Three Demon Poems from Part of the Darkness by David J. Rothman

by on 23/04/13 at 8:57 am

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Enjoy the things you can. I’ll be the fly
Caught in your honey, swimming in your soup.
I’ll be the hitch, glitch, hook, lash in your eye,
The catch there always is, snag, last high hoop.
I’ll be the pawn that’s just one move behind
Or lonesome chromosome now off the track,
The short escape clause that you failed to find
Or tiny floating flake of brittle plaque.
I’m down here in the fine print, slow and steady,
A bolt two threads too short on a propeller,
A splinter, microorganism ready
To grow into your bloodstream’s storyteller.
Go on, puff out your vast and hopeful sails.
I’ll just keep working on the small details.


* * *

“On the Human Condition”


“Obsessive and neurotic behavior is the price we pay for our rapid cognitive evolution.” – Robert G. Bednarik


“You really want to know?” he said. “It’s sweet.
These two guys hatched a plan to rob some swell.
They had no money, not enough to eat,
Felt their lives sucked, so figured what the hell.
Out on parole, they thought they knew the ropes.
They’d break in, get the goods, leave, leave no trace.
The beauty of it was they were such dopes,
Followed this lady home to case the place,
I mean, if you want stuff you don’t want folks
At home, but in they go. Look, Dad is sleeping
On the porch sheltered by tall, stately oaks
That don’t mean shit, as don’t the willows, weeping.
They beat him with a bat and tie him to
His bed and tape his mouth. But they’re not through.

“They bind the girls and wife and take what cash
There is, then find this checkbook. What good luck!
It’s morning now, new plan: a desperate dash
With mom downtown at gunpoint. ‘If you fuck
Up, your family’s dead,’ he says. She gets
The cash but whispers to the teller why she’s there.
Small town, slow cops, and now, my friend, all bets
Are off. Back home, the other guy goes where
Suggestion leads and rapes the little girl.
When his accomplice gets back with the dough
The other taunts him: ‘Come on…take a whirl.’
And so he rapes the mother. Down below
The father wriggles free, escapes, hops, crawls
To a neighbor’s. The cops close in too late, the walls

“Ignite, the mother strangled and each daughter,
Doused in gasoline, bound, smeared with semen,
Burns to death.” He laughed. “Now, say how water,
O poet, or bright love could show the demon
What might be more sufficient to this day,
This day I own, this day that I have yearned
To give you so that I can hear you say
That you cannot forget what you have learned.”
Then, broken, on my hands and knees, I said
“O demon, here I am, on black bedrock,
Your graven, bench-mark image in my head
My own. I yield. You win. But I have…” “Talk,”
He said. “…just one question. Can you explain
The cause of this inviolable pain?”

* * *

“Loyal Shadow”

I’m every time you realized you were wrong.
I’m every well-intentioned dumb mistake.
I’m every moment that went on too long,
The apology that you just couldn’t make.
I’m every clumsy gesture, stupid move,
The words you uttered better left unsaid.
I’m the point you thought you had to prove,
The hours wasted wrestling empty dread.
And more: I’m those times when they return
In your contrition, doubt, remorse and shame.
Delicious and invisible they burn,
Attached forever to your face and name.
Go where you wish, I’m your loyal shadow,
A growing gray-green cloud: your heart’s tornado.



Ernest Hilbert

Ernest Hilbert is founder of E-Verse Radio.

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