Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Haunted Palace

author's note:

I wanted to post something scarey for Halloween.  And what’s more scarey than our own selves?

But it’s meant to be a hopeful poem.


This palace is beautiful
but haunted--
human life has bled
into its brick.

We lounge
in the smoking parlor
breathing our civilized thoughts
out through our mouths--
expelling our ashen shadows
into the draperies, crushing our sadness
into the boards underfoot.

So why are we surprised
when the walls groan
like a pained animal?
The windows cry for opening--
they’d rather have their glass shattered
than live in such a fog.

Millions of tears have been shed
in this downstairs room.  A man hung
himself here
rather than climb
the staircase.

Rather than climb the staircase
we let bats jump out of our heads

to commit glorious wars.

I get the tension nerves when
I step to the attic--but firm up
my resolution
to look into the mirror
until morning, though I know
spirits will seep
into my mind and body--
I’ll be possessed--
but through destruction
made whole once more.

I may thrash
like a skeleton wracked
by Saint Vitus’ dance.
The sight of me
may lift wigs
off respectable lids.

But I must break open
my own heart,
my own hand,
my own head.

I refuse to be haunted.

© 2009, Michael R. Patton
earnest audio
new steps

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