Bit By Bloody Bit (David Ades )

Posted on February 20, 2015 by in Heightened Talk

DistantBitten once                                             bitten a second time
I averted my face                                   turned my cheek

in time for the stinging slap                a palm’s red imprint
fury unleashed                                       the sting of scorn

the slow burn learn                               of reason as hindrance
reason uncalled for                               unwanted

attempted as always                             attempted
lesson of gasoline                                  finding fire.

So bitten                                                  and bitten
I bit down hard                                      on my tongue

clamping the rise of words                  useless in their uttering
tasted blood                                            in my mouth

tasted blood’s                                         warm intoxication:
neither redemption                               nor absolution

neither guilt                                            nor penance
and this way                                            swallowing

biting my tongue                                    over and over
bit                                                              by bloody bit

the words bitten off                               swallowed
envoys, messengers                               cut down before arrival

the field littered                                      bloodied with little corpses
I bit my tongue off                                  bit by bit

until, tongue-less                                    all that was left
was a scream                                            renting the air

the poisoned silence                               hoarse, bereft, endless.


*David Ades’s most recent poetry collection, Mapping the World, can be purchased from Wakefield Press.