The Mad Masked Men

The Mad Masked Men

Three white faces draped in black hooded sweats loitered in the doorway of my once upon a time.

I would have willingly let the bed bugs bite me in place of this haunted case of silently ambling, slowly arguing, black hole intruders.

They blanketed me in a clear wrap of restriction, a heavy shawl of suffocation, from the distance of my door

Standing starved by a shadow-less existence,

They waited for their prey to fall.

Three layers of protection didn’t save me from their skin-prickling, bone chilling, unseen black eyes

A layer of dolphins saved me from the sea

A layer of night held me warm

A layer of proverbs, from those most accomplished, kept me sharp

But they were all reduced to a single knit of fabric, dimensionless and uncreative,

Under these predators’ net

Compelled, I watched the men from the night of my cradle

Slowly ambling, silently arguing, in the brilliance of the hall,

Thoughtfully blocking the only purposed passage out of my room

Strangely inspecting the struggle of their victim

I had no mouth for screams to pierce

I had no will for fire to fierce

But fire still burned my marrow

I had no nose for air to wheeze

I had no ears for sound to sneeze

But beating blood still orchestrated a dire tune

Three mad men gazed from the comfort of their faceless masks

At the brink of hunger

At the edge of my door

At the verge of arrival

And I forced a scream but sound without a voice is hardly sound at all

They turned to each other with three sideways stares then


Back at me again

Breath was more than air inflating my lungs

This I now knew

And black cats were no more dreadful than a black flower’s bloom

The space that separated us was a safety I had assumed

A mistake

An error

An inaccurate supposition

For, in an instant, it was condensed and then not there at all

The most neutral entity in the world, seduced silently by the three mad men

Threatening my jugular with a desire that was now its own

A desire that brought it purpose

A desperate yelp bubbled the dark matter over my mouth

And reverberated back through my paralyzed body

A knock resounding on a hollow tree trunk

I didn’t make a sound

And neither did the Mad Masked Men

They feasted their vacant eyes on the sight of an absent body

That was still alive inside

A constricted heart still pumped ceaselessly

And blood struggled to flow

But the body was not absent

Little did they know

Faces contorted, eyes still unknown

A list of uncommunicated wants accompanied by unmerited needs

They indulged on the life of my body

I sucked on the air stored in the cavity of my mouth

The last few molecules that had not turned

Hard and pleading, I regurgitated air from my lungs and from the cells of my blood

Determined to be the first of a self-sufficient species

Relying forever on one gulp of air

My nauseated heart did not agree

Trembling hard, it worked fervently to wake the rest of my body from its paralytic slumber

Vomiting blood through my veins

And enraging my jugular

Without lifting the clear wrap of restriction, the shawl of suffocation

The men didn’t make a creeping sound

Bathed in the sweat of my bed, I listened to the blare of blood, clear in my ears

As the Mad Masked Men ambled silently near

Waiting for their prey to fall.

Photographer: Leland Francisco

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