vitae

through the morning
his agitation grew

he had done what he could
to distract himself

emptied the six-sided old bottle
left to sit
forgotten
on the shelf
with a few brief
unrelated phrases
remnant within

he had swallowed those
in a single mouthful

nothing

he had pulped
liquefied to a purée
an old novel

decanted the black
from the grey
shaken it
swallowed

still nothing

a dross
of undistinguished
and unmemorable ink
never used
to pen beauty
to tattoo a flower
in her colours
onto a page

a mere
almanac
a word salad
with no dressing

he needed
a fresh bottle
new-distilled
cleansed
black
gleaming
only ever used on poetry

he needed to ingest
his substance vitae

by mouth
intra venous
misted in a gas

he didn’t care

but
for the love of god
he needed to take in
a good poem

~

when they found him
he appeared normal
enough

no jitters
or twitches

rational
lucid in conversation

it was only

only his eyes
the irises
that looked odd

it was remembered
they had been the colour
of sky
blue
but now
they were pale
as the shade
of thin
grey
cloud


© Frank Prem, 2017

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