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Because its proper use
saddens you,
I will cut out my heart.

A picture of a thing is not
the thing, no; but it is a thing.
The eyes stare, the light surprises
from odd angles, eases into
soft, familiar, friendly lines.
In the evening, after work, almost
a smile. Almost a nod. Almost

ten minutes since the last time
it beat. That's a record. I can wait.
How long will it take? I should wait.

There is no prize for being good.
No prize for the sweet, hard alchemy
that made you laugh... no prize for finding
your smile at the bottom of a box of
"fuck fuck fuck my life"
down down down
way down again again so far, so far, so far

so good. The ribs the toughest part.
That noise, the *creak* before they snapped.
The worst? Over? I hold on for fear
of... of... of...

Healed. Your eyes, your smile, your scent
covered some dry, dead, wrinkled place
where sun and forest, fire and rain had never met.
Come together, magic in the dark corners...
games in the

night. Wired back up. Rags in the washer.
Blood collecting in the cup
you used for sweet, light coffee.

The map is not the territory.
The scars are not the wound.
But they are something.

Eyes open, chest silent. I daydream
of sleep.


I blog irregularly at TinkerX. I'm also on Twitter. @andyhavens, go figure.

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The following comments are for "Next Steps"
by andyhavens

Good one Andy!
One of your best Andy...Merry Christmas!


( Posted by: Beatrice Boyle [Member] On: December 26, 2011 )

This work makes me think maybe a little too much as I am not qualified to think as deeply as I would like to believe. Therefore, believing is the nub and the rub of it all.

It first strikes me as heartless, the picture of "a" and "the" thing. I see you or someone who isn't really you on an operating table getting a valve job. The imagery is all there especially if you have ever been on an operating table. It also reminds me of a really heart wrenching break-up of two lovers. Maybe it's the same thing, I don't know. Maybe a few lines down you are bargaining with God, which almost never works, which I think you attest to further down. What is the prize anyway? The daydream? The further I get into this it reminds me of dreams on really good drugs. Not pleasant dreams, mind you. But the ones you can't escape from until you bolt out of a coma. Been there. Ribs snapping is understated as merely unpleasant as though you know it's happening but you don't feel it because you're under the anesthetic. What was your fear, death, or separation from her or God or reality? Fear of death is overrated. So it must be something else. You don't allude to waking up explicitly, which I like a lot. Healed? I don't know. Blood in the cup as ritual or sacrifice required? Bad blood like that is a stench, I say.

I don't know if you betrayed your heart or it betrayed you.
The map covers the territory and the scars cover the wound and you and she will always remember whether you want to or not. Peace is elusive. Makes me think of a scab to pick.

I really like the enjambment. It is very effective where you choose to use it. My minor pick is with the F-word, especially repeated. I understand the 3peats of your other lines for emphasis, the F bomb seems cliched. I think you could have gotten to the bottom just as fast with another choice, maybe shit. Maybe something else.

All in all a good read,Andy.

Later. william hill.

( Posted by: williamhill [Member] On: December 27, 2011 )

Read over and over
I kept reading and reading and at first I thought it was talking about being torn up over a hopeless love but then I kept thinking you were having heart surgery. It baffled me...and I like it! I keep going over it and the sound of the ribs "creak" like a patient undergoing that pain when anesthesia didn't quite hit it's mark. OUCH! Great read Andy... I am glad I stopped in.


( Posted by: nae411 [Member] On: January 10, 2012 )

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