"Another Golden Child," "Hell Comes Down Like a Train," and "When You're Hooked in the Night, Forget About Me"

Another Golden Child

Oh citizen,
sit back on
your haunches
and cradle in
your arms
your double-
barrelled spawn

who you so
longed to
breed

though it tore
out your
woman’s womb
and looked
nothing like
yourself,
spoke not of
your efforts

the words are
dead and like
animals roam
across the page,
still hunting,
the way
a bumper sticker
changes the
world;
whoever has gold
can do anything,
even bring
souls into
paradise

this miracle lost
in little
notebooks

maybe using pictures

 


 

Hell Comes Down Like a Train

 

Hell comes down
like a train everyday the alarm
clock rings
with the boss’s voice fresh in
my head: “Every minute
is our minute
when we’re paying you
to be here at 8 am
and to leave
at 5.”

I look out the window,
just before the thing snakes
into the tunnel under
the last bit of sunlight—
I see cars out there
a few yards away
and driving fast,
over the speed limit—
reckless drivers
‘cause death means nothing
going nowhere

 


 

When You’re Hooked in the Night, Forget About Me

Death comes
out of the shadows and I get to talking
before I know it,
giving him directions,
and then he hits us with the palm up,
and then he hits us with the arm

The medical
papers in his left
hand somehow describe
a journey into hell
going deeper trying to
escape

The story written in a language I can’t
understand or even
see

The hospital turned him away
and now look
look
look at his arm—
he pulls back the sleeve of an overcoat
tattered and thick with living dirt,
a shell acquired along the way and grown
into permanent
and hard stiff stuff,
so stripping it would be like
stripping back skin

And the skin peels back
and underneath: the arm,
swollen three times and ripped out—
raw hamburger packed into
a casing of flesh,
and raw
raw
like a scream of terror
his voice rises,
realizing his own
death

I’d seen his right hand
just before he pulled the coat
back—stiff gray
balloon hand with fingers
probably already
gone

Don’t talk about death
as a curse or a dare
or take his name in vain
until you look him in the eye and see the fear
and the helpless loss
of why
and where
was the hospital

I didn’t know

I couldn’t believe somehow someone had the guts
to turn him away,
but maybe the Nazis
were running the place
into the ground and monitoring folks tossed out to see
when they fell
and where
and who they took with them

He needed pills and new
gauze and Todd reached out
two bucks and we passed on
out of one life
each praying:
when you’re hooked in the night, forget about me
but go back
back,
centuries in your time
replaying,
revisiting
nothing

 

 

Jeff Bagato

A multi-media artist living near Washington, DC, Jeff Bagato produces poetry and prose as well as electronic music and glitch video. Some of his poetry and visuals have recently appeared in Empty Mirror, Futures Trading, Sheila-na-Gig, H&, Slipstream, and Midnight Lane Boutique. Some short fiction has appeared in Danse Macabre and The Colored Lens. He has published nineteen books, all available through the usual online markets, including Savage Magic (poetry) and Kill Claus! (fiction). A blog about his writing and publishing efforts can be found at http://jeffbagato.com.

 

Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 22:53