The Poet Spiel
a Piaf tragic love hymn kind of grey no not the kind of grey when Piaf’s lusty laments embrace you grey a wrap-its-arms-around-you kind of grey a dusky fatalistic tragic love hymn sing-it-one-more-time sort of grey no not that kind of grey no nor like when the clouds hung low and wrapped you like a comforter grey on your days off in your grey plaid flannel shirt when you used to pry up cattle pads on the Hanson ranch and for every pad you came upon a lush mushroom that certain grey that kind of soft tranquil grey you could take back to the cabin to pleasure in no this is the grey like she abruptly disengaged you mean outright robbed you mean you don’t know the why but she got ahold of a certain piece of you your fond memory grey her laugh your grey matter that lump you keep dear your birthright took it hostage buggered it made it what it was not meant to be kind of grey so what you thought you recalled of her warmth her fond greetings barely hung by a thread and you know the thread was sustained by you that piece of your memory now hers for the tromping so you’re forced to divorce yourself from the agony she’s driven though it’s your brain she’s fucked with your head you live in as hers is a loathsome grey a razor wire grey she’s twisted round your neck without the benefit of rhyme so you labor to disown her and still that thin wretched thread re-ignites some trickle of fire some vague connection and you beg the grey of her the her you’ve lost that thread connect up to her head not yours to spark whatever robbed the life of what you wish you think you still hope the two of you once shared Previously published by Puddinghouse Publications in this part of town as this hombre roasts on the hiway you could poke him with the heavy fork he’s meant to use for spreading broiling black rock and he would use bare hands to shove the rock before he would poke you back you could watch a crow snatch his slice of bread and he would shove his fist beneath his ribs then swallow the gruesome stabbing at his gut just like the rest of these laborers as they sun-scorch the egg and re-fried beans they salt from their brows but this hombre dare not think not yet of one home beer no doubt pisswarm as the only medicine he will get if the battery cranks on frank’s or pedro’s chevy truck to haul him back to his old lady always napping where he does not know the names of all his kids who will jump him to beg bucks he’s sweated but may never see as he stumbles toward his lone dead olive tree for scant shade aside his mudbrick walls which bear ancient bloodstains spilt from his splintered jesus who does not poke back so long hung from a rope in this stilled life without soap as in this part of town— —not even a rabbit screams when you slash its throatA lifetime of mental illness and decades of psychotherapy provide rich material for Spiel to work with. At age 76, queer and confounded by loss associated with vascular dementia, he struggles to keep his lips above desolation. Internationally published as The Poet Spiel, Spiel’s most recent book is: “Dirty Sheets: 28 stories of passion, pathos and payback” published by Rain Mountain Press. He has published more than a dozen books. Learn more about his body of short stories, poetry, spoken word and his lifelong career as a visual artist at www.thepoetspiel.name.