The Ghost of the Bottle Lingering Around Like a Bad Spirit in an Empty House

Right now my tongue
is an insufferable monstrosity
fattened
and trapped
inside of a dry cave.

The shooting pain between
my ears
doesn’t know where to go
so it just expands
outward
into a Godless oblivion.

I can feel every inch of my slow death
like a man clawing
at the door to Hell
to escape the cold.

I didn’t realize
that bottle of wine
was this much
my enemy.

So I must spend some time
lying face down
upon the ground
to let the Earth
continue to mercilessly
roll over my petulant body
as my foot hits the leg
of a rickety table that
creaks skeletal laughter
echoing with
surprising acoustic
across the cement walls
of this endless garage.

Facing Yourself Before The Fight (Dweller Chapter 15)

As though on cue, the mechanism beneath the platform I stood upon creaked and whined as it began the ascent into the heart of the World Stadium completely indifferent to whom it carried. It must remember well the emotions of all the past fighters that had stood upon it throughout decades of victories and disappointments. Up and up it went, slow enough to build the moment up appropriately. The far-away lights of the massive arena were starting to fall on me now. Soon I would be bathed in it.
Concentrate. This is it.
I could not. I was as far away from the stadium as an airplane flying above it as all of the things rattling around in my head began to viciously flash through my mind like a stormy window as though I were preparing for my own death. I felt my mother’s arms around me, singing that lovely song as I clung to her neck and played with her hair, having no conception of ever being separated from the warm security of her arms. I felt Bethany’s breath hot against my neck as she cried out with delight and told me that we would always be together. I felt the strain of tired legs as Sophina relentlessly chased me around the house, as I laughed and escaped beneath the couch.
I saw the summer skies drifting like a red desert throughout my mind. I felt the grass beneath me where I lay down as clouds languidly crossed my chest. I smelled the wet, rainy leaves on the days of walking to school late for class. And I could see myself, just a little kid whose hair was messed, jeans too short and shoes too big. All of these visions were chased away by the reality that stood before me like a horizon where nothing was behind. Everything, good or bad, led to this. This was my time. Regardless of the outcome, there was no going back, ever.
I looked up as the edges of the ring were coming down and I could just picture Syrus the Hellman sitting on a ledge, smiling.
“There’s no way you can beat him.” He would taunt. “He’s just too good and I’ve seen him put down a lot better fighters than you, Kid. Trust me, tonight your heart is going to be the last thing to break.”
The roar of the crowd was deafening. I was in full view now and could see little specks of spectator movement all across the stadium that walled my vision. In my mind Hellman still laughed away. He didn’t seem to have a face because he was everyone that I knew, everyone that I had ever met. He was every opponent, every wall -every open pit that I had ever come across. In every place he breathed indifference and pain. He was all of them -the harrowing bullies, the shiny plastic demons, the things that lurked in the night forest, the shadows –and he was here at my final moment before it all came to fists and blood to let me know that he was watching and waiting for me to fall.
I would not be sorry to disappoint him. I bet it happened rarely enough that he might even consider it a pleasure.
I searched the front rows looking for Sophina but I could not find her. My heart began to race at the prospect of her not being here but the idea of it was rather ludicrous considering that she had attended all of my fights and this was the largest and by far most important. Sophina was here. I could feel her if I opened my heart and listened for hers.

“Hey Little Birdy, come and make an old man happy.” (Dweller Chapter 14)

“Hey little birdy, come and make an old man happy. Remember that? I’ll bet you do.” I was glad that finally I could unleash that saying so that maybe, just maybe, it’ll finally stop playing back like a broken record inside of a broken person. It wasn’t going to go away on its own. I had realized that by now. I needed to stop hearing it. I would do anything to stop hearing it.
Father chuckled dryly. “I didn’t think that you would remember. It was just the one time, well, that you saw anyways. How the Hell…”
“I didn’t have to remember. I still hear it. At first it drove me nuts because I didn’t know what it was or what it meant. I tried to shut it out but it just wouldn’t leave me alone and now I know why. It took me a long time to piece it together amidst everything else that was happening around me but I finally came around and understood what it was and you know what that is?”
“What?” Father was studying his fingernails, feigning disinterest.
“The final straw. That’s when everything inside of me decided to shut down because of what I saw that one day. I didn’t know it then. Fuck, I didn’t know it until now but yeah, that’s what did it. It wasn’t enough to lose my mother and to have a father that beat me senselessly when he wasn’t playing with the shadows in the cellar. It wasn’t enough that everyone in the fucking world despised me. But that did it. I felt that you should know that.”
Father looked at me nervously then went back to tending his nails. “Hmph.”
“Funny thing,” I continued, stepping closer to him, “that now that I can remember her back then it didn’t seem like she had any pain, that she suffered in any way. She hid it well, she didn’t want me to know what was really going on but you should see her now. And what just fucking kills me is that she could have been an angel, you know…right? You may not think about it or even remember but she could have been, oh yeah, just like mother. But no…not now…not after you had trashed her fucking soul. She was a flower of a girl and you peeled all of her away, pedal by pedal. And now she sleeps with the fucking devil.”
“What the fuck do you want from me, huh?” Father asked, arms spread. “I gave you answers. I gave you everything. What’s done is done. It’s gone. Forget about it.”
I stepped even closer, enough to make him start to step back. “She still follows me, comes to me. You probably already knew that always hiding in the bushes watching me maybe watching her too. But she is not the same girl and I am not the same guy and I don’t need to think about it to know that it was all because of you and it was that part of me that knew this day would come that haunted me by replaying that one time again and again.”
Father sighed. “The day that….that…”
“AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN!” I shouted as I moved forward, forcing my father back again down the walkway. He looked behind him to make sure that he still had space to move back. “Yes, that must have been the final straw. That’s when the wall came up, just like in the cellar, the black wall in my mind. And now there is only one thing that will make it go away.”
“You already know everything.”
“I need to hear it from you, from your voice, face to face, right now. You owe it to her. You owe it to me. For all the things that you have done, I don’t think that it’s asking for much at all. I need you to tell me that you’re fucking sorry.”

The Dust Of Long Dead Sheep

It’s always time for the rodeo
when I’ve accepted the fetal position
as a way of life for fear
of putting on the clown suit.

Doubt comes barging in
like a mad cocaine pirate
that I welcome on-board
with streamers, ribbons and balloons
as my dreams vacuously congeal
into dried husks so often that I pray
for monsters under my bed
with dollars in my teeth.

It’s all relative to whatever
disaster I touch and mold into shape
using the clay that mother gave me.

I almost feel like begging
for the knife in these alleyways
filled with uncertain strangers with
cartoon lives
but all they do is
kill me with conversation until
I trip on slumber wondering
why the pen is so heavy
when everything seems so much like air
on which floats the dust
of long dead sheep.