Test Pattern

It was a room maybe the size of a television from the sixties I was floating in.

The prickly static needled my skin and the floating
wasn’t that concentric feeling of flying

carefree through a technicolor dream,


slinking like a liquid snake through the sky

with a weightless body and a wandering mind

soon awakened, refreshed and at peace—

this wasn’t that at all.

In the hiss and spit and clamber of a thousand rattlesnakes,
the static was all that existed


building more.

Floating in the air over a marginal bed in a beachfront hotel in Daytona Beach

eyes on fire and sick from red tide I hovered

engulfed in the static like sonic molasses,

jaw clenched,

unable to yell,

suspended from invisible wires

in a rancid smelling block hotel room laced with railings of salt crackly iron
in the brisk toxic off-season of 1971.

With thin gritty white towels pushed into cracks against the creeping algae
like cotton caulk the wall unit blowing rattly

corroded air that was too hot

against blankets that weren’t mine,

with my uncle and my mother—

sort of between fathers at the time.

I was asleep for weeks in the matter of five minutes

four years old in the Bayside Motel

when the local station shut down for the night leaving the television,

stifling the rabbit ears for a few hours

drifting off

to the star spangled banner

the roar of jets

and burning eyes from two types of tears

swarmed by my first of many night terrors,

choked by the blooms of algae and poor decisions,

it never really felt like I woke up at all.

Copyright © 2019, Otis Nebula Press. All rights reserved.


John Rickmon lives in Florida. This is his first publication, though he has more work forthcoming in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.

JJ Cromerhttp://www.jjcromer.com/shapeimage_15_link_0