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Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Didn't hit the word count but didn't feel like forcing fetid puke out of my brain just to lengthen a poem.

Wound Man

(274 words.)

The blade can cut its way down into
muscles, tendons, sinews, arrayed vessels.
The rash can spread its way across
the arms, the legs, the back, the breast.
Catalogued the body's scrapes and markings
upon one man to show inner workings.

Wound Man's virtue is his freedom from shame
which lets scholars memorize sufferings.
To carry pain and steel and illnesses,
burdens that grow and weigh upon the spine,
kind to us, open, as life's been to him.
He is just one man, to which all pain goes.

Cut back flesh reveals sick innards through gore.
Though his mind's state remains surreptitious,
through years of pokes and prods, scaldings and scrapes.
One can't help but wonder about Wound Man.
Broker body than mind, or vice versa?
No one really wants to figure this out.

But still, he's there in stained pages and minds.
Our thoughts dance around his bloodied body,
focussed on all but the sum of his parts.
To learn from him is to deny insight.
Lessons that blind (beyond gouged out eyeballs);
studies that numb (outside of torn out nerves).

Recoil, subconsciously, from what he means.
Implacable in face, just drawn that way.
Quartered by thousands of horses, to teach.
No mind, we hope, placed in that head, or else
it too, wracked with trauma, madness, and pain,
we find ourselves wanting to help. Too late.

We've seen that no blade, gun, or germ affects
Wound Man's deathless stasis, at least for long.
Stagnation is his shameless pride, always.
Envy of immortality is fair,
scholars might all agree; aside from that cost.
Wound Man is a cut above, and below.