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Poem (Ode to Burnout)

The starting block is the finish line,

but no one makes it back.


I’m the sleeping hare watching the tortoise crawl past

Victory a distant reverie


I’m the gas-guzzling Hummer


Electric cars zipping by, fully-charged


I want to be Forrest Gump, running out of the arena,

but when the whistle blows my body goes slack

I sleep on a turf of poppies behind the line of scrimmage


I’ve sought reups at the bottom of the bottle,

Inhaled until I felt my lungs blacken


I’ve rested until my body was barnacled with bed sores,

and driven myself into the ground with puritanical prudence


But every time

my head hits the pillow with the same weight,

and the monster under my bed swallows the key


There’s no yellow brick road or $200 when you pass GO

No pitstop crew or magic makeover

Only Conservation of Energy; Ration at your own risk


Mile 26 looms in the distance,

but the harder I push, the more I disintegrate

I feel myself burning into plumes of carbon dioxide; inexhaustibility is a creation myth


No one makes it back.

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