On Weekends

I might not wash today. I might
let the weekend slide into gratifying
anarchy. I am supposed to be thankful,
this town is not among the true nightmare
portions of the world. A roof over my head
and quite sufficient shine on the silver,
thanks. I might, though. Haven’t you seen it?
Your city pokes a crafty fang at a flight path.
It’s my city too, I suppose. You think you
are in control. Idiot! To name is to own, not
to know. And now we are so used to blood we
miss the silly crimson pity of it. I dream of
hardmen, the torturer’s tweezers; of scholars
supplanting their teeth in basement gardens.
It’s there, but you miss it. I don’t miss
a thing. It’s always there, the aura before
a seizure, inside my expendable circuitry,
deeper than dog years down, always, even
always. I dream of the made face coming
apart in my hands like wet bread. I might not
dress today. I might suck sauce from the bottle.
Here’s mud in your gloria mundi, and a blue
blowtorch to your extremities, dear. How do
you feel about that? Or the massive enigma
of love? Does anything shock you? I
am supposed to be grateful, the shirt on
my back and quite enough coal in the cellar,
thanks. But a grand mal growls at the back
of the mind, and the back of the mind is
a bottle bank, love. We come and go, stooped
in their palisades. The rich are always with us,
their hexentanz and agonies. Here’s Kate, we all
love Kate, oblivious, bombshell, and didn’t
she used to be us? Not me. Your city, its nicotine
fingers, windows lit, yellow and sickly. Here’s
where we crouch our snouts to the wall. I might
not leave the house today. Haven’t you seen
what’s out there? Their vaunting faith; the awful
punitive spring. I dream of muti and suitcases;
grown men stabbed in their Camden hamlets, eyes
without faces, world without end. It’s there, still
there, but you do not see it. I see everything. I see
it all. And the billy-born-drunks in the house next
door are shouting again. Inadmissible figments
slurred through the wall.

Notes:

This poem originally appeared in The Poetry Review. You can read the other poems in this exchange in the May 2017 issue.

Source: Poetry (May 2017)
More Poems by Fran Lock