sporklet 14

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From an Abandoned Work

There are many rooms—only I have seen—Windowless yet—children lie—blue in the moonlight—Limbs tangled—bone tears through—blood black—Some faces—a mouth—toothless—Soon—the eyes too—Boys—smutty faced—pouty—lewd—I have seen them in the war—masquerading as men—frail mustaches as if—pencil etched—They too may kill—some are shot through the neck—I have crouched to watch—their mouths bubble—Others—the arm explodes—There is no such thing as innocence I have thought—ants and flies make their nests—I will build such a tower I thought—mold and slime and bone—None but I may look upon—

A child swollen—I begin telling Clara—while she—washes my brow—a cold cloth—


The doctor brings—His lamp of glass—and inside a sponge—soaked—Breathe deeply he says—now the vapor until—


Finally again—the languor—I am here—I said—possessed of my full senses—I could stand if I wanted to—I could read any text you place in front of me—My dear doctor you could stab me now and I would feel nothing—


My body rings as if—a bell struck—


I will tear my mind open—I do not say—until the dead god stands before me—I will recognize it is him for he alone knows my name—




If I were a man—Clara whispers—If I sheer my hair—bind my breasts—But not too stout—manly—No I abhor the word—The concept is—foul—I prefer—a man—she says—yet not a man—My perfume and frock coat—embellished—a pocket square—a cravat—My buttonhole—a lily—My boots of—patent leather—


She covers my eyes—there in the darkness—she stands—


What would you do with me—she asks—Would you peel me open—Tender—hairless and lithe—My—lips—and asshole—My neither this nor that—Would I drive you mad—




If not for Clara—I would never leave—In the carriage—Clara’s cigarettes—the blue perfumed smoke—Now the Palmer—hotel saloon—here boys dart with telegrams—Travelers—men of business—esteemed so-called—spitting tobacco—their ceaseless money yammer—A fellow stumbles to us—drunk although it is not yet noon—He brays—What an astonishing city this is—Beside us—the urchin we acquired on the street—a rough lad—Clara opens her cigarette tin for him—The waiter brings the boy whisky and soda—The child—regards us warily—He tells us his name is Samuel—later—he does not respond when I so address him—He is a cunning animal I thought—Soon his thin vulgar mouth—slurs—His pale cheeks—blood ruddied—Now we feed him—whisky alone—Clara takes his hand—Such a lovely boy she tells him—He does not pull away—His eyes—loll—I agree I say—I own this building I tell him—and many others like it—There are rooms only I have seen—But I will show you—




If you were a lovely boy—I tell Clara—slowly without pause—I would lock you in a room—furnished with only a mattress of straw—At night—by the light of a candle—I would watch your body—rise and fall—listening until—The anxiety—burns and swells—Beautiful lad—


Hips—slight—the smooth bones—your rosey—Your face so still it might never again move—


I have always found the sex impulse a curse I tell her—In animals it is as if a madness overtakes them—you have seen it—For me it is the same—The seed burns and burns—until it is—expunged—




This room—a table and white cloth—places set for three—The boy’s mouth—fat with steak—his plate pooled—a fluid—pink—I have so long considered this moment—perhaps it has already happened—


How he flails—thin mews—sputter—Hold him fast I tell Clara—Black blood—clots her hair—the table cloth—swollen red—The very atmosphere—sopping with iron—I too—this baptism—


Don’t let him close his eyes I shout—Her voice somewhere—How long I have awaited this moment—I gaze and gaze until there is nothing more—




I follow him through the thicket—Dead grass and—This brute I thought—wild stink and heat—How many men has he murdered—How many rebel women chased down in fields—The months have ravaged him—Dysentery and the droning empty hours—But I see what he was—Ruddy neck—pale body—muscle knotted—dense black hair—How he would pummel me into the mud I thought—




Yet some days—I do not leave—Perhaps I allow Clara bring a tray—The stench—nauseates—ham—fat dappled—eggs—a sauce—crimson—This tedium—cutting and chewing—This show fascination—Yes quite good I might say—Even in solitude there are tasks—one cannot avoid—the body will not permit it—What is man but a mechanism—shackled to its organs—constructed to consume—expunge—Perhaps I allow a lamp lit—Perhaps—Clara may speak of the weather I cannot see—No—I can bear only silence—No some days even Clara must not enter—She calls to me through the door—Are you unwell—Shall I bring the doctor—laudanum—Her voice is—a knife through my skull—Leave me alone—I whisper from my great velvet chair—No more—




There are too many people—I do not tell Clara—Too many eyes—Their voices—sniveling sounds—How can they tolerate their own thoughts—I do not understand a man who has not longed for—annihilation—I do not tell Clara—I believed the war would—cull the herd—We leave them bayonet cleaved—rib bone and entrails—Others—as if angels dreaming, lips flowered—red—Your are better this way—I whisper to them—We burn Atlanta to nothingness—Women and children flee—weeping and sooty—a caravan sluggish—We should have followed on horseback—I do not tell Clara—Bayonets—I do not say—Our bare hands—




Leave—I tell Clara—Never again enter this room—The boy—sprawled—He is beautiful—flowered—his eyes yet—spread—With my fingers—now my tongue—I touch his cheek—His lips—of salt and iron—


By the wrists I pull him to the wall—how immovable his new weight—The bones wrench free but the skin holds—Soon no scrubbing will remove his stain—


How quiet he lies—slumped—I could reach into his throat—to my wrist—now the elbow—My body entire—

Even now he is—transforming—none but I can bear what he will become—

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