Monday, July 15, 2013
There were bars on the windows
But until they started with the rope
Games I was allowed to roam out
Onto the balcony that hung over
A swimming pool that was filled
Filled from lip to concrete lip
With giant princess heads & real
Live long-eared dogs. The smell
Of chlorine made my eyes water.
It ran my nose. After a few weeks,
My eyes were still blurred & wet
But I tasted smoked oysters & pickles.
The enormous heads bobbed from
End to end. Like knobby planets,
Some spun in place. The bassets,
Churning to stay afloat, bayed.
Who knows where all their shit
Went? Those days were beautiful.
Each day, so there’d still be a bit
Of meat in my hoagie, I fluttered
Two slices of ham shavings down
On the huge-headed characters
When the masked gunmen weren’t
Around. It was amazing! The way
A nude woman wearing a deer head
Could do the splits & still catch a parachute
Of lunch meat in her frozen deer mouth.
The unicorn-man speared each one, bullseye,
Then saluted the MISSION ACCOMPLISHED
Banner. Often, the USA Today was tossed up
To me. I didn’t care that they were soaked,
Skunked up & uriney. Like a hamster, I was
Saving a bit of each meal in my cheek until
After bed check & lights out. But soon,
The maggoty pile of edibles in my closet
Began shrinking. I watched the quarter-
Sized flies lift into the air, swiping my
Scraps away. I watched them fly right out.
The sky was blue, always a terrific blue.
I stared endlessly. I fell in love with
The rapturous buzzing in my head.
But this morning, waking from my dream
Of white bulls careening through a factory
Where robots manufactured latex garden
Gnomes on one conveyor belt & sex
Toys on the other, a bad feeling cinched
My bowels. No matter how hard I tried
To blink I could not close my eyes.
They wore bandannas & promised
To use techniques that wouldn’t leave
Marks, but a few minutes into it, bruises
Were cauliflowered down my chest & legs.
Blindfolded, they forced me to bob for
Apples in what I soon found out was
A bathtub filled with dead goldfish.
I passed out. I woke up. I passed out.
A gong sounded at some point. I watched
Their shiny boots line up, march in
Place & then trudge out of my room.
A hairless cat sat atop a prosthetic leg
On the mantel & like thrown javelins,
Pool cues stuck from the wall. It felt
Like a vibrating halo had been screwed
Into my head. I looked in the mirror
& saw a double-decker toy racetrack
Had been drilled into my skull. Two
round & round. My hair
Was flat on one side. The cars would
Not stop. Stork bites covered my face
& from the looks of it, I’d never have
An erection again. There was a rumbling
Downstairs—I felt it in my toe bones.
Cigarettes were being smoked outside.
They’d been on so long, my wrists without
Handcuffs seemed unnatural. Above
My chin, I felt the beginning of words
But only heard a wet-mashing sound
Like a driveway of too-ripe peaches
Being rolled over by a Buick. Above
My chest, I felt nothing. Outside, the sky
Went milky dark & the speakers started
Blasting Barney, then baby screams.
I looked in the mirror—what had happened
To me? Where did I make the wrong
Turn? The man in the mirror shamed
Me with his finger, then held it to his lips.
The little cars circled & vroomed, dizzying
Me. With the squirrel head I had repeatedly
Refused to wear in my lap, I sat on
The bed’s edge. The furred-mask’s toothy
Smile curved up at me like waning moon.
Never never, I gurgled to the ecstatically blank
Eyes, but I saw my reflection & shuddered.
The pitter-patter in my chest felt heavier than ever.