Shipping and Handling

They must have thought I was actually crazy,
Offering bible pages as rolling papers and
laughing off the mortal sin
Because there could be nothing worse
than the grow-your-own inferno
In which, provided with enough water and sunlight,
the lava solidifies into brimstone:
It's portable too, fits in my pocket and breaks a finger
each time I'm getting too happy.

And then again a few minutes later when she
Talked about breaking his jaw, and I said
I'd never hit anyone and meant it,
I usually just hurt myself.
Not exactly the right conversation for
Stoned classmates sitting on top of
Dinner tables making late night cheese quesadillas.

But considering, I don't think that crazy
Is the worst thing I could be,
Getting out of the sanitized sanity;
Have you ever seen the ridiculous smile
Of she who is both mad and gloriously happy?

When I was in eighth grade, I started to wear
The blue oxford shirts customary of the ninth grade,
And was struck by just how real I looked and felt.
I would sit, staring at my hands, slightly tan, 
thin, bony wrists, a few string tokens of breakable friendship
Tied around them too tight to slip off without cutting them,
And I would think that I was finally becoming a "real boy",
Even if the gendered nouns didn't quite fit right,
Those little white lies didn't grow my nose beyond
Anything rhinoplasty couldn't fix.

And I grew and I lost myself in ambitions that weren't mine,
Just an idea that I could attain love through perfection,
Through the pursuit of a culture of impossibility,
And that in shooting for the moon
I could perhaps land among the stars.
What no one told me, was that stars were BILLIONS
Of lightyears further than God's
thumbnail from where I stood.
Not only that, but they forgot to mention
That outside the atmosphere,
There's no air to breathe,
You drown in the vast emptiness.

I can't let myself be tricked again
By the promise of fulfillment for
Two easy payments
Of nineteen-ninety-five
Shopping and handling not included,
TV offer only,
Call the number at the bottom of your screen.

Maybe one day I'll be mad enough,
Real enough, to dial that 1800-365
And instead of purchasing the product
Talk about what it means to be alive,
Alone, on the vanished frontier.

The End

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