Setting Fire to the Scenery

Convulsing in the grip of something greater than an urge,

writhing behind the wheel,

turning serpentine in an open field,

burning tire marks on a path well worn by engrained skid marks.


Diagnosed, taped to a board under labels

that claim to have an inside story,

scooping out the grey matter,

picking at the crevices to measure a tree’s age in pain.

Each indent comes from when a hand was sneaking in,

leaving ink blot maps on the canvas of the hippocampus,

adjusting blocking for a reel starring only us,

slicing through facial masks and tacking on a moment never found,

yet placed on repeat as a figment of reality.


Each indent is a different string with ill intent,

rolling out from another puppet player’s spool,

commanding the Nutcracker on an unending show,

no curtain call salvation to be brought from tugging the rope,

for the allure of a fable whirls through seasons of shine and snow,

ignoring the when and where of staging,

turning serpentine in an open field,

burning tire marks where several ventures have spun out into the wall,

knocking down oaks in a row,

their insides made of foam,

a hardened skin belying a vulnerable fabric.


The temperature is blazing in the midst

as the smoke lingers for days, unchecked by observation.

Wrap the fires up in a blanket of oranges

and try to beckon an urge to sleep with words chosen to believe.

Pluck from the white house another several labels

until one is found that falsely satisfies enough,

shifting a spotlight’s stare into an opaque perception,

an army of clouds billowing out of discarded exhaust pipes,

marching out of time to a cause changing on the daily.


A single stray breath blows them all away,

yet their scent instills a sense of solution,

praising eureka for emerging from the bedroom,

managing to rise to a distant sun overbearing in its meaning,

to be found in the night drained of theater and collapsing.


It’s written with the pen that soaks its lifeblood from remembrance,

drawing collisions in Carthage on torched fields,

replacing blood with salt to spur all to wither:

The weeds, the roots, the cast of the game,

emptying a dais for a lone speaker to remain at the helm,

no audience in sight beyond a glass frame

shining back a picture of barren highways lined up with abandonment.


Miles along and miles further,

an end never appears to the processional.

Miles along and miles further,

I’ve yet to get past the curve.

I’m always behind the curve.


Miles along and miles further,

I’m the first call of a wayward urge

unloading shotgun shells in a glass cathedral.


Miles along and miles further,

I’m never past the limits imposed by my wrists

and the thoughts that slumber on entrenched dead skin.


Miles along and miles further,

The stumble and the struggle are stalwart:

Always in front of me, pushing me back to where I started.


Miles along and miles further,

I’m never past a plunge.

The height serves an unwanted urge.

( ❤ Mitch)

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