Without Poetry

A heart without a voice

May as well be a grave.

The ink hemorrhages

From my lips and ears.


my pain does not serve

But consumes

Everyone from the inside out.

I would laugh if I could

Bare the sound of it.

Amongst the nettles and stars

There are no men at all,

Only wafer-thin allegiances.

My blood hardens in my chest

Like an unfulfilled wish.

I have survived despite

My own ill chosen affinities.

I have survived with a sneer

And one eye cracked open

Like an old woman’s

Inexhaustible purse.

To whom should I assign my pain

When the burden of silence wears my nerves raw?

In each room, come a certain time,

You will find a shadow without origin,

A shadow autonomous and self-serving,

A shadow in human form

That draws closer when your legs are bare

And your principal is uncovered.

The abyss never flinches when in pursuit

and I dare not look askance for fear of collision.

Though the windows here

are too small for chance

I have opened them.

The air is nimble and the sunlight bold

Two finer companions I could not ask.

I fill three identical teacups

And arrange them in a semi-circle.

I am not asking for a miracle

Only a little warmth to dry my cheeks.

Nothing glimpsed in my nightmares

Prepared me for the mirror’s serrated edge.

There was no soul, no arabesques, no innocence

Only a scrap of burlap with the features sewn in.

Stitch by stitch I let down my smile

And laid my two button eyes in a porcelain dish.

I held my empty face over the basin,

But the water could not soften my flesh.

Should I surrender to apathy?

A ghost in a human carapace,

A rind pulled off in a single ringlet

And left to leather in the the trash.

Of what use is a mask

When it is only my own face

Doubled over on itself?

Give me another crime

For which I can atone

Otherwise I can’t guarantee coherence.

This is not my scene.

This is not my moment.

Regret is only wounded pride.

I pick the scabs as they accumulate

and let the ooze flow

According to its own currents.

The angels have all gone to sleep.

If I were to speak my truth now

No one would hear it.

The stone-faced people

Appear at each crossroads

With fingers fanned in every direction.

I sink to my knees

Pressing my forehead

Into the dust and the excrement.

They have no answers only jests.

(I have forgotten how to write poetry)