Father

I buried him
in my blood
and there he runs,
tumbling
through my heart
and brain.

Each day is a memory
of his forgetting
the inconvenient,
railing at the dead,
driving dogs to slink
from his hand.

Prophetic utterances rise
as blisters on my fingertips,
his rage a swirling vertigo
behind my eyes.

I know him chapter
and verse, the King James
of every small town
pentecostal church
within two hundred miles,
a Jeremiad scribbled
in a thousand spiral
notebooks, a curse
against all
who disbelieved him.

Time and space
bent to his view,
curved around
his planetary ego.

He courses through me,
flowering in mistrust
of all I know and see,
yet I scribble crooked lines
when I would keep silent
and let the visions pass.

Searing

Persistence of Vision

Is discounted by scientists as myth,
but too much is burned upon my retinas,
moments layered upon each other
as Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase.”

I remember a woman
flung down the stairs by her hair:
she was clothed
in tragedy—
scorn wrapped about her
through countless days
of biting words.
The rare landed fist
reinforced the litany of contempt
and disregard.

I remember her tears
and begging, and his towering
righteous rage
manifest in broken jars
and plates
and vows.

Now old, she forgets
most all but present wounds.
They are enough
for her to tread warily.

I carry the others for her
in countless visions,
red hot,
become one raging sun.

Persistence of Vision

Is discounted by scientists as myth,

but too much is burned upon my retinas,

moments layered upon each other

as Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase.”

I remember a woman

flung down the stairs by her hair:

she was clothed

in tragedy—

scorn wrapped about her

through countless days

of biting words.

The rare landed fist

reinforced the litany of contempt

and disregard.

I remember her tears

and begging, and his towering

righteous rage

manifest in broken jars

and plates

and vows.

Now old, she forgets

most all but present wounds.

They are enough

for her to tread warily.

I carry the others for her

in countless visions,

red hot,

become one raging sun.