Today, the New York Times did a story about a new anthology of Zombie-related Poetry. While it’s a bit peculiar to think of flesh-eating monsters as a subject fit for bards and authors, there is certainly something artistically appealing about zombies. George Romero, the father of the modern day zombie film used them to represent prejudice, consumerism, xenophobia, and more. Indeed, as the Times article points out, there’s something about the idea of a mindless drone of a creature that lends itself to metaphor and symbolism. To that end, I thought I would take a crack at a piece of Zombie Poetry myself…
The Man Inside
Woke up to such an awful stench,
The putrid smell of rotting flesh,
Aghast when I could tell, alone,
The rotten odor was my own.
I tried to move, my joints were stiff,
My legs so rigid, hard to lift,
I shambled up as best I could,
With bones that felt like creaky wood.
I moved to cry, to plead my cause,
But only vowels escaped my jaws,
Instead of pitch and grace of tones,
My lungs eked only tortured moans.
The aches I felt, down from within,
Were scalding, sharp, beneath the skin,
As though my blood and organs fumed,
Like each in turn had been consumed,
My senses dulled, a quiet roar,
The static of the world before,
My bleary sight, I squinted hard,
And stretched my fingers, gaunt and scarred.
And only then, I caught my gaze,
To see my body, bruised and razed,
A monster, yes, myself in shreds,
A body mussed in blacks and reds,
My thoughts were jumbled, “What is this?
A twisted metamorphosis?
That dares to tear my world in twain,
To torment body, heart, and brain?”
Twas then I felt the hunger grow,
At first, a tiny wisp of tow,
But then it rose, in bounds, in kind,
And overwhelmed my feebled mind,
Before I knew, I’d lost control,
And stumbled out to find the whole,
I shan’t forget that first foul taste,
Another person, laid to waste
And though I fought, I could not cease,
In that first night there was no peace,
Nor in the many, later days,
Where instinct made me feed and graze,
Such pain, such struggles, now the norm
To find one trapped in one’s own form,
With no such strength to countermand,
The horrors, forced to watch firsthand.
And yet behind those lifeless eyes,
There lies a prisoner, paralyzed,
Who watches, helpless, pained, coerced,
A gentle man contained in curse,
Who hopes that new death might restore,
His soul, that he might hurt no more.