Grownups who forget how to play

are like donkeys in coal mines,

rigid beasts of burden

who don’t see the light of day.

With lackluster eyes,

they trudge along,

emotionally constipated,

more dead than alive,

somnambulist party-poopers

who don’t laugh or cry,

so far removed from human,

they can’t even sneeze or sigh.

Grownups who remember how to play

know what it mean to be alive:

they can swim or tread water,

be a flying fish or a turtle on a stone,

glow like a diamond or be dark-banded

as bituminous coal, light the darkness

like dancing fireflies, or slither

underground like nightcrawlers.

Awake or asleep? A toreador

or a bureaucrat? A cascading

wall of water or a plugged-up dam?

You can roll with laughter or grimace

at what appears to be droll.

Dance to rock and roll

or sit the set out.

A poet can hold eternity

in the palm of his hand,

soul-starved men build

roads to nowhere.

The choice is yours,

before they pull the plug.