Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Water Demons

Image borrowed from Bing

Water Demons

I was born stinking of fear
with vile placenta fluids rushing
off me, and I found that lying
damp in my own urine began
to deepen some unorthodox terror
of all things aqueous, growing up afraid
of the rain, finding devils in the puddles
left by terrible torrents; even mud
would snarl at me.

Showers were worse than baths
as I screamed through every washing.
I could, though, close my eyes sometimes
and that horrible clutching crawling
would retreat, allowing me to swim,
dog paddle, wallow, and be drenched
in my dreams; only to wake up wet,
frightened of my own sweat
as it slithered over every arroyo
of my husk, leaving no refuge,
no island above the tide, all covered,
shamefully soaked.

I mistakenly thought I was a water warrior
and every day I fought the demons,
bashing and banging and bludgeoning
my beautiful dry fists into their feral faces
as the sad slime mist swirled all about me,
always the fighter, never the victim
until one damned obnoxious imp whispered
in my ear that “resistance was futile”,
for “man is born to be driftwood, floating forever
on the ocean inside.” No escape.

None of that matters now,
for I have journeyed through hell-dampness
for the last time as I lie here
on this flat hot rock, stretching out,
bleached like an abandoned bone,
brittle as a fall leaf, skin crinkling like crepe,
staring blind into the desert noon sun,
as the last gob of spittle, the last drop of sweat
has evaporated, the last plume of wetness
has left my ship run aground, my cracked lips
locked into a petrified smile
greeting the death wind, letting it tousle
through my dry hair; at last, at last
all is good as the red hot sand
fills my mouth.

Glenn Buttkus

July 2011

Listed as #60 over on Magpie Tales 72

Would you like to hear the Author read this poem to you?


Susan Gilmour said...

Water Demons" is another notch carved on your beating stick. Powerful images, not pretty in any sense, as you know. You would not attach the "state of mind" caution if you did not know that you are disturbing the reader. Your images are unrelenting and remove all moisture. You take us down a valley so deep that it is a marathon of will to climb above the V and run on to green pastures. I am disturbed by your cruel images and yet it is a poem to dig down into. Coffee and chocolates are not to be carried on the journey.

Guy Marsh said...

Powerful stuff! Is this a recent work of yours or is it from your archives?

Hope you are continuing to mend.


Tess Kincaid said...

First I was drowned in slimy amniotic fluid then parched dry bone at the end. A demonic ride, indeed. I need a tall glass of water now...

Anonymous said...

This is incredible! I love it, your imagery and word usage is phenomenal

chiccoreal said...

Dear Glenn: Incredible! Great read too! The first line cracked me up! Rip-roaring like the rip tide! I love this;

Man is born to be driftwood

Yes most men are deadwood!
All these demon fears we have make us victim unable to move forward. Yes!
Glenn; you inspired me to write on my demons too. Water has terrorized me in a similar vien. Now I am "ok"! :) ps which "red sand" of which you speak; P.E.I.?

Ursula White said...

I am glad you warned me otherwise I might have feared for your state of mind.
This is good, what will you do with it?

Work on it some more and offer it to a competition? Or a poetry magazine?
Thank you for including me in your addressees, I am honoured.


Claudia said...

water demons are not bad at all...still no fairies in here...smiles...nah...honestly...that's a great piece sir..powerful stuff indeed..

Brian Miller said...

gritty and viceral sir...a nice progression as well...while i like driftwood, its a lonely life...really finely worked piece

Fred Rutherford said...

Glenn, again, very cool. Love how this piece is so much different than the Irish piece. The water is a great metaphor in fairy tales and folklore, used a lot, really love how you used it here in this piece, the tone was also a great touch here. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Very fun to hear you read! I am your alter ego I think; running always from dry. In college I lived in Fresno where unlike my coastal town it was hot and dry. I slept with a squirt bottle and sprayed my feet through the night to keep sane. :)

-Dark Angel

Anonymous said...

"arroyo of my husk" ... love this

And this ... wow:
“man is born to be driftwood, floating forever on the ocean inside."


Ginny Brannan said...

Very intense, and also sad that the one final and ultimate escape was to dehydrate in the desert sun till there was nothing left. (Wondering though if that 'imp' wasn't really a 'Borg' in disguise??) Very descriptive & nicely woven tale on water phobia.

Bar None Publishing Group said...

The first half took me back to my childhood. Well done!


Mark Butkus