Thursday, September 24, 2015

"Degeneration" by A.J. Huffman

Back Cover Blurb:

Degeneration is a collection of poetry that intermixes personal memoir moments of a volatile relationship with visceral and surrealistic interpretations of everyday life and surroundings. This goal of this collection is to take the reader on an emotionally tangented ride that is more of a visual rollercoaster than a standardly emotional stagnant stone that just sinks into hopelessness. Collectively, it creates a diversely intriguing mix of imagery, metaphor, and real-life memoir.


Once Upon the Bed

"The difference between lie and lay.
Lay is always passive . . ."

". . . But maybe boredom is erotic,
when women do it, for men."

                                                -- Margaret Atwood's
                                                The Handmaid's Tale

I would lay beneath a bolted window,
battling the stifling breath of the ceiling fan
and count the stars bedding the midsummer sky
as I waited for the sandman's kiss.

Now, each beacon is a blinding icon.
A blue and yellow pill,
dancing and singing and leading the way.
These mindless soldiers wave as they pass.
Their uniforms immaculate.
Their lines perfect and straight.
I remember all their names.

We are neighbors in this white room without thought.
Their tiny voices taunt my sleep:
Come for me.
Their cries cover me in frozen forget.
Come for me.

But it is his voice I respond to.
His arms pinning my struggle to the bed.
His hate I see when I open my eyes.
And it is his cry that runs my stars red
when he whispers his muteness in my mind:
Come for me.

And I always do.


"Nothing can be proven except that it be made to bleed.
Virgins, bulls, men.  Ultimately God himself."

                                                -- Cormac McCarthy's
                                                All The Pretty Horses

She played at resistance,
consciously remaining
just beyond containment.
She waved to you,
flaunting unshackled hands --
her proof of difference.
Of mock indifference.

My part in this drama was to beg.

I never spoke
when she touched you,
and covered my eyes
when her hands bled green injustice.

Now she orders absolution,
for existence,
and tries to shake
blame's brand from her back.

But her presence pursues its own undoing
when I hand you my hands in replacement.
Silent hands.
And dripping red life.

Wayward Wonderland

I am wrenched from my fog of morning
by the monochromatic din --
your voice skipping over her name,
a tired epitaph.
I choke on these mewings as fury's rope
rubs my white pinafore blue.
"Alice," you whisper to me
as you wail in slip-shot remembrance.
And the lecture begins again:
"Alice must stop running away.
Wonderland is no place for little girls
or their rabbits."
And you force me full of needles,
dripping heroin-coated hate,
until I purge pink and orange stripes
that dissolve you into a brilliant white grin.

The Blind Man's Cup
for Ouillette

The bitter coffee burns my mouth,
steaming my regret farther down
its journey through mindless guilt.
A gnarled kitten
sits complacently on the counter.
Sunday morning with a stranger
and his fucking cat.
It stares me into submission
and spats my contempt at the wall:

One finger of light --
belligerent light he could never see --
creeps through the curtains
to slap me into this sleepless nightmare
where actions and reactions
circle me in endless trepidation.

The room explodes:
windows shooting shards
at buckling lamps
melting in the shattered safety
as the ceiling cracks
beneath the suffocating force of his breath.

The frustrated howl buried in my  breast
is lodged by the stark debris of confinement.
My rebellious breath chalks the walls,
branding my presence as I search for the fault.
Still I refuse to cross this threshold
without the reassurance of return.

See you tomorrow.