Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Terrorium

(c) Lora Mitchell

The Terrorium
(transcription of a dream)

Behind dirty glass
the leaves are speckled
as an old man's hand,
yellowing veins, ropy stems.
A broken-backed rock
nailed in pain
at the shadows' end
is a cankered sling
for what crawls out at last
to preen and bask

with its blood-streaked eyes,
its drop-jaw mouth
engineered to split too wide
as it waits for its keeper
to bring the flies,
or sits fat and laps
at brain-colored worms
with a tongue
that's slit but still
 holds fast.

And it asks 
no more than this:
to sit and swell,
to eat its fill
of all that crawls or
swims through filth
the box of glass
has grown too small,

the keeper's gone,
the thing's too huge,
the reptant tongue
too bent and long.

It lifts its head.
It jumps and falls
in a slime of jerks as
it scrabble-climbs
with its plague-toed feet
and bellied brine
up and back,
sideways and over,

quick and fell and hungry,
hungrier than ever.

~October 2015

Untitled, Zdislav Beksinksi

Images are the property of the copyright holders. No infringement intended.


  1. Yikes! Now I will have to keep my feet under the covers!

  2. Oh Jeez, another poem about the Republicans. Seriously though, even ugliness is made delicious by your language.

    1. Not sure if anything could make republicans delicious, except maybe barbecue sauce. Thanks Mark. (And why do I have to dream about *them* I ask you?)

  3. The suspense! My face was almost next to the screen by the time I reached the last stanza, and my eyeballs enormous.

    Transcribing a dream into images that make sense and that follow a sequence is no easy work, and you've done it perfectly. The point of view is a delight--Is the dreamer a detached watcher? Is the dreamer related to the watcher? Is the dreamer the dweller of the glass cage? Does it matter? To me it doesn't, but being able to see the speaker/dreamer as different characters gives this poem an extra uncanny edge.

  4. P. S. Even your dreams are just perfect for the season. ;-D

    1. Yes, and they are the rest of the year, too. ;_) Thanks, Magaly for the insightful reading.

  5. This is a dream dredged up from under some cold stone of consciousness!! Scary to be the dreamer, and upon waking, what would one make of this awful toad? I have a feeling it will be difficult to shake off.

  6. I especially like that its fill and filth rhyme. But the whole thing is wonderful and feels rather like an archetypical monster in its slime and greed and indolence-- but for the tongue-- like a Star Wars monster but Lucas is very good at archetypes. Wonderful slithering sound here. K .

  7. What a proscenium, that title! Naming a poem rightly plunges the reader immediately into the matter. This is the rot-house of the terrarium, it's deepest floor -- description here is almost too cinematic for language. (What did Eliot say, poetry is language radiated with the densest meaning? something like that). Those brain colored worms, o my -- and the beast outgrown its human fascinosum, nature nurtured into monstrosity: somehow it made me think of Donald Trump become Jabba the Hutt, the dump humanity took on the earth. Camomile tea and Ho Hos for moon-deranging dream there, Hedge, keep it coming.

  8. Lord above, time to make this country grate again? This is terrifying, your descriptions stomach-turning, and the reality of it mind-bending. Can't run, can't hide, can't make it stop. (But i can vote.)

  9. Your scape is so rich. We're all feed for the slimy eventually, yes? ~


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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