If anyone ever asked you
What was the high point of your day …
You might incline your head, and say
"My days are not marked,
As normal people's are,
Deleted with coloured crosses on a calendar.

Instead my life is punctuated
By letters on a page.
I have become their prisoner.
Dry characters and plain text,
Crisply black on white paper –
Are what makes my heart beat faster."

And sometimes you wonder how you live,
Torn between two worlds.
Your heart in both places.
Do you allow the mask to slip
In the hollow emptiness of a letterless day?
Or do you just pretend and smile?

Under the white hot lead
Of your molten sky,
Now you must wait in anticipation,
Until tomorrow.
It feels dull and desert dry.
Brittle … and barren.

In this harsh place, peopled with survivors -
Faces hidden with hoods, and cloaks
Of false godliness.
You sink down.
While all the around, the ubiquitous prickly plants
Stand starkly dessicated … life sucked dry.

And when the messenger finally comes
Handing you your long-awaited paper,
The power of the words transports you
To that other distant world.
But you're not sure if it's real – or some imaginary mirage
Of verdant patchwork fields, and moody northern skies.

Soft grey mornings – and tender leaves fluttering in the breeze,
Where lakes and streams and waterfalls
Allow love and hope to flourish.
And birds are not too tired to sing.
And you drink the words in deep
Until your infernal thirst is slaked.

And what you want to know
Is how pixels on a screen -
An articulate matrix of dots -
Can turn your world upside down.
How they can dictate your every mood,
Control your smile or frown.

What arcane alchemy transforms the feelings
From paper to your anxious soul within?
Is it hard never knowing, as you scan down the page -
Vulnerable now to the thoughts of another -
Whether today, the power of the words
Will make you dance or make you weep?

"Yes, it's hard … really hard …"
You hear yourself say,
As you push back your hair.
"But I'd rather have that - that joy or that pain -
Than be lost in the infinite desert
Of the drab wordless day."