Why paint your skin if you’re not at war,
Or push rings in your ears until you hear no more,
Or stick needles in your veins when you have no thread
And treat your life like a whore’s bed.
Why take more sleep than a newborn thing,
Or make less pace than a broken wing,
Or grow more fur than the wilderness
And smell much worse than fresh tilled earth.
Why look less lean than a whale’s insides,
Or covet wealth like a rich man’s bride,
Or throw your weight around a pole
And buy alcohol when you’re on your own.
Why smoke all day when your are refused,
Or inhale fumes that you don’t produce,
Or fan the flames of miss spent youth
And keep the memories fireproof.
Why have more things than your house can store,
Or keep a house that you can’t afford,
Or work for less than you spend each day
And sell your soul just to pave the way.
Why waste more time on the once revered,
Or listen to gods who refuse to hear,
Or talk with orders who still demand
And leave your faith in a stranger’s hand.
Why stoop to approve the largest stone,
Or stretch to catch the smallest thrown,
Or fall in the front from uncertain haste
And be lost in the middle of the longest race.
Why be stronger alone in an empty head,
Or feel weakness within your lover’s bed,
Or take up arms just to prove your point
And contest the dispute with poor elbow joints.
Why make your war with the world inside,
Or keep the peace in the great divide,
Or arrange a lens to refract the light
And replace the gift of perfect sight.
Why do nothing less than the things you must,
Or little more than protecting dust,
Or anything to participate
And awake outside the estate.