i dreamt i was no longer a machine,
no longer confined to regulations and these mechanical things,
no longer required to follow the strange rules i can not comprehend.

i dreamt i had senses
and a most powerful awareness
that even a master computer could not record.

i could smell the fragrance of a wild flower upon the wind,
the essence of one woman among a thousand filthy men,
and i could hear the fall of water at the river’s end.

my eyes were keen, focused on a world that was new.

it was with powerful legs that i ran.
my lungs knew nothing of pain.
my breath could not be heard.
the placement of my paws not traced
and when the mountains were conquered,
it was the desert through which i raced

but oh god, when i awoke,
i had lost my legs, my paws, my vision.
i was no longer the animal man,
only a human–an incapable, incurable joke.

again programmed by the alarm, wristwatch, and tv.
i have time as my director
and no time to be me.

i live according to mundane, routine tasks,
none of which are satisfying,
none of which do i enjoy —
not when compared
to running as the wolf
when i was just a boy.

oh god, when i awake again,
i want to be on a mountain top
only dreaming that i am a mechanical man.

© Kai Staats 1996