“Instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle.”
― Benjamin Franklin
The colonies remember you, child, digging in their dirt; searching for ideas to print. Each letter was huddled under the roots of a winter tree, waiting for you to find them and understand them and believe in their weight: fifteen and a half grams of pure possibility. You could not see them yet, vision child. The senses of existence overtook imagination until it began to take shape for you.
Begin to see plainly, brightly, with the technology of laser-fast correction. The glass window is no longer necessary to keep out the fuzzy darkness. All that was left in the hay field was one boy standing with wire rimmed glasses hanging, like a frozen handkerchief, from one grimy hand.
Out of one hand come the visions of many; a declaration of freedom, a forecast of crops, a discovery to formulate the new world. Benjamin Franklin, I hope you know how much your fountain pen was worth. If you hadn’t flourished under the blockade of print, where would I be? In darkness of oppression, darkness of dependence on waxy lard and string, or darkness of failing eyes, the darkness comes in, the darkness, darkness.
Darkness is lighter when it is shared. Did you extend your darkness to your neighbors, Benjamin Franklin? It was February when you showed me how to be a child again. I thought you weighed the kite down with the keys of knowledge, but you untied them (just for me.) I flew with you, up into the atmosphere of hypoxic clouded judgments. You owned this kite for now, as you owned your mind; you gave it away soon enough, as you gave away ideas. What use is a plan for the future if the only way to see it is through your grimy spectacles? Stop and ponder with me, making the kite wait impatiently as it strains toward the British lantern’s silent warning.
Warning: red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Sailing in the fields of corn, there was a masque of innovation. Politics and science don’t mix- too many brains around to be without one.
Without a vision except the one I hold in my hands, I’d rather be there, looking up at the lifelines caressing my palms. Ben Franklin, in the photo of us together, I am curled loosely at your feet. I am now a child yet again, and you are now the teacher. Telling me wind fantasies of British invasions of the mind and harnessing lighting with nothing but a key. Your truth is in your stories.
Story after story of buildings filled with oculists. They see our vision and try to fix it. Put our sights into tiny numbers printed, like the almanac, in the colonies. They bought me glasses “to mend you,” they said. I was already mended though: the glass merely made it permanent. I am etched into plaster, “the benefits of a life full of clarity.”
Full of clarity are the windows of formless vision. You are waiting for another child to see the world as you did: shaping the clouds with the bubbling innocence of their mind. Looking at the burning perspective, he sees a rabbit, while you see the spirit of America; breathing out its form until the next wind of experience (time) comes along.
A time came along when the best advice was to move west. Benjamin Franklin don’t you know it’s true? Mapmaking is no longer a viable profession as west has become east. The world is a circle! Don’t waste the square paper.
The newspaper took the colonies by storm. There was more to your writing than words; it was a new age of visual ideas, explosions in their very purist form. I understand the political cartoon now, you drawing carefully, hoping to unite the nations with a snake. It makes sense when superstitions are involved. Unity is based on a lie of bringing venom back to life. Unite or Die. You were already dead.
Death speaks of another vision does it not? A vision not even you, Benjamin Franklin could unfold. Could you map out the forests and roadways of the afterlife? How can you say a pen is mightier than gunpowder in this day? How can you see a vision when you yourself have no eyes left?
Left and right, look left again and cross the faded asphalt one last time, hurry with your head down, the cobblestone waltz towards the past. Books are the only thing you have left now Benjamin Franklin. Write your own autobiography, lest someone else steal the last ideas made up of your own life.
Life tricks you with grandeur Benjamin Franklin. Leave the French, stay with untamed land.
Landing softly in the pages of a dictionary, I chose my own dead cutout of you, Benjamin Franklin. I see how you lived. I feel your need to see the world through as many perspectives as you can before you waste away, paper-thin, crumpled in the bed-sheets of time. My story came along, but yours came first, warning us of the darkness within the words. Your hands held more power than you will ever know because, without you, there would be no vision left… right? Sleep now, Benjamin Franklin; your bifocals have preserved enough for one day.