MY TROUBLED MIND

confessions are self-serving

Tag: reality

Control

I like to imagine
it as an idea rumbled in, wrapped around the rungs
of a thundering chariot’s wheel,
smuggled under the heavy cloth of a toga,
or inhaled in the steam of a communal bath.

An idea as invasive and gripping and seductive
as happiness
working its way into heads at adolescence
like rotten teeth into gum,
often bringing similar rates of agony.

The reason why some men feel
the leather straps of the electric chair
as a mother’s hand, brimming with reassurance,
and the squeak of the guard’s boot on the linoleum
as the crescendo to a wondrous symphony

And why some men burn out of existence
quietly
in the arms of fine lounge chairs
in mansions
or in the bathrooms of five star hotels.

What a dance it is for us common folk;
the clenching of the jaw
the tightening of the bowels
the familiar sting of bile,
the Sisyphean toil
as we
unashamedly
ad nauseam
endeavour to control
that which we cannot –
which, as it happens,
is just about

everything.

CHRISTMAS EVE 1996

Years ago I heard him-
I swear I heard him
I swear I heard the brass bells
dull and grey with cold
clank about their necks
up there

and I had proof-
years of half digested carrots,
cold quarter pints of milk,
soot about the grate
and crumbs from finished pies-

and listening with my eyes screwed tight
I’m sure
that beneath the bells
there was a world that raged-
that howled at shutters
and barked with glee
whenever blood split stone

and all adults knew the tune,
above all else my parents-
rising dead tired
with slightly anxious smiles
together on Christmas morn.