Preventing a Stain

Gray matter is like wet cement when it smacks against a wall.
Nobody tells you to start with the chunks of brain.
Now, they’re hardened to the plaster.
I close my eyes and peel them off with a chisel.
I imagine Michelangelo carving the statue of David beside me.
Chip by chip he shaves away the unwanted stone.
Chunk by chunk I scrape away my father’s memories.

My father’s paintbrush was a shotgun and the canvas was his head.
The rag and a spray bottle are my chosen instruments.
Ever since I was young I’ve wanted things to be clean.
As my mother and father’s shouts boomed through the house,
I sat in my room, organizing my dolls and dusting my nightstand.
I believe everything has a place and everything has a natural state of purity.
Every blot, scrub, and wipe, is one step closer to the ideal level of cleanliness.

My father had said for years, as he clacked away at his keyboard,
“Tortured geniuses are prone to suicide.”
Nobody seemed to bat an eye.
My mother just loaded cigarettes between her fingers
and scoffed, she knew he was tortured
but I don’t think she ever thought he was genius.
I was too young to realize what he was trying to tell us at the time.

I focused on the puddles first, that were sinking through the carpet.
I scrubbed in a circular motion, my hand spinning like a pottery wheel.
My eyes glazed over as I added a splash of vinegar and laundry detergent.
Two important ingredients to help prevent a stain.
Occasionally, I’d have to pick out the fragments of skull scattered in the puddles.

Nobody tells you they take the body but leave the mess.
Men came to our home to bring him to the morgue.
They warned us of biohazards and bloodborne pathogens.
I don’t care, when there’s a job to be done, you do that job.
I’m thankful they took the body and left the mess.
You can’t miss somebody when there’s so much cleaning to be done.

Ryan Bultrowicz is a Mexican-American poet and playwright based out of Washington D.C. and Virginia. He’s interested in creating innovative, experimental, and magical works. His words have been performed all over the world. He is the author of Dream Date (Queensland University, Australia), The Rabbit’s Hole (Baumholder American High School, Germany), Shower Thoughts (Network Theatre, London), The Audience Disturbs Marcel’s Bath Time and He Is Very Upset With You All (Tiny Dynamite, Philadelphia), Three Women and an Onion (MadLab, Ohio) and many more.

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1 Response to Preventing a Stain

  1. I’m not very articulate, but this is awesome.

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