Thursday, 24 May 2012

Drug Trial by Craig Erick Chaffin


Everyone has their own peculiar price,
not quantifiable in currency.
When my hypodermic grazed your vein,
you confessed yours.
It was not exorbitant
so I withheld the serum
a moment longer before 
pushing the plunger. 


You saw rattlesnakes mate in the arroyo
tangled like hoses, braided 
like black ropes for a day, 
utterly vulnerable in the grip 
of love or instinct. 

Indians say this sight 
grants second sight.

You saw your victimhood
cupped like a cross of iron
in the hollow above your sternum,
cold, rusted from fear,
dangling from a chain 
of misinterpreted 

is a dangerous thing
and can't be granted 
by a single vision.


Spoke a prophet with his head on a platter: 

"To stand for something, 
to protest abortion or the destruction of wetlands,
to remember the Holocaust or the Alamo,
to disagree with farm subsidies
or campaign against clear-cutting
helps focus minds dulled by tolerance,
not a virtue but a courtesy--
like ignoring someone's body odor 
in an elevator-- which makes it 
perfectly moral to say,

'I understand and accept what you are doing
though I find it utterly abhorrent.'

Blessed are those who have found their cause:
gun ownership, preservation of historic buildings,
the fight against leukemia or for hemp: 
whatever we are righteously incensed about
restores our passion for goodness,
however misguided." 

Beneath the empty platter 
the world moves 
like ancient women 
gathering fuel in vacant lots.


The gut-ache of youth, 
super-caffeinated though 
socially melancholy, is beyond 
the generation previous, 
confirmed by body-piercing, 
black leather and ghostly skin
as if in preparation, not for a prom 
but for a funeral.

You must have cancer of the throat
to sing for them.
Pain sustains them.

Blessed are the pure, 
if only driven by glands.


Seeking the river's calm
you stretched before the television, 
dreaming of a Winnebago 
and Palm Springs,
when suddenly you heard: 

My sheep hear my voice and my voice is on TV.

Was the sound inside or outside your head?

No televangelist with cockatoo hair
came to explain, so you wept like a sinner,
fearing you were the Christ,
everyone was their own Christ,
and this was too much for you
so I injected the antidote 
out of pity for all the lies 
you need to make life tolerable.

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