Friday, January 13, 2017

Jack Scott writes

The Poison Garden
Part IV

What and where am I,

what is this fool’s errand? 
This is and is not you. 
It is me, 
it is the road, 
the mushrooms, 
this sudden sickness, 
and the one too long behind it.

It is this thinning sky, 

the cold coast behind me 
twilit and austere. 
It is the space of vastness, 
the spaces: 
where we were, 
where I thought we were, 
where you are now, 
and where I am, 
far North of all I know.

Behind the wheel again 

I feel so far from anything. 
This road behind is long, 
ahead is even longer. 
The  journey to the center of this day 
was longest; 
unmeasured is the night ahead.

If I took you with me 

into those mushroom woods 
I’ve left you there, I pray, 
along with my misbegotten spoils 
emptied from my toxic wardrobe.

Back on the highway 

I consult my inner compass. 
Do I turn right toward the known -
it is the way I, hopeless, came -
or left toward a half-full glass 
of medical attention, 
deeper wilderness as well. 
I seek counsel with the universe 
wanting an exchange, 
the brokering of a bargain: 
please heal my eye, I beg, 
and I’ll subdue my penis.

Maine seems long ago, 

in all ways far, 
although I am still in it. 
What I see most is in my eyes, 
and little of real scenery. 
Death lies in that distance 
of what has been before. 
You are not alive 
in my corrosive panorama, 
a relic caught in sepia, 
an act of mental taxidermy.

Were we two trains 

passing in the night 
in opposite directions, 
or were we traveling 
at two speeds
briefly side by side 
on separate tracks?

I did not know 

how many years 
had made me so 
to draw around me, 
like a blanket in the cold, 
here and there a woman 
appearing to be warm, 
to live with me within this space 
pretending it to be our family home.

Although for awhile 

we shared semblance of that space 
and the warmth felt real, 
pretense was mine 
and its attendant blindness, 
so aptly mimicked 
by the mushrooms’ spell.

What can I now give of me 

that has not been already taken?

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