As if

I write poems about myself
as if there is a point in writing
I wake each morning to
the sight of the ceiling fan
as if there is a point
to sleeping and waking.

I breathe in the fresh air
as I walk to the song of
the thrush
as if there is a point
to living and walking.

What is existence
but the dregs of the past carried
by an illusion of tomorrow?
What is solace
but a myth punched in our skulls
using a pneumatic drill
of ‘thinking positive
thoughts’ and ‘high self-esteem’?

I walk on a cracked road
strewn with dead leaves,
crushed paper cups
and the stench of over-ripeness,
the road is broad,
and here and there,
I find a tavern
or a whorehouse
that only increases my guilt,
the road is barren
except for a few humps
like an old hag
with sagging tits,
the road has stark trees,
fruitless and leafless
on both sides,
menacing,
haunting, monstrous,
hideous like
upright wooden cadavers,
the road leads to
a murky horizon, askew
and blurry,
never telling me what awaits.

The stories I’ve known,
I’ve shared with no one
because ears hear,
but they don’t hear at all
and so, I trudge alone
beneath the sun,
embracing the
dying seasons.

I write songs of remembrance
as if recollection
abets salvation –
memories or flashes of them
forming a false beatific vision,
lasting an hour
before the mind’s
uneasy, unsettled.

I write sonnets of love
as if I hold it in my heart
which in truth is a headstone
with an epitaph saying:
“Here lies one unknown
who died before he died,
here lies one obscure
who never lived though he lived,
here lies one unseen
who saw though he never saw.”

I write villanelles of ache
as if sorrow is the muse
that refines, coats hearts
with the golden dew of
resilience, but tears
refuse to flood my eyes,
my pain has given way to apathy
like that of a soldier who
cries over a
dying friend before seeing
one too many fall and then
desensitised and disillusioned
carries on.

I write prose,
both lyrical and visceral,
calling the hyacinth layers
of velvety tenderness or
calling it chopped
off tongues stitched
together, but does it matter?
I ask you, does it matter?

I can sing of myself,
but I’m not myself
I can rise to meet life,
but I’ve never risen
I can talk of rebirth,
but I’ve never known birth
I can speak of death,
but I’m already gone.

And all this,
the songs and their echoes,
the women and the cigarettes,
the laughter
and the beer,
the muted cries and the numbness,
the journey and the destination
rise like a monster
with a scaly carapace,
irises of fire,
a mouth with demonic teeth,
sharp like needles,
four-footed, with vicious claws
and wings with an
aura of a death spirit,
seeking to devour me, but
I’m already in the abyss,
lost to oblivion,
forgotten and erased.

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