Disparate Voices

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Contributor: Steve Isaak

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I: Ireland’s 32 (San Francisco)

Smoke flowed
around her
as she drank alone,
conversing with an invisible
from her cultic-swell youth.

Sympathetic but shy,
bad with words,
I watched her
agitate and suddenly shriek,
run out of the pub
into the chilly night.

II: Eidola (a few years later)

Haunted, she fled,
behind her,
the road – everything – vanished,
deepest umbrage.
‘They will devour us,’
she cried, crazed,
pills exacerbating.

III: open letter to a psych ward ex

you said it was me who burned
our children
our love
our house
yet it was you who wielded the gun,
planted the explosives
splashed the gasoline
and sparked the lighter;
all the while you ranted at those
who didn’t agree with your insanity

relieved, perhaps a little sad
at your institutional absence
I can’t help but see the smoke
of other spans you’re burning
our screaming skin-popping children
numbering among your victims:
always willing to sacrifice others,
rarely yourself.

IV: psych ward (deep end woman)

Can’t tell where I end
and the meds begin,
furious flowshrieks
tugging me under,
tides of silence
drowning out my voice –
don’t care anymore,
weary of versified accusations, angst and ghosts,
stones of chaos, want and regret
pulling me into
my own chilling depths.

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Steve Isaak, a.k.a. Nikki Isaak and Chuck Lovepoe, is the author of several poetry anthologies.


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