वह रिटर्न (He Returns)

He was caught, tried and judged,
But his reputation made execution too dangerous,
Too obviously expedient.
So instead, he was rewarded,
His very essence transmitted
And transmuted
into the planet’s belt of celestial radiation.

For a time, he knew peace,
Bathed by the clean, weak light of stars
Surrounded by their soft shushings,
Freed from worldly concerns.

But then, what of those he’d left behind,
Purpose unfulfilled, and without him,
Without hope?
They aimed their great metal lotus at the sky,
And employed the Universal Fire to call him.

Uncomfortable tugging.
The very idea of comfort, or discomfort, unusual.
The very idea of idea, unusual.
Attention, so long unfocused,
Dulled by the bliss of entropic dissipation,

“No,” he thinks. But it does not matter.
In this state, the fires of which he was once master
Are too powerful.
He is drained from the great elemental cloud
And falls like light into the lotus,
Into the great machine
And back into mortality.

Eyes open to see a man in red, and a monkey.
“He returns!” says the monkey.
The man in red smiles his deadly smile,
And says,
“Welcome back, old friend.”

In the dim light, in the deep of the well
At the end of the world,
A single demon, flame of light,
Long standing guard,
Shivers, and wonders why.

10 February 2011, San Bernadino

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