Flyleaf for the Zooey Glass

I'll give instructions on how to be underachieving – or unexpectedly ordinary.
On how to disappoint the irrational, quixotic dreamer you (or I) once occupied back in the day when we would occasionally unravel some of the cinching metal coils banded about our chests.
That pressure –

– all that sharp alloyed threat, that was our perfectionism and our elitism.
Yours were platinum and mine were copper.
(Always I felt rusty, like my value was oxidized and eroded with every tightly bound breath.
Not to mention – even back then, my properties were sub-adequate to yours).

What I meant to say is that we are not smart anymore.
Not intelligentsia. Not eidetic.
Not mercurial or precocious – we've accidentally grown into our normal.
Not prodigies, but prodigal maybe.

I am giving you a ghost for Memorial Day, and a one-two-three instructional booklet
on how to be Other than yourself (sans existentialists' Other subjectivity,
sans the transcendentalists' belief in the Other almighty oversoul, germinating divinity,
sans the symbolists' belief in paddling through murky Other signifiers).

I mean the Other you that's half-shell and half-paroxysm,
by which I mean the deceased half that is escorted about gaily
in chain-link arms with the other half,
but I did not mean to alarm you.

This here is a sometimes reality built on dusty cloaked bookshelves:
an empty plate, a parched white wishbone, and a translucent shell.
Say these objects all walk into a bar together and reality would have to become
the first shared joke of every right-brained hooligan like me (or us).

They made the mistake of telling me I could be somebody.
Sitting up straight in a cold dawn, shirt damp from too much human sorrow and lapsed memory,
the somebody I could be is nobody I could recognize without taking down
the many shelves and paraphernalia of brain fodder and title pages.

Sans yourself,
Samsara, Zooey (or…)
Don't be the pilgrim.
Tell everybody else the joke and don't forget to come back afterwards.