My mind has burst from my head,
down to the pavement it ran,
I stand and grieve
(more of waxing philosophical I concede).
After all, one’s thoughts leave
the body it has used,
faithless as a smile, shake of a hand;
reminiscent of a withered life,
now a vacant storage lot.
I’ve stuffed in sawdust with the
faint smell of stale beer and muddy-feet;
wrapped a wool blanket around it,
moth holes the size of sparrows heads.
I dozed, tried to dream a
thousand sordid things; hard to
concentrate with flickering thunder,
gushing rain washing moonlight
down leafed filled gutters.
My sleep stretched tight across the sky,
sullied hands tried to sneak
in a prayer, but they forget the hymnal;
the words, Christ’s last supper.
I ran the revolver across my mouth,
smooth as an ancient sculpture,
bullets are round in empty chambers;
at four and five and six o’clock
the ticking, ticking of my conscience.
A spark, like a wooden blind in a
chimney-pot; memories and
desires stirring like kindling. My
thoughts were an old battered
lantern hanging aloft, now
gathering fuel for a vacant lot.
Here I am, waiting for a dream, restless in a
in a salt marsh, mosquitos with their barbs
much like cutlasses squatting on
swaddled in darkness, craving blood.
My refusal to donate a vein somehow propagates
a fear in them; have I mothered a
heroism forced upon me by an awaiting sacrifice?
I will be devoured when I sleep.
Stiffened by age like a rented grave,
I lost my beauty when my husband died;
now I’m an exiled membrane fractured in
He, an old man, was lost in the windy straits
in a swell at sea;
drowned in a silent wave, stiffed to their shroud.
The clock is whispering twelve,
seconds are spaces in the dark, sputtering
movements like dead geraniums
in clay pots.
I hesitate into a sleep, twisting like a branch,
hard and curled and ready to snap.
I muster up a prayer, slips out of my tongue,
grips my mind like smallpox.
The moon has lost its memory, its nocturnal
smell of dust.
I cross and cross like a crucifix,
reminiscent of a graveyard, church basements
and dirty old priests.
Moonlight spreads a ring on my head,
my bed is open like a coffin,
the last twist of Abraham’s knife.
I am possessed by a skull beneath
my skin, and lipless
creatures flowing through my veins;
I have bare bulbs in my
sockets for eyes-
they cling like dead limbs tightening
I have no substitute for touch, it is
ague in my skeleton,
a debilitating fever in my bones;
it scampers through
my body in its arboreal gloom.
My soul is a mortuary, rattling its scalpel
like a breakfast plate,
hungering for me to be on a
cold slab, maggots
sprouting despondently much as
with grotesque faces; the muddy
skirt of formaldehyde
hovering in the air.
My moral standards now tarnished
and swinging like rusted
gates where vultures land; their
vision askew in
reflecting dark. Lurks the grim reaper
sullen and confused,
groping for dead odors.
My nerves are shot, shuffling as
withered stumps in a
prolonged, tired life where souls are
swept under doors into
the wind. What is that noise now?