Self Portrait #12
By Wil Gibson

It is always harvest time in Northern
Illinois. Northern Illinois has an eye to the
autumn all year long. All year long the
summer is met with worry. With worry
comes the rain. The rain can overstay its
welcome. Its welcome in the spring.
I have always been the rain.

My scars keep strangers at arm’s length,
move mothers and children closer together in public.
My scars are powerful.
I was powerless when I got them.
My scars appreciate in value.
They were free. They are priceless.

My third wife took everything but the scars.
She was too generous to take them with her.
My second wife gave me everything she had.
I gave her a child and an excuse.
I was too selfish to burden myself with them.
My first wife passed away fifteen years after we divorced.
She was kind enough to let me move on before she died.

When I was asked if I had ever been to jail, I tensed
tight at the idea of honesty. The look my hesitance
caused showed my answer was irrelevant. A new jury
pit suddenly popped up in front of me. I was my own
bailiff. The cuffs closed slow around my wrists. I could
hear the click as clearly as the question. I had been
judged as harshly as possible. I shrugged my shoulders
and smirked, my finest attempt at being smug, and I
never answered. I am ashamed that I was silent.

I let the chaos breathe for me some days. Chaos has
perfect, happy lungs. They rise and fall on a controlled
regular basis. Order is essential to proper breathing.
Chaos delivers breath despite itself. My lungs are chaos.
If my heart skips a few lubs or dubs, no one notices. I
am the only one who listens. Doctors say my health is
my fault. It is. My heart has only it’s best by me and I
have broken it or stopped it too many times to count.
My heart beats chaos.
My brain has no regulation, is a free spirited teenager.
Naive and swears to know enough to get by. When the
real world floods chemtrails across my frontal lobe, I
lose time. I forget myself. I am all shook and sway and
fall without music or prayer. I am uncontrolled bladders
and stiff armed nightmares and record skips. Epilepsy is
the devil in a padded room. The sheets strangle dreams,
pack twitches behind eyelids half open.
My brain breeds chaos. My body is chaos. My
motorcycle boot spine is an unwatched documentary.
These stories are written with skin. They fade, but never
go blank.

Wil Gibson’s poems have been published in several online and print journals, including; the Port Veritas Anthology (Vol 1&2), Catching Calliope, Munjoy Hill Journal, Heeb Magazine and more, with full collections from Moon Pie Press, Sargent Press and Red Bench Press.