The Resurrection of Ash (Duet in Hell): 5

Excerpts from a novel in progress which is not actually fiction and is in fact a memoir with cosmetic changes.

| Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 |

The Truth is Revealed:

| Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 |

© Blaze Archer

I. Abel

it was a long trip down the hall there was no carpet just linoleum and the hospital socks with the starfish suckers on the bottom squeaked squeaked with each step like white mice in a cage only the bars were in our heads the tv was blaring the news ten killed in a car crash with a semi is this the kind of thing that will calm us plastic couches and chairs big windows looking out over brown buildings a mud scene come play in the mud with your eyes as they wander down the hall which is actually short but it feels long to you each numbered cell i mean room a portal into impersonal hell two beds two bureaus a desk a chair travel sized shampoo toothbrush tooth paste no shaving without a voyeur i mean nurse making sure you don’t slit your wrists roommates who mutter to themselves in a language they’ve made in the privacy of their own heads wake up every morning at 6:30 AM blood-pressure cuff making you mad monitor the vegetables as they grow roots give them just enough sunlight give them just enough water

but make sure they don’t outgrow the pot

II. Malory



cold skin

thin sheets

overhead light

green linoleum glows

like glowworms

making me think

of summers spent

in brush

hush now

swallow the capsules

get up

wade through the ward

on silent feet

take in the

people pacing

before the telephones

take in their scent

take in the whites of their eyes

they give you a look

it’s all they have to give


for goals”

a nurse says

you are shuttled

into the common room

penned into

plastic chairs

that take the heat from your thighs

like leaves soaking up rain


says their goal:

to get out

to think positively

to be less anxious

you watch their faces morph

with the syllables

catch with their breath

it’s your turn

“I want to


someone smile”

you say

no one


III. Abel

stare at a pancake watch it drip drip drip with syrup from a plastic cup drink the brown water i mean coffee taste the blood in your tongue eat the pancake eat the sausage patty of recycled meat product swallow the brown water get up put away tray in slot go out into hall wander through the fluorescent light like a glowworm drifting on the sunset go into the common room walk toward the window embrace the cold air with your goose pimples press your hand against the cold glass wall see your fingers spread out over a building like a spider in a web catch the winking lights of the traffic lights in your fingertips no sound just tv blaring as usual no waft of the city streets smelling of urine for you no human touch just plastic cocoons and ativan pills watch the mental patients watch the tv set sitting in mute attention on the plastic couches not moving except to scratch an ear eyes steady gaze blank watching colors morph and bend on a screen like it’s a fish tank full of fish they swim and leap across the screen of the tank the only alive thing in the room is dead and i can feel the strain in my hands as i catch the cars whizzing by below like flies and the flies are buzzing they’re swarming across the glass and it’s getting dark now only it’s morning still the clouds are coming in and it looks like it’s going to rain

only it never rains in here it just stands still

IV. Malory

i am so full

of shit

press your breasts

against your hands

feel the intake

of breathe

breath out

set fire to

your lungs

set the air on fire

catch the nurses glance

makes you feel small



trace the mornings’

blood-pressure cuff

with your bare skin

race to the bathroom

to keep your roommate from seeing you cry

cry your lungs out in a cold shower

scrub your skin raw

with travel toy soap

pick at your cuticles

blush blue in the cold

blue lips says you’re done


the halls

searching for


women in pajama pants

men in hospital gowns

they don’t float in a breeze

they stand still

collect dust

collect affirmations

positive vibes


where is my mother



too many pills

too many cries for help

red eyes

self-help books

prayer circle

jesus get me out of here

lord lift me up

lift me higher




toward the ceiling

flood my blood

with light

guide my wrists

into your hands

circle my eyes

with baby leaves

sing me a song

come on

sing me a song

clusterfuck of reality

a woman screaming at you

her voice guttural

wrenched from her bowels

flung at you

like a snake

coiling round your windpipe

you are mute


watching her swollen hands

like two partially-inflated balloons

pump the air

with their indignation

“show some respect”

she says

“i’m talking to you, bitch!”

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