my skin wants to shuck it's jigsaw binds
but it's not time, yet
So, what do I do
with all this wanton wakefulness?
This early morning slumber
disturbed into recognition of the day -
and it's too late - too late
for everything I ever told myself I wanted
still, too early for the bullet

but life's excruciating noose
grows slowly tighter. My mind
one smoke-filled exit door
between disaster and infinity
and I can't help imagining hell
might be the ER waiting room on Christmas eve -
all bloodied knuckles and broken things
and laborious breath

So, when you think of suffering, friend
imagine my delicate heart
sitting in the middle of this -
circled by heavy bones and moaning nerves
Imagine it ticking down the years,
one millisecond at a time.

Call it what you will -
faltering. Frail.
Call my dreams nonsense, as if poems
could be puzzled together from anything
but bloody vertebrae and whimsical vowel sounds.
While I lean, painful spine to hardback plastic
all nerves firing on diffidence -
and, tell me again
how weak I am.