A Car Crash In Phases

The devil is in the details,
and the decals:
you work for
G4S Security,
(“Securing Your World”)
but then
while minding your own business
on another workaday workday
along comes
catastrophic chaos
careening into your lane,
headlong, because of a
fishtailing blowout,
and you know, intimately, that security
does not exist beyond the
abstractions,
the catchy slogans,
the marketing gimmicks,
and the government placebos
in a world overripe with
unthinking daredevils,
unplanned plot devices
and shitty writing prompts.

There is blood, and there are
cries of existential pain, terror,
as the newborn emerges from the
crushed womb, the
airbag yolk
in the center of the
sudden head-on collision.
Flopping on the ground,
fetal position,
you shiver in fear
of the new reality you have been
born to,
exposed in the clinical light
of an indifferent sun.
The midwives arrive,
sirens wailing,
and bind you down
to the shaky stretcher
for your bumpy high-speed delivery.

Thank whichever god you like
for that natural drug,
adrenaline,
but when the entheogen fades away
and the razorwire of pain spirals
up your broken ankle,
you might just sell your soul
to the highest bidder,
or any bidder,
to make it uncoil
its pythian grip
and let slough off
what now seems a burdensome gobbet
of agony.
Amputate the foot
and burn it on the altar
of a heathen god,
if only to exorcize that insatiable
demon
gnawing at the twisted ankle.

Trauma Center chaos.
Flatliner prima donna
taking center-stage
on the heli-pad,
airlifted above the
ambulance peasantry.
And now this
6’4″ cop-killer wannabee
weeping and cursing in turns, chest
full of vainglory from a police officer’s
answering retort
of gunfire.
What are his colors?
Gang or
gangrene?
Reeks of rot as he curses
his caretakers.
He will hold his tongue
in solemn silence
when the undertaker comes.
Meanwhile you try to use your
Zen training
to calm the vibrating crescendo of
panic
swelling in your brain
while you wait for the trauma center
to set your foot
on the straight and narrow path again.

Pretty nurses and
polite surgeons
like long-lost friends
always welcoming another companion
into their parlor games,
yet
they have played
Cat’s Cradle
with stainless steel wires
and you,
silly you,
somehow caught your
foot
in the halo-rimmed web.
It is a medeival torture device,
but also the only hope you have
to save that
limp, wayward-flopping piece of meat
at the end of your leg.
A thankless task it serves
as you curse its barbarous efficiency.

Drip, drip, drip,
the IV dripping
endlessly
whereas your mouth is
cotton dry,
your cottonmouth fangs dripping
eager with vengeful venom
to strike out at the
chirp-chirp-chirping of a
bird-brained neighbor’s
shrill-shrieking phone
every five minutes;
a nocturnal warbler
in need of birdshot.

And yet,
despite the devils and the
demons
and the heathen gods,
there are fallen angels
that choose to serve mankind
selflessly
upon the earth—
those braving the
shit and piss,
the blood and pus,
the wafting williwaws between
festering flesh,
the violent outbursts of pained creatures
lashing out in the throes of suffering
and to whom these offenses
are endured in impersonal deference.
These are the angels
to be found on earth
if you are only strong enough
to find them within yourself.

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