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A Boy with a Past Instead of Brains Ponders 'Billie Jean', Life
A colonel, a boy, and Michael Jackson
talk inside a car. Speech strained,
doomed for success. Topics include:
watches with severed hands; the feline
legs of chopsticks strutting across
minds; Baby Powder. (Dreams are never
mentioned. Dreams are never mentioned.)
Instead glances at the rearview mirror, seeing
“Son, you are pure, but life has many hands;
Years ago, when molten leaves fell, I stood up and ran.
Laps across paths, stretching over hills,
Stooped in gutters: My thoughts dislodged of clutter.
I escaped my conscience. Running brought me closer
To her, her name misplaced—no, Kate, a girl
With crinkled eyes and wrinkled soul.”
It’s odd, this speech, like an onion is odd.
But the autopsy is so profound
that the boy leans, feeling gristle at the edges
of his voice.
“She—Kate and I, stood—well, not as lovers,
But happy and lonely: our bodies curled. We were
Siamese against a straying world.
And we would play this song
Until its hum beat against our chests
Wondering about meaning, thinking about rest.
The words confused us, suggestions shot,
Lyrics amended. It slipped past our grasp.
Or perhaps, Michael, (neither man nor boy)
Strove to speak what was in inflated head.
Whatever the reason, dear god, on a neon night
In Chicago, she with family, ran across
The street. A car hit suddenly, leaving her
Breathless, tumbling into sky.
And the man turns to the window, but
Before soon was soon, boy has seen eyes clouded,
Murky. This marks an end; boy’s reborn again.
For him too tears appear in the streets,
Cars winking out of existence; lights ahead
Stare like dusty eyes inflamed; lines lead
to corners no one has been.
Michael croons, with glinted voice:
“But the kid is not my son….”
They lean against windows
(looking out, not in), and
A mirror between the two
Would equal their stained eyes,
Tears expanding their vision.
An identical. Self-portrait in a
convex mirror. And the music
crashes, past thoughts of April,
drowning only against
the thrashing tide of the mind.
There is no time to guess.
“Dad?” No. “The light?” “Yes.”