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Berating to Exhale

R.M. Vaughan
From:   Invisible To Predators. ECW Press, Fall 1999.


open up     it's only pudding and blue pills, crushed     on your teeth
a spoon ending in silver flowers, back-heavy      polish it off
I crave the slow down, so quick     a plumb line from mouth to gut
still     as kitchen string on spools or taut behind picture frames or tied
across my abacus     each red bead a good day, black for bad

my math is uneven, but I can read colours     I want to die, like good
governments, in the black

put to bed, my skin under coverlets in helpful colours    seeks other whites -
something bone china, a bowl     to push aside, send to earth splintering
with fingers tensed to last full length, from nerves ending -
but no teddie bears in leather jackets, no ceramic Bachs with lipstick grins
no paintings by anyone under 25 (a sure sign of dying badly) -
I permit only the relentless guilt of lovers
to clutter my room, to sink the foot end of sheets like heavy, restless cats

tuck the tongue up, tip against the dark side of the mouth
one big hand on the jaw line, one big hand scissors the nose    look away
neck muscles wire the skin, it is involuntary (he knows this he knows I
    do not hate him I am not rethinking)
gulping air the brain fails to miss, the throat hops, a glass ball
on a Christmas bough

for an instant we will both see black then, moving off, different lights

excerpts from my diary of this time, in harsh green marker:
I admire chemistry, not mise en scene     either the Wallace Shawn plays
go or I do     I am dying beyond my meaning     touch me, here     yes
again, here     yes, yes





R.M. Vaughan's works copyright © to the author.


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