Lullaby for a Tiger

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp? 

William Blake (from Tyger! Tyger!)

I would like to have myself back
That jagged, obstinate inner self whose teeth
were something to be feared.

I would like to have myself back
and not this sense of sleepy disconnect
This brain smothered in plastic wrap that dulls
perception, that thwarts the electric haywire
of my thoughts, fills the deep troughs of melancholy
and shaves the tops off my highest mountains.

The drugs are a sludge that soften my sharp edges
and those were the edges that made me feel alive:
cut and bruised but alive. I could fly
from those edges to a vantage point never imagined
without the aid of insanity; could fall off them
into depths that darkened and drowned me.

But the sludge blurs, blends, turns down the noise.
Putting the drugs in my brain
is like putting pajamas on a tiger
tearing out its teeth and claws and swaddling the beast
in layers of pink fleece. Its heavy paws and howling mouth
stilled and silenced--a drowsy kitten, chirring for milk.

I would like to have myself back
That huge, roaring, hysterically laughing
unpredictably weeping self whose radar picked up
every nuance, every scrap of art and poetry from the world at large
and built a private universe from the remains.

I would like to have myself back
scars and stripes and broken bones and all
but I am choosing life, choosing a self
that will not self-destruct.
Putting the tiger to bed
until such time when tigers are needed
if that moment ever comes.

Sleep tight, beast.

KB © 4/14/2014


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