I drove to Ojai and stayed at a lodge.
There was murder in my room.
The wooden bed was full of murder.
It was drunk on murder cocktails.

Even the wooden walls were murderous and violent.
The rug had a PhD in murder.
The rug graduated at the top of its class
in Murderology.

There was violence and murder all over the room.
Great hulking haystacks of murder.
A museum filled with paintings of haystacks
in painted fields. All those brutish bailed stacks
of hay in all those painted fields.

Like thousands of slaughtered American buffalo
on the grasslands of old Wyoming.

I was too afraid to go in the shower that night.
I lay on the drunk bed on top of the covers
and slept in my clothes.
I didn’t want to get murdered.

It was a cold night and I kept waking up
every hour or so. The murdered bodies
were tapping me on the shoulder.
Then when I fell asleep they waited
an hour before waking me again.

Getting back to sleep was not easy
with all those slaughtered buffalo staring at me
with their helpless eyes.

It was like bailing hay with broken fingers.
Morning came eventually and I got up
and out of there fast.

“Goodbye room,” I said.

Even though it was a murderous night,
I felt sad leaving the room.

All that ancient wood and desperation.

I looked into the room before I left
with sadness in my heart.

I felt as if we had shared a violent night
together and I realized I hadn’t felt
so alive in years.

First published in Forklift, Ohio Issue #33 (Fall 2016)