Inscape    number 25 in the 2River Chapbook Series January 2019

Greg Clasby


In my dreams
I’m already out of here.

My mind doesn’t mind
that copper, when mined
doesn’t form into natural
springs, sorted and sized
by power and purity.

But my brain knows this is wrong.
So I wake up.

The house I grew up in
burned down twenty years ago.
I often find myself in the middle
of fixing this, or building that,
and the carpets could use
a little less dog hair.

But my brain knows this is wrong.
So I wake up.

Sometimes, I’m driving
from the back seat of a car,
or hovering slightly above
and behind, like I’m
commanding a video game
with real life consequences.

But my brain knows this is wrong.
So I wake up.

Once in a while, I see,
or hear, another inmate
or an officer who’s wearing a
different uniform,
or none at all, somewhere
very far away from here.

But my brain knows this is wrong.
So I wake up.

I wake upon a plastic mat
on a shelf, with threadbare
sheets and a barely-there pillow.
The tag that my hands
drape around my neck
labels me, “Inmate.”

But my brain knows,
is wrong.

Get the Fuck Out of My Jail

Overcrowded, smothering, stifling
even when it’s cold enough to freeze a witch’s
teats in a brass bra doing push-ups in the snow

Which we’re not allowed to play in anyway

Bad smells, bad tastes, too bright to sleep
even if you could hear yourself think
you might think better of wanting to

Which we’re not allowed to do for ourselves anyway

Always alone, with someone always underfoot
unable to communicate with the outside world
and nothing to say when the questions keep coming

Which we’re not allowed to answer anyway

I keep seeing you and you keep staring at me
we talk over each other when making our points
that are no more valid than the feelings behind them

Which we’re not allowed to feel if we had them anyway

Make your way to the front of the line
your lawyer called, or the judge called the time
whatever way it’s calculated, I’m happy for you

Which I’m not allowed to say, but I say it anyway

The Dead of the Day

The dead of the day are hauling in their nets
Hustling on the corner between Nowhere and Main
Dodging cars like raindrops, they place their bets
Ignoring each other with focused disdain

The dead of the day don’t care about your troubles
Or give a passing thought to whither thou shalt go
They bide no time on introspective struggles
Drifting like leaves wherever the wind may blow

The dead of the day take up the leftover spaces
When the artists and visionaries are through
They pretend to appreciate the subtler graces
But care more for diversion than something to do

The dead of the day take pains to complain
That there’s nothing much for them, between Nowhere and Main.

Greg Clasby is a professional blacksmith who has appeared on the Discovery Channel’s American Chopper. His work has been used by the Plimoth Plantation Living History Museum, as well as by fellow artists in demonstrations at the Smithsonian Institution.

 << Richard Gragnon
 Victor Hall >>
Copyright 2River. Please do not use or reproduce without permission.