Karl Koweski

guts to water

sunlight detonates off
a thousand splintered
shards of glass like
god’s stripper glitter
strewn across the alley.
stiletto heels of honed fire
pierces my eyeballs
threatening to create
a second migranial sun
lap-dancing my brain.

two sun-bleached Strohs cans
peek out like a couple winos
hiding in the tall weeds.
I grab those babies up,
shake out the piss trickle
from their skunky innards
and push the empties
into my jacket pocket.

I catch a whiff of rot,
a bloated garbage bag
split asunder with its
entrails undulating
and I think for a moment
I must be hallucinating
until it occurs to me
I’m staring at a buffet
of maggots and I wonder
what they must taste like,
these squirming protein pills.

a scream turns my guts to water,
a woman’s keening wail
so much like my late wife’s
post collision dying octaves.
I’m running toward its origin
before I can even realize
I should be running away.

I recognize the brick bunker
section eight apartment complex,
the laundry room vents
beneath which I sometimes sleep.
I recognize the brunette
flailing on the ground
pleading for her babies
to run and get help.
her two howling children
watches a strange man
squirt lighter fluid on the
crotch of her blue jeans.

the man speaks to her with
a voice like colliding metal
with words I no longer possess
the ability to understand.
he withdraws a Zippo from
his pocket, the silver catches
the sunlight sending kaleidoscopes 
through my pin-wheeling brain.

I think I should stop this
before it gets out of hand but
I haven’t taken my protein pills
and I don’t know what words to use.
these thoughts for and dissipate
like exhaust from a laundry vent.
the man flicks the Zippo afire
and tosses it on her lap.

flames erupt from her crotch.
her screams siren supernova
promising my cranial implosion.
backing away, my eyes catch hold
of the children, eyes rolling in horror.
I’m bearing witness to the creation
of me, two more hollow bodies
with minds like sieves set to
wander the alleys of the world.

and this knowledge, this destruction
at a soul one molecular level
spurs me forward charging into
the man with all the force of 
the locomotive that ended my wife.
the stranger collapses beneath me
as I drive my knee into his groin.
when he attempts to shatter me
with his screams, I gouge my
thumbs into his eye sockets,
evicting the jelly orbs on
bungee cords of bloody licorice.

I roll onto my back, crying,
the entire world spinning
with the stench of burning denim
and charring skin and agony
and ruination, all of it
twirling around the nexus of me.

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