liberal arts studio.montserrat
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To Henry Darger

by Ned Dunn

The history of your life, H.D., did not begin at the Asylum
But rather when you lost your last piece of Elsie in July
Just like you lost your sister
by adoption, and never saw her,
nor never knew her name

When you realized that it wasn't you
Who made the children fairly hung
With blood-dripping corpses, hacked and torn
When lashes scourged their flesh so horrible
Blood lying in puddles

Your history began with the war storm that followed,
In Abbiermia
In Glandelinia
with a strangled child in the sky, girls rolled into floor rugs,
and an Angel with American flag wings
to save you from your temper spells with blasphemies

I sat alone and tried to read your history
But not all through it, the book was far too much
When you got out and wrote it down I wonder if you didn't know I'd try?


You said you were a captain of the Gemini
Sworn to protect little girls
from people like yourself
But when you said that you were sorry
that you'd always been this way and always was, and didn't give a damn,
I think I understood it

Even if God was too hard on you
You didn't bear it any longer for no one
and risked a sending into hell
for being your own man
Rewriting your history in that realm
Of eyes and tongues extracted
With elastic rubber whips and swallowed fragments of dead children's hearts
(your words, not mine).

I hope for your sake, dear H. D., that when you died, Chicago, 73,
That all the Vivian Girls came down


and took you into brighter realms of the unreal.



September '04