Phineas Gage was a working stiff who nonetheless
took great pride in his job, which was blowing things to Kingdom Come.
He reached age twenty-five, never having been depressed
or observably outre, but Poetry made a sudden entrance the day he forgot to run.
A mountain might be said to be the ultimate conservative,
a geological accountant or engineer, set in its strata, posture, and ways.
Along came Phineas with his Magic Wand, keen to make the Earth move,
but the Mountain objected and sent the steel phallus back through swain Gage.
"He's dead!" cried his crew aghast, but his vision was sharpened
by the implement through his eye, introduced to his mind in an instant.
Phineas sat up as if nothing were wrong and calmly opined
that he might need a physician for the crowbar suddenly extant.
He died but only to who he had been before, well-respected,
industrious and measured. Over the weeks he spit bits of brain
onto foolscap as a sort of carmine ink and thus were his first poems invented.
Phineas found he could make them rhyme, sing, moan and rain.
Imagine now Phineas, drunk as an Irish pickpocket, grabbing at ladies
and spouting the most remarkable obscenities. Imagine him in the full vigor
of creative expression, novel thought, unfettered here-ness and the rabies
of Instant Genius blasting from every pore as if dynamited higher, bigger.
For a time, Phineas exalted, Phineas in bloom, Phineas transformed!
Then, through doctor's care and Normalcy's constant soporific embrace,
Phineas drifted from shining masterpiece to haiku to erasure poems
and became redacted from himself, dependable again, decorous, quite sane.
Notes: Phineas Gage was a railroad worker who loaded charges into rock faces where rail lines were to be built. He packed the charges well into the rock with a custom-made crowbar of which he was quite proud. One day the dynamite went off prematurely and sent the crowbar through his skull. Miraculously, he survived and was even sitting up calmly afterward, asking to be taken to a doctor. After a long and sometimes gruesome recovery, Phineas' personality is said to have changed dramatically, though he eventually returned to a more typical state. I have taken the liberty of making him a poet. A satori is a sudden awakening.