There was a porn movie playing in my head
all week and the star was me. It is a cage
in my mind I hate to remember, a side trip
one never plans. It always starts with the
porn my father showed me when I was eight.
Today’s stir fry of questions is seasoned
with just enough doubt. Then, BLAM!
I get hit by Satan’s smoking gun.
Then I saw a rose. I think it was a rose.
The aroma of the rose vexed me with its coy
answers of yes, maybe, and probably not
perfuming the air, while its thorns were
How many poems didn’t make it to the page?
How many times did I start the same book?
Will I ever work again? Must I take another
job I really don’t want? Dreams dissolve.
Satan continued to press the trigger until
I found myself in a cage in a cage. It is
Satan’s special screening room where the
same movie plays over and over again.
I hear the sound of my father’s projector;
I return to the images on the wall.
Satan sits there watching the film with
relish, as though he were watching for
the first time. Not true. He produced
and directed it.
This is the place in my head where I have
less hope than no hope. He loves the part
where I scream and he makes me think that
no one could hear, would hear, or want to
He laughs. He turns to me and offers some
of his hot popcorn. I nibble until I’m numb.
The popcorn is salty, hot and buttery.
Then, I taste the flavor of sweat and
flesh and I’m back in the cellar latrine
where it happened over and over,
week after week, year after year.
We sit, we watch. Satan howls as the
camera pans the dirty ground-level window
in the cinder block wall of the basement
latrine. He never shows the stairs or the
door. No way out. I believed it. No way out
and it would never end.
My thoughts return to earlier that morning,
as I shaved, I sipped coffee. I forgot about
the stairs and the door wondering who I was
supposed to be today.
The movie never stops. There is only one
light bulb above the shadows moving on the
cement floor. No one sees or hears the fear.
Nothing to hear but the screams of another
time and place playing loudly in my head.
No one could hear my screams because it
was a Satan silent film production.
A private showing.
Then I remembered a blinding light at
the top of the stairs. I didn’t know it was
there. In that instant, I wondered if I was
watching Satan’s version, a cheap imitation
of my life, the one with a deceptive ending,
or the original.
The original has a door of hope and light
at the top of the stairs. On the hard days,
sometimes I forget that part; that hope was
there then, now, and for always.