Reasons to Never Return

REASONS TO NEVER RETURN

 a collaborative poem by the Paper Plane Pilots

Tamed (Edited) by Nicholas Gagnier

 

I.
Desert sun in my
conscience, trying to find what
the devil and I still
have in
common

after
forty days and thirty-
nine nights of
scorpions,
sweat,
mirages and

heaven-sent heat.

The world around me
swells and fades—
transient, impermanent—
fleeing this caustic hell
while I am left to wallow.

(No oasis
so far to absolve
me of arid expanse)

Vision blurs under
heavy feet trudging as
I try not to collapse,
attempt to evade
each
mandatory concession.
entranced
in their
processions
of withering imagery .

A small part of me asks if it had to end this way. The rest of me
knows better—knows willpower prolonging the inevitable fall, but
gasoline?

Some things
leave no room for error.

II.
The match dwindles,
clenched
fingertips
and beads of sweat,
burning fists on blazing sand,
red jerry cans against my ankle,
empty thuds against bony nubs

make
relentless heat a
blistering reminder,

dripping down to dwell
in pools of tears
collecting on my cheek.

I’ll always remember
the last beckoning scream of
that burning succubus
I left behind.

III.
The devil tips
his fedora, its brim
filled with
red ants.
Breath fresh
with gin, his
black-tooth gaps
filled with weeds

and wasps,

eyes sticky with
black tar.

He says,

“Come with me, you’ll never
work a day in your
life.

Sit with me, and count
the ashes that gather,
former flowers arranged in
colourless piles.

Let’s paint with fingers in the dust,
mark our faces with charcoal pride to match the
dusk, because contrast is over-rated.

But you must
promise me to remember all those
reasons to

never return.”

I may have lost my direction, for
his offer tempts me.

when something displeased
left me out here
to lay with the stars.

IV.
I am nothing.

Never a struggling man
or wanderer looking for a home,
just Lucifer’s first human contact in
a thousand years,
the Scorpion’s meal,
triple threat watered down
by mounting moral debt at

the world’s end.

Ascension of dead weight,
a hundred hands, fingertips curling,
unfurled from the grave,
roots of the living, rot of the dying.

There’s nothing here worth saving.

V.
Little reminders of where we have been—
a squatter’s shack under which the sun attacked
the moon, its fires
a blight on desert
dunes.

Light up those walls and blow down that roof,
the moment says, and I, in twisted acceptance,
let the flames echo through me
now, like blood skies
so profound,
poetic, so
fucking proud.

Supernovas pierce my mother’s eyes,
wilts small strength I learned from
my father,

my peace upon the altar of kindle and
kindness and calm.

I’m ready to burn it all
down, in lieu of a ring on the
devil’s third,

his for all eternity,
a heretic even Heaven couldn’t
cure.

I’m pebbles of ash with no
reason to ever return.

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