Illusion for the Web of Roads by Jason Sturner

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A different version of this poem appeared in the January issue of Sein und Werden



We all begin: sunrise boat ride through the teardrop channel; exit to the entrance. Horrible, unknowable heads pecking the air around our nakedness. We hold them with our wet mouths, vertigo in a vortex of piercing voices, an influx flood of diseased light too unlike the heart’s electric signal, the pulse in paper thin eyelids. And pain. And the odor of nightmares. And the edgy, sharp, strange things non-flesh. We merely want back the wet primordial dark, seeing and knowing all we’ve come to know.



Silver glass orbs break over the heads of aged orphans. Beards of long dead kings appear in mirrors of sanctuaries. I lie in bed, an endless stream of weapons pulled from pockets, their chambers empty, tips broken, aim bent by leaping rats. I move through the Labyrinth. The Minotaur breathes down my spine. Theseus swipes at my feet. I run for the river. It lifts and turns away, fills the white clouds black, the black clouds red. Concrete-fed fish plunge to the junkyard riverbed, crumble beneath the weight of millipede-legged armies.



I lift the gilded knocker of an unseen structure, cough hot air and flies, blink long veins of lightning. The door rotates: door unhinged and burning, door decomposed, door within doors, door leading to other doors, door absent-stolen, doors around my waist like rings of Saturn. An endless flock of blackbirds twists itself like a wet rag, their feathers spiraling to the ground over blood-soaked cities. And words of war I no longer hear, enemy eyes I no longer see, the dead soldier rising from her grave to dance like a white flower in the rain . . .



Forest for the trees falls away, reveals a mountain for the bones, a cave for the memories. The disease crawls in and settles like heavy smoke, burns the white flags in endless raids. The sky fills with wet primordial dark. Voices of every pitch and tone swirl about my head, petitioning for my soul. Fuck them all! I long for cycles, to taste the Earth’s sweet energy. I lift my gun and we enter temple. The mouths of gods snap shut. Illusion melts into a web of roads. O Soul! O Bliss! There is no structure. There are no doors.


AUTHOR BIO: Jason Sturner was born and raised in the western suburbs of Chicago, where he has worked as a grocery bagger, elevator operator, rock n’ roll drummer, graphic designer, naturalist and botanist. His stories and poems have appeared in, or are forthcoming in, such publications as Space and Time Magazine, Aoife’s Kiss, Mythic Delirium, Bards and Sages Quarterly, MicroHorror, and Aphelion. He currently lives in Knoxville, Tennessee. Website: