I am astounded by the fact
that the powers that Be
have not yet found me
and locked me
in a padded room — alone with my thoughts.
Who do you think you are? they ask me
These voices in my head
One sounds like my mother
(though she would never ask me
such a thing, because she knows
who I am better than I know
myself most days)
The others sound like stern
teachers and preachers
who have shriveled up inside their skins
because they have buried their
dreams and passions under
mortgages and investments and holiday homes on the coast
that they visit once a year
when they can’t stand to live their lives any longer.
Who do you think you are? they ask
while drumming their manicured fingers
on polished desks that cost more
than all the food I’ve eaten in
the past six months.
(And believe you me, I eat WELL.)
Why should you be allowed
to breathe freely, and sleep until you wake
because your dreams have delivered all their messages
and you are prepared for the day?
Why should you not have to slave with the rest of them
strapped to a clock
that grabs the soft flow of one moment to the next
and chops it into slivers of
Why should you be so special
to be allowed
pause after pause
to look at the sky
and breathe the perfume that the wind carries
straight to your very special nose?
And while we’re on the topic: Why
should you be the one
who gets messages from the wind
and the earth
and the sky?
burns in you
that we cannot seem to tame?
WE ARE AFRAID THAT YOU WILL BURN THIS WHOLE THING TO THE GROUND.
No, you must not walk free.
You must go back
to a cage that you pay for — willingly
day by day
so you can pay
for all those things
that we tell you to need.
What is that?
You don’t need those things?
But without money, you cannot eat!
You cannot sleep!
Don’t you see
it is illegal to be human,
illegal to be poor!
You must be a rich robot, you must!
Look, just follow the rules and we will allow you to be happy.
We will leave you in peace.
The questions stop. They wait for me to answer.
I stand up and straighten my shoulders.
I plant my feet firmly on the earth; I know where my roots go.
I look up, and then inwards, to these broken pieces of myself.
I do not think that I am special, I say to them, softly.
I do not think that I deserve more than any of you.
I simply realised that
I AM FREE.
I do not need your permission
to pause to
breathe the air
and smell the perfume
carried by the wind straight to my nose.
(You know that you can do that too
at any time you choose?)
How can I not pause
when the world calls out with all its beaty
to be seen
When the world calls out with overwhelming generosity
How sad that every other person
every bit as special (or not) as me
is so distracted by things unreal
buried in the worry of what tomorrow might bring
that they’ve forgotten that the fire inside
their own soul can also
never be caged?
never be tamed?
Why are you hurting? Why do you doubt?
These voices in my head are turning me inside out.
How far I’ve come!
But it seems I still have
much further to go.
I must love you shriveled preachers in my head,
for I am you