That One Red Hot Chili Peppers Song – A Poem by Rowe Williams


There is a light, grey-white
line marking the skin where
thumb meets hand.
When I extend out my thumb, I imagine
the line extended as well, the
two forming an angle of one hundred
and twenty degrees.
Or two-thirds pi radians, if you prefer.
This marking, this noble attempt to join
flesh to flesh, is the inch-long remnant
of anger.
Anger of which my left hand was the source,
and this particular location on my right hand
was unfortunate recipient.
The left wrath was realized
by surprisingly sharp plastic card, dug
into pliable right.
Left attempted to make this now singular
line one of a pair, intersecting
each other to form an X.
Perhaps hoping, in some small way, to
cross me out.
But the falling line of the X has faded,
is now barely visible. The 
rising line had mostly satisfied the left bloodlust.
And that bloodlust left a gift:
a beautiful, light grey-white line
crossing my olive skin.


The front-top of my left thigh is
covered by a great many lines. Some the
same grey-white, some ugly red scab.
Lines of sorrow
and comfort
administered again by the furious
justice of my left hand.
Now equipped with a boxcutter that
seems to be growing unfortunately dull.
No one but me has seen these marks, these
consequences that
so easily hide on upper thigh.
No one sees when they fade.
Only to be made new again.


Hiding cleverly amongst the wrinkles
of my throat are two non-wrinkle
lines, deep and dark grey, like thunderclouds
receding into the horizon
when part of you wants rain.

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