A Man is Screaming in Sheridan Square

This one creeps me out a bit. Not sure at all where it came from, except that Khara House (who is beginning a lovely series of prompts) issued a rhyme challenge, and my brain hopped to “villanelle“. (Dammit, brain.) I wish I could say the subject matter was an uncommon occurrence round these parts.

I’ve been having a peculiar time. There’s a Long Poem with capital letters unrolling in my mind lately, as well as the beginnings of another idea of one, and I hardly have any room for anything else, it feels like. I’m trying to set myself a chunk of writing on it every day until it’s done, because all my ideas are getting funneled into it like a whirlpool. That’s how it goes, I suppose.

A Man is Screaming in Sheridan Square

A man is screaming in Sheridan Square.
He sits on a rotted bench facing west;
he’s tearing his shirt and pulling his hair.

After the dangling moon, this is where
the forgotten folk are denied their rest
by a man screaming in Sheridan Square.

The thin white statues stand fast, with a glare
for disturbers of peace: they can attest
he’s tearing his shirt; he’s pulling his hair.

Sea urchin shadows ply the humid air.
Queens of night stroll by in their summer best.
A man is screaming in Sheridan Square.

He’s unstoried in his tuneless despair.
Words fracture to ash, burrow from his chest,
tearing up his shirt, pulling out the hair.

Later they’ll tell it, pretending to care,
brows knit, mouths downturned. It will be confessed:
a man was screaming in Sheridan Square–
was tearing his shirt– had pulled all his hair–

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5 thoughts on “A Man is Screaming in Sheridan Square

  1. vivinfrance says:

    Great villanelle. I wanted to go and soothe your screaming man, so the neighbours could get some sleep.

  2. I love that it’s creepy. I always think of the villanelle and other similar poetic forms as kind of dorky for some reason. (probably my lack of sophistication ha) so adding the creepiness aspect brings it to a new level for me. Cool.

  3. Khara House says:

    That was creepy! But in a great way. Villanelles for me so often are either cheesy or sappy … I love it when they go somewhere new. This was a wonderful poem–thanks for sharing! I look forward to seeing more throughout the Challenge :)

  4. brian miller says:

    a very vivid image….it makes me wonder about him and just what drove him to that point of despair…and wonder too if anyone cared to ask….

  5. Shawn says:

    The imagery was very striking here. And sad. Sounds like your screaming man had too much Spice in him.

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