The Vial

Photo by Angela Marie Henriette

Come into my laboratory
where I toil over
a bunsen burner,
pearled beads of sweat
on my forehead

You’ll find me
in a white coat and goggles
the Mary Shelley of my time
venturing into the dark
when all is lost

I hover at the abyss:
a witch, a mad scientist,
a soul doctor
risking addiction
for self-knowledge

I’ll not stay to witness
the despots, the zealots,
the hopeless and the lost
destroy good men
and the defenceless


I’d sooner use science
as a release from
the gloom of our time
invent an opiate,
a shady tool

A substance to emulate
what men cannot
see for themselves
all they have forgotten
and lost

I’d remind men
of hope and pleasures,
bottled impetus
to emerge renewed
from melancholia

In our natural state
we are neither beasts
nor charlatans, nor villains
bent on maiming each other
to get ahead

dive into this vial
created just for you
Spend a day in
happy imprisonment

The cocktail will taste
of cherries and pumpkin –
all your favourite things –
Swim in the memories
you hold most dear

Let the flavour
fizz then mellow
on your tongue
until your belly warms
and you remember

Who you are, and
who you could still be,
if only you were a being
filled with hope
not doubled over with fear

Stay within
the glass confines
transported far away
entranced by
this magic blend

your mother’s teat
childhood friendships
past victories
and sexual love

a future that
is not yet written
where men remain
as pure as children

But when you are sated
breathe in reality
take a litmus test
of the toxicity you find
and be ready

To fight with spirit
like Venus reborn
in surety that
life does not have to be
Hell on earth

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