Bruce Boston


In some fantastic adventure story
inhabited by wizards and dragons,
rife with magic and daring quests,

where morality is clearly chiseled
as the New Century Linotype that 
inks the fine vellum of the page, 

it suddenly all goes roughly astray.
A fog uncurls across the landscape,
obscuring castles and candelabra,

tainting both the heroic sacrifices
and fiendish deeds you once found 
so captivating in the pure black

and white surety of their display.
The maiden fair is not so chaste
as she would wish you to believe.

The prince is puffed with his glory
and compulsive about his swordplay.
The crimes of the stepfather king

may prove less than vile once you 
know of the beatings and constant
abuse he suffered as a mere child.

Actuality has bled onto the page,
corrupting a nearly perfect world
where you could shun the humdrum

complexities that fill your day,
leaving you little to do but slam 
the book shut and hurl it away.

Yet as you turn back to take up
existence and the tasks you face,  
you discover reality has not only 

fled to the page but is now passe.
You house has changed to a castle
keep with every stone in place,

with a mortar so hard no battering
ram can dislodge its unyielding clay.
Your world has assumed the clarity 

you thought your book would convey,
and your drug-crazed teenage son is 
cast as the hero of this fairy tale.

Your carping mate is virtue incarnate.
Your cat and dog are enchanted beasts
with fire to breathe and roles to play.

And you have become the stepfather king,
splenetic with bile and poisonous rage,
wrecking vengeance on all who betray.

You scramble after that abandoned book,
seeking a draught of reality to save you
from the fantasy horrors of the everyday.

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