Holiday 2014 - THE POTOMAC


   Mary Mills

Where does the recliner end and the person begin?
The man groans as HD nails neurons into place;
An intruder pushes inward, shredding small splinters.
The screen moans muffled, mechanical mumble;
half–thoughts stumble but nothing drops outside the dome.
Images float, flee and fly, piercing every piece of plasma.

The man–chair melds with the screen; multi–colored plasma
has entered his life's blood, and a transfusion is about to begin.
He cranes his neck to see the screen and is pulled inside the dome,
which towers over his living space; he drifts into a tiny place.
He hears sounds. They make perfect sense because they are mumble.
Neurons fire, producing more half–thoughts, fumbling splinters.

Inside, the dome turns his thoughts into splinters,
tears at his brain and sucks oozing red plasma
that runs without purpose or direction into a massive mumble
and streams helplessly searching for a new place to begin.
The pupils of his eyes can't focus; they stare at any place:
a station break, a commercial, an infomercial: all from the dome.

Something flickers and is transmitted to him by the dome.
He yawns but then opens his eyes wide. The media shoot splinters.
"We'll fall off a financial cliff if Obamacare stays in place.
Medicare is going bust and can't afford transfusions or plasma.
Let's hear from our reporter in the field. How did this mess begin?"
The man–chair listens, but his defective synapses only mumble.

To him, this is the world run amok, Armageddon's mumble
or the gospel according to news broadcast from the dome.
He wants to know, and talk hosts will tell how it really did begin.
The bubble heads' babble has shattered the world into sharp splinters.
The splinters spread pain as his synapses drown in the screen's plasma.
His mind tingles from an approaching numbness that leads to no place.

He stops thinking because it hurts. In front of the dome, he knows his place.
The recliner soothes him, and he falls asleep to the lullaby of mumble.
The big picture has become his life. Its sights and sounds are his plasma.
He leans back, hand behind his head, inhaling comfort from the dome.
Watching and listening to the world inside the dome, he doesn't feel the splinters
and doesn't care if thinking beyond the dome will ever again begin.

His neurons slake their thirst by slurping pixel plasma from the dome,
their feeding place, a shield against outside–the–dome splinters
that could pierce the mangled mumble and let thinking begin.

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