Sweeney Astray

Sweeney spat flakes of monologue
to an invisible foe in room 108
before he took the plunge.

A flyer of thought
who'd lick round corners like a knife wind

sweep up shined steps and
cyclone through the swinging doors
of a red brick kip called home

trailing his underbelly aura of tramp glamour
through a smell of pine fresh floor polish
lining the corridors
like yellow smoke in Eliot's Prufrock.

He'd wake to reality's nightmare
cursing in a feral wheeze or grunt
and shout about

"cunts....bastards....lazy wankers dying of cancer"

then bang the wall with his fists
to start the day dissolved in tears.

He never socialised
or idled with others

just the one time of a long chat he had with
himself in the communal area
before Oisin complained to the warden
who shut him up and
stuffed him back in the dressing room
where he worked on the final scene.

A plasterboard box he left whistling
as he stepped onstage at the shelter
deep acting
at 8 12 and 4
dressed in a drab bundle of black rags
clutching a mug

with a look to no one
and none to him.

What demonic cause sucked his life
away behind the eyes
and forced his lips to pucker gumward;
curdle twisted words in his mouth and
draw sweat onto the one shirt he ever wore
and never took off?

Years of liquid cosh and ECT
beat and drained Sweeney's blood bound scrap with life
nuked his mind
and buckled his passion on an anvil of despair

razed thought to desert where a phantom's whisp
frazzled his nut to
a brain baking recipe
the gards scraped from a pavement
and time scrubbed from the memory
of other residents the day of his exit.