Poem Ending with my Favorite Frost Line
In the distance a freight train is moaning.
I am supposed to be naked and asleep in the arms of my angel. Instead, I am spending another night with Edvard Munch.
I listen to the water I have just swallowed, babbling as it gropes its way toward my bladder.
The furnace is humming like God. Then it clicks off, leaving me alone to wonder if stroking my beard is the right thing to do under the circumstances.
My conscience is enjoying a deep sleep through a long dark night of the soul.
I study the faces of the candidates, looking for an honest stubble, to no avail.
The sound is turned down all the way. I hesitate to use the word muted.
It is at this point that I should stop writing but don't for fear of the options.
"A snow-covered mountain at the peak of its fall colors exists in a dimly lit corner of my memory," I say aloud to no one in particular.
I try to look at a crutch with an open mind.
Suddenly I accuse myself of dressing up a life that has nowhere to go and begin slapping myself all over with a flyswatter. Extreme measures, to be sure.
It becomes my assignment to assassinate the poet within. As usual, I approach the task with excessive passion and am awarded an ersatz gold watch for my efforts.
I wield my farts like a vehicle of enlightenment at the family dinner table. I use a steak knife on formality. I bare my chest in front of the spinach and the ham. Yesterday and tomorrow are gossiping shamelessly. I wag my little finger food at them as a warning.
Finally I suggest that we scrap legislation about the flag and deal with the issue of masturbation. I call it pressing, and nobody laughs.
That's when I decide to leave the planet. With just the yellowjackets on my back.
You come too.
I shake voodoo bones
cupped in my palm
rattling like dice
My goosebumped skin
pops and flows
with drowsy sap
My tongue hammers
against the bars of my teeth
Tightrope walkers tread
the linked chain of my spine
I lie with the dead
on cold hard slabs
flinching at their muffled heartbeats
the metal castors squeak
Sleep stoppers my mouth
A flapping cloth drapes my face
I read the letters
backwards in the mirror
tie a reminder string
round the swollen knuckle
of my index finger
Heat pleats the arched backs
of the carved initials
razoring the air
Blisters of light bud
and float on the water
Fantailed fish hammer the surface
choked by the smash of stars
the press of ceiling
Their open-mouthed stare
itches my teeth
sweats my eyes
Their spangled skin
cleaves to their flesh
and will not be peeled away