Caught in a Vortex

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Contributor: Mark Tulin

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I was trapped in a brick row house,
windows with steel bars bolted shut
caring for a woman who ate glass
who cut my throat with her mouth

who walked in the streets naked,
asking which way to Mendocino,
barefoot and delirious,
she hitched a ride on Route 66

But it was I who needed to escape,
run away to a place of my own,
where there were no four-point restraints
and howling wives under a full moon

I remember the day
when I screamed at the top of my lungs,
almost impaled myself on the bedposts,
thought I had pierced the sky with my cries
and gave God a stroke

I wished somebody could’ve saved me,
removed me from this house of horrors
and a wife with a toothless smile
and a hatchet in her eyes

The story continued,
had a twisted, distorted plot
It played out like the scratching on a chalkboard,
water torture for a prisoner of war,
a crazy Edgar Allen Poe fairy tale,
lost in a spiraling vortex
unable to grab onto something

I watched my wife get ECT
I turned the dials, upped the ante
She survived, although deep-fried
with her eyes bugged out
and a burnt-out glaze across the sky

Do you remember me? I asked
No, she said as death fell from her toasted lips
and her head broke from her neck.
Information about her past had evaporated,
only the smoky smell of brain cells
in a psychiatric hospital remained.

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In 2012, Mark Tulin got up enough courage to move to California and has been writing poetry and stories ever since. He has published in the Santa Barbara Independent, Family Therapy Magazine,, Fiction on the Web, Page and Spine, and Friday Flash Fiction. His poetry chapbook is called, Magical Yogis, and his website is Crow On The Wire.


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