Life and War with Mikey Fatboy Delgado
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
 
Visiting Dean

 By the road to the mental hospital
a guy on the wall calls across to us
 that he’s starring in a Chinese movie
about the exploits of a gang of bandits.
He says he’s reading a book called Knots.

Mindful of the long corridor
we still have to walk to the secure ward
I call back that life’s a scream
and he opens his shirt to show to the sun
the tattoos he’d done when he’d come undone.

 Haha, he howls, life’s a scream.
That’s true that is mate. I’ll put that here.
And he draws a circle with his fingers
around where he thinks his heart should be,
next to the blue inked words Man is born free.

The long corridor is quiet. The floor
somehow sucks up the sounds of our shoes
and everyone we pass looks beatific.
On the other side of the secure door
they look at us like rabbits might look at war.

 Dean is mellow. Never tell them what you know,
he whispers as we pass into the garden.
He stretches on the grass and we take the bench.
Everything has form and content, he says.
When we go wrong the form contains the mess.

And the blue mottled clouds that hold rain
which once fell on Rutherford, New Jersey,
start to wash over us. Clean my sins away,
begs Dean, holding his arms open wide.
We smiled for him in there. When we left we cried.

--
from the anthology Southernmost Point Guest House --

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