At Death Do We Part
My life is my pageant
Of tableaux, entr'actes, and dioramas
Passing in review, the floats--salient
Points displaying my melodramas.
My death's reach waxes unpleasant
With each year candles' waxed resistance;
My future keeps meeting my present,
Begrudged, my past knotted in irrelevance.
My future, once long and fertile,
Gives short notice, now, futility:
All I planned had rotted less versatile,
Belated, senescent debility.
My things, my victories, my rankings--
The stuff of debris, detritus, and flotsam,
Discarded as hand-me-downs, hanging
Others in ignorance, their games, zero-sum.
The wisdom of impending death
Now grades fully my parade;
Perspective--the happiness of last breath,
Air brakes my life; me? Unafraid.
What passes by me now is it--
Meaning divided by destiny--simpler,
A red carpet of rewarding respite:
We all go out pleased, with just a whimper.
The Title is Half the Poem
The title is half the poem
To cite 'em you have to know 'em.
Last night my head exploded.
No one was hurt but me.
No wonder no one will sleep with me.
Who keeps exploding my head?
They must know
How volatile are its contents.
Not much will set it off.
My head has always exploded at night,
Waking me up with a start--
Heart racing, sweating profusely, and
Surviving the blast.
Now it's exploding in the daytime
For no reason at all
Head mines tripped by accidental thoughts
With a perimeter of collateral damage.
Threesome Gone Divinely Wild
“Stop, you’re killing him!” Penny screamed, dismissing his screams in lieu of the overpowering sound of Harper's arrhythmia.
“It’s not me, I tell you!” Rhea screamed back. Then, “Stop, stop!” Rhea agreed, to this doppelgänger, her apparent champion.
The hauntingly beautiful face pivoted her head toward Rhea and, while maintaining the deadly circling of her unnatural sexual technique, spoke directly to her. There seemed to be no exertional connection between the calm face and the bizarre speed of the rest of her body. Her flexed knees bounced with the blur of her pelvis, adding crushing blows to a ridiculous listing animation over him.
“I won’t kill him,” she said peacefully with the magic voice which cut through all of the distractions clearly. “It is not a smiting, but a warning.”
“Please!” Harper howled. Penny and Rhea, separated from Charybdis, the maelstrom where the Furies were born, collapsed against the door that offered escape. Instead, they listened.
“A warning,” the magic voice continued, “that the mingling motion of the foam is not to be violated. Sex is as remarkable as it is intimate. It is not a weapon! You violate me when you violate intimacy!”
“Who are you! Who are you!” he demanded to know in his agony.
“You are warned by Aphrodite herself! From the foam you are admonished. From the Creation Horizon you are forbidden to revel thusly.” The blurred onslaught continued. His screams continued.
“Why can’t I finish?” he shouted to her. He could feel the plates of his pelvic joints slip. He screwed up his face to get out the next words. The blur over him continued, like an eraser attempting to smudge him completely away. “Why can’t I finish?” he repeated. "It’s you, isn’t it? You won’t let me finish! I want to finish!”
“I’ve drawn you out to the peak and have you dangling from it. You slip as you try the one last grasp of its point that would have you finish. Your hands do fumble, unable to hold it fast. You are as Sisyphus. The ebbs withdraw and resurgences mount—you want them—but I have brought the Creation Horizon to you, and you have not been prepared. And that is just. And the pulsatile pinnacle slips away—You can’t finish—I won’t let you! I’ll hold you dangling in that one contractile abyss that begs to relent for the next pulse. I’ll hold you there and draw you out until you burst. You want too much? This is what is too much. And it is only a warning. Fret over what dying by my flesh would mean. Or worse, a visit from my sisters.”
His eyelids fluttered as if he were about to pass out. And then morality rolled in like a cleansing mist, slowly inundating the area, like with a blanket of fresh, clear dew to wipe away the filth. Everything stopped.
The doctor who saw him moonlighted as the Assistant Coroner, to some a glamorous-sounding title, but in fact a drudgery that brought him some extra income that was especially hard-earned. It did, however, keep him abreast of the latest cruelties and kinky traumas. This is why he found Peter Harper so interesting. Such injuries could blur the line between medical care and police forensics.
“How are you feeling, Mr. Harper?”
“Hurt,” he hissed through the oxygen mask, biting down on his tongue to distract him from the pain in other parts of his body. “It hurts bad. Give me something, please,” he implored the doctor.
“You’ve already got a morphine pump going."
"Why is he in so much pain?” the nurse asked.
“Mr. Harper had both of his testicles forced up his inguinal canals,” Dr. Vincent explained. “They’re trapped at the fascia just at his abdomen. He’ll need surgery if the urologist can’t milk them down by force back through the canals. I’m sure he won’t be a good sport for that maneuver. He has sustained second and third degree burns of his suprapubic area—see the pubic hair is matted where it’s been actually burned. He’ll need plastic work and some grafting on the skin here. His penis, which is hard to miss, has multiple contusions; the tunica is ruptured and there are extravasations of blood into the spongiosa where an artery’s been ripped apart. The swelling has clamped off his urethra, so now he’s got some bladder nerve damage from overdistension. He’ll need a suprapubic catheter pretty soon. And it’s hard to say where his cardiac arrhythmia fits into all this.”
“My goodness,” said the nurse, sorry she had asked.
“Yea, well, the cardiologist doesn’t feel it’s a dangerous arrhythmia, but it is strange. Almost as if the entire electrical pathway of his heart’s been re-routed. Additionally, he’s got a collapsed left lung, his sacroiliac joints have subluxated and are separated on both sides, and he’s got his pelvis fractured in three places. He’s a mess.”
“Was he hit by a car?” the first nurse asked.
“Oh, did I mention he’s passing flatus from his penis. It’s the only thing that’ll come out. I have to tap his bladder every two hours until he gets his suprapubic catheter. And—oh, car? I don’t know. No one’s talking. He was hit by something, though, that’s for sure.”
Aphrodite: she had come from the foam first. Because from her all procreate forth. But her sisters in the foam are the Erinyes, the Furies. Like most deities, Aphrodite has a vengeful streak, and she has this need to punish those who misuse her qualities. Her most recent consort had discovered what it means to love too much, to be cleansed of the hubris of womanizing.
In the hospital Peter Harper was undergoing a general anesthetic. His testicles were pressed along the paths of his inguinal canals until they reached the final bottlenecks that reminded the Urologist who milked them down of a biblical passage.
“It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get to Heaven,” he said under his breath as the second one also stopped at the inguinal ring.
“What?” asked the anesthesiologist.
“The eye of a needle,” he repeated more clearly as he placed a gloved thumb on each bulge where each of Harper’s thighs flexed against his hips. Instructing the nurses to flex them passively for him, he pressed the gonads, squeezing them forward until they finally popped through, allowing them to fall into their familiar resting places.
“Those are surely gonna be some sore balls tonight,” the urologist said, handing the case off to the orthopedic surgeon, who prepared the plaster of Paris to immobilize the pelvic ring for the next six weeks. After this was accomplished, back went on the ice packs to try to reduce the swelling of his genitals that sat exposed through holes cut away in the cast. Next the urologist returned and placed the suprapubic catheter to rest his bladder until his penile urethra was navigable with anything more viscous than gas; and finally, using the very last hole in the cast, the colon and rectal surgeon identified the source of the rectal-bladder fistula via a proctoscope and sealed it with an absorbable endoscopic procto-ring.
In the recovery room, after the sputtering and suctioning and tidying up of saliva and other comatose indiscretions had been attended to, Peter Harper tried to utter his first words.
“What?” his nurse asked him, leaning her face close to his. “Speak clearly, Mr. Harper,” she encouraged him. “You’re out of surgery and are doing fine.” He spoke again. Once again she couldn’t understand him. “Try again, Mr. Harper, O.K.? Cough first.” He coughed and then groaned from the pain.
“Who was that woman?” he finally uttered clearly, albeit raspingly.
“What woman?” the nurse asked. “Who are you talking about? Cough again.” He coughed again. He groaned again.
“That woman,” he repeated. “I have to find out who she is.” He coughed yet again. “She was fucking fantastic.”
He drifted off after that.
HAIKUPIC RHAPSODY, IN RED
Again it rises
Thermal waves answer winds of
Again it rises
Germinating life anew
Verdancy to come
Again it rises
Bringing all life to a broil
Securing Earth's gains
Again it rises
To shine upon a world poised
In loving repose
Dream Match: Splits in Catholicism
I dream of the longest alley in the world,
Beckoning me, daring me, challenging me.
My opponent is Pope Francis--SJ and Awesome Bowler--Who knew?
Both in top form, we each strike nine times
And head into the tenth frame.
But--again--my opponent is Pope Francis, SJ, and AB.
My ball is clear acrylic, with a skull in the center, badass.
His, also acrylic, with the head of Jesus in the center, badderass.
Jesus and the skull have rolled, topsy-turvy, with deceptive spins, as skulls and Jesus' often do.
My skull has landed each time on the maple, and rolled on pine to the pins;
Jesus has landed on the maple as well, his head rolling down the pine to His pins.
For nine frames, ten pins fell like scruples--or Apostles--depending.
I cast a look at Frank as he throws his first of the tenth frame:, he and Jesus create a 7-10 split;
I cackle in religious ecstasy as I take my skull in hand and toss it artfully onto the landing maple.
My ecstasy turns into damnation as I, too, see a 7-10 split, and Francis simply mutters, "Split happens, my child."
We're in different alleys, different paths in life, me with my skull and him with his Jesus.
So we're each on our own to pick up the spare.
I regard my skull with its sepulchral grin; he looks devotedly at his Jesus.
He makes a sign of the cross before assuming his stance,
And I say, "Hey, Your Holiness--dude! That ain't fair."
And the head of Jesus remedies the schism by taking out the two remaining Apostles.
I hold my ball, and he says, "It's fair: you can cross yourself, too, my child."
"Yea," I answer, but who's He gonna listen to."
And Frank just smiles and shakes his head.
I take my three steps and my wrist torques perfectly, I like it.
My skull would be head-over-heels if it had heels, but it rolls true.
And hits the 7-pin perfectly, launching it ballistically at the 10.
Frank makes the sign of the cross again when my 10-pin is struck but wobbles tentatively.
I won't do it. I can wobble, too. I won't cross myself. I'll show him...
I cry out--for ambition, for victory, for rescue.
The 10-pin teeters uncertainly, leaving me in Purgatory until...
It stands fast, lone defiance enshrining my failure.
And Frank says, "You just needed faith in yourself...dude."
Purgatory is over; this dude just woke up in Hell.
"It's just a game, my son," Frank tells me, letting Jesus punch in the final scores.
As the bullet began the shock wave across his head, it occurred to him...
It was a thought that only imminent death engenders, for death evokes the perfect gumbo of neurotransmitters and depolarizations of neurons, but only for an instant. It is a final thought. It plays antithesis to one's first thought--I am.
It is as proper a closing as a last thought as the first thought is a beginning. It is full circle. It circumnavigates the mind with all of the mind's memories, emotions, and wisdom; its disappointments, disillusion, and recanting; its joys, its achievements, its epiphanies. Its loves, hates--and machinations inspired by them.
The thought is the perfect summation of all that lay between this final thought at the end and the I am in the beginning.
As the bullet began the shock wave across his head and his new biochemistry allowed a brief peak into the phlogiston being mindfully released, it had occurred to him:
It's all an elaborate hoax.
Blessed Be the Ashes of Our Love in Perpetuity
Blessed be the ashes of our love, for they are data. Carbonized ghosts of our lives together, deconstructed in final entropy, but always present somewhere. Perhaps omnipresent within a latticework that only requires collapse to reverse engineer our love.
Perhaps some sentient creature will one day be able to sift these ashes into organs that can sense the collapsed latticework existentially--another sense like sight, hearing, or taste. An alien sense. What will that creature see? Hear? Taste?
That creature will know us and know our love. All of it, all of us, all at once. And it will make for a lovely day.
Religion [-] X = Me
Religion without magic is real beauty. Religion without ritual is true devotion. Religion that ignores omniscience is true God-given ambition. Religion that fears not omnipotence partners with the Divine. Religion that defies the rules of men goes to a place where they don't matter. Religion without hate is love.
The Concavity That Sits Between the Rock and the Hard Place
Backed onto the precipice with nowhere to go, nowhere to live, nowhere to matter, except for the written word I clutch to my chest.
Nowhere to go, nowhere to live, nowhere to matter. I can seek no one, move no distance, bring my treasure anywhere.
However, being where I am, as I am, how I am...if the world wants this panacea, it will have to come to me--I dare not move.
Let them come to me.