I used to have a straight path to the kind
of simple happiness one can only find
in the most pernicious form of amber-coated nostalgia.
Faded memories of daydreams are all they are.
They persist like hard-dying parasites
living just beneath almost-faded scars
until they stir and drive one to scratching.
Then the membrane tears open.
The subjunctive pus of Maybe comes
oozing out in creeps of nauseating regret
with an asynchronous undertone of
You fucking wretch. Why
couldn’t you have waited just
a year or two more?
I’m walking down some long-forgotten corridor
when I’m confronted by that tapestry
of Love Thy Father and Honor Thy Mother
and my balance tips so close to the spilling point
that I get left adrift in a brackish ocean.
Caul or not I’m drowning fast.
Gravity’s no friend of mine.
The brine etches away my defenses.
Bravado and Nonchalance go the way
of so much flotsam, and I am naked
at the bottom of the world.
This kind of fallout
makes Hiroshima look like
Dresden in February.
I’m praying to phoenix myself into
oblivion but the sun’s too far away to reignite
and my green-glowing radar will not stop picking up
those past-tense blips at seven and thirteen –
at everything before twenty-one.
Dark thoughts are riding the impulse wave.
My only solace is tintype fairytales
worn thin by too much scrutiny
and too little sun kissed faith
that used to play innocent inside
the green plastic turtles of summertime.
I swear to God
I used to have a suntan.
Don’t know where it went.
Wilkommen to the gutmechanic clockwork
of my psyche. We have postcards,
but no umbrellas, I’m afraid,
and it’s due to start raining ten minutes ago
so I really must insist that you stay
seated at all times with your arms and hands
tied up with outside engagements.
On your left, you will see the sobbing reaction
to the Fear of the Factory-Forged Hand.
To the right we have the
Surfboard Daddy in chlorinated disinfection
scuttling crabwise to the metronome
of Lost Chances and Empty Promises.
Oh, there’s the rain.
The Crow says it
can’t rain all the time. But I’ve
found that it damn well tries.
Nevertheless, it’s not fair to blame the pot
when the kettle is screaming for attention
with a frostbitten checkbook.
But wasn’t she always there with a gingerbread stand-in
to dull the absence? Something called stable.
Something called something answered.
Gone, gone all away and nothing here will
make it stay. Not tears or tears or screams or
fears or rants on infidelity.
But I’m a big boy now with bills, and bad credit,
and deadlines and an ex-wife
and there’s no reason we can’t just smile,
can’t pretend that his new woman’s voice doesn’t
scrape your spine with the sandpaper tongue
of a cat chewing on tinfoil. Enemies are for boys.
Real men lose contact and mire in denial.
Yeah, I’m a big boy.
Gonna bottle it up and
give myself cancer.
But in my wanderings of the valves and
ventricles of the world I’ve found all manner
of rare sprites and flowers – but just one cat with wings
that’s more of a bat who fluttermauses her
way around ye olde attic of my
hypersomniac’s brain, swiping away the
cobwebs, playing the part of tourniquet
to stop those rivers of time depositing the alluvium
that likes to clog my pores
with chivalric nonsense and tongue-biting.
With Erotic precision
she cuts through
those guilt-filled corpuscles.
She can evacuate the rich creamery sebum
that would otherwise have blocked off any
passages of comprehension. But to
slough away those solecisms she’s all
Ludovico’d Alex tolchoked into a starry soomka,
Bog as my witness.
No, to get real horrorshow you can’t use
babysoft kisses and pillowtalk.
These tattoos need the kind of pumice
you can only glean from letters from ex-girlfriends
and the cold shoulders of feminists who
can open the door just fine by themselves, thanks.
Yeah, last year, back before the spiders came in
and took over, I learned how to make a basilisk blink.
My chrysalis cracked
and showed me
a new tomorrowland.
See, the hermit’s life just wasn’t for me.
Too much dissolved coagulation.
Sebastian lied. It’s not that great living
at the bottom of the sea.
So I’ve just gotta float.
Float on. Float on and up,
even if I’ve gotta share company
with all the other shit that’s bobbing along
in this grand failed septic tank.
I used to have a straight path to the kind