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FROM ILLEGAL TO IMMORTAL

FROM ILLEGAL TO IMMORTAL

(A Tale Told By A Dictionary)

 

 Beneath the streets of San Francisco

 In a dark subway siding

 He cowers after his act

    --ILLEGAL

 Dodging BART trains

 Picking his way past electric third rails

 He pants in the dusty concrete warren

 Hoping he left a trail

    --ILLEGIBLE

 Feeling safe now

 In an unused corner of this technolabyrinth

 Though he can still feel the air disturbed

 by the pressure of passing trains;

 He reflects: "It's not my fault I steal . . ."

 He whines to no one

 "Can I help it if I'm

    --"ILLEGITIMATE?

 "I just got started wrong . . ."

 He explains to himself for the ten thousandth time.

 He was sure all his problems came from his parents

 Engaging in sex

    --ILLICIT

 To his mind, both drug twisted and

    --ILLITERATE

 His justifications sounded not the least

    --ILLOGICAL

 The drugs his stealing had bought,

 And were then stealing through his system

 Even as he stole through the BART system,

 Were taken in noble cause,

 For their intent was that some of the problems of life

 They should

    --ILLUMINATE

 As the dark subway tunnels gave way to the power of the drug

 Our young explorer knew,

 Or at least hoped,

 He soon would be as the Buddha:

    --ILLUMINE

 So he sank with a smile into

    --ILLUSION

 Before him all he saw became flat and two dimensional

 Like a water color

 --ILLUSTRATION

 He saw himself as the painter,

 Both rich and

    --ILLUSTRIOUS

 With the swift passage of unnoticed time,

    The wiggling corkscrew tunnels breathed and faded,

    Replaced by visions of Hell Wells and dungeons;

    The sounds in the tunnels were eerie and terrifying;

    His reeling mind seethed with pictures of dark and fearsome

       --IMAGE

    He wandered from his hiding place

    Amid rail equipment

    That had become beasts

       --IMAGINARY

    Into concrete insect tunnels,

    Curved round as a womb,

    Long as last week's infinity . . .

    Filled with ultra sonic screams made vivid by his hallucinating

       --IMAGINATION

    Sounds and sights came to him,

    Each with a message of importance,

               Trying to involve him,

    To warn him,

    To tell him--

    But what these messages meant he could not

       --IMAGINE

    Reduced to the competency of an

       --IMBECILE

    Completely out of contact with his environment,

    Yet with a drugged sensation of euphoria spreading through him,

    He thought that this was the stuff of life

    Meant for Man to

       --IMBIBE

    And then the LSD had his beingness fully

       --IMBUED

    A-spin with mystic thoughts

    Zen truths,

    Visions;

    Holy silence to sought to

       --IMITATE

    He slipped unknowing from his body,

    Feeling a sudden sense of the

       --IMMACULATE

    His viewpoint shifted into the dark, dubbed-in realm

    Of the

       --IMMATERIAL

    A sudden understanding of how far away he was

    From true enlightenment

    Blushed his cheek with a feeling of

       --IMMATURITY

    Drifting in drug hazed awareness

    He perceived himself at the edge of something,

    Of some knowingness, or some beingness

       --IMMEASURABLE

    Yet from his body he was getting signals of something more

       --IMMEDIATE

    Unraveling before him came pictures from times

       --IMMEMORIAL

    Of temporal distances

       --IMMENSE

    Into the time track of all history he was ready to

       --IMMERSE

    But his body was screaming something unintelligible to him,

    It wanted him to move, to

       --IMMIGRATE?

    An all too familiar horn sounds

    In the too near distance.

    He feels his hair blown back by the approaching train.

    Dimly he realizes an event of magnitude is

       --IMMINENT

    Dropping back into his body he finds it standing

    In the center of the track

       --IMMOBILE

    A pair of headlights are rushing his way at speeds

       --IMMODERATE

    In a final gesture,

    He drops his pants in an act

       --IMMODEST

    Is this to be the rewards

    Of a life

       --IMMORAL?

    And then with a squeal of brakes the awful instant arrives.

    The body is swept away,

    Leaving him with the haunting realization

    That drugs in no way improve

    On the state

       --IMMORTAL.

 

                                  21 May 78

 


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