escapism (poetry)

escapism

“build a better mousetrap”
they say and my mind
goes to mice
and little tiny feet
scurrying in the gray plastic no-kill trap
I put in the kitchen cabinet last fall
baited with peanut butter
to better tempt her in.
Frantic futile rodent scrambling
scratching curls of plastic with tiny claws
as she tries to lower the ramp and escape
to anywhere else.

I’m trapped
but not so frantic
in sinew and bone and synapses
trapped in this house
in this life
in these relationships I chose
trapped by my past
in a present I never quite envisioned.
I don’t even want to leave.

Do I?

I want
to trap something else
something strange and wicked
something that slithers
or slinks
and drinks dreams for breakfast.
I’ll pin it down, still squirming
at the edges of your perception
and watch to see
which one of you wiggles free first.

I want
to create new worlds people will fall into
fingers scrambling at the edge of the gravity well
event horizons slipping away like starlight
time stretching
as minds turn and bend in new directions
under my direction
words weaving webs to snarl and ensnare
in a complicated and dreadful
flawed and perfect place
where you have to work for mundanity
because the extraordinary is lurking in every moving shadow
and the wind whispers subtle secrets
and it’s a struggle
to live a simple life.

There, death comes uninvited to dinner
and fate is a trapper’s snare
catching the unwary in prophecy nets
coils of destiny wire
wind around your legs and you can’t escape.
There, the most terrible, inexplicable things
happen swiftly, painfully –
mirrors exploding into shards with nightmare creatures
lurching from every shining reflection,
stairs lead you to cloud castles
filled with cannibal giants
instead of the second floor landing you expected,
and the shape of the world can change
with a single word
stranding you
breaking you
turning you inside out
because language is power
and magic can slip through careless lips.

Of course I wouldn’t want to live there.
Reality itself is a twisted fable
a cable unraveling, lowering
to obligingly carry you up into the tower
where something dark is sleeping
waiting for another kiss,
and there are far more dangerous things than monsters
in these narrative labyrinths –
is it safer
to be on the inside or the outside of those
massive storied blue stone walls?

I know better.
I made this world
I don’t want to go there
I lie,
scrabbling against the gray, dull plastic.

Fuck it.
Pass the peanut butter,
I have stories to tell.

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