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"Poetry is the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash." Leonard Cohen

Saturday, April 10, 2010

FRIDAY FRY-DAY, EVERYBODY FALL DOWN - prompt "horror" 04.10.10

Friday Fry-day, Everybody Fall Down

It was a good day for dying, the guy
On the radio said, just before the news

And of course the news was all about
Tonight’s execution; first time in over

Fifty years they’ll be putting a woman
Out of her misery; I will be there to cheer...

Nearing midnight

The idiots outside the prison with their
Signs and candles – pathetic, they are

This is going to happen, make no mistake
I will see her zapped, I cannot wait

Can’t that minute hand move any faster?
Wait – I think I hear them coming – yes,

Eleven Fifty-nine P.M.

They open those silly curtains and there
She sits, staring straight into my eyes, glaring

It takes me aback, I admit it – but hey – she’s
Strapped into the high-voltage chair – harmless

Nothing she can do about it now, is there?
Just before they drop the hood over her head

She mouths three words at me – of course
I can’t really hear her but trust me, I hear her

As if she has spoken – yelled really – into my ear
She says, “I’ll get you” then closes her eyes.


Abruptly, I am woozy, feel like upchucking
Not celebrating, the way I was sure I would

And there is something cold on my shoulder
Icy fingers pressing down; I want to leap up

Instead of staying here watching my once
Best friend being electrocuted, put to death

I see her body straining against the chair
Struggling spasmodically inside the restraints

It seems to go on interminably, and I feel
Unwell, with a foreboding; finally she stills

Driving home

My headlights won’t work – they were fine
On the way here but now, nothing but pitch dark

My small car is filled with a sibilance of whispers;
I try to catch what’s being said, even as I try not to listen

A futile exercise admittedly; I have not travelled far
Along the road when a wraith darts across in front

I slam on the brakes, swerve, nearly end in the ditch
Finally come to a stop – the passenger door opens

With weary resignation but no real surprise
I turn to regard my newly dead friend; she looks abysmal.

Her lifeless eyes stare at me; her ruined mouth
Smiles a mirthless shape in my direction —

I cannot seem to look away from her but seeing her
Like this reminds me of what a bad thing I did —

Oh my lord, how trite — bad thing doesn’t really begin
To cover it — killing my own child — blaming my best friend

And then framing her so completely I helped to
Send her to death-row and finally to the chair ...

World without end, amen

I wonder aloud what she plans to do with me, how she
Plans to torture me, then finally put me out of my misery

Terrified, beside myself with thoughts of dying,
I am begging, even as I admit that I deserve no mercy

Partway through my impassioned entreaty,
She holds up an almost skinless hand

The smell of freshly burned skin, charred bone,
And other indefinables is acrid in my car—

When she chortles – her once familiar belly-laugh
Is such a mockery of its former self, I think that,

More than anything is what ultimately undoes me
Or maybe it’s when she lays one cold destroyed finger

On my arm and shakes her head to quell my voice
—and she does, so panicked am I that her skull might

Just fall off, it seems held by the slimmest
Of corporeal threads—but, in a hoarse, raw voice,

The payback she outlines for me, before slithering out
Of my car, leaves me breathless and shaking

Early Morning

I am still sitting just as she left me, when the sun
Deigns to rise, so petrified am I of moving anywhere

In the dark — but I know it is not going to be only
Night-time I have to fear, but all the time,

I ponder, as my shaking hands reach for a cigarette
Whether I imagined the whole thing; it was after all

A very rough night – just as my hand touches the car
Lighter, a much tinier hand lays its cold self on mine

I close my eyes and sigh, despairing, sink back
On the seat, contemplate the past and reluctantly

My future; it seems, as is rumoured with vampires,
I am to live, if not quite forever, a long, long time

And during this long life, everywhere I go,
Without warning, the ghost of my little girl

Or my best friend, or both of them together
Will be there also, keeping me company, judging me,

Driving me crazy — but never, my friend assured me —
Allowing me to take my life — oh no, that was out —

Life was in, and I was to use it wisely, do good things ...
She seemed almost joyful telling me my macabre

Fortune and by the end, I thought I detected
A note of peace creeping into her voice,

And envied her for it before, in a trice, she told me
To just forget it — that those that had gone before

Especially those I had done so poorly by
Knew every thought that crossed my mind

There was to be no peace for me, not now
Not ever, and that she could guarantee

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