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  • Valerie Valdez

The Watched Man

I. A medical diary for a medical man. This is a surgical mind of the utmost cleanliness/I will not impede myself by succumbing to the irreverent acts of the more ill-educated ilk/those with their silver and stethoscopes/their glinting glasses and whitewash coats.

II. A new patient for a patient man. This name is unimportant and the first I will remove/among other things. There is much that is unclean about our anatomy.

III. New blood for the bloodied mind/his arm strikes clean 'cross iron/no silver for precision or cleanliness/I must make do with what I have.

(iii) I need to make do with what I have. There isn't much time/time flew from my hands and over the fence/where the angels dwell and I cannot tread.

(iii-a) it burns

IV. New heart for the hearty soul/it strips clean with measured sounds and viscera. It beats for me/looks at me/paints my walls clean because these are dirty and grey and need color.

(iv) red is the color of children and heaven.

V. New heartbeats for the beaten man/I placed it back into its bone cage. I locked the door and ate the key yet he still looked at me with his shiny eyes/blue eyes/eyes that remind me of the sky though I have not seen it for many months.

(v) he won't stop looking at me

(v-a) make it stop

(v-b) why won't he stop

VI. Wicked liver for the wicked soul/it looked at me and called me father/it is alkaline and tastes like dust and lonely Tuesdays/wretched/i am wretched

(vi) i buried him with his mother i know he fancied her

(vi-a) i can still feel him staring/his eyes have burrowed upwards and their optical nerves took root upon my windowsill

VII. new hide for the hidden man. i am brazen/i am unclean/i reek of antiseptic holiness and white paint. i took his skin and knit a new coat from the threads of his muscles/they sing me to sleep with harp-string serenades

(vii) but i know i am wretched and wicked and sour and his eyes follow me around the house. the roots are now in the woodwork that his eyes may sink into the oak at their own behest/and rise once more where they may better see me

(vii-a) i sit at this desk and see him/sky-eyes/pressed into the wall before me. there are lips too now, mouthing the words i write as they appear on the page

VIII. Newly-turned soil for the filthy man. I dug him up today and dragged him back to my surgery. I put him together/even the liver i took/i forced them out of me/i searched through the sewerage/and i put him back together.

(viii) the eyes would not budge from my walls and the lips closed around my fingers before i could properly reach around them

(viii-a) there are teeth

(viii-b) and a tongue

IX. A call for help from a helpless man/but the authorities are blind/they took me/maybe/safety/no/i can still smell him and today i found his gallbladder under my tongue

(ix) they placed me in my bone cage/won't work

X. the cell has eyes/blue like the sky

(x) for the watched man

About Valerie Valdez (in her own eloquent words):

"At my core, I’m a goat singer, the Greek name for a story-teller. Curiosity is my alter ego. Born on a US Army base in Germany, my life revolves around words. Due to autism, I didn't speak until the age of five. Two years ago, I retired to pursue writing full-time. The best decision of my life! After forty years working for the US Army, NBC, and PBS stations, and teaching theatre, film, and TV college classes, plus as an office manager for architects and engineers, I just want to write. So far, I’ve published half a dozen poems and stories in various online magazines:, Northwind Writing Award by Raw Earth Ink Books, and CultureCult Press Anthology. Recently, I completed a six-month online course in writing a musical. My topic - life of Madame Marie Tussaud, of the wax museum, during the French Revolution."

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