UNDERGROUND VOICES: POETRY


DENNIS MAHAGIN

ICU, 2

I woke up
with a breathing
tube down my throat; shot up
my voice box, and I could not
talk,
only gag;
so I had
to ask for things
by writing notes

in a script
made childish,
ragged by IV lines
at the wrist:

"ICE ... i c e ?"
I wrote. I asked
for this.

Around dusk, a voice spoke
straight out of brainstem, called itself
hope, or the god head, a dozen other
dollar-late
appellations,
that lit up

or so it
seemed a sliver
of butane for heartbeats
weak as a doomed ice
skein, stalactite drip,
dregs of syringe
tip,

though my cheeks flushed
in facsimile of a morphine
rush I could not
let go.

"This has got nothing to do
with the past," said the voice,
"and that nurse?... she knows
... she'll see you again
in street clothes..."

Lukewarm Diet Sprite on the night
stand, a bowl game on TV, vital sign
monitors kept an insane rhythm,
measure for measure with
respirator, like a windshield
wiper sloughing crystal
beads of snow ... I was forty
two years old, New Year's
Eve in Las Vegas; I've been told
that around nine, some lost twin
of mine rolled
his sleeve in
Reynolds Wrap, speed
ball and chrome; he bought it
on Elizabeth street, the sirens
got him home.


Dennis Mahagin is a poet and fiction writer from the Pacific Northwest.
His work appears widely, in such publications as Juked, Exquisite Corpse,
Thieves Jargon, Pequin, Storyglossia, Slow Trains, Clean Sheets, Absinthe
Literary Review, Frigg Magazine, 42opus, Keyhole, and 3 A.M. Magazine.
He is currently seeking a publisher for his orphaned poetry collection,
entitled Grand Mal.

Dennis' website is located at: http://fourhourhardon.blogspot.com.
His email address is: mahagin@aol.com







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