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Image for the poem Notes for the Dead

Notes for the Dead

when dawn is one lurid scar of rose
serrated at the edges
with stitches of blue
we go to pick up the bodies,
bring them home.

*

We left her under the exit sign
percolating its redly incandescent drip.
We folded the sticky hands,
let metallic crosses drop onto the chest
in gentle, echoing clinks: coins
in a sunken fountain of Black Atlantis.
One by one, lights were hushed,
such silent-mouthed candles.

*

The dead only hum at night
when my blood has thinned
to liquid dust.
By day, we shoot them up
with narcotic formaldehyde
concoctions,
making them twitch and roll,
such pale-gray storms.
But at night they waltz in pairs,
dance authentic Irish jigs
like people in sad films,
fated to lose their houses,
their children,
their freedom.

*

I try not to be late for work,
to prepare low-calorie lunches.
To not rip spider webs
into my old-world taffeta skirts
off the knife-kissed edges
of coffins.
The rustling of my thighs
burns perma-shadows
into hallways.
My body is plagued by Eros,
oh it wants to propagate,
build tower after fleshy,
mewling tower.
Oh God its skips and bumps
in the night,
its barely perceptible moans.

*

Eyes roam to stones before tombs:
exterior facades of houses
built by somber-grey elves,
imps with a voracious appetite
for delectable wrongness.
At times their angles weave
demonic and irregular
like sick-rooted manses.
Other times they copulate mercilessly,
orgasming into planetary blackness.

*

Sometimes the dead render me
as slumbering and alone
as the living.
Sometimes I get angry
at the dead,
for they remind me so much
of the living,
the resemblance is quite uncanny.

*

Wetness and cherubim.
Holy water and rain
staining magenta carpets
as we leave doors open
for floating bodies.
Hearses, rusty-creak lullaby
of corpse-lifting machines,
flesh and fire.
Silk linings, endless mahogany,
embroidered Christ’s.
Vaults of bronze
for the feet of giants.
Roses roses roses, sprays
of magnolia and cream carnation,
dainty yellow-button
and lavender snapdragon,
envelop me in your lusciousness.
Oh the scent of the preparation room,
how I breathe deeply its stink:
eternal cologne of Clorox,
crystalline-chunked
paraformaldehyde,
bones dissolving into acid,
the dead walking on my brain,
screwing me blind
with sweetness and vertigo.

*

Death is the last bastion of cruelty,
of laughable humility.
The dead cannot tie their shoes,
cannot utter embarrassed apologies
for untimely emissions.
It would follow that the dead
require mothers, housewives.
Those living souls who find themselves
caught somewhere in the middle.

*

Bodies sleep under starched sheets,
tomes of prayers pressed in silk.
My guardian angels,
lending me a new lease on life,
fascinating me
more than the living
and flavoring my head
with importance.
My dream-needles
pierce their abscesses,
their staples of tongues
laminate my wounds.

*

In staterooms lingers
the breath of a drunken Valentino.
Porcelain voices
propel me into a casket
Teeth      claws      and      silk
wrench apart my thighs
until bones gasp in pleasure–
an orgy of flowers.
I am Lady Chatterley,
one swollen bouquet
getting deliriously loved
by fuzzy music of gramophones,
darkly Spanish plumes
of mist.

*

I am worried at myself,
for I’ve lost concern for the dead.
Once they spoke their messages.
Now they’ve lost their voices.
Burgundy blood
pools from hooks.
It all becomes meat and time
and empty containers,
the organ donors
curled inward upon themselves–
fish-gutted angels,
lumpy sausages without eyes.

*

Baby jar, baby jar,
what wonder do you hold?
A fetus trussed
in silver and gold.
Where is the mommy
who gave such a load?
She resides in a hell-shack
on Purgatory Row.

*

The things that run through my head
all throughout the stretching day–
steps leading to stones and water
hanging lilac gardens and murmurings
on the footpath of desire
all the floating doll shoes
and Grandma and Grandpa
side by side
TILL DEATH DO US PART
oh this vase is broken
it won’t hold the plastic flowers
honey, honey, where did your love go?
Yeah sure if my kid died
I’d wanna be the one to prepare him
and what about when the wakes
were held in the houses
and you could keep them unto you
I’LL NEVER LET GO
He said, “Come unto me the dark, cold-weary,
diseased of the world”
Oh Frost Lady on the table
I see your silver-wet noodles of arteries
interrupted by forceps
and I stand above you
and I think it’s so sweet
that you’ll be made presentable
to your family  
Don’t you agree, my love?
Don’t you agree?
Oh Lady Blue
don’t judge
don’t condemn
forgive
please
Forgive.

*

Gold susurrations and music
in the wind. The emptiness
of my heart making me long
for time away from the living.
Fevers and hallucinations,
the scent of diamonds.
A sutured skyline, breath of red
and what it felt like to be apricot,
at one time.
My corpses and all their eyes
slanting upwards to my light.
My delirious family
in their velvet armchairs,
glistening talk of suppers,
dancing in heels on ivory towers
melting through the snow.
Oh bring me back
to the sweetest of places
where all eyes are glassy-locked
on me.

*

“Mama, light the candles. It’s time to play 'Ghosts.'”
“Alright sweetheart, but only for a few minutes.
Even though Mama’s a ghost
she still has to go to work in the morning.”
“All the people you work with are ghosts, also.”
“Sometimes I can’t believe you’re only five years old.”
Giggle. “Mama, should we know we’re ghosts yet?”
“That is entirely your decision.”
“Then I decide that we know.”
“Alright.”
“Mama?”
“Yes, honey?”
“I wish I was a ghost in real life.”
“Why?”
“Because ghosts never die.”
Written by toniscales (Lost Girl)
Published
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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