on the edge

he felt the crisp wad of banknotes between his fingers as his hand lay limp on the edge of the bed

he hated himself

he squeezed the newly printed greenbacks in his palm and imagined the smell in his nostrils fresh that day from the ATM

even from here he could smell her overpowering sticky wet scent on his fingers spoiling the notes

he thought about buying a new pair of boots and cared less what the body lying next to him was dreaming about

he hated himself and he hated her even more

this night was done for him

he would use the bathroom before he left

hang his flaccid cock and matted hairs on the edge of the basin and wash it clean with the tiny bar of gritty motel soap

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he hated the disgusting animal smell that would linger with him for the next 24 hours

in the room next door through the thin partition wall he could hear the sound of screaming and wondered if it was from pleasure or pain

fake or real

and how many voices?

there had been voices of all ages all night long coming and going between the slam of car and motel doors and beer cans crushed and bottles smashed and fists meeting jaws

but some of that had been on the edge of his dreams

he felt the claustrophobic fall of days crash into winter’s icy grip like a hand around his neck

like the hand around her neck as he had hard fucked her knowing all along he was venting his aggression on this woman who deserved none of it

none of him

he read the words on the picture hung askew above the television that told him to live for the joy of today and the promise of tomorrow

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amen to that

two seagulls flew over crashing waves towards a sweeping sandy beach with cliffs in the background but the whole scene had faded into a washed out pale blue

he heard the rumble of utility van engines firing up in the adjacent truck stop parking lot and instinctively smelt the fumes

and he hated himself and her smell and her shabby hole and this room in this godforsaken mid-western town where the streets were lined with combines and bright red grain conveyors

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corn shuckers

was it really so bad that he thought this way?

with so much hate for himself and the world?

that he wanted to drive his 18-wheeler through an intersection red light with his eyes closed and his heart racing pumping blood to his exploding brain?

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he felt this had to stop but knew not how or why

he felt the crisp wad of banknotes between his fingers unfurl and slip to the floor one by one as he opened his fingers as if releasing them from the trigger of a gun

the body next to him stirred and moaned like a wild creature in pain

it reminded him of the hind he had shot last year at the tail end of the season

the bullet from his Weatherby Mark V deer rifle had shattered its thigh and brought it crashing to the ground on the edge of a stand of golden aspen

when he’d reached the felled animal it was still but alive

he’d looked down into its eye and felt nothing

he stood with his legs apart and pissed for a long while

he zipped up and left

the greenbacks lay scattered on the floor

the woman’s bludgeoned  brains splattered on the wall

the sunrise filled the sky

he felt on the edge of something he couldn’t control

on the edge of a day he couldn’t define

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fever trail

his fever followed you everywhere

hot sweating on your scented trail
along the dried up gulches and riverbeds
between haze stolen mountains and eagle nests
down wild beast trails through river forests

hunting     grasping     future fishing
hurling vapid words into cliffside caverns
watching     waiting     they fall into silence

aborted echoes of long remembered dreams
fractured     splintered     headshot through
like every buffalo slaughtered on every prairie
like every severed horn piled high for the hunter’s glory

the shattered highway cuts through the turgid night
bisected by your starlit brilliance
two-fingered by your opened-leg malevolence
photographed     pornographed     thermographed

always hoping to catch and blind poker you
shackled     bound     all to his famished self
a wild dog gnashing ripping flesh from bone
stalked     snatched     blood-dripped sand

gloating over his prized possession
his hand smothers your gaping mouth
howls vent and scorn over your battered body
dissolving in a muddied pool of stagnated fury

he gasps     chokes back the grief     turns
follows his fevered trail everywhere
sweating your scented temptation

poisoned without you
poisoned with you
poisoned in you
poisoned you

reward

(playing with imagery, mixing up the here and now with the bruised and burnished past, battlefields and seared landscapes, scars and shallow graves – nothing is sacred or lost).