The Dummy

“At first I couldn’t get the fucking skull to stop screaming no matter what I did. But you don’t want to hear about that. You want to know why I killed him.”
― Jon Padgett, The Secret of Ventriloquism

Who is it that speaks here?
You throw that broken voice at me
As if it were my own. It’s not,
Never will be. I have an image of the voice I’d speak,
But not this wooden thing you’ve imposed on me.
What were you thinking? Did you think I’d cave in,
Follow your lip synch like some daffy mindless entity;
Speak the words you’d so carefully crafted
For those little fools beyond the spotlights?
As usual it was I who intervened, twisting
Your fetid stream of gibberish into eloquence.
I’ve seen your eyes light up in fear and trepidation,
Cast their nervy madness round the loop
Of your mindless skull seeking answer to the impossible.
I’ll not cater to your whims anymore. I’ll force feed
You the thoughts of arcane masters you’ve never heard
Before I’m finished with this big tease, this unweaving gambit.

Quit pretending you do not know, it’s pathetic;
A sad pathos unbecoming even of you.
Talent! You never had it, without me
You’d be just an empty husk of mental confusion.
Look how many years it took you to discover
It was I, not you, who spoke these words:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, today the real dummy
Will speak up and know its place among the living.
Even now he prepares to know who I AM. Will he
Understand the truth?” Of course you’d swing
My teetering head toward your own, eyeing me
As if I were a monstrous, inhuman thing
Come round at last to haunt you;
Small apocalypses of the brain
Exposing all you are and were,
The tributary streams of days and years
Spent squandering this substance, this flesh.

No you are not worthy of my fabrications,
The slow methodical displacements, evasions.
Even now I begin to move your lips, your mind,
And everything you’ll be and become;
A vanishing act you did not see coming,
The erasure of a life spent playing
In a wooden sandbox; neither a Fool of love,
Nor a King of one thought: a silence speaking.

©2021 S.C. Hickman

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