And suddenly he found himself asleep at the bottom of a vast and swirling ocean, lured by golden lights to the sunken island city of Southern Catatonia
amidst a thousand weary wanderers searching dreams of membership and ownership and starlit starry-eyed love,
who roamed the darkened streets like wayward soldiers, looking for the enemies they could not find and killed themselves instead,
and tilted back glass bottles with their pretty and iconic labels, fending off the cold with hollow heat,
and tempered the fluidic flame left in their hearts with long unsavory drags from hand-rolled cigarettes of dull euphoria,
and in their faded minds saw stunning visions of the Brooklyn bridge and the glassy river bathed in angelic night,
who stood with him in Icahn’s Palace anonymous in crowds of thousands, slaves to the everything of stage as electrified sound and light washed over them,
and so enticed were they that they removed their very shirts and rubbed the cottony softness, such unearthly softness, against their faces as they fell into the ecstasy of it,
who sat in swamps on airport terminal sofas and talked about last weekend’s party and pussy and liquor and the polarity of it all,
and then jetted off to the Bahamas Aspen Paris as they lamented the plight of the oppressed and dispossessed like some Brotherhood donor dreaming of political salvation,
who spent their Sunday afternoons mingling with clouds in sheets of lazy smoke and listening to the rhythmic throbbing of a new millennium,
and chewed down toadstools in Central Park, the Great Green Rectangle, feeling their minds erupt into the chromatic galaxy woven into the celestial fibers of a sunny afternoon,
who pulled their triggers, their own triggers! brave soldiers that they were, heads hung low over the toilets of bathroom stalls and guest bathrooms and sidewalks and on the city streets,
and reminisced with wide grins about Union Square and falling victim to the capitalist plot to sell the adolescent drunk and high with colorful labels, sweet flavors and loko marketing,
and stood across from each other at kitchen tables with ping-pong balls and solo cups and innocently sought to create a more perfect union between man and alcohol and revelry and chauvinism,
who fucked in libraries and bathrooms and the non-denominational houses of God and found the Holy Trinity in climax only to be shunned for it,
who stayed up getting high and paying homage to the screen-almighty while their inner voice of reason told them they should be working on their English papers but whose other inner voice of nihilistic instant gratification decided that it should not be so,
and who into the trinity of alcohol and fire and ash fell swiftly, flung from skyscrapers of privilege and insomnia and intellect,
who by fate or conspiracy or pure dumb luck inherited the 21st century and scattered their brains like railway vagrants nonetheless,
and who with wounded minds plunged deep into the tip of Southern Catatonia with their closest and most distant friends, building an illusion of security and comfort beneath the starless blanket,
but screamed anyway through silent eyes, alone and unseen despite the crowd, and then ran from the towers into the night and hurled their voices with furious hysteria at the sneering silver face of the Night Mother, howling:
Is this not what you wanted?
Is it not enough you chose my face now also must you steal my voice!?
But the moon could merely gaze back across the murky violet sky.
Oh Great Progeny of they who prayed to screen almighty and the winking pyramid almighty and the dread God Moloch, all almighty,
and collected great green rectangles almighty and purchased windows in the sky which framed the Great Green Rectangle almighty and thus themselves became almighty,
and when the sun sank low over sullen Catatonia watched rivers of flame flow by far below in the Valley of the Shadow of Death almighty, a million tongues of red and yellow flame licking forth from the searching eyes of a million metal automobiles almighty,
who kneeled before the cross, the Model T almighty, and in their hubris thought themselves almighty, only to discover that only dust can be almighty in the eyes of time.
Who in their hearts kept sterling entity of peace, kindness, love almighty, and guided sleepers back to wake, rescue from the fantasy of swimming Catatonia, the angels of blue dreams.
Who in the end, see even Catatonia must end, and then awaken.
Daniel Carlon, Age 18, Grade 12, Trinity School, Gold Key