JOHN AMEN

 

In the Imbroglio

I grow geraniums in a bed of rotting lumber,
inflate balloons under a mattress
from which the butcher knife still protrudes.

I carry welts on my hands
to prove I have spent
my share of nights
strapped to the electric chair.
It is all I can do to sing among the dead.

The rain comes like a missionary,
a conversion that spares the nerves.
I harvest fruit in sight of vultures,
celebrate by gargling dust. We are each
allotted only so many awakenings.

Each day I digest something I have not yet eaten.
I am used to that, acids bubbling,
trains roaring in my rib cage;
my stomach turning like a press,
trying to give voice to something not there.