DUNGEON…A Type One Daughter Survives Alcoholism

DUNGEON…A Type One Daughter Survives Alcoholism

by Michael Naylor

You visited last night

and a casket had you in its grips

death holding you tight, squeezing

blood from the stone of your heart

you, wrapped in an iron veil.

            Casually you mentioned

you had another day when death

wanted you.

Or you wanted it.

No mind. 

And the words of Don Juan

floated up like spirit on the wind:

“You must fight against death till

the very end.  It is the warrior’s way.”

And from separate ships we gazed

across deep waters speaking in foreign


our words bouncing away

not touching.

There is an echo of loneliness

stinging the air between us.

Piranha gnash their teeth in the silence.

I suggested that when death came

to call it out, smash it

kill something in reply

fight it tooth and nail

haunt “it” rather than be haunted,

Stalk it!!

slit its throat, be deadly

and you said you quietly held it in

a cyclone blowing in your brain,

you straining against this gale force with silence

is a rare form of madness,

Dammit, grab a knife and start slicing

let the psychic blood flow

split the vampire in two

You must before your blood

runs dry and you are wilted with


I tossed a jewel into your heart

I never heard it hit bottom

Did it vanish sideways out the

door of hopelessness.

Did the echo of breaking glass

splintering your ears like needles

hurl the jewel against the wall

like hope was hurled from you

as a little girl.

God dammit, grab it the

next time it comes!!

I say you stalk the hidden places

that run along the edges of walls

the invisible corridor that runs

parallel to open space

where your walking goes unnoticed

your presence collecting like dust motes

in the corner.

You, practiced in the art of disappearance

blending like furniture into the landscape of

a room.

It is uncanny how you do this.

So quiet you barely emit a whisper

and like the softest light you creep

through, never letting on, 

never really saying,

and you distract yourself in the ways of


carrying a big stick

you blow to smithereens all forms

of external dishonesty

while another wind whispers

in and out of

the crevices of your soul

curling a hidden story of death

around the edges of your life.

Ah, it is tricky business this stalking


You have trained and honed

this art, become it,

this disappearing

this capacity to move about

so still in the silence, so quiet in the


that no one knows to inquire

or how to pierce the veil,

the magic screen you have

molded so well.

It is a work of art

and yet by its very nature it

starves you of the deepest art

Everything catches in it and stops

held in abeyance by an ancient script

of crashing glasses thrown against

walls, shattering against your silence,

or voices raised and burning like

hot stones into your delicate loving

heart that hungers for the deepest


And somehow is now woven into

a breathtaking koan

a hall of mirrors that runs you

silent, quiet, hidden

and you, in the world but not of it.

So that what you survived now

strangles you.

It is hideous in its unfairness.

And if you get so silent, so still

so much like quiet wind,

does the heavy heart of sorrow

sit easier, less noticed, less piercing

so that this Tai Chi like presence

rather than awakening you

keeps the pain nestled somewhere deep.

I say there is a snake coiled there

guarding the gate

where thorns that riddled your heart

have yet to be plucked, weeded

burnt with the fierceness of your passion

for life.

The snake has a feverish eye…

and keeps you pacing pacing pacing.

jumping to some internal tune that

cuts like blades in the walls of your soul.

You must kill the snake, snap its head

when it begins to hiss

and like snow sliding off the edge

of the leaf, heavy with winter,

the dungeon door will slide open…

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