#1
What did the Holler take from us?
Jonny thinks to himself these things,
\whether it was something physical or something emotional
and to him the answer seems obvious,
yet his way of obscuring things to fit his despair
puts everything slightly off center. Was it his arm holding the gun
to Cooper's temple? Was it his head under Cooper's foot,
and his shuteyes before the rifle's snare? He can't know for certain,
only that his feelings are memorial, and his memories are trusting,
hardly betraying and they tell him comforting things,
his was the victim, the young victim.

Was it time that was lost then? The time only now recovered,
he thinks whether time is ever lost, and instead spent unwillingly on artifacts
that hold subjective meaning. Time perhaps is like a silver dollar,
always ready in the hand or being placed
into another's palm or the slot of a machine,
the fleeting sense of weight as it rolls away from the fingers,
the small point of metal still present in the hand
but the coin is gone,
the flesh rebounds in its absence,
readying itself for another coin.

Jonny presses his hand, recalling every time time is felt,
every minute removed in his hand, the coins he let slip away
or willingly left in the hands of others,
and he recalls them like old pets long dead,
buried in unmarked graves and never visited.

What is that I've left alone?
What colors have left me afraid
and what have I seen that has left my hands
so wary, so calloused. What colors? Was it the red?
The red that left that dog alo—

Was it the red in me that fled like field mice
in the presence of awful green snakes?
My hand knew mice like coins and
I swallowed them and I received my own time,
and I ate them willingly to digest
and then leave me again and again.

And when will my stomach ever fill?
Over what amount of time will my gut
deny the time, whether I've spent it or another
has given it to me? Whether I've caught it
like those mice and devoured it. When will my body
regurgitate onto the sidewalk or the toilet,
all the time I've spent?
Will it be after I've no time left to give?
Am I as the Ancient Romans,
ones that ate and ate until their stomachs
hung like water-filled balloons,
stretching until the soft tissue ripped.

The Ancient Romans built buildings for those men
and woman so full of consuming,
so full from ingesting, to vomit and purge away
what they’d take. To expel so extravagantly in public!
So much time lost, so many seconds and minutes,
hours and months left vomiting up puddles.

I think of Cooper and what time he left in pizza boxes
or unfinished novels on broken laptops,
in empty bottles of Seagram’s.
What importance time left on him,
and how it broke and rehabilitated him.
Once, Cooper spoke of his stomach full of snakes
and I wonder if that is his time and
what he sees that he must devour,
he must eat the snake that feeds
on those field mice, and for me
I will vomit something unclear.
He knows he will pour outward
snakes, coiled and ribbed full ivory,
he will open his mouth and from his throat
will be the lashes of serpents
many and many serpents.
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