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The Machinist works away

by Angela Stevens

The machinist works away; working his nightmares
into life. the distraction comes as a light
glinting; a mouth biting the sun, baring burnt
lips & grinning a slow decay. He’s rejecting reality.
He believes there are ghosts in the machinery.

Freedom is loss of form and so he works off his
Flesh, presses the bleach to his skin. His ribs
Are a man made prison, serving as a shelter.
Self-destruction making him believe he’s guiltless.
(He mistakes self-destruction for self-discovery)

A newborn trapped in a car wreck, pressing it’s
Tiny hands on the window; it’s limbs flailing
For escape from this metal shell. The truth is terrifying.
Falling in love with the voodoo scenery

& he’s clinging to his bones.
Is this why the serpents as ribs punch through the
Skin, this machine is corrupt, bleeding through
a loss of limb. It seems significant somehow but the
Floor returns to a blood and lava patchwork drawing him
Down. The distant light flickers, the dormant peace
buried in his mind.

He hooks a pathway out of the sludge, fishing for logic
Among decaying things. The machine is bleeding out.

Trapped in tunnels with a stuttering, spluttering sense
Of innocence. Running through the smoke. A little hangman
Whispers: Who are you?

Questions come as punches to the gut, at risk at cracking
His bones. He’d gladly knock himself down to scrape away
The lies. The grazes are patchwork skin, he’s losing sight
Of himself. He still mans the machines, watching its motions
Over and over again, hoping to understand the clockwork
Pushing this hell in cycles.


Posted on 06/16/2011
Copyright © 2020 Angela Stevens

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Samiah Haque on 07/11/11 at 08:11 PM

your poetry is dark and fascinating. a world that operates in its own rules, un-rules--a twisted little dream.

Posted by Bertram Sparagmos on 10/28/12 at 07:07 AM

We are all the engineers of our own undoing, whether cognizant or not. What if the architect fulfills his endeavors with a foreign and unknowable honesty? Enjoyable.

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