I am wearing the hair-shirt of my own skin inside out and scourging myself with my fingernails.
I feel the tectonic plates of my abdomen writhe under their fractured crust and lava wells up in crevices.
In the rock’s deep fissures the crustaceans crawl.
My fingertips trace gently the cordillera of my spine taking basalt samples under my nails from the crater walls.
My back is the battlefield of Stalingrad overrun by a starving peasant army bristling with pitchforks, halberds, boar spears and flensing knives.
They crawl out of foxholes in dirty rags of sacking to prod and pillage among the broken masonry.
In the pitch black of night where hedgehogs are rummaging under my sheets my probing fingers find an area of haunch carved with the crenulations of a mad Baroque architect.
There are ridges and rills, furrows and burrows, welts and weals and the raised scars of Hottentot initiation.
Among the random passages of this maze wander the inzy spiders with their dirty little feet and venom dripping fangs.
I squash each one I come across to a bloody pulp and in the rosy fingered dawn the gulls come to pick the dead carcases off the beach.
Occasionally perhaps among the filigree of pain I touch one fine silver wire of intense, perverse extraordinary pleasure and my nails scrabble frantically to find this lost seam.
But now I arise from this night I never slept with my head a hot furnace of poetry.
There on my sheets is the proof of a thousand virgins whose painted fingernails have already drawn veils, shrouds and cauls of dead skin across their faces.