Pitfalls Of The Imagination

Pitfalls Of The Imagination long poem

Uploaded by Bill Peeler

It’s a childish sensibility that builds its own walls
With drawbridge, moat and ramparts to break down
Besieged for years by catapults and archers and fire-slinging foes
Before the fortress finally falls and the flag is captured
That’s when he comes of age and discovers for himself
What he really is. Not a pretty sight, I can tell you
Downright ghoulish in fact, that odious thing that matures
Into manhood growing up inside him until it scares him half to death
Because the enemy he battled so valiantly defending Troy
Was none other than a future version of himself
Fighting for all he’s worth to one day conquer and become
The real McCoy putting Jack back in the box and walking
All those extra miles in clodhoppers of his own choosing
He’ll dig a hole in the backyard laying to rest once and for all the myth
Of the noble dragon slayer then spit on the grave for good measure
In a last ditch effort to save himself, the boy will confront
This brutish apparition accusing it of foul play, loading the dice
Stacking the deck, faulty genes, or whatever else
He can think of to blame it on. But all he’ll get for his trouble
Is a right hook square on the jaw and a swift kick in the groin
While he staggers against the ropes and folds like a rag doll
In a pool of his own blood, sweat and piss
The man wins, the boy loses and the crowd roars mocking him
In the public square where everybody can see right through him
Or so he imagines. And that, I’m sad to say, is the crux of the problem
Because his mind is an overcharged and unruly thing with a life of its own
Aloof and independent, unwieldy and shamelessly unscrupulous, not to mention
Incurably paranoid with all the bubbling slush it produces non-stop
Churning like a witch’s brew full of all sorts of odd parts and foul ingredients
And to think the whole mess was always there all along hidden in the morbid
Lines of nursery rhymes and fairy tales implanted in the dusty recesses
Of his budding consciousness. Thus he thinks he’ll banish these fears
To the Isle of Oblivion obscured in the fog of some vast cerebral ocean
To languish there till kingdom-come and free his soul at last to feast
All day in the land of milk and honey chewing lotus buds and making
Peace with himself and all his demons while posing as someone
Not entirely himself or at the very least project an image he can live with
If only for the sake of appearances or perchance not even caring
One way or the other. So he writes down what he hears rumbling
Through his head as a kind of therapy in the hope that somehow
This will lead to a satisfactory solution and tame his rambunctious
Mind into something more docile and predictable stripped bare
Of all its contradictions and puzzling inconsistencies
Trouble is, the “therapy” only serves to feed his wild and wooly fascinations
Like dousing fire with gasoline as the beastly misshapen thing
Inside him grows monstrously, hideously and yes, insidiously
More like his worst nightmare with every passing day
He begins to feel like a Dr. Frankenstein creation, its synapses fused
By bolts of lightning, its body stitched together from scraps of rotten
Meat and bone, a twitching, stinking, loathsome thing abhorred by all
Who chance to spot him lurching through the wooded glens
And gloomy shades of boyish dreams gone haywire
Dragging one leg behind and slobbering like a halfwit for which cause
He tries another tactic, the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde routine in an effort
To appear respectable when he isn’t exhibiting his old malicious self
A hybrid, you might say, civil by day, an evil mangled menace by night
When all alone in his dismal dungeon cell he blossoms
Into a snarling green-eyed ogre fit to be tied and burned at the stake
Then precisely at the stroke of 12, steps outside to terrorize
The garish world of flashing strobes and neon madness that pops
From his throbbing brain and right out of his mind only to find
To his utter shock and bitter dismay that it’s already populated
By a circus-full of schizophrenic clowns gushing with indecipherable
Lyrics more horrifying than his own

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Bill Peeler

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My wife, Noy and I are Protestant missionaries in Cambodia. We met in a border refugee camp in Thailand back in 1979 while I was a refugee relief worker. She was a refugee. I lived and worked in Mairut Refugee Camp for three years. We have three grown kids. I was drafted into the Army in 1969, served in Vietnam from 1970 to 1971 and honorably discharged at the end of my military obligation. Writing prose and poetry is how I document the life I'm living and how I map out the mental landscape inside my head.
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