Twain Quote

Even the clearest and most perfect circumstantial evidence is likely to be at
fault, after all, and therefore ought to be received with great caution. Take
the case of any pencil, sharpened by any woman; if you have witnesses, you will
find she did it with a knife; but if you take simply the aspect of the pencil,
you will say that she did it with her teeth.
— Mark Twain, “Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar”

PAINFUL SESTINA

An empty feeling lies in the pit of my stomach
so very like the tenderness of a bruise
that is left by the stabbing of a knife
I want to flee with nowhere to go
held in this dreadful place by the fear
that I am about to lose all that I love

I cannot be certain it was this shattered love
that left the fires of hell here in my stomach
while being slowly consumed by this fear
that brings so much pain. No trace of a bruise
can be seen yet it is there every time I go
inside my head to try and escape this bloody knife

that has pierced my soul in a way no real knife
can do. I don’t know what it takes to keep this love
from breaking me. I stay knowing I should go
but that is a choice I am not able to stomach
my insides are like a cauldron where bitterness brews
over a fire that is fueled by nothing more than fear

my life has been a constant battle with fear
an agonizing pain as intense as a twisting knife
that with each passing day leaves a new bruise
on my tattered spirit. A distorted love
has filled my life with a bitterness hard to stomach
all the signs are telling me I need to go

that is something I know I should do yet my ego
keeps me ever fighting back against this fear
that has built a home deep inside my stomach
it would be better if I could take that dreaded knife
and sever those strings that this hopeless love
has bound me with so a healing of that bruise

could come to this place where those sour brews
sap the strength I will need to make myself go
will not be easy to give up all semblance of love
more difficult still is always living with a fear
that one day soon I will reach for that knife
try to erase this pain that dwells in my stomach

I hold a knot of fear deep in my stomach
where this bitter love has left its violent bruise
it is plain to see that knife really needs to go

..Jerry Marks 1999