Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Skeleton Key

I gave a quick twist
to the skeleton key,
but the skeleton wouldn't start.
So I got down
on bended knee
and spoke to its absent heart.

"The bed is burned,
and the birthing knife
lies buried in the ash.
Undertakers on overtime
trade puny plots
for cash.
Worms wiggle wet
within my gut;
I'm eaten half alive.
And, dry rot claims
great chunks of brain
like a rich man
claims a bride."

Then I rested my bones
by the bones at rest;
some solace to await.
The skull just smiled -
a dead man's joke -
the living learn,
but learn too late.

For Open Link Night at dVerse

38 comments:

Claudia said...

now that was a conversation...burnt bed and birthing knife buried in the ash...dang..the wiggling worms..ha...and heck yes..would be good if we'd learn a bit quicker sometimes..

hedgewitch said...

Whoa--from the first key image to the ending, this is just amazing. The colloquy with the bones is a theme in a lot of older works but goes contemporary with a vengeance here. The whole thing is eminently quotable, but if I had to pick just one favorite, it would be the opening lines of the last stanza. Fine writing, MZ.

Far Beyond The Ridge said...

Isn't it the truth?
This had a great flow and rhythm
It was easy to see the conversation.
Really fine, mz
~rick

Jinksy said...

Halloween looms...

hollyannegetspoetic said...

Very... bony! In a good way. What would those bones be saying I wonder, with someone lying down next tot them...

ayala said...

burnt bed and birthing knife buried in the ash...wow..good write,MZ.

Daydreamertoo said...

It seems as if we cannot truly learn until we reach a certain age and have experienced enough of life to become aware that we then 'know' more than we think we know.
Fabulous write MZ!

Susan said...

It's as if the entire skeleton is a music box or player piano, so I imagine the ribs moving after the key is turned and it plays. Complacent knowledge, after all.

Rather fun!

Sylvia K said...

Ah, we're ready for the spooky season now! Great one as always, MZ!

Jessica Lynn Lang said...

One of things I love about your poetry is the intelligence. Not to mention the great imagery and the fact that you life's darker side.

Steve King said...

Great in concept and great in execution. Loved it, especially the intelligence supporting the terrific versifying.

Brian Miller said...

if only the skeletons spoke back i wonder just what we would learn...this is a rather fascinating verse MZ

flipside records said...

Holy cats! Now that is a "happy October" poem. The ending is haunting, and it's a lot of spooky Halloween fun. But underneath it all, I hear a story of a mother losing her child and a man perhaps unable to share in her bone-deep grief and suffering. The whole family is going down to ash.

Skeleton Key is one of my favorite suspense/horror flicks. I love the way you turned the key in a totally different direction.

Oh, the truth that dances in your closing. Skeletons indeed.

In addition to the knife, perhaps you are saying that the lies are buried in the ash.

In conclusion, I think the first speaker is the man asking for the woman's hand. In response, she is basically saying that her heart is broken (removed) and it is too late. He is the one who has learned the hard way that he should have loved her well in the first place ... but as you said, he learned too late.

Probably way offbase, but that's the story I see. :)

Jenny Herner said...

So clever. I love the skeleton key (not) starting the skeleton and resting bones by bones. Wonderful!

Mary said...

Enjoyed this. Indeed the living often DO learn too late.

Susie Clevenger said...

Goodness this is dark...I love it!!!

Heaven said...

I think we always learn too late ~ Nice one MZ ~

Fireblossom said...

Every now and then you come out of left field with something that just leaves me grinning; your opening stanza here with the skeleton key is one of those.

This whole thing is awesome, from the rhymes to the oddball images. Only you could have written this, and it's flawless.

wood said...

ah, this is very clever, and a whole lot of fun to read out loud. very well done.

pandamoniumcat said...

Just brilliant, from start to finish... I think I'll be back to read it a few more times... enjoyed the darkness!

RMP said...

that was definitely a fun read...from start to middle to end!

kaykuala said...

The skull just smiled -
a dead man's joke -
the living learn,
but learn too late.

The ending is most apt. The living is invariably a step behind. A lot of obstacles impede progress it seems! Nicely MZ!

Hank

Bodhirose said...

Loved every word of this fascinating write.

mrs mediocrity said...

This just sings from beginning to end... and since we all have a few skeletons in our closet, I could totally relate.

Anna Montgomery said...

Spectacular!

Natasha Head said...

Bring on the grave dirt and the night crawlers...this is MamaZ at her best! So far up my alley even the moon beams can't get the shadows to dance. Loved it!

Arron Shilling said...


from start (boy! what a great stanza 1 start) . . . right thru . . . this has it all in a sweet compress that delighted my
fundamental nature . . . i barely noticed the conveyence -

it just :D

Arron Shilling said...



oops!

it just

delivered direct :D

PattiKen said...

You are absolutely amazing! I love love love this. At least in the part of my being that isn't being consumed by worms of my own right now... jealousy worms!

nephiriel said...

loved this one... so intense and clever.

sonny said...

i like the use of word play here.so many metaphors..but i sincerely struggled to comprehend what you were trying to say here...am not good with this genre of poetry...:(

Gemma Wiseman said...

Like an outer monologue and an inner dialogue! Like getting in touch with the dark side of a character! And deepest netherlands are a wonderful setting!

Carol Steel 5050 said...

I can't say anything that hasn't already been said...a dark delight. And cleverly done.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Amazing write, brilliant!

Anna :o]

happygirl said...

This is deep. At least 6 feet deep. Love it.

Dick Jones said...

A dark and sepulchral atmosphere. Almost like a Samuel Beckett outtake - although your own voice sounding through!

my heart's love songs said...

i LOVE your short poetry and how evocative you can be in just a few words, but you are equally as good when writing a little more. too many wonderful lines to quote, MZ! LOVE it!

Raven said...

This poem so cool for the day ... then came your brilliant last words.