3 Small Mercies

by Poetry

1st night wine drunk
laughter & white light
old faces stretched by time
compacted by experience
harsh age beaten into soft youth
my heart lies dead in the corner
attracting all the vultures
in their eyes & their shadows
to caress & tear
& I know it is dead
for a living heart
would erupt from the seat
& race to me & damn the world
as I would damn the world
if it would beat for me again
& I am lectured
on the value of a heart
by a hypoplasm that has never
beat one clear beat
& attracts apologetic rapists
as though the cancers
that plagued my breast
were of my own making
& perhaps they are
my own defections rising

2nd night wine-drunk
smiles & weaker lights
light weak men
praying to volatility
I mop stag blood from the floor
with my foot
almost famous
& laugh with other cruel men
at naked sickness & doubt
brought into the light
as masculinity
I cannot think of a heart
this is not the place
& on the late train
from Manchester
Cat Power explodes
& echoes in the valleys
where once the aorta
the ventricles made their bed
or I made a bed
& a stage all at once
of ribbons & bone
& demanded the heart perform
that I might feel alive
a little while

3rd night wine-drunk
shirt curled on the floor
another beaten day succumbed
sudden fat rolling over belt
cheeks enflamed with abuse
and flesh all running wild
messages blink evilly
dust on all but the keys that spell
fuck in half-a-dozen languages
I can barely break frozen lips around one
no way to live this
red aggregates in the glass
dissolve in the fresh life-blood
how soon dawn in the veins
they don’t mean anything, these words
& I’m sick of my passion;
the pavements & roads rise to meet me
American & Chinese storms explode
above our heads something is crying
& I remain a nest of brick
cement stone & acid plastics bleeding heat
I am not here often – I am not here long
& now,  trapped, I see my life for what it is
pellets litter the floorboards & fishbones
rattle in empty wine bottles
glasses cover my desk, two tributaries
for my wings to reach a keyboard
books in tongues I can’t hear brace
the walls against the wind;
the remnants of my children still
scattered about the room, eggshells
murder beneath an office chair
& I would know what a heart
might think
if it knew how much it weighs
in wine

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