Friday, April 27, 2012

Not An Allegory

After he pulled his fingers from my throat,
having pumped the last seed into my mouth,
he left me dazed by my own decay in his arms,
and the haze of an all-night bender still
smoked its last butt-ends in my veins.

Awake, angry, my wings singed by his deceit,
spent by the passion of our chance encounter,
I stepped into the elevator whose door opened
in the wall. I stepped inside and pushed the last
floor. It didn't take long to get to where I'd been hiding
for so many years before. No bell rang as the door
slid open, whispering my name as it unsheathed
the sea and sand dunes beyond.

The sough of the waves was a dead breath
stale with a fishless salt sea. The silence of the sky
reached into my heart and squeezed a scream
from its frozen blood, awash with ennui and frail
memories of dead end streets. No sound dropped
from my lips, no frozen tear flowed from my brutal eyes.
I knew this as home, the place I'd sought so long
in winged rides below the stars with the night birds.

Then a voice broke inside me, somewhere inside
my brain behind my eyes, in words that the telepath knows,
purer than words on tongues spit thru teeth.
It sang the hymn of my despair, nameless,
proud, brotherly, awake with wisdom and solace
beyond the earth's darkest secrets, sublime.

The sea reached into a horizon without end,
a place where the parallel lines of beast and beatitude
meet, far into the distance of a galaxy securely here.

When I turned back, not in fear nor in haste,
the laughter rattled the rib cages of the island trains
as they slid westward, and I walked down the highway
to a one-bed room, and the broken glass I kicked from my path
cut in two the incremental tick of seconds as the sun
regained its course once more and rode forward in the sky.

(c) copyright 2012 Charles David Miller. All rights reserved.


  1. Oh, are able to pull me into that hymn of despair. Tinged with pain, but just a bit of hope there, at the end, as the sun began it's journey one more time. Powerful.

  2. dang man...this has some intense grit through the beginning...and you riled my own anger and frustration a bit...i love the redemption in the end, the kicking the glass out the way and the sun finding its place again....really like this line...the laughter rattled the rib cages of the island trains
    as they slid westward---ha, nice....well penned once more man...

  3. " The sea reached into a horizon without end,
    a place where the parallel lines of beast and beatitude
    meet, far into the distance of a galaxy securely here"

    A classic picture every time we stand at the seashore looking outwards. You captured it perfectly. Great write Charlie!


  4. Just as I decide I'm going over, you pull me right back in. Riveting read.

  5. Even in the lowest moments of our lives, there is something to hear that will save us, if we only listen for it. Beauty wants to live, wants us to see it, I think, and life is stubborn about letting us go as long as we are able to hear that voice. A visceral poem, tough to read, but not without a smell of redemption in the sulphur smoke.

    1. The hallucination was a turning point in my life. I'd gone so far down a road to literal loss of true self, loveless and lost. Though no sulphur was there, the hallucination was quite demonic, repellantly so, though the attraction to luminous knowledge was present as well.

  6. ok...i'm blue in my face cause i stopped breathing when i read that first line...damn charles...what intense pain, emotion grit and tight that you mix more abstract imagery with very down to earth images like the island trains etc.. great write

    1. The abstract part is pretty literal in terms of the hallucination I experienced. There were no drugs involved, just alcohol, though that might make a difference in its meaning. The presence of evil was palpable. But maybe the abstract is the word to use here, in light of Sartre's comment about evil being abstract.

  7. Your poem drew me inside of it. I loved the elevator whose door opened into the wall and arriving at the place you'd hidden many years before and ending up in an area of sea and sand dunes...and more. You pull off magic and surrealism seemingly effortlessly and weave a wonderful tale with your words, one that ends with optimism and the sun again riding forward in the sky! I enjoyed this, Charles.

  8. Ah, this is so so sad. I found it pretty heart-rending actually, even with the resolution of sorts at the end, the going on. I found the first stanza and the last two =short and longer - the most compelling. The beginning of course pretty intense -- beautifully rendered with the bender and butt-ends in the veins--the end with the horizon - beast and beatitude - the rib cages of the train especially powerful- and the last three lines--the one-bed room --the kicked glass cutting the tick of time - I can't really find optimism here but kicking away broken bits of life and self and going on--so perseverance, perhaps. A really really strong poem, Charles. I hate to use the word "favorites" because it's so grim, but so strong here. k.

    1. The beginning is the realization of evil's existence, in oneself or the world. This hallucination was a major turning point in my life, a walking back from an abyssal dead end street where I'd seen or felt I'd seen all the evil my life was headed to become. The perseverance, perhaps, was the resolution to backtrack and undo in some way the error of my decisions up to that point in my life.

  9. I found the 4th stanza very moving." A voice broke inside me"..a sort of surrender of grief, a release, a connection to a telpath who sings the hymn of despair.Beautiful poem, Charles.

  10. Gritty and powerful. I've always maintained that taking on a gender change in a persona poem is one of the most difficult things a poet can attempt, and what you have done here - with your imagining of all the feelings that stem from such a horrific experience - is one of the most ambitious I have seen in recent readings.

  11. This is quite a moving, dark poem Charles. Very impressive.

  12. this is so deep and filled with images which I could sink into (and get lost in) like a tar pit. Fantastic capture of despair, and I am glad you added the splash of hope at the end.

  13. Another poem that I had to engage and then leave for a while as I ruminated. I think you have reached a relationship with and understanding of the shadow that I am still timidly engaging out of fear, having seen it devour loved ones and friends. After reading your astounding work on Gilles de Rais I am awestruck.