The Torture of Reincarnation

by Shawn Phillips



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I cut myself down another notch.
One more stupid thing
to mark with charcoal on my prison wall.
I beat my head,
box my ears,
smash the cartilage of my nose,
until my tears are of blood,
until I scream the unholy,
until I rend the fabric of my being
into two,
hacking, burning, abusing myself,
insulting, gnashing, grinding myself,
until there is nothing left
but ash.
Mixed with corn,
the jackdaws digest the remains,
a thorough funeral courtesy of the sky.
And then the fiery bird of prey
rises from nothing,
burning, untouchable,
unreachable, beyond reasoning,
pushing everything around it
to the limit, to the flashpoint,
igniting the world,
incinerating and evaporating all I knew,
to leave an empty, dark mass
of ashen grey
between the heavens
and the earth.


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