The Shadow-Reflection Experiment

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic
The travails of a scientific experiment gone wrong. The desire for fame and recognition which drives most men often times has dark consequences...

Submitted: June 27, 2008

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Submitted: June 27, 2008



What do we say then,

Of mirrors, light and the musculature of a human being?

We are each gifted with a shadow

So that we may never truly feel alone

And when we are poor and when we are rich

Our reflection in a mirror is still there even when all our friends have departed.

There was a man once

Who was a man once

Until his wife and children fled

And his father and mother fled too

And his wealth and his lands and his bank account and his physical cash

And his friends and even his enemies

And then finally his dog fled too

And then even he fled from himself

Leaving the door wide open

Without even trying to assume a new identity

Because no identity would assume him back.

He even left without his clothes

Because even his clothes refused to zip up or button up

Over and around him.

He roamed the city all day

But even the city was wary of him

He thought about food but even food he now held in reverence

He tried to drink at a fountain

But the water slowed to a trickle and then stopped altogether

When the day was hurrying to vacate the skies

He tried to find out the time

But the man he stopped said: time waits for no man

He tried to stand in one place close his eyes and let physics and the whirling orbits lead him into the semblance of a kind of plan, of a kind of path

But all he saw was the same road that Mungo Park saw: futility

Night fell, the stars shone down, he was not sleepy

Because even lethargy did not want to become tired from the task of trying to make him tired.

He sat between two homeless granddads

They shuffled away from him

He sat by himself

But himself rejecting him back, did not want to sit anywhere near him

He went into a nearby church

But the priest held up the cross like Moses held up the Rod and parted the sea

And he ran very quickly out of there

He stopped at a bar and ordered a drink

He tried to pay but all his coins had fled though the holes in his pockets

He remembered and remembered even more all that he had been trying to forget

And retched, and even the Johnny Walker ran away from him

They chased him out of there and he ran four blocks without stopping

And when he looked back and saw they had stopped

He kept running… 8 blocks… 16 blocks… 32… 64… 128… 256… 512 blocks

He stopped at the welcome sign to a new state and stood reading the sign

The sign broke off its hinges and fell upside down at his feet:

Goodbye from Arkansas”

He walked back the way he had come

A Rottweiler saw him and charged-

Away from him

A man-eating lion on the loose smelt his scent

And ran back into its cage in the zoo

A police patrol keeping the peace saw him and accused him of stirring things up

They slammed him against the fender and stretched him out over the bonnet

They put cuffs on him but the cuffs slipped off

They tried to search him but he was even more naked than on the day he was born

They asked his name and he blinked vacuously at them

They asked his address and he waved his arm expansively around him

Any kids, they said; wife, children, any kith and kin?

Kith and kin he said

Kith and Kin

Kith Kin

That’s my name he said, my name is Mr. Kithkin

They got into their car and siren screaming, they zoomed off

Even the exhaust fumes and the bad air from the rubber they left avoided him

He walked forward but his legs went backwards

He walked backwards but his legs moved him forwards

He began to curse but it came out like a benediction

He began to scream but it came out an orgasmic cry

He felt like weeping but what came was laughter

He decided to kill himself

The Hudson threw him very fast back out of there

He walked on down the road and he came to a burning wreck:

A police car wrapped like a sarong around a tree,

The only survivor muttered, kithkin kithkin

And then died when their eyes met

He looked into the window glass and for the first time observed that he cast no reflection

He stood underneath a street lamp and realized he cast no shadow

He ran away from all things concrete or steel or asphalt or glass or made from wires or utilizing batteries and electricity or in any way connected to human beings and human intelligence

Thinking just how badly the experiment had all turned out

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