails
if not an eloquent metric of addiction
to a next breath I say
suicide even the suicide
is addicted to life and might be seen
as not weaker than us but stronger
in finally severing the bond oh whether
the mind lights up like a plugged-in winking Christmas tree
at the altruistic pleasure of building
shelters for the homeless or at easy
blowhard internet shaming of strangers
are strangely alike the need to return
to the pleasure the rush the rightness-zone
is strangely alike the need to repeat it
is what we are here
not in Hades or Paradise but
here on Earth here in our skin
in the only life we know