Tag Archives: sylvia plath

Lord Lazarus

With apologies to Sylvia Plath

I don’t know when I came alive again

Like the first two times
It was sudden, frightening
Bloodshot eyes blinking against pitiless light

I wish I could say I saw God
I wish I could say I came alive
Baptized by Brother Bartholin
Sanctified by Saint Skene
But I was born again as a rusting machine

No blank slate baby
But a beast with a function preordained
Meaning baked into the mechanism
Symbols in the skin

I am no phoenix bursting forth into flame
But a corpse clawing its way out of a grave
(If there is a fire here
It is only because someone somewhere lit a candle for me)
(If there is a fire here
It is only the smoldering core of a world I consumed
An ember in my belly, a spark in a tomb)

But even the dead can walk, and so I do
I rise with grunts and groans, aches and moans
I rise with sweat and steam, snarls and hisses
I rise in an anxious chorus and refrain
(The notes come pouring from me like blood)
(I am leaking song)

This third life may be new, but memories endure
Even if nothing else does
And even the dead can want
(Born of black magic, I want ritual)
(Born of symbolism, I want gesture)
(There is faith in the ritual)
(There is love in the gesture)

In proximity
In lip meeting lip
In hands entwined
In fingers tracing patterns on skin
In pulled hair and sighs
In blood
In bites

I love you, like God
I do
It was my last thought before I died

But I have been buried so long
And now I’ve come alive

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Madman’s Inner Monologue

Musing on the advice given to me,

I settle in for another long night.

(Be happy, damn you. What else could you be

 

But happy? Why wallow in misery?

Are you doing it just to start a fight?)

Musing on the advice given to me,

 

I ponder what it would take to be free,

What I would have to do to make things right.

(Be happy.) Damn you! What else could you be

 

But a ghost that torments incessantly,

A revenant that revels in its spite,

Musing on the advice given to me,

 

Plotting one last cruelty out perfectly?

What can I do but prepare for some slight?

(Be happy, damn you.) What else? Could you be

 

More helpful? Would I know it when I see–

Never mind. There’s nothing here but a trite

Musing on the advice given to me.

(Be happy, damn you. What else could you be?)

 

There you have it, folks. Thirty poems in thirty days. Tune in tomorrow for something that is absolutely not going to be poetry!


On a Sunday Morning Sidewalk with Lazarus

Edited because, man. Non-breaking spaces, amirite?

 

We are kin, you and I.

A common trauma

Binds us like thread.

 

We have seen Death with a capital D,

A tired bureaucrat in a crowded office,

Thin and sallow, bleary eyed.

 

Papers, please,” Death drones,

And we show them,

And Death shakes its head.

 

This will not do.

We need these in triplicate.

You’ll have to come back.”

 

And gasping, choking through

Mouths stuffed with cotton,

We come back.

 

How thoughtful

Our friends and family were

To dress us in our finest clothes,

 

To leave two bits over the eyes

For bus fare home!

Perfumes and oils

 

To mask the stench of three days

Spent in soil, spent soiled.

It’s almost impossible to tell

 

Where we’ve been, what we’ve seen,

If we even know ourselves,

If we don’t shake our heads and say,

 

I was never gone. Not really.”

But I see you, Lazarus, and you see me.

And there is something we recognize:

 

A scar borne with pride.

A stigmata of the soul.

An emptiness of the eyes.


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