Thursday, December 13, 2007

Water Devils


I was born stinking
of fear;
vile placenta fluids
rushing off me.

I found terror
in mud puddles,
as they snarled at me.

I could,
close my eyes,
and the terrible clutching crawling
would retreat.

Yes, I could
swim, shower, wallow, and be drenched
in my dreams;
only to wake up wet,
frightened of my own sweat,
as it slithered over my private parts.

Each day,
I flexed my muscles against
the water devils,
bashing and bludgeoning and banging
my dry fists
into their feral faces,
as the sad slime swirled
all about me;
and I continued to fight
until that damned dire day
when I realized
that man is but driftwood;
his soul floating forever
on the ocean inside.

None of that matters
for I have journeyed
through hell-dampness
to lie
on this flat hot rock.

I stretch out,
bleached like a bone,
brittle as a fall leaf,
and the sweat has left me.

As I stare at the sun
there is nothing left
but the beautiful baking,
the catharsis of fire.

The wetness has fled,
evaporated and metamorphed
first into mist
and then into air.

Death rustles in my dry hair,
and all is good
as the red hot sand
fills my mouth.

Glenn Buttkus 1972

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