Hunger Strike


Beneath the ribs exists only famine
Sepia photographs of faces not born
So much as carved, deep lines
Woodcuts of pain, of desperation
Hands wringing hat brims crumpled within
The clutch of gnarled fingers, brown like roots
Twisted, bitten by frost, clinging to spent earth
Grim as scrimshaw.

Throat is dust bowl dry
Mournful howling desolation
Voiceless, inarticulate, barren in dumbness
Scored slow yet deep by grit
Fine as ash, fine as marble dust swept up
From the sculptor’s floorboards
Thirst quenched only by salt
The taste of copper choking
On swallowed pennies.

Hands that seek the feasters
Watch only as fingers turn the bright ones
The revelers, the noisemakers
To sparrow and thrush cinders
Cupping ruin and tasting of it deep
All thought of food and light and laughter
Less than memory
As the landscape becomes flat and grey
Stretching out in dusty, panting gasps.

We are the starving,
Yet we have forgotten we knew how to eat
The food is there, succulent crackling
Juices run and drip
Spilling fruitless between fingers
Impotent to fill the gasping, gaping hole
We are content to eat the wrappers
Bellies crinkling with cellophane
As we smile politely and go hungry.

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2 Responses to “Hunger Strike”

  1. nothing to do with this work; a good one

    have a think about
    imagination versus creativity

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