Leaving Neverland Forever

In memory of Michael Jackson

Sisyphus stands atop the castle clock tower
Straining every ounce of power and might in his right arm
To roll back the sun for one more day
Because he’s afraid of the dark of night
While his left holds the three hands of the clock in place
But the seconds cut away at his slipping palm
Drag him around the pale round face of father time
Dripping a thin coat of sweat, blood and grime over the ink of the Roman numerals
And gripping the sun scorches his skin
So he lets the hours of the time bomb freely tick tock away
Down towards the puffer of smoke that will smote him in old age
Down towards the harmonious explosion of church bells that tolls out the death of today
And so he drops the ball of fire, awaiting for hours its fall
Down to the mountainous horizon and beyond
Down off the edge of the earth and farther and gone
And cowers as the sky changes colors
Awaiting with fear the change back to black
Reflected and distorted by the tears in his eyes
Then hides away inside
Until the next sunrise will bring him back a surrogate sun
To hold back for one more day
Farewell, Sisyphus
I remember well the times the two of us would work together up there
Cheered on by Peter Pan and Tinkerbell, his fairy lass
Doing all that we can to keep the sand stoppered in the top of the hourglass
One holding the sun, the other the clock
We kept the sky locked in 3 O’Clock’s light for ten long years
But don’t fight the twilight
There’s nothing to fear
Many people are napping
The rest are puffy eyed
The lovers yearn for a sunset
Don’t keep them up
Let them reap what they’ve sown
You’ve earned your sleep

Though the time stayed the same
The times have changed
I’m still in the game
But only in name
The players sub out to bench warm three legged stools
The refs puff on their whistles and switch all the rules
Witches favor science over magic and explain all their tricks
Unicorns shed their horns and head for the tracks
The end of the rainbow seems farther away
Leprechauns take their gold and let accountants hold them in guard-dogged banks
The dwarves have grown and started to shave
The princesses have been freed, there are none left to save
I’ve charged all the windmills til none of them move
I’ve drawn Excalibur from its stony groove
But it was just a time rusted and ruined old sword
So I melted it down and put it up for sale
And used the money to fund my quest for the grail
But it was just a dust covered cup
And even after I cleaned it up
It wasn’t holy, or whole, just filled with holes
Out of which spilled its drink
Impossible and unsanitary to swallow
A forsaken way of jail-breaking time’s worldwide gallows
Another moot route to eternal youth
So I go ask my ruler for one last task
But his skin sags over his mouth
And wrinkles now droop to cover his ears
And he sits slumped asleep on his throne
A puppet king whose strings were cut
Weighed down by his crown
Even eyelids too heavy to lift
So I strip off my armor, my sword and my shield
And leave them for him as parting gifts

The village was pillaged by white collar rogues
Bearing like crosses their nooses of silk
Watching the bare necked with a vampire’s lust
Wearing wristwatches of rust on manicured hands
Armed with compass blades on their capitalist crusades
Raiding the town
Drowning mermaids
Caging fairies
Burying urns
Burning witches
Taking turns
We tried to hold them, but we were just 52 weak knights too old to fight
Arthritis plagued knuckles struggling to wield sword and shield
Heart attack horses keeling over
Which we beat over and over trying to charge
I was part of the pack
A knave and a spade
But not yet a Jack
But the ranks folded and the house collapsed
And now there’s nothing left to which I can go back

The castles all crumble and their moats dry out
Rust plagues the armory and mold drags down the boats
Earthquakes shake the clock tower and cause its collapse
Sisyphus sits in the rubble and awaits a new task
Architects and engineers rear their ugly heads
And head towards the ruins
Yelling, “We must retrofit this rubble into a hotel
So we can perfect it, and, more importantly, sell it”
An army of calendars marches in through its gates
Paper cutting wrinkles into the prince’s face
I must be gone now, I cannot wait
Or else I too will be charged by the three fates

The town was bought out
Stolen by fountain pens and stacks of tens
Henhouses and pig pens stolen
Replaced with prepackaged mcmansions
Hand delivered by crane
Hiding behind armies of lawyers brandishing deeds
Raising their battle cries of leading questions and objections
Forests razed, grass paved, creatures tamed, resistors maimed, king defamed
Sisyphus framed, Peter Pan blamed and handed to Captain Hook
On a silver platter
Cooked with a side of medium rare fairies or well done Tinkerbell
And as he and his gator prepare to dig in
The din of the gator’s stomach
Ringing not rumbling
Reminding him of his last meal
Drowns out their appetites
Knocks out their teeth
And turns real
As the alarm clock by my bed
Penetrates fast into my head

I would help you if I could
But, by my reckoning, you should be able to reclaim your land
And remake it, exactly the same
Without the beckoning of my helping hand
Peter Pan can escape Captain Hook
He has before
And Sisyphus will never surrender
Whatever the score
But when you rebuild, remake, and repopulate
Give Sisyphus a hill and a boulder to roll
Exercise is the only way to keep him from getting older
And put a shiny new sword in Excalibur’s stone
Let it be worthy for the person who draws it to own
Then pass Galahad the grail so he can re-hide it
Make him cover his trail
And gouge out the eyes of all those that spied it
Pick your knights, go off on your quest
I must mourn tonight
Must sleep safely in a bed
Must rest
For my chivalry is dead
I am not worthy enough to see the grail
Am worthy just enough to try and fail
Am fit for no journey
Am fit just to blunder
I would not disturb the slumber of sleeping beauty
I would hop under the covers
And join her
So now I must go on a quest
For a working princess in need of no saving
Raving for bliss and a man to do anything with
I cannot stay in the PG world of Disney
I am drawn as a magnet to the working class suburban sector
Where the only duels left will be with bill collectors
Where my kingdom will be my home
Where my only subjects will be the seeds my queen and I have sown
Where I will join the round table at a business conference
And where I will proudly bear my crown of baldness

And though dreams and nightmares, daydreams and drugs
May ferry me back occasionally
No ties can bind me to the imaginary
I can’t find my passport to this place
I can’t legally return to these carefree days
So before I leave forever and hop this border

A final farewell is in order:
Sisyphus, the list is endless
Of what your hands could make
If they weren’t set on impossibilities and maintaining stasis
Peter Pan, kidnap more children
And bring them here
Pirates and alligators bring less to fear
Than a life in which they never appear
Tinkerbell, peddle your fairy dust
To as many as you can
Be they indecisive, on the brink
Or even if they’re unwilling
And you must slip it in their drink
You can all come and visit me, or even stay
But, though it grieves me to say,
I hope that day doesn’t come
I hope with all my being that you don’t succumb
So you can stay in Neverland forever
And never see what I’ve become
And never witness reality’s slum





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