Paul O'Brien


An Apparition Of Lost Blood - Poem by Paul O'Brien

I had only one dream of my dad
Since his essence soaked the earth pale
And my adulthood newly forged
Where my lost love struck my health broken
And I lay in my bed with an unfamiliar exhaustion
My father’s specter grew within the familiar dawn of slumber

We stood among the open prairie
With a single complex standing in front of us
A place of fun and laughter, of thrills and adventure
That demanded the blood of my father’s labor
All for the purpose of my entertainment, my amusement
I smiled at him, in subtle appreciation
But weary of such redundancy, of such peasantry
That the beast of burden still carried my weight
When his muscles had degraded so long ago on such ventures
I was too reluctant to refuse his willing slavery
And I followed him into the concrete hills
My smile still forcefully etched across my face

We walk to one odd machine, which my mind so clearly bastardized
(like all our dreams, weak and fragile minds left to visualize without concession)
A colorless poll held the ripping plastic seats
Which my mind salivated over so irrationally
And we sat upon these seats, and we awaited the thrill
Only to see a girl and her father sit beside us
Their energy and attitude oddly similar to ours
And the ride had started with an uncomfortable jerk
And proceeding with a pleasure so unfamiliar
The wind smacked itself across my face, my mind raced with fear
And as it got faster and higher and faster and higher
The girl climbed from out her seat onto that colorless poll
And held on for dear life until her body fell to the ground
His dad I could not see, for an irrational shame came about me
And as the ride stopped itself, I looked to that broken seat beside me
But saw no one but my own dad, smiling so gleefully
I jumped out and searched frantically for the girl’s broken body
Gone as well, and my dad right behind me
Grinning intensely, sensing none of my grief
Urging me to continue the hike on those concrete hills
Like a marshal pressing his club upon my spine
Pitying and sympathetic and smug

And so I forgot about that little girl and his father
As my own blood and I came upon an oasis of chlorine
It demanded us perfection of body to appreciate its greatness
And it knew that such a harsh sacrifice was not possible
The pools mocked us with splashes and waves
And upon the water’s escape, a forest had grown between the stone paths
Of which my father and I ran into, oblivious with fright

The shaded jungle trees dampened the air
Our breath sucked in the cool pleasures of a miracle
Inspiring our minds into conversation
All about the love which we wished to grab a hold of
Of the sights our eyes were famished to see
Of the ideas our minds desired to build understanding
And of nothing, nothing at all
Of all my life, a life which seemed to not exist until now
I had not remembered such a time where we took the time to learn of each other

And it was at that thought that a single building appeared
Miles into the forest, beyond the rickety catwalks of wood from pebble
Our curiosity overwhelmed our childish senses,
And we charged through the remaining marshland
What lay inside was an empty carriage on a steel track
The steel gilded in rust, the cart shining a bright red and purple
We had no choice but to inside the contraption
Hoping to activate it upon the touch of warmth and mass
And slowly it did, oddly quiet, oddly smooth in movement
We passed a plain purple room, a garden of rotting plants
And then an assorted variety of unkempt furniture
I had looked only forward before then, and as we passed
Down that musky hall, I looked behind me to find
The sunshine closing in, the furniture moving itself on the tracks
And my father, looking dead straight at the coming nothing
Grinning and fading through the sky
Saying nothing, thinking everything
About the thanklessness of a life so looked over
By the ones he loves… and his son.


Comments about An Apparition Of Lost Blood by Paul O'Brien

  • (5/12/2010 9:50:00 PM)


    Any poem dealing with dreams runs risk of alienating the audience as they are oftentimes incapable of following the seemingly discordant train of thought of the author, but this poem very successfully draws in the reader and doesn't leave them behind. Perhaps just personal preference, but my only issue was it seemed as though it were too stretched out, length and content wise. However, as you're painting the full picture of a dream-scape, I cannot really recommend shorting it lest you wish to lose vital content. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, May 12, 2010



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