By Jan Price
Panel l. The Inspiration
London – East End;
a barefoot lad slips
into midnight fog
without a splash. He smells
between known and unknown
stench on the streets and turns
full tilt into black cabbage alley.
Through the door slit
he hands her a copper
with the master’s note
for salt. He returns
sporting a blackmailer’s smile
snatches his boodle and leaves
the master and Hyde to grapple
between good and evil.
Panel II. The Breakdown
It began with a neuron niggle
a social withdrawal a closing
of curtains and a swill of bitter brew.
Then in a black-eyed night a figment lied
up a truth-storm swore that all was gone –
every soul had been judged and allotted
not a cot or bed had recovered.
He slipped beneath
that ‘Do Not Enter’ door
and there amidst his dark denials
gorging them with Dorian desires
smirked his incarcerated twin.
Welcome! it sniggered between gulps.
Evil is soulless but his soul was still his.
Panel III. The Recovery
He woke on the floor a cross of pale sun
streaming between drapes below shades.
For a fragment of time his desires slept light
their names waiting be called.
But this day unarmoured he dragged himself up
whooshed wide the black velvet gap
but before he could close-flap the scene
to block out an undeserved warmth
a tranquil of frost gifted his sight.
In that cleansing white a blood-stained deer
its hoof caught. Its pain his.
Rejecting his demons
he rose slashing the barbs
leaving hoof prints to melt in the sun.
Image by Galen Crout