the ride

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The brain changes as it grows older.
It becomes more robotic and loving.
It repeats “I care about you” as it winks
unintentionally at passing traffic.

I wouldn’t trade a man’s brain for a
robot brain, though. Too many wires
or, in my own case, tendrils,
and no more newspaper subscriptions.

The brain charges as it growls louder,
“It’s five bucks to pet the lion!”
Children back away as they would
from an out-of-control blender.

I once returned from an all-night
bender more existentially awake
than I’d been in centurions; I dropped
the motorcycle key in tall grass,

in tall sedges and Queen Anne’s lace
and stumbled among black-eyed Susan
until I found the original sidewalk
leading back to the black lab

where I’d had my brain redone
the first time. This would have been
the second attempt, another go-round
had my body not dropped to the ground

and looked for the world like a contractor
bag of toxic human body parts,
such that no lab worker dared
touch it, though I don’t doubt they cared.

Who wouldn’t remove his laptop duffel
to attend a prone humanoid shape?
I mean, you’d have to be a shadow
not to sympathize with one who’d

ridden hard all night and come home
languid, reflective, and nearly bionic.
But one did stoop, thank God,
and administered a spoonful of tonic.

And I wouldn’t trade that memory
of waking up on an operating table
for all the sane, vivid daydreams
of the very young—ultrabright can lights

lighting me up, lighting my shape,
as my soul rose unvictorious
over a team of well-intentioned
older men. “Who was this?” they mused.

• • •


3 Responses to “the ride”

  1. Edward Nudelman Says:

    Wow great work!

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. restorel66 Says:

    /The brain charges as it growls louder/ as a twist on the first line makes for very satisfying reading indeed!

  3. belz Says:

    Thank you, both of you! Sorry, sometimes I miss these comments.

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