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Thursday, 27 May 2010

The Poetry Bus Challenge : The Man Whose Head Exploded


This week's challenge from totalfeckineejit's Poetry Bus (driven by Terresa)is to write a poem inspired by the accompanying image of the man whose head exploded.

The Man Whose Head Exploded


He'd said it was a creature from the world's dark underbelly,
that it would surely be - in time - the death of him, while all the while
it had remained a thought no different in kind to any other -
though, quite at odds with that, it was a thought exactly like all others,
but a thought that you or I would hardly recognise as thought,
a thought quite burdensome and alien in content and in size. Gargantuan,
proliferating thought, that having simply walked into his head one day,
initially just squatted there - a pachyderm, a trespasser that pooed.

No one can be quite sure, of course, what was the truth of it, we only know
that very soon his "Thingy," as he called it, had begun to grow, and
having started, just kept growing; had no exit strategy, it seemed,
or none to speak of; therefore, when it tired of squatting - as it did -
it would begin to circle slowly round inside his head, reminding him
of when, demented, he had similarly paced the rooms and corridors at home
before his children's births. And all the while the "Thingy" grew inside.
He pushed it from his mind. (Not difficult, in fact - can thought perceive itself?)
At times it gave up circulating to become more focussed, and in doing so
began acquiring and accumulating other thoughts, subsuming them
into the compass of itself. Some, being filthy - pornographic - thoughts,
he never could admit to having, not in company, polite or otherwise.
But others were beyond him - and beyond the likes of those he chose
as his advisers. None there were, it must be said, who could suggest a way
of curbing that great monster. Soon it had outgrown what was by contrast
his quite puny brain. And in the way he'd always sensed that it would happen,
it came to pass that "Thingy" colonized, annexed, new parts of him -
those closest to the brain at first. Soon he could only see
by looking through the lens of that great thought; could only hear a sound within the sound
of thoughts he could not follow; and when he ate would feel that he was eating raw,
unprocessed thought. Then, when he spoke, it was the thought, not him,
folk heard - though few there were who'd notice any change in him.

Dear friend, can you imagine now how great was the displacing
and reshaping that took place? How all the features of his face
would bulge and buckle, shuffle sideways, replicate themselves
until his face was like a photograph exposed - with shaky hands -
on more than one occasion? "My! My!" the people cried when he walked out,
"He is a living, true Picasso on the loose! His soul must be
real sensitive!" Ironic, that - it had been so until the "Thing"
usurped the "Himness" in him. Then the end was nigh, and, when it came, traumatic.

One tiny thing the "Thingy" did of major consequence:
it changed the colour and complexion of his thought.
What had been green or grey and cool was turned to flame,
became a psychedelic jazz. It was a case of fresh wine
"bottled" in an ancient wine skin. When at last the skull split open wide -
as it was bound to, leathern vessel-like, and the fermenting thought burst forth,
the wonder was how gentle was the final form of his destruction -
a slow fizz, show-biz ride, long glide to his long home.

10 comments:

Derrick said...

"a pachyderm,... that pooed". How unsavoury! but obviously, you got inside his head, Dave. That "case of fresh wine ... in an ancient wine skin ... leathern vessel-like" is an excellent way to describe the effect from the image. And a great last line!

Gerry Boyd said...

Nice to see you let loose with an long explosion of delicious language. Well worth the repeated reads. And the close is perfect. Bravo!

Gwei Mui said...

What an explosion! I really love the final lines. But as Gerry commented I'm going to need to reread your poem again.

I had a go too - http://returninghomeinsilkenrobes.blogspot.com/2010/05/poetry-bus-challenge.html

Gwei Mui said...

We both got on the wrong bus! I've now boarded the right one - it's going to be a bumpy ride, but I suspect that this is just up your street:

http://usuallyconfined.blogspot.com/2010/05/its-great-life-on-poetry-bus.html

Have fun - I'm still scratching my head!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Love those last two lines Dave.

Dave King said...

Derrick
The poo was an optional extra - which I decided to keep. Useful comment. Thanks.

Gerry Boyd
Thanks for that. I am always enthusiastic until a poem is (provisionally) fin ished. Then the doubts set in and I'm not sure. Most encouraging.

Gwei
You sound most intriguing. I shall be over anon.

Weaver of Grass
Thanks.

Gerry Boyd said...

Sure Dave. I pretty much dislike everything I post at least partially. Just gotta shot the arrow and move on. Let me repeat: This is fine work.

Dave King said...

Thanks Gerry. Yes, goes with the territory, I guess. Grateful to you.

Helen said...

There are so many delicious lines in this work, I had to read it multiple times ...... that last line!!!!!

Dave King said...

Helen
Appreciate the remarks, thanks Helen.