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L. Tharp
From a recording of a reading done on April 7, 1995.
I can't say I'm confused, all my vilest dreams of distrust and lack honesty show true
So this is truth, dear boy, and it shall set you free
but freedom is a lonely place where few wander and ever meet,
drifting through halls lined with cages and gazes of empty animals
hollow eyes, dark and wanting, devourous - sad
You can see them coupling, eating, making their meals of one another
and always staring as foot falls down hallways
Perhaps the unresting beds of hell fill with fools seeking companions
Misery loves company, but is the relation between the two deeper than just this
perhaps misery is company -
They even whisper love through the bars
and claw as you pet them
Peculiar - love

A number is called and echoing between stone walls and mind
The combination clicks and the hash marks fade
as the door to freedom splits darkness spilt light -
Oh, it's all so damn hoaky and ethereal, but they're calling me, it's my time -
Everything wavers as I search to remember the dream, or if it was sleep at all
or anything that has happened up to this point in time - time? Did I say love?
peculiar -
Two men - One large, huge giant man, grrr and stern, not evil, but painfully precise
as he lifts me, one arm, my left, ouch without effort, a rag doll empty shell
starved casket of human bones
And a holy man of holy smile
I don't even know if I'm confused
or poisoned
What did I eat, what did I eat? Did they slip the droop in morning gruel soup
and the rocks are stumbled and smooth and air, clean out here
The memory of grasses and green
Now I know that was a dream, memory of a dream, a dream of lovely things
and beauty, only visited in sleep by such.
Nothing of that in gloom room of prisoned vision
and, yet, I have no memory of entering my lonely home,
perhaps all of that, but I must have been born there,
but, to that, what of these visions and memories of beauty never seen,
unless of course the dreams are real
and at nights I have slipped my thinning body through bars
and danced, lollygazed, and slept in meadows and forests beyond these prison walls
To these meadows and forests, I'm led, from behind,
by holy words and a stern hand
and the horrors I see in these cages lining freedoms street - stone -

The confusion of love and loneliness - strapped to animals, vicious - and lies -
wallowing in dung and piss, bleeding from the infected wounds of self mutilation -
the lonely teeth gnashing of shadows and masturbation -
Quickening pace
The coupling, horrid spirits scabbed and seeping,
clinging beasts smashing clawing into one the other -
the hatred of compassion
"Do you have a final confession, my son?"
"I have loved..."
The cold steel circles embrace the back of my shaven head
- click -
Down in green meadows -
it's so easy to know what you feel
when you're dead...