Bloody Footprints

Bloody Footprints

the movie opens

on a busy sidewalk

someone with a knife

stabs a stranger

keeps on going

while the victim collapses

remember the knife

the flash of it

the thrust

blood blood blood

 

people stepping in it

as they step over the body

on their important way

bloody footprints

quickly splotching the sidewalk

as the camera

pulls up up

the police arrive

the credits roll

over the expanding trail

of bloody footprints

 

steps lead to smart shops

to offices

into elevators

down marble corridors

over carpets in hotel hallways

cafe floors

washroom stalls

 

blood gets on hands

trying to clean shoes

the fingerprints on mirrors

coffee cups

documents

dried flakes fall between 

keyboard keys

smear smart phones

traces tracked undetected through 

airport screening machines

splotches on luggage

the blood travels around the world

 

the sidewalk

with the outline of the body

is a pool of blood

after crime scene photos have been taken

after cellphone photos have hit the net

city workers come to clean it up

 

the camera looks for the stabber

pushing through crowds

roving over heads shoulders

no faces

hands washing

blood pooling in sinks

almost dripping down the walls

of apartments

seeping out of TV screens

 

bloody footprints

lead up to a door

the bell rings

you reach to open the door

the closing credits roll

Much like Psycho Zombies in the Rain this piece is very cinematic – in fact it includes camera angles 🙂 The opening is one that I saw decades ago in a movie about a serial killer, I think. My memory of the plot is rather vague of what happens after the victim collapses other than people annoyed & reacting as if the victim was drunk not dead.

The rest is inspired by CSI, when I used to watch the show, by how they followed clues to unexpected locations. The poem is a list poem of various places this blood could have been tracked to. I realize it probably wouldn’t stay on shoes long enough to get where I take it, or that it would stay wet enough either but this is poetry not a text dealing with blood spatter theory.

Each of the bloodied locations would get its own screen time while the audience sorts through the clues to figure out which ones are relevant because narrative logic dictates that some of these locations must pertain to the identity of the killer. This is one the frequent plot ploys on many detective shows – too many clues to sort through.

I like the overhead camera view of the corpse with all these foot prints leading away from it. Prints made by people oblivious or perhaps indifferent to the body, to the crime & later miffed by having to clean the blood off their shoes.

 

The ending is a riff on surprise endings where the narrator turns out to be the killer – it is a bit of a cliche mind you but I couldn’t resist. Here it is ambiguous – has the killer come to your door or have the bloody footsteps lead the police to your door? Either way you’ll get what you deserve 🙂



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Backstory

Backstory

 

during a total eclipse of the sun

a plunging comet

caused a power surge

that burned out the electronic

safe guards at the nuclear plant

near the asylum

built on an ancient native

sacred temple

where blood sacrifices

had opened a portal to another dimension

releasing a radioactive

cloud creature

that was struck by lightening

on Friday the 13th

exactly 101 years after

the town had vanquished

the minions of the blood sucking

mistress of the the enchanted forest

where the outcast

son of the the dethroned ruler

was cutting the 13th head of the dragon

to get power from

Slyggothora

that would return him to the throne

made of the sacred bones

of the creature found

the the smouldering remains

of that craft that fell from the sky

during the ceremony of virgin sacrifice

on the spot

where the comet created

a fold in the time-space continuum

setting off a war between

the robotic androids

and the last of the human species

that hadn’t been infected

the psychosis inducing virus

spread by ants

that had eaten the leaves

of the mutated plants

grown from seeds 

found in a urn

in a long lost burial chamber

by a fourteen-year-old

mixed-sex clone



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Kharis 

Kharis 

 

is this the last wrap

or the first

the first wrap was a tissue

of lies

‘oh i’m fine’

I used that wrap

over & over

until the tissue

was a layer

layer after layer of

‘oh i’m fine’

‘i don’t mind’

‘how can i make you happy’

 

walking away

rather than add another layer

hoping nothing had caught

no thread was snagged

on a expectation

an exception

on resurrecting love

 

I was protected

entombed by safety

by the fact

that all anyone wanted to hear

was ‘oh i’m fine’

‘this bandage solution will do’

‘you deserve to be fixed first’

 

bound tight

peering at life though the slits

surrendering to the weight of history

pushed along by an unquestioned past

by ritual expectations

controlled by the clasp of gauze

layer upon layer after layer

some turned to dust

some turned to scar

some turned to face the sun

reaching for release

 

decayed tissue 

dust motes settling in the moonlight

‘how can i make you happy?’

‘how can i unravel the book of life’

can i survive

without another layer

of this tissue

this scar tissue of lies

‘oh i’m fine’

This one was written October 2017 before I watched The Mummy (1959), then worked on the next day after I watched it. In the movie the resurrected Kharis sinks into a bottomless bog. He sees no wrong in what he has been done. His self-sacrifice is unquestioned while none of his victims acknowledges that the mummy may have any sense of self. Not that he gives anyone an opportunity to reason with him. He was ‘pushed along by an unquestioned past /by ritual expectations.’

The piece started with that image of bandages as a tissue of lies. The prime lie being the self-sacrifice lie ‘oh i’m fine’ which come out of ‘the weight of history.’  Culturally men are to keep their real emotions, except anger, under wraps. Questioning the history is to cast doubt on one’s real manhood. It is better to sacrifice than surrender.

It’s so easy for people to accept ‘i’m fine’ without questioning it. Kharis is a man sacrificed to protect the princess he loved. He is a type of zombie compelling by spiritual forces not by his own mind. Not questioning our male history makes many men into zombies fulfilling the prophecy of male stoicism.

I play with metaphorical bandage images through the piece twisting them round each other the way a mummy is wrapped to point where one no longer knows who is actually under those bandages. We never see the ‘naked’ man only his eyes through the slits – a sort of tunnel vision.

There are some direct references to the 1959 film as well – there is a ritual to resurrect Kharis, it is read from the book of life, he then hopes to resurrect the princess, his one true love. This hetero love is found in nearly every variation of The Mummy – of course the hero’s fiancee always looks like the dead princess etc. All caught in a powerful plot devise nearly as confining as the layers of wrappings.

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Emotional Extremities

Emotional Extremities

these aren’t my hands

I don’t know

whose they are

at least they match

unlike my feet

one is size 12

the other is size 10

so you can’t judge

the size of my hidden extremities

by my feet

or this nose

at least it’s in the centre of this face

this time

even if it isn’t the nose

that goes with this face

 

I think my legs match

in length

though one is hairier

than the other

 

when these hands

touch you

this brain

doesn’t know who it feels

what this emotion is

but there is a change

in my hidden extremity

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Space Scum

Space Scum

he opted not to say anything

no one would believe him anyway

he didn’t believe his own eyes

when he saw

the creeping scum from outer space

dissolve his dog

his parents

now it was oozing

into the city sewers

 

he knew if he told the police

he would be blamed

for the houses

the slime comet destroyed

blamed for the ruins

of the school

the church

for the shattered scattered bones

of his high-school bully

none of that was his fault

it wasn’t him

this time

really

 

so let the space slime

bubble up in their toilets

dissolve their sorry asses

he’d keep his mouth shut

even if it killed him

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Listen

Listen Closely

did you hear that

 

I heard something

while you were talking

a whisper hiding in your words

it was a sinister shush

but when you are silent

all I hear

is my own breath

 

can you hear breathing

down your neck

waiting for that something

you must hear it

it doesn’t come from you

that much I know

that’s why I have to listen closely

hear what it has to say

it comes from behind me

not from you

but with your words

 

sometimes

it moves a curtain

in a room 

where there is no curtain

 

shh did you hear that

 

you must have

it was so loud

like a book falling of the table

onto a cushion

like the soul

leaving the body

at the last breath

no don’t stop breathing

I can’t stand the silence

 

did you hear that

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The Haunting of Him

The Haunting of Him

it is a parapsychological theory

I learned from ghost hunter shows

which says it is unfinished business

emotional 

hidden treasures 

lost keys

that keeps restless spirits on earth

but we had no unfinished business

so I don’t know why

I’m haunting him


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Bloody Footprints

Bloody Footprints

the movie opens

on a busy sidewalk

someone with a knife

stabs a stranger

keeps on going

while the victim collapses

remember the knife

the flash of it

the thrust

blood blood blood

 

people stepping in it

as they step over the body

on their important way

bloody foot prints

quickly splotching the sidewalk

as the camera

pulls up up

the police arrive

the credits roll

over the expanding trail

of bloody foot prints

 

steps lead to smart shops

to offices

into elevators

down marble corridors

over carpets in hotel hallways

cafe floors

washroom stalls

 

blood gets on hands

trying to clean shoes

the fingerprints on mirrors

coffee cups

documents

dried flakes fall between 

keyboard keys

smear smart phones

traces tracked undetected through 

airport screening machines

splotches on luggage

the blood travels around the world

 

the sidewalk

with the outline of the body

is a pool of blood

after crime scene photos have been taken

after cellphone photos have hit the net

city works come to clean it up

 

the camera looks for the stabber

pushing through crowds

roving over heads shoulders

no faces

hands washing

blood pooling in sinks

almost dripping down the walls

of apartments

seeping out of TV screens

bloody footprints

lead up to a door

 

the bell rings

you reach to open the door

the closing credits roll

This piece is based on a real movie but I can only recall this opening sequence of the stabbing and the falling to the ground. I’m not sure if it didn’t happen as they were crossing a downtown street, rather than just walking down a street – people jostling in opposite directions. A car horn honking while another car drove around the body with a close up of the irritated driver’s face. All before the opening credits come up.

That’s all I remember of the movie. I have no idea who the cast is, what the music was like. The time area was early 80’s. The plot was, gasp, a killer targeting random people one of whom was his actual victim. American – probably United Artists – a studio that specialized in this sort of thing. Bumbling police with one detective needed to redeem his reputation by solving this case – which he does.

The rest of the piece after the first verse is my imagined plot. Some based on when I watched shows like CSI, some based on the real indifference people have been shown to show when violence happens – avoiding involvement. The blood becomes a symbol for the emotional effects of the killing. Those traces that remain, sometimes for decades, when someone witnesses say a car crash.

It becomes a list poem of where those blood traces travel, of some of the ways crime is treated now with cell-phone pics as we rush passed. The only difference her his that there are no reports asking people ‘how did they feel?’ But the movie camera keeps up the search. It is the detective following the clues. 

The poem ends in a way no movie can end – here you, the reader, get pulled into the both the poem and the movie. Sure the ending is a bit of a literary conceit and at the same implicates us in the crime in a fun way – what do we walk away from when shouldn’t. 

 

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every Tuesday


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Die! Monster! Die!

Die! Monster! Die!

abattoir hook 

fire ants

broken bottle to the face

boiled in oil

crushed by metal crusher

cut into tiny pieces

drowned

drilled through the brains

eviscerated

exploded

fried in vat of boiling oil

flayed

gutted

gassed

hung

harpooned

incinerated

incased in ice

jigsawed to bits

juiced by blender

knife to the heart

karate kicked to a pulp

lazer sliced

lethal injection

mummified

machine gunned

nailed to a cross

nuclear detonation

occult undermining

over fed to exploding

pit of sulphuric acid

poisoned

quicksand

quartered and drawn

ripped to pieces by razor backs

riddled with bullets

shovel to the head

stabbed

taxidermicide

tar pit trap

underwater grave

ulcerated colon

vaccinated with anthrax

vacuumed into space

wired to atomic bomb

wisteria soup

x-ray over-exposure

xenomorph attack

yellow jacket swarm

yoyo string garotting 

zebra stampede

zika infection

 

and yet it still walks amongst us

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The Mummy

Kharis 

is this the last wrap

or the first

the first wrap was a tissue

of lies

‘oh i’m fine’

I used that wrap

over & over

until the tissue

was a layer after layer of

‘oh i’m fine’

‘i don’t mind’

‘how can i make you happy’

 

walking away

rather than add another layer

hoping no thread was snagged

on a expectation

an exception

on resurrecting love

 

I was protected

entombed by safety

by the fact

that all anyone wanted to hear

was ‘oh i’m fine’

‘this bandage solution will do’

‘you deserve to be fixed first’

 

bound tight

peering at life though the slits

surrendered to the weight of history

pushed along by an unquestioned past

by ritual expectations

controlled by the clasp of gauze

layer upon layer after layer

some turned to dust

some turned to scar

some turned to face the moon

reaching for release

 

decayed tissue 

dust motes settling in the moonlight

‘how can i make you happy?’

‘how can i unravel the book of life’

can i survive

without another layer

of this tissue

this scar tissue of lies

‘oh i’m fine’

This piece was inspired by both the phrase ‘tissue of lies’ and seeing Christopher Lee in ‘The Mummy’ 1959 – that was on TCM. The essence of the story is a man so in love he can’t stay dead. I saw it as an allegory for the notions we get wrapped up by our culture about what love means. How those wrappings confine rather than preserve and yet many persist in putting them on voluntarily.

There’s also reference to the ‘bandage solution’ in which the apology is supposed to be absolution that lets one off the hook. ‘I’m sorry for queer bashing you so please don’t send me to jail.’ Enough layers of ‘sorry’ and guilt gets buried.Here too I see the bandages as those things we say to placate others while we hide our real feelings – ‘I’m fine’ rather that ‘I’m fucking angry.’ 

In the Lee film there is The Scroll of Life that brings the Mummy to life – no moonlight tanna leaves in this version – one ritual has to be performed moonlight etc. The power of the word replaces the mystic of plants. The Mummy’s drive to protect and make happy the princess & goes about it blind to any damage left in his wake. 

Masculinity can be like layers of bandage, traditions & cultural expectation that men find themselves compelled to fulfill – a weight of history & unquestioned pasts that like the ending of The Mummy drowns men in a swamp of ‘oh i’m fine.’ Is masculinity a better option than admitting that entitlement can’t unravel the Scroll of Life. 

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