Words can be incandescent
You taught me
Heat, light and heat
I let them warm me;
Like an antique bulb in a flammable, dangerous
Tangle of wires
So mis-wired, my home condemned
I am always prepared for flame
You taught me; what words can do; what poetry
Is; can be.
The mask burned away my insulation
I was inflammable; left stripped
I might not have become the writer I am
The me I am
Without the Monkey’s Mask
And I can no longer breathe without words
I can never again close my eyes.
On the train home the Monkey’s Mask
Would not allow me rest;
Overwhelming, penetrating my senses
Until the mask was the face.
I was in words
I could not imagine wanting to escape
At Rushall Station; I sat as train
After train passed until
The last page had been consumed by my eyes
Was being digested by my mind
I thought I had possessed it, but
My mind was taken
How could such a thing happen
Poem-bound sex and violence
In the insular world of verse
In verse itself.
Carrying the story like a virus
If it kills me I deserve it
What does it say about me that I turn
To your discomforting, excoriating words for comfort?
That I find hope in the
Cold fire tail of a comet
That I am saved by words
That bleed me like razors
I would rather be flayed by your words than be comfortable.
The Monkey’s Mask hit
Like an oncoming train.
I was some
Sacrifice, dying to live
Reborn in time; my
Face behind a mask
Of my face.