reality or phantasmagoria, desperate love on a rented bed.
insanity or elated perception, a numbed litany that will be said.
lie that winter freezing on oil stained concrete. she would not
let you in nor anoint your wearied feet. dreams escape from
night time persuading you to begin to see the visions from
without as the visions from within. lyrics spiral from your head
and you tell that they too would see, but your mind is jammed
on 45 while the world revolves on 33. thirsting for guidance at
4am you tear the news from blinding twine. this will be your
medium now you are drawn to the divining line.
escorted to jerusalem
spit syllables at your father and blaspheme the missing lord in
the antiseptic stench of some sterile casualty ward. wake up in
an ambulance moving somewhere they won’t explain. escort
lights pulse blues ahead and charge the wiper-scourging rain.
pause in a half-way hospital and repel the dribbling syringe.
feel the weight of mocking wardsmen: needle stabs to make
you cringe. strip past your nakedness once they’ve pushed and
shoved you in. squat in the blurred baptismal bath while some
angel records your sin.
smile weeping in the rec room as music sings your fame. each
new lyric is offered in devotion to your name. queue for mad-
house confectionery fed from gleaming stainless steel. pick-
me-up on obscured mornings: at night-time so you-wont-feel.
attempt to read her letters through dazed, dilating eyes. you
cannot write the answers as you know that someone lies. walk
rigidly with parkinson: you are dealt another pill to counter
common side-effects of chemicals that hold mind still. slouch
the light-time in a stupor in between the times you are fed.
you wish to obliterate the hours before escape – a ward 12
you look into a mirror and recollect a face. confess your grand
delusion: leave this unholy place. promises of armageddon to
be unleashed when you were dead. the asylum had been your
shelter: the atoms split inside your head. read six sane years
later, how we just missed world war three. this was your mad
delusion. is it truth that you now see? each spring-time sense
the surge of see-saw swings to be swung: tranquilise sensation
so these spring songs can’t be sung.
Tim Heffernan lives in Wollongong where he is an active member of the South Coast Writers Centre. He was born in Hay, on the banks of the Murrumbidgee and after spending most of his life swimming upstream, has mysteriously ended up on the coast. He first published in the Wagga Wagga Daily Advertiser in 1985 and in 2015 was commended in the Joanne Burns Prize for his prose poem ‘butterflies in Iraq’, published in Spineless Wonders’ anthology Out of Place.