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Poems

We March Like Soldiers

[based on a true story]
For Sean, because I know you understand. xo

We March Like Soldiers

Shuffling forward
We march like soldiers
Invisible chains rattling
That only we can hear

All crammed together
In that box
We jiggle a little

I keep my eyes on the numbers
In that crammed elevator and imagine
That death awaits me at the bottom
Like a gas chamber
Waiting to spit out its last breath

Jiggle
Jiggle

Down we go
To meet a collection of many tables
And glue and sparkly things
I don’t die

There is an exercise bike
And a fat woman rides
Always going
Nowhere

The piano makes me sad
I remember other things
And better days
Before I flew
Out of my mind

But down I sit
My fingers stumble like a bad lover
And I play the song of my life
Wanting only to cry

The crazy people look at me
They are smiling
I smile too- at what
I do not know
But on with the show!

I do not understand
How I got here
Or why

I march outside and watch the worker
Water the flowers
In the burning heat

A man walks in circles
And circles and circles
He is pleased to be talking
With himself
Round and round he goes
A curious machine
That brings
A heavy verdict
He discusses
Heaven and hell

Another jumps up and kicks the wall
Is he real?
Is he an angel? A devil?
Did he come up from a pit?

Did I see bats?
Are they birds?
I watch them fly away

Up and out of the high walls that surround
All of us here on lock down

The sunny workers in the flowered pajamas
Are careful to say lovely things
So we know
We’re sane

I swing and swing
Every day
On that damn bench
That never goes anywhere

Up we go

Jiggle
Jiggle

Back to the halls and walls that are plastered with rules
That we’re supposed to understand

There are smiley faces
That tell us
We are people too

Here on this safe floor with no lighters or sharp metal things
And we wait
Watching the new ones march in

I am uncertain
If I am dead or alive
I go to the bathroom
Shut the door
And try to cry

No tears

The night brings another solemn gathering
Of people standing in line
For the third time
Today
To eat
And snacks too

I am a wild animal in these glass-windowed walls
I do not know how to get out
My eyes are black as mud inside
And my tears have been taken
By terror (the mirror does not lie)

Out I shuffle
With bare feet and no socks
In my spotted gown
Down

The hall
And we all

March like soldiers
And stand in a sad line
To get our pills
Which make us feel
At least for a little while

Like we are sleeping
As we lie awake in this place
Flying out of our minds

– B. Lindsey
(original poem)
Written on 10/28/13


The Birth

Image

The Birth

Eyes  squeezed
Liquid
Pours into the mouth
No matter how tight it may be

Murky depths and water
Flood the slitted eyes
Death in its black and hollow cave
Extends a hand, quickly
Slapped back by the light
Which is growing yellow
Fat and bright

Wraps itself around the scene
Like a cobra
Shedding its last skin

The breath which was muted
Comes fast and loud and rough
Eyes burst open
Liquid spills and rolls down little hills

A final sigh as breath is held
Smiles are passed around like Cuban cigars
In the other room

More liquid
Filling and spilling from eyes
The baby cries

-B. Lindsey (original)
9/7/13