Before they knew he was dead–
his face in rags, perhaps a leper
mummified with plague–he stumbled
through the city, the artificial sky
burning in the air, acrid, pumped
by concrete antennas
glittering with business,
the greasy fog lying on the street,
crawling from the sewers.
They never looked twice,
thought, perhaps, his ancient stench
was from drinking too much water,
was, as the holomyths foretold
(they used to call them books?)
a beast soaking with wisdom, freewill.
You don’t talk to those, make eye contact,
share a GUI terminal, or (market forbid!)
an oxymask. When you breathe good painkillers,
everybody knows, especially Hive,
you wouldn’t want his stench of creativity
eating at your lungs. He stumbled with an air
of antiquity, a zombie in a swarm of drones,
losing all efficiency, staring up into the future
around him, knowing it would never really come–
the anachronism of the present constantly outdated
from overbearing upgrades. His own natural skin,
a sarcophagus. They hovered past in exoskeletons,
maglifted into the void of office sectors.
In a world of immortals, DNA-mapped,
nano-gridded blood, he moaned through alleys,
laughed at like a ghost, a fairy tale.
He refused to modify his body. They smirked
every time his heart beat. They chided him,
the children unplugged long enough to point,
for having a stomach, liver, they poked
at his disconnected spleen. A man, in this world,
is a waste of time, can’t get to work fast enough,
must eat and walk covered in rags
like a mock-up, vintage cartoon ape
smoking cigarettes and slapping his own head.
When he could see the sun, through the Lucid-glass
shelling the Company in campaign ads,
(he saw it once, in the future, but it was blurry,
burning his eyes) he promised himself,
the world, as he dragged his cracked-off arm
behind him like a fermented club,
he promised no more talk of ideas
or progress, vision, happiness, fulfillment,
philosophy. He would crawl back into the shadow
like a puppet. He would strip the gauze
from his scabbed eyes, and end the curse
of overlapping past/present time, and die.
For fuck’s sake, fold his plastic halo up
between his legs, he could finally die.
Mummy: Krysty: https://m.flickr.com/#/photos/bozsitskriszti/12742410325/