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Ikkyu 444

(1947 / New York City)

Our Lady Of Mental Peace


She stood huge, hot.
Smoke rose from her crevices and scalding pipes.
Naked emaciate ladies
sat crumpled.
Matrons patrolled.
Somnolent Haitian women swept the mess.

Black toothed mouths
blew smoke at mocking faces in the air.
Bodies slept bundled on the cool tile.

I came to Our Lady to find love,
and found love lost.

I saw still smoking souls.
Ralph's harsh breath stream.
Billy’s brains falling out.
Danny’s pulsing fists,
phantoms haunting his hissing eyes.
Gentle, mute Wayne,
with twists, grunts, and breathy squeaks, wished for home.

Above us,
two howling smoke stacks sent red fumes of toxic madness
into the cold night air.

Submitted: Friday, July 05, 2013
Edited: Thursday, July 18, 2013
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Poet's Notes about The Poem

Written when I worked at a state mental hospital circa 1975

Comments about this poem (Our Lady Of Mental Peace by Ikkyu 444 )

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  • Danny Draper (7/5/2013 10:03:00 PM)

    Such atmosphere and character descriptions and of their decline and oozing despair a powerfull write of decline and resignation. (Report) Reply

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