Perennial

running running
through a water path
dripping fingers of sap
in mid stride it seems
I have been put back
replanted reborn reconstituted
I fear I have lost something since
a pocket a penny a space a sense
I fall into a lonely sort of sleep
forgetfulness
a seed unseen by sin
where no anger has cut me
no monsters can awaken me

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Thanksgiving 1999

It was in the fall of the year
preceding the turn of the century
she was born
to disingenuous parents
determined to bury the future
in the past
by following the rapturous path
laid out by madmen
wielding axes and knives
dripping with the blood of indigents
unaware she was born
with a regenerative wellspring
of hope and integrity

Man of God

Upon discovering the body,
Maggie felt a spasm of shock
as if a rat had dashed
across her kitchen counter.
But, the fright was only momentary:
This was not the first
cadaver she had ever seen.

Naked and erect,
cast with a purple hue,
this particular body
hangs from a velvet rope
in a her living room.

Knowing this dead man
as an artist and self proclaimed
man of god,
Maggie instantly sees
the marriage of his two passions
on display in his final pose.

As if to mock the living
or tease his maker in waiting,
the dead died
with a smile on his face,
eyes wide open,
his grin exposing
the crow’s feet around
his bitter blue eyes.

In the putrid still air
the body rotates
ever so slightly
as the ceiling fan
from which the rope was tied
inches around counterclockwise.

Maggie stands in a trance
before the dangling body
not batting an eye
(death always puts her
in a meditative state).
This is until a harsh light pierces
through the window blinds,
splitting the darkness.

Holding a hand up,
fingers spread,
as if levitating the dead man
in suspension,
her fingers align
with the shadows
cast by the light passing
through his vacant eyes.

With a tentative grasp on reality,
Maggie fancies herself
a hard boiled film noir detective,
smoking unfiltered cigarettes,
dramatically inhaling
between bits of inner dialogue,
exhaling lungs of romantic dementia
into the atmosphere.

In remembering their first conversation
she recalls the dead man’s piousness
regarding her psychological issues
and the judgement she felt,
which she resented further
as his psycho sexual proclivities unfurled.

She says out loud
to the slow ticking clock of a corpse:
“Ascend or descend, which shall it be?”

It is then that Maggie ever so slightly
pushes him with her index finger,
he turns,
facing away from her,
she sees written in bright red lipstick
across the dead man’s bloated back:
“I’ve come”

To be continued…

Long Lost

A long exhaustive breath of wind kisses leaves as chimes on limbs, cold air sneaks up our sleeves, the skin tingles. My friend and I walk together occasionally glancing at one another for reassurance that the other is really there. As if flicking a switch on and off, the forest flashes from deep illumination to blind darkness. We come upon a bridge. Standing dead center of the bridge, the shadowy figure of a man. It is impossible to make out any characteristics other than the fact that this figure is enormous. My friend and I stand frozen with fear, staring at the intimidating silhouette. Without saying a word, without thinking, we run below the bridge. Out of breath, head spinning, I lean against the bridge suspension, eyes toward the embankment. I turn to ask my friend where we go from here, only to find my friend is not with me. Panicked, I look below the bridge, up and around the periphery. I inch my way up the embankment. As my eyes gradually rise to the surface of the bridge, I see nothing. No friend. No mysterious figure. I run and run, through the forest, yelling for my friend until I’m out of breath. Lost, confused, and desperately alone, I find myself standing before an enormous abyss. I look down into the blackness. My eyes struggle to focus standing atop the split earth.

Though I wish to tell you about my friend, in the end, faces, traits, personalities become transient: those you become attracted to, those you become attached to, those you become close to, be it 5 months, 5 years or 50, all become ghosts, as I am a ghost in the lives of others.

Down, down, down, my eyes follow the precipice covered in vines, moss, dead leaves, and mud, to a violently roaring river. All the sounds of the night and the forest fall away to the white noise of rushing water echoing in my ears. After momentarily sheltering myself behind my eyelids, I open my eyes to see across the water, on the far shore, my friend running at an inhuman speed. My body involuntarily spasms. I shift my weight as if I might leap across the chasm. But, just as my spirit rises and my mouth opens to call out to my friend, I see The Figure chasing close behind. A blanket of fear and impotence envelops me. I stand paralyzed. I close my eyes again in hopes that maybe this time I will awaken or somehow my consciousness will shift away from whatever terror I am harboring and a revelatory vision will change everything. But, upon opening my eyes, I see only the far shore, covered in vines, moss, dead leaves, and mud. Melancholy, I lower my eyes to the roaring waters. My eyes tick along the rapids, frame by frame, a camera shooting a slow motion dissolve: the lifeless body of my friend is being carried upon the shoulders of the river. I sob uncontrollably, knowing I’ll never see my friend again.

The Aftermath

In your absence,
the soil spawned
vegetation and flowers
of unknown origin.
In your absence,
the clocks turned back,
and mirrors reflected
a tattooed virgin.
In your absence,
I purged my past
through bitter bombast,
and came home
to find broken glass,
splintered wood, remnants
of a storm damaged house.
In your absence,
I learned I was indestructible.