The Drowned Car (A Poem by David Stigwood)


When dreams are shaped by conscience

There's nothing you can do but stay awake

At first he thought he's read the Bible for his sins

(Last night one hundred miles back he'd fought sleep

With nothing but the tapping on the pane -

And this hotel room was featureless,

And if he looked at it for long the lined wallpaper stirred like disturbed water)

But he'd proved he he could condemn ''fornication'' for himself,

Yet ''Thou shalt not kill'' was barbed.


He sought peace in the wall,

But the lines were now of print which he tried to read,

And then, abruptly, didn't.

Then the blankets round his feet - they didn't change, exactly,

But were a face clubbed out of shape,

Down to the hanging flap of skin.

He wriggled free, and the face caved in.

He couldn't find the garage light

(In the dark Something touched him)


He struggled: then kicked out: the gears caught: the garage was swept behind.

Below the city glittered like the sea beneath the moon

And once the night was formed upon the neon

Like some disposal on the moon-track.

The roads were bare as bone, no sign of help.

Obsessively the blackness yielded up leaves packed vast and swaying

Which never, as they passed, maintained their threatened distant shapes.

But he was sure that from the sockets of an intersection diagram

Burned accusing eyes.

Leaves again, hissing like the sea, like tongues.

In an ebon lake beside the road, inverted, a drowned car paced him patiently;

He trembled, but its door stayed closed, black, waiting.

Then light stabbed round the bend ahead

From two dead, pitiless eyes which floated closer.


He threw out a hand to blind the eyes,

And his other missed the wheel.

The last thing he heard was a woman's scream

(From the car ahead, its headlights undimmed)

Then he was falling, and the drowned car rushed to meet him.


#darkpoem #gothicpoetry

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