With madmen I’ve shared space:
some as tight as a matchbox, others
as roomy as Sir Henry’s great hall,
and as lavish as his conservatory.
With madmen masked and madmen exposed,
I’ve shared feather beds and hardwood floors,
sometimes for minutes, sometimes whole nights.
With madmen born rich and madmen born poor,
I’ve entered great cities and escaped the lowly,
since I, too, overflow with a sense of adventure,
and undertake what others call perilous journeys.
Some madmen have walked close behind me; while
some sat and brushed up against me, the
estrangement of a wide aisle unavailable to us;
But few raise the fine hairs up off my neck
or send a shiver down my spine, although,
Genius or doofus, madmen threaten
those who believe themselves otherwise.
With madmen in line at the bus stop, or
on bridges that span mile-wide straits,
With madmen in high offices or on roadsides,
With madmen under naves spartan or ornate,
who might not shriek and lock up with fear?
Nonetheless hear our footfalls harmonize on the ground.
Close your eyes and listen. Do you discern sane from insane?
The angels don’t, neither do they discern sanity in our chorus,
Nor does the great father who calls sane before insane,
So how much wiser can the guardians of a nation be?
Watch, for they are more likely to mix us up, and
they reportedly think we would cower and quiet wait
while madness takes the vulnerable to reality’s edge, and over.