Cenotaph (Tibia, Medial Maleosis, Compound)

Eleven eleven, the sedimentary pause
between first wet snow at Hallowe'en, last
lawn. Rain--

the tendons of the days and now the nights just
harden and curl; the first and last position,
rictal idiot grin, splashed
by city buses, stepped around. I

am purposeless, riding from
my shithole, riding from my place to
riding to your

place, not really--riding to
your place, your
place with frosted bulbs, and kitchensteam,
your leftovers, your whispered pleas and
endless midnight tears and

at the cenotaph, a woman with her lights out
guns it, turning left, and tries to beat me through the light.

all these things are clear to me:

the only thing to do is ride it out but
how far how far how far sliding face down fucked up if
the leg is gone it doesn't matter if
there's more before I stop it doesn't matter, optimize,
compromise, make a list
of things to check, definitely
get a new helmet wait
for another collision wait

it is possible to shiver
to the point of asphyxiation, to the point of total loss
of motor control;
I remember crying to the same conclusion, as a child

cars do not stop
the traffic is black with
yellow shrouds of roadrain and the cars
make disapproving noises,
pretend to be blind

the woman in the car
rolls up her window, locks her doors and tries to
start her car because she is a victim, terrified
of leatherclad reprisals, she
achieves ignition, drives away to dream her violence,
to stroke herself with daydreams of blackgloved fists

a woman
runs across four lanes of traffic,
squats and grabs the handlebars and frame and
lifts four hundred fifty pounds of motorcycle
from my bloody useless legs

this woman
says you can't stay here I'm sorry but
you can't stay here and this will hurt, I'm sorry, but
I'm sorry and she grabs my arms and
drags me back
across four lanes of traffic, lays me
down beside the cenotaph, lays me
down in roadrain, turning now to freezing
nightrain and now she asks me
what my name is, what kind of bike
do I ride, asks me to
describe the pain, I

recite the list of things to check, the
symptoms of shock. We
go to work, we
work well as a team.

JDP 98/08

Copyright John D Porter © 1998

[List of Poems]