Back Into It by Damion Hamilton

This man had been a monk for years
And came back into the civilized streets
His beard was down to his knees
His eyes were wild,
His clothes very worn
And he smelled very bad
And he staggered as he walked
But he went off into the woods to think during
Those years, but he became curious about everyone
So he went back into it
When he approached the city, he was in
A stupor, with all the cars, and the people and the noise
And the smells which came from the city,
He remembered cars before he went away,
But when he came back—the cars seemed strange and
Dangerous to him
Then he noticed the clothes people were wearing,
And it all seemed so strange, and the hair styles,
He was startled, by how alike everyone seemed,
For when he was in the jungle, he had time to style
His own hair, and make his own clothes
The faces of the people seemed nervous and anxious
And cruel, and the way the building were made
Seemed horrible, like a womb upon the earth
The people moved fast, and the cars moved fast, or
If they were not moving fast, the faces and the bodies
Seemed lost, or out of place, and crippled
He remembered those days, were he would stare
At his thumb or foot, for hours,
And the thoughts and feelings this awakened in him
He saw the people moving, and one could see that they
Did not have the time to think or feel, things must be done
And there was little thought or feeling from generation to
Generation, and people would only knew what their parents knew,
If they learned that much, progress didn’t seem to be very much,
To him in the city
He walked along the various streets and whenever
He saw a cluster of crowds, he saw people talking
On portable phones, he wondered what
Could everyone be talking about, probably
Nothing too deep, things moved so fast
In the city
Then a policeman approached him, and he talked
Very fast, and he saw him wandering around for hours
And asked him for his ID, but he didn’t have any,
So they put him in handcuffs, and took him to jail,
Then remembered why he left the city
He waited for hours in jail, and the wait was
Horrible, then he thought that they might
Keep him in those walls forever, and this seemed
Too grotesque to him, and he had forgotten how
To tell time, and when you can’t tell time,
What’s the difference between an hour and eternity?
So he began banging his head on the wall to kill himself,
And this is the horror of jails
When the head doctors came in, they asked him his name
And about his personal history, asked was he depressed
Or anxious, and then gave various pills, then they wanted
To know why he was away for so long, after all civilization
Is so advanced and people were living longer, and we had the
Highest standard of living, and one will never get bored with
All the entertainment that we have: the movies, television, stereos,
The Internet, cars, baseball, football games, why would anyone
Want to leave all of this?
He told them about why he left and he told them about
How when the police officer had him in the back of the car,
How when they were driving along the neighborhoods,
With all the little houses, lawns and roads, and how every
Street looked the same, and how the walls cut people off
From each other, and how the long dull tasks one had to do
For years to own them, taxes that one had to pay, the envy
Which came from one’s neighbors, the gossip, rumors of war,
Schools, work and leisure
It all seemed too much for him
He began to weep, and told them, that he just wanted to go back
In the wilderness, were he was free to do what he wanted,
And couldn’t hurt anyone, and spend his days the way he wanted
To spend them, without any obligations to fulfill
They all looked at him very solemnly: a head doctor, a policeman,
A nurse, a social worker
They knew they would have to take him to the mental ward

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