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The Laughing Monkeys of Gravity
In the World's Machine

Charles Chaplin (1889-1977)

While others obey rope and authority,
he breaks free and catches a glimpse of the harbor;
he takes his share, and more, of eyesight,
space, and liberty. He invents his part

in the scheming vaudeville of his heart,
skirts the edge, not seeing it, ignores the book
of credit and debit about to open up,
the moment of truth when the big waiter

raises his eyebrows and flexes his muscles.
But now, trapped at last in the world's machine,
all boundaries and barricades lock him in;
no conflict between dignity and desire

stirs him, no bulk of fat policemen
stops him temporarily or pack of monkeys
on a high wire makes him hesitate in midair;
he's finally down, unable to scramble.

Now love's heavy foot hits the floor,
the wagons roll, and the iris circles shut.
What sockets are there, what blindfold sight
to see with, in worlds beyond the road?