A Litany of Delusions

On that day
you will be forced
to come face to face
with your flaws,
your shortcomings,
your personal mirages.

That day will expose all the delusions
that comforted us throughout our lives;
the delusions that got us
out of bed in the morning
and inspired us to do something with our lives;
the delusions that kept us
warm and secure at night;
the delusions that gave us
our self-esteem and sustained us
through our daily struggles;
the delusions we used to solve
our existential crises
and that provided us with reasons for living;
the delusions that helped us
through our darkest hours;
the delusions that we lovingly
planted, nurtured, cared for and cherished;
the delusions we stubbornly hung on to
and that we would have
defended to our very deaths
from incursions by reality.

Every delusion
will get hunted down
and taken care of
on that day:

The delusion
that you are special and unique

The delusion
that you have singular and extraordinary talents

The delusion
that you are in possession of
deep, momentous insights into life
the rest of humanity lacks

The delusion
that you perceive fundamental truths
everyone else is blind to

The delusion
that you are blind to fundamental truths
everyone else perceives

The delusion
that you are destined for greatness

The delusion
that you are a unique genius
whom the world
does not understand or appreciate

The delusion
that you will find a soul mate
meant just for you
and whose love will save you

The delusion
that you are above
the laws of Man and the laws of God
and deserve to be treated differently

The delusion
that destiny is on your side
and will help you realise your dreams,
no matter what

The delusion
that a lucky break
will come to you
some day

The delusion
that somewhere
some person, angel or god
is looking after you
and trying to help you
with your journey through life

The delusion
that the love and grace
of some god or guru
can save you
from your despair and sufferings,
and from the meaninglessness
of your existence

The delusion
that destiny will always
come to your rescue
and help you overcome
any obstacles in your path

The delusion
that you are protected
by fate and special good fortune
from bad things happening to you

The delusion
that it all
will make sense
in the end

The delusion
that there will come a day
when you will begin to live
happily ever after
The delusion
that eventually
you will find meaning
in your tribulations
and thus your life
will be justified in retrospect

The delusion
that everything
will turn out well
in the end

The delusion
that all is well
if it ends well

The delusion
that they are laughing
with you
and not at you

The delusion
that your life is just a surreal horror film 
and you are merely an actor in it,
and any moment now
the movie will end
or the director will shout out "Cut!"
and you will go back
to your peaceful, ordinary existence

The delusion
that your life is just a bad, absurd dream
and that eventually you will wake up
to find yourself living
a happy, contented life that makes sense

The delusion
that there is no difference between
black and white,
lies and truth,
life and death

The delusion
that the virtuous are rewarded
and the wicked are punished,
if not in this world
then the next

The delusion
that you alone,
out of the multitude in the present world
and throughout the course of history,
will be spared from death

The delusion
that you are dead

The delusion
that you are alive

The delusion
that this list of delusions
will make a difference
and will bring illumination
to anyone 

The delusion
that you do not have
any delusions.


Still life with split skin, ruby streaks,
jeweled nail bed in sharp relief.

Rewinding in slow motion.
Freezing her molten toes.
That slick pose.

That florid inkling
to expose her
secret white gauze
fastened beneath pink satin
pointe shoes. Sodden bondage
of serpentine feet.


Unwinding the bandage.
Revealing the seamy striations.
Denuded flesh the hue of white chocolate mottled
with raspberry jam. Suppurating
internodes like tiny mummies on display
after a sticky exhumed burial.

Polishing the stark artifacts.
Another gilded layer. Another scarlet stain contained.
Still life with shiny glaze, artificed baubles;
red-spattered rags soon to be trashed.


Her audience is treated
to a carefully prepared spectacle,
lacquered and lavishly trussed.
I have attended the gruesome peepshow,
post-performance. The unreeling of ravaged appendages
that seep like an exotic disease, a forbidden dessert.
I fancy myself a special kind of voyeur.
I know where she sleeps
with imposter extremities.

I have stroked that nail bed, clasping
swollen arches. Fingertips flitting on spasming pulse,
distended tendons. Grasping her ruse as she contracts
out of my grip. Sordid grappling
of strained underpinnings. Flimsy fabric
cast away. Sensationalistic penetralia
of shifty specimen. Quivering. Wavering.

Torn between
so many contorting desires.
To soothe her, sedate her, preserve her
toes like curios. Maroon them.
Consume them. Deconsecrate her
fakery with a betrayal. With a taste
of metallic teeth.


The alluring point of her toes.
The lurid gleam of my blade.
Crusty binding ripped away.
The crackle-glazed facade
and its sickly sweet cloying reek,
luring me closer to the putridity underneath.
I want to dance on her feet.

This poem previously appeared in Juliet Cook's first full-length poetry book, "Horrific Confection", published by BlazeVOX books. The book is no longer available in print, but is still online here -