Collage with Train Trip Memories and Laundry

Down in the basement, jacked on Kimbo,
I’m screwdriving chunks of OxiClean
into the washer.

Jane: Collage is tattered backdrop,
not worth the Time nor Money.
But: How else to represent /

embody/ break the mad scream
of the interior
running thru the mind’s empty halls?

Time is alive and dead.
Scaffolds of electrical poles
a weedy berm decked out

in a long, pale condom — 
ghost of a penis. And brusquely
gaunt thoughts clamber up

over the tracks, thru fog, past Westy’s Smart-Market,
past an Impala up to its armpits
in floodwater — 

all the furniture of  landscape
that trains put in the way
to impede all those gaunt haunters who hunt me — 

useless/of no avail.
A landscape harrowed by havoc.
The timer buzzes dizzily like bees in a Coke bottle.
It’s 1 o’clock. I’m zealously medicated.

Hits of  Xanax (the nothing that is)
and Amphetamines (house with the light on, Eye of God) but
I Am An Atheist I manically announced

to MFAs and indigenous Tuscaloosans — 
oil tanker, swing set, silo, propane, the train slows on the upgrade — 
smooth, and on its way to — heaven.

A diaphanous fog of adjectives overcomes me.
Jane says: I can’t believe you said that in Alabama.
Nothing stands in the way of my recklessness.


Quotations in this poem are thanks to Jan Beatty and Sharon Dolin.

Source: Poetry (May 2017)