House arrest No. 1

I change clothes three times a day
Not leaving my flat
Saving appearances
Living off the edge of a dream
Or falling into disarray?
Who knows, I don’t.
I try to stay civilised
My limbs are shaking from the cold
But outside it’s sunny and warm,
Words, who needs words
We need hospitals, beds,
A bed to lay dreams to rest
To start anew, to begin afresh
A world handpicked, and dropped in terror
Our world, the world of today
Is worlds apart from what we thought we had
One word today
A phrase tomorrow
History begins before we make it.
My bags are packed, waiting for that
Knock on the door to tell me
I cannot live in the building anymore.
But I’ve been such a good tenant,
I protest as the silence falls on the stairs
And there is no-one to pick it up.
I light a cigarette and remember my bed,
Where I used to sit up reeling, gazing,
The introverted instant of a bubbly hour
I long for the noise, the barking,
The lady selling scraps and the gypsy
With his cups, his deceit, his worries.
The cigarette burns my fingers but the pain
Is in the other room, watching TV.
The walls are plastered with words,
They used to have ears, like in the folktale
But now they scream before they blow my cover
And throw me on the floor, panting and screaming
Back at them, surviving, shut up, I say, or I’ll
stab the past with the kitchen knife,
picking myself up from the floor and striding
around the room, the moment has come to say
something, to take the stage, everyone is
waiting for me to announce the next act,
ad-libbing doesn’t help, I should have come
prepared, my dossier in hand, the jury
take their place and start applauding in awe,
they’ve never seen a better actor,
the monologue is original, the performance
exquisite, and I laugh like a hyena,
while people outside queue for bread and wine
or maybe for only a moment to keep themselves
company against the rising shadow.
No amount of jokes can unravel the absurd,
But a bottle of wine may tie it up,
Hands behind its back, a momentary lapse
as we breathe the clean air
of a clean conscience, certainly not our own.

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