Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Old Man, Relentless

author’s note:

Here’s the line I didn’t use near the end:

“But now wearing a top hat
  --now a sophisticated black tuxedo--
  over all that fur.”

I just couldn’t imagine him rolling the stone wheel while all dressed up.

So you see, there is logic at work here.


Old Man--relentless as the driven soul.
Crawled from a hole in my chest.

Old spidery man.  I rhapsodize
his sea-bitten white-cliff face
worn to Perfection.  Old Man
crackles in his bones
like dry seaweed stepped on.

His spider web
lifts me to the sun
as if I’m the new sacrifice.
His cliff face tells me:
might as well
             wear a smile
while hanging
             from the cross.

I embrace
his cornfield scarecrow frame.
But he’s as indifferent
as death.
Indifferent, relentless.
Pulling the ox wheel
around an endless circle.

I rub his rough bull hide
for Chinese good luck.
The repeated abrasions attrition him
all the way down to white flour--
rhino-horn powder.

So I sprinkle him down
my shirt front.
Then pat my shirt against my man breasts.

I have packed him back into that chest hole.
Powder milk.  Poured into a powder keg.

So once again
I feel the crawl
of that old spider,
his hairy feet
tap dancing a ritual
inside me.

Old Man,
ancient bones,
rolls the stone wheel--

relentless as the soul itself.

© 2008, Michael R. Patton
dream steps
earnest audio

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