KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 8: August 2017
Prose Poem: 539 words [R]

The Debris of Pain

by John Olson

Words propagate like blood on my sleeve. Consider the hum that sleeps in the heart. Our chowder of insinuation. A magic belt of thin drawings is haunted by the grace of witness. I’m milked for falling. Heaven’s dots chime through the centuries. I’m slammed into fireworks with sour folds of convolution. A paper constellation to occur must twinkle fields of description. Pleasure imagines pulling us into Baudelaire. OK. I need a copy of my ears. I’m the rocks that hop into paper. Light is a monstrous sky. I bake with railroads. I wear indigo that a brain decorates in algebra. I carry fluttered raspberries. I’m tense like Byzantium. The radio fingernails cooked the ganglions of an apparition. I saw it all happen in my wrinkles. Idleness is a gift. Here I am painting by shoes. The weather sits beside me. I listen to a berry. It tells me meaning is delicate things. The interior is badly carried until the end of the day when it slops out of the door. I slapped it to happen. Velocity murders distance. This is how Iceland has its variations. When we’re alone the sounds have a structure that might be called music. I think of kelp. A brass bell in a courtroom. The basement of a tattoo on somebody’s arm. It enlarges in the sag of time. I’m learning to lean on banishment and not exclude it but magnetize it all the way to Wisconsin where I can fill it with pickles and watch it climb the walls and dance on the ceiling. A berry is so many things. It liberates cork. It bristles with thorns and is a cause of conversation. I’m a social being. Any day now a glamour will thud on my gloves and convince me that towels are cooperative. Don’t worry. This is just imagery. The keys cry to say that copper is what my adjectives require if everything else continues to be Pythagorean and naked. Naked, yes, but naked in an abstract, Dubliner kind of way, drawing on the past and awakening syllables of fire in order to warm the room a little. Change in a blaze shatters into reality and is so appealing it energizes the consonants. I like to paper palpability. This is infinite in camaraderie. Thrust your eyes into this sentence. I do that every morning and it makes me cardboard. I gurgle anguish. Bubbles punctuate a house to powder and yardsticks perform by semantic obstetrics. We know that. We also know that to be a simple man isn’t as easy as it seems. The climate confuses lightning with turnstiles. But I don’t. I know a turnstile when I turn one. It’s in squeezing your subtleties that I find the enticements of the hearth. Infinity dangles from your fingers. Corot drifts through a fly. I flip to expand it. Time collapses on life and bleeds sandstone. It granites our world as a hothouse gauze rides a beard to Scotland. The war ends. The castle climbs into itself. The emptinesses are filled at last. I saw this was going to happen and so I wrote it as consciousness culminated in mountains. Dishwashing does this. Writing is, after all, the debris of pain.


—Appears here with poet’s permission from his blog, Tillalala Chronicles (4 October 2016)

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