Burning Down the House

Everything becomes the enemy in the small house
for the big man
or not so big: 6’2” and 14 stone
(that’s 200lbs to you & me)
pound for pound, what a pounding
I take about 50 hits a day
shoulder to door frame
hip to table top
I get a fat lip drinking water
The small house gets smaller
shrink wrap melting to my skin
in my little microwave of a home
towering over the sink, hunch-backed
I tickle the rag around the insides
of yesterday’s glasses
shots and pints
Lumbar! Lumbar!
Such lumbar pain
I stretch out, arching, upwards, outwards
trembling with the new born’s pleasure
or terror
of expansion beyond the cloistered womb
until my back hand bashes the hanging lamp
and I cower as eight lights sway above
agitated like warrior angels, swords aflame.
Everything becomes the enemy in the small house.
The sofa mocks me.
Doorways laugh at my pain.
Floorboards snicker at my throbbing stubbed toes
and hanging Seraphim openly taunt
the coffee table attacks
the shower head spits venom
armies of insects infiltrate the cracks
in the plaster and
through five decades old electrical outlets –
their blank slit eyes bleed dull-pink ants
that find my house none too small
for them
and my larder’s contents none too meager
for them
The ants are my enemy
as is everything in the small house
and the ants say, “The enemy of my enemy is my ally.”
and all has gone to shit
as I’m backed into the corner
against the ants, against the small house
just me, a case of beers, a can of raid
and thoughts of a Talking Heads’ hit.


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