Exhumation of the Dead Soul

Sixth in the series.  This poem was written much more recently.  There’s almost certainly an object lesson here–that I’m still working to decrypt.


Exhumation of the Dead Soul

By Dane Mutters, 2010


I thought I could woo her with my imagination;

I thought I could lull her sweetly with my voice,

excite her with my fingers, plucking my pulse on an instrument;

that would be enough, I thought;

then she would fall into my arms.


But my plan would go not so;

it would be all for waste;

because while I was busy lulling,

my voice busy caressing,

my hands feverishly working,

my eyes had lost their sight;

my pulse had gone limp;

I was drowning in my own intentions.


I lost sight of any person whom I could love.

My heart was cold; ice tore through my veins.

I sat at the table, as it were, staring at my food—

made with my own hands,

cold as blood.


They were all the same!

Blasted from the beginning!

Creatures of heartache and despair,

molting away their own consciences

in an excretion of lavender lotion,

plum perfume,

hair like tendrils of silky steel stronger than a chain—

bathed in fragrance, beauty, passion

…and malice.


I had eaten at their table,

tasted of their sweet vinegar wine;

and my heart burned;

the meal, I thought,

had too much flavor;

it seared in my throat

because I was undeserving—

I had to be;

my loved one hadn’t loved me.


How could I love again?

The maggots in my belly

were a creature of their own—

seething with venom,

churning with putrescence.


My tongue became a lash.

My eyes became torches,

flares to gasoline;

I had given up any hope of loving again,

and instead sought to share my pain.


The time for miracles had passed; I thought;

my knees were cankered from kneeling

and my voice grew sore of crying.

To live was torture, and to love…

was even worse.


Then the fire of my imagination,

the pulse of my drum,

the sound of my tempo,

the dream of my eyes

sparked in my mind…



…And I ignored it.


What had I to gain from trying?


…and then it hit me:



What feeble efforts I could still summon

in the acidic atrophy of my soul,

still had rhythm, still had the pulse of a heart,

although having been rotting in necrosis–

its feelings turned to ash–

boiling in the sea of its own rotted fluids

and vain miseries of what might have been…

It was still beating.


Slogging away through it,

the toxic gelatinous mulch

was still moving,

my lungs still heaving despite my most fervent wishes;

I was alive,

and was not about to slip away quietly, peacefully

into the ever-calm darkness of what lay Beyond.


My gasps and sputters,

spewing black, bitter mucous

that lurched from my chest

and dribbled down from my lips

into white tissue–

cleaner and whiter than I–

brought continually with them,

the retrograde reciprocal,

breathing in again. It could never stop.

Not until the Lord took me–

not until I didn’t want to be taken.


And so I moved.


Haltingly, joltingly,

always in fearful anticipation,

staggering forward,

and reeling backward,

I reveilled my slumbering legs from the covers of my stinking bed,

and walked towards a faint light–

a soft jingling

off in the far distance,

and beyond my reach.


Her words echoed through my dark mind,

bouncing without a care through the tunnely blackness.

I caught only a few of these glittering jewels as they soared past me

and kissed my cheeks wistfully.

They shimmered in my hands for only a moment,

then, diamonds turned to fireflies,

they flitted off again

and left their bright rainbow streamers behind them–

my only reminder of what had gone by.


But the words, so precious

kept filling my ears,

and as I turned my head, there were more bright,

burning fires headed towards me,

bringing warmth that I didn’t deserve.


Could she be so naïve? Did she not know my fate,

and the fate of whosoever should attach herself to my gory, weeping side?

How could she even look in my direction

with her blinding-bright eyes

and not see blackness where I stood,

with my veil of tears streaming down,

and cascading onto the cold, hard floor

–like so much wasteful pity and garbage?

More, though,

How could I obtain that light–

in her eyes,

in her being,

in her very smile–

without my dull, morose spirit

extinguishing it forever?


My face was smiling while my heart melted like molten lead.

My voice was bright, though I held back sobs.

And my touch was soft, caressing,

despite the longing of my skin

to embrace the chill, harsh edge

and release my soul from unjust entrapment in my veins.


But there she was, like an angel,

a work of art, a moving statue,

resplendent in bright colors like the dawn touching the day.

Was she real? Of course, she was–

I couldn’t imagine, yet there she stood, and smiled,

and laughed,

and touched my hand accidentally.

On purpose.

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