UNDERGROUND VOICES: POETRY - 05/2012

JONATHAN HINE

Dead Echoes

when I was 21
my life was at a critical juncture
I was a leaf caught in the violent winds of spirit
as fierce riptides of madness pulled me further
and further away from consensual REALITY
too weak & feeble to guide myself
I languished in government housing projects
half starved & half mad
going through what I would describe as
relentless cycles of retribution
my lit third eye or bio-electric/subtle energy sensor
was receiving scrambled & remote astral signals/transmissions
superimposed with the dissonance of personal delusions & hallucinations
creating a harsh intensity that demanded onward motion
towards some kind of release as
the atmosphere grew heavy
with sighs & distant whispers
every shadow teemed with fleeting specters that
dissipated when I focused on them
all the atoms in the apartment oscillated
according to the hellish harmony of the environment
the walls were thin & noise easily penetrated
from adjacent apartments
the concrete hallway's acoustics reflected
every infernal sound right to my door
the soundtrack of my own personal hell
had all the agonized and furious howling
of madness & despondency
distressed screams of children
would echo from the apartment at the end of the hall
the way the child screamed it sounded as if
someone was putting her hand to a hot stove
at night a hollow sigh would wake me from dreams
fertile with private terror
the only light in the room
was the hall light
shining through the two inch divide
from the door to the floor
and there was a dark shadow
obstructing the light
DEAD CENTER
on the other side of the door
like someone was standing RIGHT THERE
most of the time I just lay there trying to
figure out what could be casting that shadow
but I when I had to take a piss
I had to face it and would throw open the door
and nothing was there
I would pass out again, awaken & it was gone
just the gleaming two inches of vacant air
and then a few hours later the shadow was back
this went on night after night
until I rolled up an old towel & wedged it
in the crack between the door and the floor
problem solved
until the phenomena morphed into another comparably bothersome form:
something was playing with the thermostat
I would come home from work in July & the dial on the thermostat
was on the highest setting
the place roasting and reeking from the morning's garbage
I would turn the thermostat off
run the garbage to the dumpster, & open the windows
I always locked my door
& I always checked
the thermostat before I left for work
only to return home to the apartment
sweltering at 110 degrees
and the weirdness continued
one night I returned from a funeral
it was hot so I slept on the foldout couch
with the patio door open
curtains blowing in the wind
the ominous atmosphere
was charged with a static energy
that crackled & sizzled in the air
I awoke to see a dark & solid figure with his back toward me
he walked into the kitchen
startled, I jumped up & followed him around the corner
but no one was there and that was the only door to the kitchen
before I could get to the bedroom the door slammed shut HARD
right in my face
no one in the bedroom
by a certain implication
these experiences have shown me hints of something
far more deeply interfused
and in spite of everything
I survived those dark days
wounded & undermined
but still alive


Celestial Trivia

life seems to be some kind of penance
an outlandish atonement designed to burn off
all those forgotten sins
accumulated from another world
it is overflowing with inexhaustible revulsion, pain, & calamity
coming at you from every angle and course possible
as we try like hell to figure it all out, or at least some of us
sometimes it seems more like a bad joke
if there is much of a distinction









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