Maxwell Bodenheim

Instructions for Dementia

Call the moon a round scar left
By a wound of self-discovery
Upon a mystery whose sleep
Produces men and worlds.
Say that sunlight barely
Surpasses blackness, in comparison
With unknown lights whose first
Intimations would shrivel the earth
In the least part of a second.
Cry that beauty is a dream--
Intact, exclusive, undismayed--
Made by men to hoodwink
Their woeful lack of firmness and command.
Say that religions are infants of hope
Precociously wearing the robes of adults
And blowing trumpets to impress
The pessimistic minds of men.
Claim that one phrase--the last aesthetic step---
Takes a ceremony of line and color
And rigorously visits
The disguarded souls of men.
Stroke the smoothly rubbery
Garentees of flesh,
With all its misled screams,
And then, with ease, change instantly
To an ascetic hermit who watched your acts.
O spurn the shout of consistency
Floating from every disguised
Dungeon known to men,
And be as inconsiderate
And yet as secretly careful
As the wind from which men hide
In prone and stationary structures.
Be demented, and be glad
That men will never worship your name.”



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Maxwell Bodenheim