louisiana, blooming: selbstverschuldet schadenfreude

By Jay Sutton


When I wake up,

my mouth is full of sleepcotton:

the right side of my face,

flushed from my pillow

covered in dried blood

from the childhood 

of the oak trees outside.


When I wake up,

I remember the dreams of another.

Maybe men feasting on godflesh in Scandinavia,

maybe alkohol ja narkootikumid 

flowing in eastern Europe.

Maybe I don’t remember — 

at least not accurately.


When I wake up,

I feel my body ache.

My hands are not awake

in the same way that my brain is

so I watch the birds outside my window

as they are caught by feral cats:

how do wild things manage to die before they live?


After I wake up,

my medicine slides down my throat,

blessed by the crosses upon my wall —

crosses that I outgrew a long time ago.

They hold no magic or treasure for me,

simply lowercase T’s 

that kind of hurt to look at.


After I wake up,

I hang over the side of my bed

closing my eyes so hard I see stars.

They dance and laugh — maybe at me —

but I can’t help but yearn

to have what they have:

to be truly free.


After I wake up,

I look in the mirror

and wonder what kind of man I have become.

The ashes are imbued in my skin:

am I the godflesh those men were eating?

If I am, who am I

but another’s dream?


After I wake up,

maybe I haven’t woken up at all.