First published January 2008 in Backbone Mountain Review

My Bowels Are A Dog-Wolf

For the millionth time I'm leaving again, my foot going out the door, bottle of Stroh's Bohemian and a hot link to hold me over 'til hell comes knocking, yes, there I go bent like an old stick popping out the outhouse lid, and the air is humid, mud caked 'round my eyes, dried up dirty old tears really, but no more of that, no, now I'm the rising tide, horse sense and no sleep, I have great healing hands to cure man's bad luck from here to Arkansas, my right hook like a bantamweight or feather, my humor like the taste of cold water. In the past I had been a shrewd boy in the stables, grooming the coxcombs and making pretty with the ladies, and it served me well, no envy, spite, or greed, just smoke from by banana pipe snaking through the sycamore leaves, young Ms. Twigg, a farmer's daughter, burning in her cheeks, her eyes of slate, her singing sounded like a choking-fit, and she longed for the rocky shores of Crete, a place where she and I could ripen, rolling into it, the taste of it all budding up slowly, the salty spray of the Mediterranean before the war, the Trojan one, the horse I mean, and the way I snuck it in, no envy, spite, or greed, and how we burned the whole damned thing down, and why is it that burning is my favorite metaphor? All my visions are of flames and catastrophic ruin, the crackling white red orange black, the stultifying numbness of trauma, the needles and pins, but never killing the pain within, anger tries to eat it up, and my bowels are a dog-wolf gnawing at the hilltops inside me, I'd lick my own boots then to stop it, to snuff it, I get so wrath and dark and weepy then that Artaud actually starts making sense, like a wild hollow laugh down a well where the bodies were tossed, and I dream of the huntress who will take me to my death. But all this can't be healthy, so for the millionth time I'm leaving again, my foot going out the door, the blood running cool once more, and no more talk of hatchets. Make the most of beauty, I say, and see it everywhere. A bad beginning is the pebble that guts the mountain, making a toilet bowl of the heavens, whereas I, on the days I'm born sober with bounce in my gait, then, the spinning of spiders and shrieks of birds can't get me. I'm suicide proof, which is always preferable to the alternative. Smell of beeswax, lemons, dancing trout carved in ice, curtains flung wide open to the sun, I am then a courier sent down the sunny isthmus, my scabbard empty, sent to hail the spice fleet just back from hot dry places, and the blackbird's whistle, the noon sun dappling the cuppy green sea slushing lightly in little waves against the rocks, and the squeaky wheel of a peasant's cart singing "I'm dying, I'm dying, I'm dying" over and over and over again, but only if you've a mind to hear it that way.

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