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Poetry Magnum Opus

Dreams of the detainee


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I can hear the devil encouraging his wounds to sing as he drowns in the different versions of heaven. The colour blind robin is King amongst his kind. The eyes are lit in the paintings left on the stairs that wind up to heaven, hell have become interchangeable. Is the rose a prisoner of its thorns as the wind solicits the flowers quiet ministry, a prisoners conscience is reborn after externalising wounds and contemplating in silence, stories, sounds sought from fellow detainees.

If I could freeze rain, pass every drop through a needles eye, make prison bars cry ventriloquist tears of deadened eyes in which the light is fading. Does the flame ever question the candles tenancy, cockroach in the cell is embalmed in candle dust I trust the winds to cloak the prison like a magicians tongue seducing an audience, the moon a wand, how close am i to magic, other prisoners to madness, I see revolution in a small flame, have become lost in the forest of a robins red breast, hell isn't red as I am led by song to heavens false threshold, clocks waltz into vision, movements out of sync after drinking what they believed to be holy water. I visit the four seasons where they share a cell.
Winter offered incantations that would take me to the frozen waters of a wishing well containing an artists brush, in the shadows I could see summers bleeding wrists and hands, spring whispered demands for a painting of a bearded man. The flame makes the candle vanish.

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David W. Parsley

Hi Barry, I assume the painting is the inspiration for the poem, making this an ekphrasis.  Or is the painting yours?  And therefore a poem-painting pair?  Regardless, I find the piece highly imaginative and arresting.  It expresses well the disillusionment tending to despair of someone long detained, the sense of abandonment mixed with stil-living flame of questioning for a narrative to give meaning to the individual's suffering.  But the poem does not flinch in assigning that flame its role as both prisoner and ultimate definer of the cage in which he/she finds him/herself.

 - David 

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