Worrying That Bone in the Gnawing Dark (take 1)

‘In my head is my only house
unless it rains,’ said the Captain.

But my mind is homeless, shattered, hovelled, beggarly,
a half-assed collage, assemblage, semblance of

drawings of creatures alien and earthen, ghostly and beastly,
machine and organic,

                                    a homeless man’s poem in print-out,
from his blog (that’s our world, where the homeless blog,
not just the mentally homeless, like me, but the bodily homeless),
he with whom I exchanged words on George Square, swapped verse,
mine sounding like the housed, well-fed, self-taught luxury-lexicon
it was, his sounding like the history-full, conspiracy-cracked, trickster
logoi it was.

                    A friend’s art photograph is in here,

                                                                              in my internal
homeless shelter,

                              and a bad snapshot photo of my deceased father
sitting in shorts so high and tight it looks like he’s in his undies,
holding our firstborn when she was a wee and spark-eyed curly-
topped toddler on her grandpa’s lap—bad photograph of a happy
memory, sweet pain,

                                  an illustration from a children’s book,

unused and useless printer,

                                              the corpse of the computer with its dead-
eyed sightless monitor-head,

                                                a taped-up crumpled list of books I
want to read this year (from years ago), written on a torn envelope
in hopeless handwriting, most of the books still unchecked off, unread,

the rat-tat-tatty bookshelves double-stacked, piled, stuffed,
extracted volumes re-shelved erratic, the too-many teeth of
permanently jaggy-toothy smiling mouths on both sides of
my brain casing, jutting further on one side and gap-continuous
in adjacent rooms of this homeless mind,

                                                                   allegedly homeless and yet
a multi-roomed shopping cart full of tumbling and worn possessions,
trash as well as treasure, squeaking down alleys in a city not its own,
homeless only because rootless, uprooted, extracted and retracted and
grafted onto an island-swatch across a great divide of tide,

                                                                                               a mind now
swimming in a whole other ocean.

                                                        And ah, the beloved green-glowing
numbers of the bedroom alarm clock that my mind nightly clings
to for ragged comfort in the lovely folding dark, the standby sleep
mode, though unable to sleep full nights half the time, waking and
remembering it’s homeless and worrying that bone in the gnawing
dark, trying to slam itself back to pseudo-oblivion or sly-slip itself a
micky-track back to dreamland, but usually flubbing it and ending
up wandering soft-lit cityways like always for another middle-of-the-
night wear-out session.

                                       So maybe my head is a house after all, O
Captain, a homeless house. Like the stories I’ve read of walking, living
houses that wander the earth in search of occupants,

                                                                                       that’s my mind.


(photo by Flannery O’Kafka)


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