Visions of the Subterranean

Visions of the Subterranean in this run-down Rooming -house of the soul
re-edited January 5,2001 and Feb. 18, 2011
Gordon coombes

In this run‑down rooming‑house of the soul
the Subterranean has visions of the Gods
of poetry tumbling down no longer
immune the disease destroying waves
of grass even flowers of evil
entombed poets dug up rotting bodies executed
to please the public apocalyptical verses
of the slouching beasts the whimpering
of the world dying Yeats & T.S. Elliot even
come tumbling down apparitions of faces
silent on window‑panes
rats scurry through the streets
sneak into our houses keeping us captive
for days on end chattering their teeth
standing on their hind legs
blocking the only exit
no one hears our screams for help
these rats are secret agents & assassins
of the shadowy Illuminati
in this run‑down rooming house
of the soul‑

A foul stench fills the house
a corpse left to rot
someone dying from too much cheap wine
forgotten no one comes to call
left untouched a week
looking for rent discovered
by the landlord
a dozen people sleep on the stairs
disappear in day‑light
neighbours throw furniture knives
wine & beer bottles at each other in anger
sometimes at the walls just for practice
steal radios as fast as we replace them
strangers sleep in our beds
on nights we stay out
vivisectionists working over‑time trying
to weigh measure quantify the soul
to suit their temperament making light of it
leaving us to live this substandard
second‑rate existence in this run‑down
rooming house of the soul‑


The Subterranean lives close to the ground
with the outcasts & the desperate ones
in dark alley‑ways & dead‑end streets
entombed before dying living
in perpetual darkness in dimly‑lit rooms
out of the reach of sunlight
over‑shadowed by Glittering Towers of Glass
having been sent into exile
in his latest incarnation
becoming a refugee bathed in
bleak visions of dreams twisted
ripped apart by wild dogs in this
run‑down rooming house of the soul‑

The Subterranean needing to be close
to the ground smelling the black tar
of the road breathing in exhaust‑fumes
of busy city traffic rumbling by
needing to feel the hard concrete
of the sidewalk under his feet
watching feet of others passing by
the little window of his basement apartment
finding used hypodermic needles of junkies
used condoms of prostitutes
who ply their trade just around the corner
on warm summer evenings & frost‑bitten
dead of the winter nights in this run‑down
rooming house of the soul‑

The Subterranean going for a stroll
late at night mumbling to himself pretending
to be frothing at the mouth mad
passing through gauntlets
of young men who might be thugs
the desperate turning on one another
willing to rip‑off anyone even the Subterranean
of what little he has trapped forced to listen
to the man in the apartment above
in drunken rages beating his wife
all around the house
keeping their six year old son in fear
nightly replaying this old Punch & Judy show
in this forgotten run‑down rooming‑house
of the soul‑

The Subterranean watches the old
child‑molester holding out a helping hand
to naive young boys & girls in need
in return for sexual favours
pays rent to the caretaker
a paranoid painter who adds a series
of white crosses to every canvas
lectures tenants on Christ
returns to his room embattled in heated
arguments shouting at his invisible tormentors
throughout the night hearing the popcorn‑thief
creeping up the stairs & along the hallway
completing his nightly ritual
carrying bags of popcorn
taken from a nearby video‑store
after three am they give it away
believes he's conned them again
hides his booty stock‑piling
for the upcoming apocalypse
in this run‑down rooming‑house of the soul‑