Choosing Survival Angles from the Swamp

A favorite artist refreshed my
broken perspective
this morning, leading to a dead sense
of life.

I need shiny
perspective in the frames of a
regular day. Without,
I am a defeated rabbit,

ready to hang
from that sturdy oak tree. (I pause
knowing that all oak trees seem
sturdy, so no need for adjectives, but
sturdy helps me feel more comfortable
about hanging. Successfully.)

But with this fresh view
from my favorite artist, I understand there
must be beauty in all tiny fragments that

speed through foggy crosswinds in the
chaotic frenzy of working
to do things right in every
moment, all moments, and with these

clear views, realization of the sickly,
petty, empty, frightening day strikes me as an
ice pick deep in my skull. Life,
bedazzling in its beauty,

leaves me
on splintered picnic benches,
being stabbed and
shot by the

modernity of gray roadside weeds,
weeds that laugh viciously in cackling
snaps with broken xylophones, splitting
cottonwoods, and through heavy tears

which come from dry horse troughs,
I cannot see anything
but my invisible
contributions to a society

that wants to laugh
with the weeds, see me hang and laugh,
but further,
it is with cowardice that I ask

with all clarity of my empty soul,
I plead
with you to bury me in a brick cell,
turn up the flames, if you will, and feed
me bread, but please don’t laugh
while I die. And medicine might help.


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  1. #1 by Jamie Dedes on May 15, 2013 - 1:49 pm

    Heart rending, well considered, perfectly constructed.
    Hang tough …

    • #2 by Jamie Dedes on May 15, 2013 - 1:49 pm

      Oh, sorry. That was a poor choice of words. What I mean, of course, is be strong. Be well.

    • #3 by Carl on May 15, 2013 - 3:51 pm

      Jamie, you are very kind, and I appreciate your note

      And you are right, the only hanging today is with my fingernails, and they’re in good shape from all of the abuse they face!

      The city is working on a bridge that I pass on the way home, and the cement is gone so the workers are hooked to these metal cables. It spooks me every day and I imagine hanging from the girders by my fingernails. I should look the other way but there is nothing but rotted and decayed city that way.

  2. #4 by clinock on May 15, 2013 - 11:54 pm

    No noose is good noose!

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