Dennis Mahagin


The Colonel would like to reiterate
his inability to either confirm or deny
the many atrocities attributed to him--
pantomimes he may or may not
have performed in the company
of whores and painting crew foremen
while leeches licked the rusty pop-tops
of dog tags and stop watches
impaled on his molting scrotum

like tambourine baubles,
and bluegrass bile geysers
blasting from way down
deep in the bowels 

made tree ring skeins of scar tissue
on his pallid heart shuddering
in the mid-May interrogation glare
of Daylight Savings Time.
Watch the Colonel 
cook the China White
with a dying Zippo
and silver teaspoon
all bent back
like a prostrate
question mark--

nylon stocking clamped
in his chattering teeth
and tied with a crow hitch
to the sinew-quiver
of skinny pink bicep
as he nods
at the camerawoman
and mutters:
"Can we get on with it?"
Later-- licking a blossom of blood
from the big flayed vein
on his forearm,
he drops
his syringe
on the tiles,
then sighs and slurs some more:
"The first lie they tell you
is all about that Semper Fi
shit.... and the proposition that God
would never flee a foxhole to go tearing off
a piece of 14 year-old Cambodian pussy
in a Saigon hotel room with the ceiling fan
hissing like a nest of angry cottonmouths"...
Dolly hard 
and tight now
on the Colonel
with his iron grey temples
trapped by knocking knee caps

as he vomits into a crackling
floor monitor -- then comes up wailing
and flailing like a symphony conductor
with sudden onset schizophrenia
tinged with tinnitus.
"But my absolute favorite," he cries,
"is the one that says you
can't get a habit if you're
only smoking it ... and that
back in the world
the docs can always
hook you up anyway
like Keith Richards with some
number one spanking clean blood
on the cusp of a new world tour!"
As you can see
the Colonel is nodding
again now-- his heart
of hearts wholly given over
to understand how objectivity
on the jury's part may be
somewhat lacking
in the face of the damning evidence
that continues to mount
and mount-- all those
years stacked like stiff yellow corpses
in a snaking limestone ditch.

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Publications: Absinthe Literary Review, FRiGG, 42opus, 3 A.M., Deep Cleveland, Clean Sheets, Erosha, Edifice Wrecked, SpokenWar, Stirring, etc.
Book: Grand Mal
Awards: 2003 Pushcart Prize Nominee

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