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Justin Barisich

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30/30 Poetry Challenge (2015) Creative Writing Poetry Uncategorized

Day 30 – Applying Myself (to Your Altar)

By on April 30, 2015
(Photo Credit: Flickr / Ashdon McFall)

(Photo Credit: Flickr / Ashdon McFall)

The blood has been dripping
from my fingers, for years,
with the frustration of a leaky faucet.

I must decide, now, if it’s best
to keep wrapping the same corrosion
or just gut the whole damn thing –
drain the heart of the problem,
once, and with all possible finality.


I am standing at your altar,
priests of modern poetry,
with self-sharpened knife
pressed to pulsing vein, welling,
willing and ready to drain myself
for your bemusement,
hoping for only a chance

to smear it beneath you
in exchange for instruction
in the darkest of our art.

to learn your tested techniques –
how you hold pen like ceremonial blade,
angled proper for extracting the most
from each slow, scraping, skilled incision.

[heavy breathing]

to watch where you stab the hardest
and note what gurgles up from where –
what wells of pity, pride, and pain.

[heavier breathing]

to bring the slice to my pursed lips,
to taste it all again just to describe
it better for someone else’s pleasure.

[shallow breathing]

to trace the scars where you prodded
too deeply, too truly,
never able to syphon it all back in,
to hide the extraction sites.

[shallowed breathing]

to bury your corpse when it finally runs dry,
to know you well enough to say
a few good words at your funeral,
while everyone else admires
your calculated bloodstains
pressed to pallid paper.

[emptying breath]


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