Red Rivers

The first step to freedom is to change the way you dream,

to escape the constraints of the time &


into which you were thrown when first your throat

released that scream;

your first

entry into the ancient litany

of despair that is our shared language.


If the dreams will not cede,

if they will not submit,



when the knife punctures the skin &


down into the flesh,

something is released; not just the blood but

an obscene surplus; the pleasure of pain

gained by virtue of vice

& the sight of the red river flow:



take this as a joyous gift,

or as penitence for real or

imagined sins:


it is nothing more than violence

that cannot speak;


it is nothing more than

a voice too weak

to speak.


Surprise surprise,
                what’s the price?

Suppose you lied, suppose
the scars bring you pride
because they display your fight against life


since there’s no shadow without light,
no death without life,
you fought life & death &
                            you survived.

Suppose, suppose you
            posed like

the question came as a surprise – why
not try to act like you don’t know
what made you
strip naked & run screaming
into the abandoned building
licking flakes of old paint from walls bleeding cold
    petals on the floor lost to rot
            decaying fray-
                              ing & ignored, what
does the paint taste like, why
did you decide to stop when
the dirt-black sky
ran to hide from the bleeding sun that never dies?

suppose you only wanted to try & fall

suppose that you never meant it at all.