The hollow man

Crazed scientist — he died with a serum.

Pennies in empty sockets for a cause.

He was a stuffed man with bandages, wrapped together,
headpiece filled with gauze;
a dried, cynical voice — all around him whispered,
like cold wind in night jars.

Those who denounced him, till death do they part,
unremembered, rigamortis in Jehovah’s kingdom;
wooden crosses staved in a field — coffins nailed shut.

His eyes you did not meet, not in your sleep,
not in your dreams; he would appear to hacksaw
your broken column between dying and reality;
noose in a dead tree swinging,
more distant, more solemn; such a deliberate disguise.

He moved as darkness moved —
a shadowy image with a dead man’s hand,
trembling with an awkward hatred.

In a moment there was time, beneath the formula;
love smoothed with long fingers,
stretched for a minute, wept and lingered;
black wreathed in a window where a candle burned.

His eyes were not there behind thick glassed goggles —
in the hollow valley of a lost kingdom;
they groped together and avoided speech; sightless
unless there was hope in an empty vein.

Black ink of morning, he searched for an anecdote —
between the idea and reality;
between the motion and the act befalls
the shell of a former self;
between the conception and the creation
and the world’s response;
life is not very long;
between the desire and the spasms
and the descent to Hell; for thine is the kingdom;
tin white like arsenic and the atrocity of death.

The hollow man

48 comments on “The hollow man

  1. ❦Kara❦ says:

    Wickedly deep, Lance. I loved it. 💪🙂

  2. crazywitch25 says:

    Wonderful! I felt a hint of Poe.

  3. Scientists and physicians are hard at work by these days, Lance !

  4. The invisible man he destroyed himself through his negative creations they came back to haunt him. Does not do to play with fire.

  5. Devon Brock says:

    Happy Saturday in a world of introspection and fear, Lance. Hope you are well and not going too nuts. This piece of speaks quite well of unintended consequence, gruesome in it’s text, but applicable to many a situation. Ripples in a pond, but much more foreboding.


  6. The atmosphere you create in this is of such devastation, so richly dark and relevant to our current times. I loved these lines:

    “they groped together and avoided speech; sightless
unless there was hope in an empty vein.”

  7. allenrizzi says:

    Good and dark like my morning coffee. Loved it!

  8. It is amazing that you can draw inspiration from such difficult times, Lance. I am reminded of John Donne, always a favorite of mine. “No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.” Blessings, Anna

  9. Dear Lance, I felt shudders running down my spine at your powerful words. The man without eyes reminds me of a visit in Thailand’s Temple Khunaram. There is a mummified monk sitting there upright who has been sitting in the temple for 33 years. He also wears a pair of sunglasses without eyes behind them. He was able to foretell exactly the date of his death. As people noticed before the funeral that his body wasn’t decaying, they made a medical examination and found that he had died a natural death. Ever since they have adored him as a saint.
    Thank you for giving us such vivid descriptions. Elisa

  10. ssfrerking says:

    Oh my, this was my favorite of yours by far!

  11. Lara/Trace says:

    Oh my God, Lance. This really got me in the gut.

  12. Very deep and amazing, great work! Thank you, Lance!

  13. rabirius says:

    What a great poem. I really like it a lot.

  14. lampmagician says:

    Another great dark piece which I love most. Thank you and stay safe 🙏👍🙏

  15. I can envision a film based on this.

  16. crazywitch25 says:

    what happened to your newest poem?

  17. You build such a mood in this one..horror and capriciousness, even love makes an appearance for a line on long slender fingers. A life dedicated to scientific folly that robbed him of a body and crazed him more.. Shivery images crawl up my arm..I see him under my window at night, slink by…The imagery is like watching a short film with your mouth open…

  18. Wonderful poet.🎉👌

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