To My Friend

4

June 22, 2018 by Laird

 

(8)

by Laird Barron

 

 

I

We held a séance.

Our voices floated past the bloody curtain

Where the forest of night is veins and nerves repeating

Where thought is a lash.

Jack pecked (flinty beak) against the shell of the great dark

To let in starlight cancelled and a kaleidoscope

Ran thick as black yolk behind his fractured skull

Behind everything.

 

II

To be born:

Jack tapped against absolute zero adamantium

A shiver pierced the void. An ululation.

Blackbirds rose en masse staining

The battle standard

The six hundred sixty-six circles.

He tore through the membrane

First his misshapen skull

Then his shoulders a thousand cuts cracked spine

Split into an abyss spanning waves of darkness

A span of waves of not-light.

He was out. Out. So were the blackbirds.

 

III

Some fucker always shouts Free Bird

Jack will slay them with a word (parenthetical).

In other tales Jack is heroic and kind

But I prefer him at his worst.

 

IV

Twice

Jack swam with the Father of Leeches.

The river stank and (s)wallowed between flyblown

Mud banks gray as shit as the eyes of a lamb

In a blackbird nest.

The second time Jack survived

And so he posed his question.

The Father of Leeches said, Anticoagulant.

 

V

Jack the Nimble Jack the Quick.

Jack Sprat Formula One Champion.

Jack Who Captured Death in a Burlap Bag.

Jack and the Beanstalk.

Jack the Giant Killer.

Jack the Lady Killer Who Died in the Sack.

Jack red-eyed Jack in spring-heels at the dance.

Jack the Claims Adjustor.

Jack highball in hand after a hard day.

Jack in Tokyo to rematch the radioactive god-lizard.

Jack with a scepter his left profile boiled away by acid.

Jack Lone Survivor of Tokyo Irradiated for All Time.

Jack is gone baby gone here’s Jack

 

VI

Jacks says reality is a frequency on a band

Cats and dogs perceive frequencies humans cannot.

My favorite band is Blue Oyster Cult.

When I was a kid

The pale Christian clerk who sold me a cassette

Of Mirrors said if you play this tape you’ve joined them.

Jack says Buck Dharma is an average guitarist

Who will die a week before my father does.

BD & JB were born in the same month of the same year

Granddad returned from the Second Great War and got busy.

Dad returned from a Police Action in 1969 and made me.

I say fuck you Jack

Buck Dharma is an excellent guitarist

May he live forever.

 

VII

Staff & Young & Cernan warned Collins

To toe the company line there’s no alien music in space.

Aldrin & Armstrong planted a US flag as the shadow

Of the hand of god bowed their heads.

Meanwhile a millionth iteration of Jack gasps his last

His first:

An ice-encrusted antenna array tumbles seventeen

Kilometers per second while Sol shrinks to a pinhole.

All that is out there is dust and cold

A radio signal plunging like a dart into the fat endless

Curve of interstellar waste.

 

VIII

Space-proof batteries are failing. Black holes are opening.

A transmission from Earth trails as a whisper

Like nails on dark matter.

Fifty. Seventy. One-hundred-and-fifty years

Reversing to the origin point (beak)

The crack.

“Jack? Are you reading? Jack? Jack…?”

Means nothing when the life capsule

Dissolves into nothingness.

4 thoughts on “To My Friend

  1. Not shocked to see your poetry is splendid, too. All I can add is, “hit the road, Jack” and this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l82xVrGuOoQ

  2. Laird says:

    Thank you.

  3. S.T says:

    You have exponentially more interesting friends than I do. Salutations to Jack.

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