A Book for David

the line of a well-worn
book strap, twisting like
a taut gallows rope
slaps against my denimed
knee and thigh, as I
locomote—bound around
a hardcover, without a sleeve
that needs returning to
the drop-slot abyss
at the library
door

let its pages go
to moisture-rot and
death, as I slide into the
too well-lit gallery
centered on your
pedestaled statue-
self

perched on soapbox
you run me down with
cunning marble globes and
adjudicating brow,
worn slightly furrowed
paste-face and smug
like you’ve just slain
every Philistine and you
aim to sling a final
stone

of course, you witness all
indeed, the clockwork
tocks that churn within
my heart-bound multiverse
a knowing vicariously
absorbed from what issues
out between the flapping
anemic gums of those
who come to sometimes
denigrate your lofty
aspirations to Michelangelic
perfection and fluidic
symmetry

around your chiseled lobes
the murmurs resonate
from within the walls
like the rustling cockroach
noise of insect legs
in friction, making full
the silence of your
chamber

a fleet of jackdaws
claim land on your
shoulders, tweeting
tidings of things unseen
making sure to leave behind
their shit that beads like
white paint down
the curve of your
chest—as a parting
consideration

but what of lips that
move when curled
tight behind the
vaulted corners of
this museum? concealed
in lampshade obscurity
beyond the arc of
your knowing?
the muffled criticisms
slander that your
cemented skeletal frame
cannot shift to
confirm

they are in permanence
on the pages of this
hanged-man book
strung by its neck and
revolting—the one that
needs returning
its density is draining and
I begin to sense the
offal waft of cadaverine
decay from its uncured
vellum—you may
own it, if you
like

read the real that
rests inside: the sounds
that you and neither
I were ever
meant to know, but
have been horsewhipped
by necessity into
unearthing

we were friends
I would sit and give
you company—
keep you from
crumbling apart at
the wrists—before
you latched yourself
inside that shell
of thick, chrysalid
marble

I arrive open, warm
for reparation, with
naked face and name
in honest presence, to
return an overdue book
to an erstwhile
friend

11 thoughts on “A Book for David”

    1. If that is sum of the meaning you took from this poem, I am truly sorry. The feelings expressed are nearly the opposite of ego. But, everyone deserves an opinion, so I will let your comment stand.

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  1. Nicholas, what i find to be so enrapturing about your writing is that literally every single line i so adore. Your command of language is of the highest echelon. I appreciate and admire this about you. I can’t quite put my finger on it but there’s just something about the way in which your mind pieces things together that both intrigues and captivates me. I find myself rereading your work in order to fully unravel its layers of complexity. Thank you for what you do, my friend.

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