The Blunt Edge of Reason

States of Mind III by Umberto Boccioni

States of Mind III by Umberto Boccioni
States of Mind III: Those Who Stay by Boccioni
I found my soul, not in
A church,
But in the hallowed secular space of
A waiting room.
The pews faced the altars of
Glass-fronted counters
And I patiently waited for a priestly clerk to
Take my confession.
There, upon the bench of steel and circular holes,
Purgatory dawned,
And cast my shadow sharp and fresh.
I read again
My singular square of scripture,
Numbered 513.
A brief sermon interrupted, and contradicted, ordered
Red LED revelations
And ordained my place as half a century
From service.
Giving my dearest jewel, of finite duration,
I meditated
Upon my gift, to our new God,
Our government,
That demands not love or affection but only ritual obedience, as to
An adopted father.
My internal dialogue drifted, prayers not expecting to be answered,
And dreads rising.
My faith sure tested that I was witness to good,
And not evil,
I reformed myself, proclaimed myself, and surveyed
My mother nature.
It had long since run away, on open plain, in joyous flight, in preference
To bloody fight.
But my corporal coffin remained, resigned, unmoved and unregarded,
Inexorably decaying.
In broad expanse, my mind revisited
Forms of paradise,
And found them populated by philosophers and scientists,
Poets and composers.
On those unbounded frontiers, I sought sanctuary under
Wide open skies.
But even there I spied the ultimate limit of perception,
The horizon,
Which is only surpassed by motion and never by idle contemplation.
And I sat,
And my number was still not called,
And I waited,
For meagre validation that I live, that I am.
Freedom eludes,
Within the unseen scrutiny of the prison of fellow men,
Inmates of unconsciousness,
Not woken by eyelid’s light, but by identity’s doubt.
Resolved to dissipate
My incarceration, my spirit spoke with itself.
It rejected
The illusions printed upon its rational veil.
Pinning manifestos
Of imagination upon the heavy door of earthly convention as I threw it open,
I denied all,
But my own being, and the sovereign divine of
My own creation.


  1. Eric, a fine poem. One imagines it was composed in the waiting room of some infernal government office.

    Any free-thinking and iconoclastic mind rebels against the silliness of the many rules society imposes on us. Ralph Waldo Emerson, a 19th century American poet and philosopher, certainly had such a mind. And I think his poem below echoes your own attempt to break free from the shackles of convention.

    Ruby wine is drunk by knaves,
    Sugar spends to fatten slaves,
    Rose and vine-leaf deck buffoons;
    Thunderclouds are Jove\’s festoons,
    Drooping oft in wreaths of dread
    Lightning-knotted round his head;
    The hero is not fed on sweets,
    Daily his own heart he eats;
    Chambers of the great are jails,
    And head-winds right for royal sails.

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  2. @ Dan,

    “One imagines it was composed in the waiting room of some infernal government office.”


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