A POEM IS AN EGG WITH A HORSE IN IT
Zzyzyva, the last word I’d expect, fits:
bursting through my brain as from a starting gate.
yielding nothing, buried as an egg,
champing through my cortex, lustrous,
xanthic. It conceals its young like pirate treasure:
doubloons in vocabulary’s guise: logorrhetic
waves, like fast-thumbing a dictionary’s pages,
exonerate to tortillion. Eggs hatch; larvae burrow:
voluble, half-formed conversations that nibble,
form lines or sentences as, ravenous
under skin and muscle, they race through nerves,
gallop as though steel-shod, adrenaline driven.
The final words, as though truly my last—
have to catch them, like horses who rush into fire,
sense my hypomania, panic’s pound in blood,
in one tight bundle of sparking nerves,
rustling husks in a paper-dry wind,
jocose with the like-sound of pages and flame.
Quick, they move like a flash fire,
knacker me, drag me behind as I stumble,
presumptively disabled as a tempest of hooves
leave my body little more than furrowed dirt,
outkick my racing thoughts in their sprint,
my mind dazed, blinded and deafened into a fog.
Nobody cares I’m going insane.
Nobody will care I was born insane,
Mania’s no problem, some say; then they witness it,
overwhelmed by its galloping consumption,
leaping high-voltage throughout my body,
progressively louder. My brother’s thunderclaps
keened, knife blade against whetstone,
quickened its edge to hover,
japing, as he chased me with a drawn sword,
ran it through the door I locked,
into the wood to bleed screams out of me:
shining like fresh blood I imagined,
hiding in the bathroom, good as sealed inside a wall,
terrified. Years later, people ran from me,
got out of reach: both anger and need too sharp
unctuous and alarming as twirling blades,
flashing midair like a last word. Zzyzyva
vex, ingest, drip blood. They honeycomb me,
empty me, resembling a steel-shod rush
without rhythm or cadence. Its trample
devours me as it stamps through chromosomes,
xenolithic as quartz glints in stone.
Calm is the last bird that chants to me.
You’d think a mockingbird for the mocking,
Before I can place the song, zzyzzva drown it out,
zymotic as a contagion in my brain.
And the horses don’t stop running.