Upgrade Me

The trees wilt

in the belching air,

the city effaces itself

with cheap wine and rust,

the rivers choke on trash,

the elderly vomit

and talk to themselves,

reciting dead phone numbers,

and even the sun can’t face it

and stays away for weeks.

 

The sky’s a black,

slippery tongue,

the children massacre

eels of thought

and grimace

with eyes like teeth,

and usually

I could bear it all,

let it roll off me,

like tarred rain,

like a dying dog.

 

But the better half of me

has up and gone

and I’m left with

the hunch-back,

half-drowned alley cat,

rejected by the

bakers at dawn.

And I’m expected

to hobble along

to the gleeful,

sherbet-spitting,

diabetic soundtrack

they’ve jammed on repeat,

 

with this crash-test body,

paralyzed at the heart,

hands clapping,

knees jangling,

backbone snapped and pinioned

in seven places,

smile hooked to the rafters

like all these marionettes.

 

Why don’t they see

my eyes rolling in their cage,

lunging against

the padded walls

of this sanatorium

for the terminally tame,

this wireless, solar-powered,

hyper-connected, hyperventilating

solution to modern living?

 

I’d like to request

another one,

packaged and sent by mail

with a brochure, a manual

and a ticket for an upgrade

with no strings attached.

 

Copyright Ricky Barrow 2014

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