A Night’s Grotesquerie


Dressed all in white, a black rose
about her neck – a ship, cruising
the south seas of her mind.
The one who used to visit her
when bubbles brimmed and eddied
round this old white tub
lost these many years
among the grit and soot. 

She used to live here
eclectically in a junk-bin,
a menagerie where her lost
orchids: red and black
exploded in light – pieces
of their magic
round these tides and tatters.
A man dressed all in black
stands somewhere
behind her
in the shadows, feint and slim,

ghosting her as she picks
past scraps and heaps
(so many ashes, even the brass
flower cage that held a Myna bird
keeps repeating a phrase, repeating itself,
a phrase like a thought
repeating it’s movements: like a gold
coin tossed in a fountain, a good luck charm
against that which follows her)
a haunted thing, a whisper and a riddle
that no longer makes much sense:
fractured and frozen, a tale of waves,
of sunken lives and
troubled thoughts
of children
dead and buried; while
she waits in the dark
for a lover
that never is
on the spiral stairs above her mind

– Steven Craig Hickman ©2014 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited.

Note: these pictures are from Clarence John Laughlin – Many historians credit Laughlin as being the first true surrealist photographer in the United States. His images are often nostalgic, reflecting the influence of Eugène Atget and other photographers who tried to capture vanishing urban landscapes. Laughlin’s best-known book, Ghosts Along the Mississippi, was first published in 1948.




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