The day your voice collapsed

bit by bit
like a delirious refrain
I was crushed under it.

Walking round and round
in involuntary, never-ending circles
as I tried to wrap myself around your voice
at the edge of the dying universe.

Conscious and breathing
but vacuous with restraint,
spitting out the circles in the wind

as the soul scratched and scrambled
across the endless slope.

You’d be crazy to think
you could survive a fall of such magnitude.

Living under the threat of a year
that refuses to go away,

opening out
into the miasma of that coal-tar voice,
slowing dripping.

Even when you’re strapped
to the spiralling silence behind speech,

you’re the one exercising control,
drifting in and out of chronologies
as you watch the shadows turn
in soft evening light;

the mist beneath the doorway
fabricating desire that triangulates
with misfortunes
and burns a hole into meaning.

I quench my thirst in silence
and when the light falls
go home a little drunk
on your voice

throbbing till it expands uncontrollably
beyond fear and recognition.

And with the claustrophobia growing
amid the gruesome, distorted gaze,

your coal-tar voice,
with the shadow of men who slept or made love
in roadside motels with the neon-lit ‘Vacancy’ sign
against a skyline of bones,

lifeless in beauty,
into frozen shit.

Conscious and breathing
but vacuous with restraint,
the vultures fly round and round

I wrap myself inside the voice
with wave after wave of silky laughter
spiralling inwards;

turning and turning
into gruesome depths
of a sequence that repeats itself
with unfathomable certitude.

You’d be crazy to think
you could survive a fall of such magnitude.

Quietly standing at the precipice of your voice
looking in

deep into the disfigured ruins of the refrain —
round and round and round,
this is where the world ends.

Like a mad man
I count the circles in my sleep
again and again and again

and on an impeccable afterthought
slip off the edge of the universe.

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