on the brink of a noisy death

on the commode
squeezing thin stringy turds

at my desk smoking
dumauriers or marlboros
ten at a time

in my bed
with handfuls of lorazepam
to keep my nerves in check

at my workstation, thermometer
stuck in my fat mouth waiting for
a bad sign, back of the hand against
my paranoid skull

josef suk on my makeshift
stereo, or the clash, goreckis lamenting -
you name it

at the mailbox
on the phone
in the cafe

at a smooth tabletop
in a nameless place
with a plate of hashbrowns and onions
before me

on my knees
begging forgiveness
from a god
with no ears

wrapped in a thin blanket
shaking with fear
trying to recall the delicate
smells of my daughter's golden hair
and the fields where we played together
for the last time so many months ago

at the brink of

the kiss of a dull blade
the gag of a smith and wesson
the hiss of a rope making a corpse
the sweet sweet song of a negro spiritual
singing swing low

as everything
in all manner of glory
falls to a naked knee
blinded by a spike
gutted by pride and failed love
and plagiarists
used car salesmen
bigots facists landlords
presidents chairmen
the mosquito
the american dream
zen karma ken and barbie
processed foods industrial revolution
progress unchecked and
unrelenting motherfucking progress

failure and the bastardization
of all things hopeful and nurturing,

scraping the animal from its
comfortable cage

made to dream and
pursue endless abstractions

the wheels
never stop to question.

- C. Earl Nelson

© 1995

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