The bodies pass one another in these dark halls,
and on their sidewalks that go round and round
like Mobius loops to nowhere but back
to their sorry-ass rat-racing starting-line.
Dead-eyed, soul-buried, they wear false faces
that can’t even fake the blandest sincerity.
I walk among them, awake in my joy de vivre,
the contentment of new sunlight within me,
hoping to reflect into the open eyes of those
who would read the lines limning my eyes and smile,
not merely the lines on this page arrayed.
But they don’t see this, they don’t even try,
always averting their focus to the ground,
to a piece of paper, or to the nothing and nowhere
in which they hide themselves from themselves.
I’ve come too far to be ignored and pushed
so far to the margins I’m allegedly invisible.
I didn’t come by this smile easily…
These grinning scars, these maplines on my face,
show the path from being just another shadow.
And even if they appear a little ugly when I
remember that trip, I’d just as soon smile
into a mirror then be ignored when I’m finally Joe.