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Mood Elevator

Dreamed 1982/5/12, poem 2015/4/16-18
For Robyn Hitchcock, songwriter of "Man with the Lightbulb Head"


An article claims we'll all soon take
mood-elevators. O brave new pill
that hath no side effect! But then,
that fanfare's sounded each decade

like fusion and Mars (hey, and when
do I get my gravbelt?) So are the docs
right at last, or have they popped
optimist tabs again, again, again?


Two rich men took me out to dine.
Old red wine, a wide night view
Of Silicon Valley. But it's time to go.
Take the stairs, or the too-slow
elevator? "Wait" says our waiter:
"Try our fast new Mood Elevator."

It's a chain of spindle-pods like big
strung-up vertebrae beads or figs;
each can hammock just you alone
if you squinch. I try it. Disembone

on the ground floor, but my two
dates' capsules clench! They can
only rise and fall, unfree. I claw
at scaly skin. Caesarian? No flaw.

Dizzy, I blink. And now I see...
my friends stand by me, headlessly!
Brains alone are stuck in pods,
and their enwombéd heads are bulbs!

Ideas incandesce, but just two moods--
turned on, turned off. What a man pays
for radiance is Zen hollowtude
to guard that filamental blaze.

I pull with all my frail. The vertical train
clangs to halt. Snap a capsule's chain!

Gush at my knee, and my friend's light-
bulb head (bubble baby) bursts out,
bouncing once (abortive flare of hope)
then smashing as I feared. His shards fall

down the shaft. By me, his torso tall
sags, bereft. What's left? Now he'll have
to screw in a new skull, losing all
memories bound in his old dome...

No! Bulbs cup vacuum. Our souls accrue
Elsewhere. Don't despair. So much to do!
Let's free Friend Two: claw at pod stuck
virgin-shut. Managers tug & pry. No luck...

These new Mood Elevators suck.
I'll revert to stairs. Safe walk.

Strange elevator-pods on a string; sketch of a dream by Wayan. Click to enlarge.

My two friends have lightbulb heads: sketch of a dream by Wayan. Click to enlarge

I free my friend's head stuck in an elevator, but it shatters on the floor.  Sketch of a dream by Wayan. Click to enlarge.

NOTES, 2015

  1. I AM leery of elevators, especially the slow horribles in hospitals. All them zombie coughers. I climb stairs; the staff all do. Good exercise, and faster too.

  2. It was 1982, so their lightbulb heads were Edison incandescents--glass bulb, vacuum, hot tungsten filament. Bright, but 100 watts each! Energy pigs...

  3. The dream's warning was serious. For years my doctor dismissed relentless gut-pain as "stress"--eventually shunted me to a psychiatrist who said "You're depressed!" and wouldn't consider allergy or infection until I took mood elevators. I did; the pain went on. Rather than revise his hypothesis, the shrink accused me! Either I lied about taking the drug, or I took it, it worked, but I denied the cure! "You're unwilling to make changes that would help you... Only you can help you."

    Picture your oncologist saying this, after his first drug fails to slow the tumor. Thus medicine dumped me.

    I'd been allergy-tested and told I wasn't gluten-sensitive, but just to be sure, I quit eating wheat oats and barley for a week. The pain stopped. Ate them again. Pain. Quit for good, the pain went away. For good.

    Too bad doctors haven't.

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