LA | NY A Special Edition of The East Village

Charles Borkhuis

The Purloined Past

for Jeff Clark

has vision crept into your mouth again
like some surrealist stage-door johnny
with an exploding bouquet
of forget-me-nots
and an anarchist's gift for gab?

or do you smell a kinder gentler ghost 
working these haunts?
a bit paler perhaps 
more hermetic and morose 
but with all the credentials
of a 19th century street-punk
poking his dandy's cane
through your bones and loose threads
looking for a few good dreams
in your box of splendors

but there's only your polished suicide notes 
soiled panties and interactive toys 
with their cheery digitalized voices
that have put you on hold
while they rise as lost souls released 
from your anemic plans
and out to make up for lost time

don't worry death knows the drill
the bubble of oxygen in your poison
that holds you at a pen prick's distance
administering just enough ink
to keep you trance-
ported but still breathing

forget the future my dear
its the past that's been reading 
your thoughts all these years
that will find you out one day
and expose your caseload
of still-born secrets

then with a delirious smile
that proves no one ever really dies
he'll whisper fatuous sweet nothings
to the worms listening 
at the canals of your ear 
as he comes incubus-crawling 
into the coffin with you

Charles Borkhuis Index