Cures for neuroses
The flowering buds on the bush
by the door were meant to be plucked
whenever he passed the languid gardener
squatting and watching the days go by.
Every day he plucked a bud
like an automatic prayer
while the languid gardener
waited to get paid.
People asked him why
and laughed heartily
when he said it was a precaution.
Some wanted to know
what power there is
in a bud that wouldn’t grow,
except old and withered
and a source for wonder
come time to press his pants,
while others called it a sickness
in the mind of a scared chameleon
who sees himself and shudders
because the world has no heart
to respond to his changing feelings.
One grave old sage cured him
of recurring fantasies of happiness;
another made him understand
that when he cowered in a corner
it was because of a fear without
foundation and a dreadful curse;
while still another pondered awhile
before saying he was not graffiti
trying to scale a wall growing taller —
All the while he went to pieces
and dissolved, while his eyes
rolled downhill and stayed there,
and his hands became claws
under a skin shriveled
on a parallel with his ego —
Rid of nerves jangling like a chord
of a banjo bothered by feelings
of all kinds all the while.
Witnesses of the change wondered
at the loving-kindness of a man
who had once hired an unfeeling
and languid gardener to neglect
all the plants in his garden.