There Is No Mandela Here

My tired, nearly blind

eyes have seen too much.  I’ve seen

 

processions of corpses. Lists of dead

friends I started keeping at age thirteen

 

have scrolled out taped together as far as suburban

sprawl can see with syringe precision. So many

 

nights, steaming floods would fill ears, as the mouse

traps snap any stillness out of the synapses

 

misfiring in tandem from my head to toes

in a sudden jerk of fear. The only food

 

in the fridge has maggots.  It’s still better

to have a place for an appliance with maggots

 

than no place for it at all.  Better than pressing

swollen eyes and runny noses into the same

 

spot on the nasty cot so many have done

the same on, it is better to have something

 

to call your own even with with maggots. Aging is

getting the better of my eyes, they are weary

 

from having seen too much. Every word is blurred

from my sight. I can still visualize letters and fonts

 

in my mind as my fingers guide me toward a space

I make for myself.  Maybe, my eyes no longer need

 

sight to see. My fingers know

the keys well enough now I don’t have

 

to ever look at the blinding white of the stark:

that blank emptiness.  I unpack in silence.  My head

 

bowed, almost in shame of not wanting to tire

my eyes again.  Wearied by the knowledge I have

 

chosen to use them for. Knowing too much

is a thing which is the thing plaguing my eyes. My eyes

 

have seen the worst of humanity.  The arrogant, ignorant

faces of wealth and power.  It’s true I met DeKlerk.

 

I wiped my hand on my pant leg as fast as I let go

of his weak grip.