Tony Bennett: Ricin

In this poem Tony Bennett powerfully conveys the way in which mental distress permeates life and awareness so completely; but it also looks to adjustment and adaptation to the external realities of life as the way to survive and recover.

RICIN

I choke on the toxicity.
The miasmic expulsions that,
pervade the social cavalcade,
that parades uncaringly,
willy-nilly beneath the poisoned sky.

I exist in a bubble to allow me to breathe.
I exist apart unable to endure
the acidic stench of their auras.
Survival maintains that I must
learn to breathe again.

To swallow whole the gaseous bile,
as if it were the ice cream and jelly of youth.
To burst my containment from within
and have faith that a little
of the vapour of my life
purifies the taint without.

The hope that the mind of the horde can learn,
to feel beyond individual cells
and embrace the whole.
To imbibe the Ricin of reality with impunity.
To shuck the rain that pours
so woefully scornful without.

To breathe and be whole.

To be free.

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