Radgieland
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Radgieland

Listen.
Listen now.
The bells are monotonous yet rhythmic.
One peel for every million of his heartbeats.
Then comes the dreadful silence.

Listen now.
Listen to the glossy resume,
The edited highlights of his life,
Cryptic lines polished by a perfect priest.
Consider the space between those lines,
The wasted space around every step.
Tell me, did he succeed or did he fall short?
Did he work hard or was it all too easy?
Did he stand out or stand well back?
Did he clean-up or was he cleaned out?
Did he cry out, or did he just cry?
He never did say.

And is it enough to be well thought of,
No trouble, better still A fine man?
Are these good grades, in an
Education, education, education existence?
Can we state ‘Sadly Missed’
On his final certificate
And still let him pass,
Gracefully?

Listen.
Listen now.
To her tales of bigger and better,
Adding value to her liquid crystal digital life.
Then comes the awkward silence.

Listen now.
Who is really in there?
Past the viscous mask of tans and highlights.
Peel away a corner of that brave face
And peep warily inside the broken edge,
Try to glimpse the writhing innards.
Do the sinews scream from the abyss?
Do roughhewn thoughts crave their freedom?
Does a captive heart tap hopelessly on the pipes?
Does love get finely shredded for safety’s sake?
Does the lid ever lift or is it jammed tight?
She never does say.

And what happens once this seal is broken?
Will her spirit flourish in the open air?
Or wither outside of its hermetic safehouse?
How long before any original thoughts are ciphered
And cynically shot down, over a brooding sea
Of surveillance and spin?
So, is she ahead of the race?
Or just cleverly controlled,
Ringed?

Listen.
Listen now.
The town’s regular pulse begins to slow.
Precious light migrates and leaves its corners cold.
Then comes the eerie silence.

Listen now.
Sounds shrink back, in shadowland.
Because the moon plays by different rules.
It has no regard for shiny shrubby streets.
So it drains them right down to the mud.
Then pours in its own familiars, the Old Ghosts.
Do we look up to them, or look right through them?
Are we made in their mould, or made in heaven?
Do we draw on their wisdom, or erase their memory?
Do we hold them up, or do they hold us back?
Do we stand on their shoulders, or trample their faces? 
We never will say.

And will you walk this monochrome land?
Or will your streets be paved in gold?
And if you find the currency is love,
What good will gold be?
Old Ghosts know a thing or two,
They have been down all these roads
Ask them what they count on,
Gold or love,
Which?

Now the morning sun spills into Radgieland,
Everything shimmers as though new.
Notice, it is not polish but patina,
A precious lustre gold can’t buy.
Remember, love’s roots go so deep,
That it hides with us underground
And lifts the spirits eternally,
Forever and ever,
Amen?

Barry Hall (From: A Radgie History of Jarra)