Jake Bailey

Red Rock, Inpatient

I’m invisible behind an ancient
copy of The Innocents Abroad, always
traveling while they paint rocks, stick
googly eyes on cratered surface, looks
like the signification of birdshit, finches
squirting Elmer’s on barren space—
I’d give anything for a soundless morning
or a gathering of my dearest friends,
Glenfiddich, Macallan, Highland Park, a trinity
of divinity swallowing me whole.  

I didn’t ask for this, got
the order wrong, should be
buttered toast, got
a prophet shackled to the radiator,
got it wrong, got it wrong,
got it down, don’t ask if you
don’t want to know, they know
more than they let on, black-tar
bellies slinking over chilled linoleum,
Ding an sich’s a magic trick
casting bears outside the window, I
should say something, anything,
anything is better than night.
Cotton cape flutters like bottomless
infinities, lobster faces leer
from across the room, static Stoics
serenade me like a crooning drunkard,
pours like whiskey in an unwashed
glass, God’ll be here Tuesday,
call him Dr. Elohim, ask
for prayer ex nihilo, Logos
is a copyrighted logo sewn into
the hem of the gallows, can’t
hang around here, can’t
even shave my halo.
Look, their mumbling mouths
make rope ladders to transcend
closing walls, closing halls,
closing doors denying exodus,
cross the sea, cross the T’s,
after all, I signed myself in,
couldn’t quiet the manic machine.
Blues aren’t working anymore, mix
me something stronger, hasn’t rained
like this in years, built an ark
to stock with my stash of ziprasidone,
can’t have enough, can’t have enough,
can’t have nice things in here, here,
have one or two, it’ll lace your
shoes with blacksnakes tying knots
I can’t climb, they’ll strap 
me in again, too many messiahs
under the same hat, Galilee’s
been doused in gasoline, I’ve got
a match, got a match,
plug me in and gather around,
flip the switch, look, I am
found, found, f---- 

Jake Bailey is a schizotypal confessionalist in Antioch University Los Angeles’ MFA program. He has forthcoming work in The Laurel Review and has been published in The Esthetic Apostle and Prairie Light Review. He is also an associate editor for Lunch Ticketand lives in Chicago with his girlfriend and three dogs.