Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Poetry of Blood

THE POETRY OF BLOOD
By Charles Allen Gramlich

The poet dips his quill in a tiny puddle of iron-black ink and brushes a delicate calligraphy across the pale swath of his manuscript, each stroke delivered as precisely as that of a surgeon with a scalpel. His lips move as he reads his own words.

“I dream in midnight claret, my mouth torn with sorrow.”

The manuscript does not speak, can not around the satin gag that binds her mouth. But now she allows herself to breathe, allows her chest to rise and fall beneath the wealth of fine dark lines that etch her arms and legs, her belly and one of her breasts. And her eyes are expressive, wet with a holy shine that the poet kisses lightly away.

“Not much more,” the poet says kindly. “A few haikus worth, perhaps.”

He soothes the manuscript’s damp brow with a sandpaper-dry palm, then leans back in his chair beside the bed where his canvas lies in chains and picks up the smallest and sharpest of his knives. The manuscript shudders, but the poet only trims his quill to a fresh sharpness and returns the blade to its defined space on his bedside worktable. Once again he dips quill to ink; once again he writes and reads.

“I dream in white and ebon, dressed as a harlequin in shards of poetry. And my tongue is that of wolves.”

He has chosen the manuscript’s remaining breast for these words, and as if from the dark inscriptions themselves an electric scent arises. It is composed of adrenaline and pheromones and clings to the delicate textures beneath. The poet leans forward before it can dissipate to draw it into his lungs through his nostrils. His mouth lingers close to the source of the scent; his tongue caresses the nipple to draw a last bead of musk into his mouth. He swallows.

The taste is sweet. But not yet sweet enough.

Now, only the manuscript’s face remains barren, only the forehead and cheeks, and the sharply pointed little chin. The poet addresses his quill to these empty landscapes next.

“I dream in heat,” he whispers. “Of bell-loud nights where I tattoo love in her flesh with the wet needle of my tongue.”

Again the scent arises from the manuscript, an odor of arousal and fear, tinged with a patina of copper sweat. The poet lays his quill aside; he removes the satin gag that stills the voice he now craves to hear.

Her whimpers draw him to her mouth. Her chains rattle as he releases the cuffs that bind her at ankles and wrists. With hunger, she strips away his robe; she entwines him with her limbs. The ink of his poems smears between them as it erases beneath a different kind of rhythm, a renga of movement that ends with a syllable of sighs.

Later, as they lie in ink and sex stained sheets, she recalls for him the bargain they had made. Her trust, for his. He nods and she removes her chains and places them upon his limbs. She bathes him with her tongue, dries him with her hair. She silences his mouth with satin so he can still taste the wetness of her mouth with his.

Now she becomes the poet and he the manuscript. But she composes without ink or sharpened quill. Her marks are inscribed with teeth and nails, written in the red of blood.

18 comments:

Greg said...

wow, nice one, Charles! I like how he calls her his manuscript. and great ending, too.

Charles Gramlich said...

Greg, thanks. I was striving for a kind of prose poetry.

Richard Prosch said...

Very well written! Couldn't help but think of Bradbury's "The Illustrated Man."

laughingwolf said...

well now... more brilliance from that twisted mind of yours, charles ;)

Erik Donald France said...

Oh, yes~ love it! And good to periodically remind us about the books, not only for ourselves but for birthday and Christmas gifts . . .

Charles Gramlich said...

Richard, cool. That's high praise. Love me some Bradbury.

Laughingwolf, thanks, man. I enjoy my twistedness.

Erik, gotta keep the old name out there. I don't have TV and the news media to do it for me, like they will for a Tyra banks or a snooki

David J. West said...

I especially liked that poetry Charles.

Charles Gramlich said...

David J., thanks. Many of those lines are from actual poems I've written.

eric1313 said...

Screw Tyra and screw Snooki, in some metaphorical way of course, but one that is not poetry-in-prose like this wonderful piece of fiction. Screw Trump and that Sheen man-child for that matter.

All of that noise aside, excellent work, I love seeing the origin of the "mouth torn with sorrow" line. In many ways I have been there myself.

Charles Gramlich said...

Eric1313, thanks, man. I usually manage to avoid letting the celebrity books bother me but once in a while it gets to me.

Lyn said...

Gripping example of literary synesthesia. Nicely done.

Charles Gramlich said...

Lyn, thanks!

Donnetta said...

Yes, reminds one of the Illustrated Man--as Richard said above. Quite the poet, Charles. What images this evokes! D

Charles Gramlich said...

Donnetta, thanks. I read the Illustrated man, of course, but probably back in high school. I need to reread.

Kate Sterling said...

Wow - can't believe I missed this before. Beautiful work, Charles.

Charles Gramlich said...

Kate, thanks so much. I appreciate that.

Travis Cody said...

I love the way the language plays in this piece. Well done.

Charles Gramlich said...

Travis COdy, I think when I'm working on something like this it really becomes a prose poem for me more than anything else. The language just has to sound right.