Phantom pains

Clayed by lunacy, I’m blind —
chagrined:
a shadowed outcast, charcoal-veined.
My arms are kites with phantom pains
of puppy fat.

The moon’s a drum and wind’s a suite for strings.

Inside my ribcage beats a toddler’s heart.
But still I’m safe;
I bought a bloodless smile on sale
and spliced it to my chest.

Self portrait in hell by Edvard Munch

Self portrait in hell by Edvard Munch

Today we write 55 words at toads with Kerry, after looking at the disturbing movie by Olivier de Sagazan, I wrote something that would evoke the same emotion of angst, the same emotions that you often find in the paintings of Edvard Munch. I will also link this to Poetry Pantry tomorrow.

32 responses to “Phantom pains

  1. When I set this challenge, I thought immediately of you , Bjorn, and you have not disappointed. People forget how difficult it is to convey a ‘complete’ poem in just 55 words, but you have made every line speak, poems within poems, and the sense of angst is brilliantly conveyed by the whole picture.
    The Munch is an inspired choice of art.

  2. Hot damn, Bjorn. This is the most awesome thing I think you’ve ever written. I can’t exclaim over this enough; nor could I begin to pick favorite lines/phrases. This is KILLER kick-ass bomb-diggety. I LOVE THIS POEM.

    Yeah, I may or may not be walking right into a manic episode today. 😛 But still, this is flipping amazing, yo.

  3. Goodness gracious, man! I think I read your last stanza three or four times. Just to feel the crack of that “bloodless smile” and to wonder why someone would want to sell it away.

  4. Bloody wonderful, Bjorn! (I hope you know that’s a high compliment in Australian.)

    That middle line’s so beautiful, and the last two are so arresting.

  5. The poem was all that it could be and the last two lines were so descriptive of how it is when we are somehow not whole but needing to appear whole. I did eventually pluck up the courage to watch the clip…and watched it right to the end, and can only say that you understated how disturbing it was… I am in a whole other realm of horror…

  6. ‘My arms are kites with phantom pains
    of puppy fat….’that really echoes the performance art, Bjorn, yet the poem is far from merely an echo-it’s both mirror and prophecy. Chilling to even read those last lines, let alone feel them. I love how you have somehow worked the essence of childhood into madness.

  7. Clayed by lunacy, I’m blind — now that is quite the line…such a dark piece filled with murk and mud, but most of all the reader can feel the pain.

  8. This is so powerful. A poem like this is a FORCE OF WORDS. I am left reeling – the voice in my head: shouting THIS – yes – THIS is what can be done with words … when the pen is in the hand of a poet who knows how to do it! FANTASTIC!

  9. You’ve done it again! This torturous delight with your trademark word twisting, Björn. I love those opening words: ‘Clayed by lunacy, I’m blind’
    and the sketchy darkness of
    shadowed outcast, charcoal-veined.
    My arms are kites with phantom pains
    of puppy fat’.
    There is eerie music in:
    ‘The moon’s a drum and wind’s a suite for strings’
    and horror in:
    ‘I bought a bloodless smile on sale
    and spliced it to my chest.’

  10. Wow. This is stunning, disturbing yet it touches something real within. Perhaps fear, or sadness. You have truly mastered the art of poetry Bjorn.

  11. the words, the painting, together make a very great impact….

    My arms are kites with phantom pains
    of puppy fat.

    The moon’s a drum and wind’s a suite for strings.

    Inside my ribcage beats a toddler’s heart.—loved these lines!

  12. Wow! I will never look at this painting of Munch again in the same light. I don’t like scary and this is good, how good….It is 1.49 am and I am not sleeping tonight. Well done.

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