I dreamed I fashioned a bell jar
and turned it over on myself.
Like a specimen in the zoo, fascinated,
I observed the world pass by.
When they saw my eyelids flicker,
they knew I was alive.
"It's alive!" A scientist cries, stops,
examines me back and front; tested
DNA, IQ, EKG, CTE, CAT, DE and EEG.
Ineffable intelligencer! "Right!" he cries.
The eternal spheroid appears, my hair stands
on end. Radioactivity glows in the cement.
Seeing me naked, God's people
interfere. Would I go to heaven?
Where was my family, were my children alive?
All dead within? He'd never permit me in.
One took me aside, spoke privately,
a dense gas condensing on the glass.
"You have a duty to God and Man.
Come out! Don't ya wanna be boss?"
Then a brave man tried to break
my silence, insisting that I learn to speak.
"You must learn words," he says.
"Words will help you escape."
I thought about that for a long time.
Maybe I did not want to escape.
Words are a gloss, a dust, a lacquer.
Was their mystery worth struggling for?
I was feeling smothered breathless.
To catch a breath in a bell jar, it hurts.
People stop by watching everything,
whatever I do. They exaggerate my secrets.
Life is hard in a bell jar. Anguish,
too much going on. Asphyxiation.
Each breath climactic. I almost died, brother.
I still remember forty years later the terror.
But I got out! I thought of a loving, human touch.
A hand had touched me, loving fingertips.
Finally, the glass shattered outward: busted
my prison. A loving memory got me out.