In Child'sPlay

Take a deep breath -

far and away,
yet near to home.

As far and away - and as near to home
in West Palm Beach, where, in the closet,
little Christina's body was kept by her mother
following her stepfather's corrective hands

As far and away - and as near to home
in Everett, Washington, where the sweet Roxanne
was found under an alley waste of wrongful death

Oh God,
sometimes I do wake up screaming!

As far and away - and as near to home in Chicago,
where Tony wanted to know who took the food stamps -
anointing his lover's son with lighter fluid in search of truth

Oh vacant heart in the hear and know where mothers
throw their infants through plate glass floors
and their bodies are found on Mother's Day

And as near to home and shore as Union City,
where Michael and Alex screamed their mother's name
from the back seat of a South Carolina lake bottom

Oh sweet Lord
I wake up screaming your name -

So close to this given heart
do we indulge in after-cover silence
as if to drown out the innocent horror
screaming to us from the cellar next door

As far and away and as close to home in Gresham, Oregon -
where a lifeless mother strangled her daughter
with her tennis shoe laces before strolling
to a near-by funeral home to make confession

Oh indeed......

Sometimes I wake up screaming
that I've only been dreaming,
dreaming of this acrid light
that screams a serial refrain:

What on earth do we tell them?

Before we tell them not to tell -
well before we tell them
what will happen if they do

Before we spank them blue
or brand them scalding red -
before we drown them dead

Before all of this and more....

Before their precious bodies hit the wall
before they become motionless and mute
sitting alone on a bathroom floor

Before we turn up the volume
to block out the scream -
before time's heart cracks all around us

And then there's nothing -

Nothing to tell them at all.

© 2003 - Hammond Guthrie

*Taken from Child'sPlay - For gallery installation consisting of one live performance by the artist, taped audio texts, altered photographs, interactive sculpture and performance video.
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