knotted hands grasping
at the sinewed cord
into a tentacle as you haul
the bucket up from the cistern,
a severed head bobbing
in the rancid water,
one eye plucked
by the hooked beak of a seabird.
drunken bell tolls
a hundred headaches,
clanging in the blood
muscles stiff, water
up to the ankles. tasks
pile up in heaps
like the salt-crusted debris
in the kitchen, stains
seeping down between
the unrepaired shingles.
through the night,
black as ink,
a blinding blade slicing
the rain apart and singing
deep within the ear, dull
as it is from the klaxon.
vise blares around your skull—
the shriek from the beach that echoes
throughout your dampest caverns,
consuming, confusing the senses—
seaweed, slime, the black rocks
slick with it, groping for a handhold.
the mind softens when trapped, isolated—
moreso in conjunction with astute manipulation.
soon there is no difference between the self,
the other, the nightmare, the fantasy.
wind gnashes its teeth
against the windowpane.
it still carries traces
of the inhuman scream that burst forth
from your mouth when
the radiance touched you,
melding with the voices
of the other departed,
their flesh having long been swallowed by the dirt.
they chorus when the wind changes,
the sudden absence of gulls
signaling the approaching storm.
Spore is an accurate simulation of the evolutionary process
earth shatters around me and I go on watching
my fragmented memories spin before my eyes like
an extra-large laundromat dryer. I call this one
the trauma cycle. it’s where the machine eats
your credit card and the centrifuge never stops spinning.
with each psychic impact I crawl further, more desperately,
away from my body, dissociation a phallic instrument
that cleaves my amygdala. fear now looks
as strange as I do; it is transformed into a cardboard cutout
of a feeling, just as my heart is now an urn filled with ash.
why ask to be lifted from this abyss—what is there
left to save. I become the martyr I have always imitated,
crucified at last. free. then the pin drops and I am
beaten back into myself, peering out from behind
the veil of madness with needles on my tongue. all this
and more just to climb out of the water