Token Man

January 8, 2008
By Maxfield Peterson, San Francisco, CA

Name fondled from hand to the next
His lips tousled
Roughly fondled to show as if raised on good stock
pulsing Legs built of whey
a splinter in his foot for every stage
A life was long enough for his body
But short enough to contain his soul
Knees never buckled
Held leather and fastened
his body knew nothing else
not even his face
a bold ashen pendulum
dangling from a pillar or mild brittle bone
Nor could anyone else
A mirror as foreign as the land
His morning voice raspy
though he never speaks a word
Because through the night he hums
As if in sight of his demise
Throat reverberating through his tendons
As to keep them fueled
His skin coffee black
A never empty mug
From which they drank
His skin was drank and it grew lifeless and pale
ashy and scarred,
His long dreadlocks dangled from his scalp
Crispy, battered sun-fried
Raunchy crunched fingers on the ground
Tongue of charcoal
Eyes of marble
Voice of persimmon
Options few as years
Thoughts as somber as children
Soul bereft, melancholy
He seldom dreamed
Known as his mind was
Ignorant was his pulse
But in eternal compromise
He made his soul barren as the fields
And then he slowly curled over and


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