where was Jane?

one of the first Tarzan’s was staying at the Movieland Hospital
he’d been there for years waiting to die
and he ran in and out of the wards
into the cafeteria and out into the yard and he’d yell,
“HEY, I’M TARZAN!”
he never gave his special call as he did in the movies, it was just,
“HEY, I’M TARZAN!”
but everybody accepted him like that:   the old actors, the old directors,
the old script writers, the old cameramen, the old prop men, stunt men,
actresses and all those sundry–
waiting to die, they accepted him
like that, he was funny, he took them back to when they were active
in the business.

then somebody in authority decided that Tarzan was insane and
one day he was shipped off to a mental institution.
Tarzan vanished as if eaten by   a
lion
but it didn’t last:   the patients instituted legal procedures to
get him back.   but
this took some months.

and when Tarzan came back he no longer rang all about   the place
proclaiming who he was.
he just sat in his room as if he had
forgotten
and the other patients missed
the glamour, the madness, the verve, and
they too felt as if they were
less,
they   complained about the change in Tarzan:
doped, drugged, de-balled,
and they felt he was going to die soon
and soon he did
and then he was back in the jungle
giving a    yell nobody could
hear,
there were some small notices in the
newspapers
and the paint chipped off the hospital
walls,
some plants died, there was a
suicide,
a steadying lack of grace and
nerve,
a giant moiling sadness:
it wasn’t death they objected to,
it was the simpering willful actions of the
living,
the waste of the only
chance
but they knew
sitting in their rooms
that it just wasn’t in the hospital,
and as silly as all those Tarzan films had been
and all the new Tarzan films to
follow
all that had been better than
this,
beat it right on down,
no contest,
why didn’t most of the living
begin
to?

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