Crack the Whip

by Maynard Jane 

It might be in the rings of trees
the growth and stretch of bellies
but the lie is in the scent of things
there are no memories there

just when it appears they aren’t anywhere
someone’s son plays his guitar
and there you are, before regret
in the basement, green, fifteen
pre-heroine

or someone’s daughter in a car
goes by with her music, echoing
cock-hungry before the steeple
with dirty knees and horrible people
to think, some mothers name their daughters Melody

this fucking bass line is no melody
this song is too damned sober
these lyrics are too angry
and it plays over and over and over

blame Elvis
his diazepam and dexedrine

blame Kurt
his shotgun hole and opiates

blame some stranger’s face
blame there’s nothing left in this place to taste

blame the God damned air for all it cares
blame Escher and his stairs
blame the man who wasn’t there

everything eventually forgets
at least this algorithm can boast
it conceived the guiltiest host of hosts

we could have played something for the sheep
when they started to bleat and got lost in the maze
we could’ve cranked that shit up so they could feel it
when we saw them wander the country in a daze

but no, we let them die until it all became
one solid monster,  immune to change
we broke the chambers, locked the cage
and then we mourned the growing pains

there might be water out there
in one of Teddy’s parks somewhere
robots just refuse to see
they  lack the program upgrade of the stare

it‘s more likely, though, they drank it up
with a tattoo of rain and a ten minute drum solo
and the taste of metal from a jailhouse cup

Mommy needs to be alone now, baby
it’s time to rake the muck
She is finally done collecting pens
She lusts to dream of clean again

nobody plans to hear a thing at  20,000 leagues
or find the scent of burning wire
but yin and yang was just a spiral
an involute of ice and fire

and here we are,  at the finish again
with vertigo and an itch to begin
the labyrinth in its perpetual spin
because we’re too fucking smart to end


Maynard Jane (or Jane Maynard) lives in a tiny house at the far end of the road. She hasn’t worn shoes since 1989 but don’t call her witch, she’ll put a curse on you and your sister too. Yes, she owns a whip. Yes, “heroine” is intentional.

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