Blood Upon the Ladder

from by Earnest Matthew

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i try to get a grip on the marble wall
hardly a couple of feet to fall
i can’t see the top at all
not even sure it matters
voices above claim to know what’s best
that i’ve no choice but to hound the rest
my heart burns, churns inside my chest
will to live in tatters

mister, please don’t make me go
it’s just a dog and pony show
everyone sees but no-one knows
that there’s blood upon the ladder

i fall from the wall and come undone
in shame and despair to the ladder run
i lay a broken foot on the bottom-most rung
and listen awhile to the chatter
i found that whores hate all that love that they make
that identity’s found in the treasure you take
strength is weighed by the pledges you break
and your friends are the ones you flatter

mister, please don’t make me go
there’s a world of souls who’ve gotta know
that there’s more to them than all they own
and there’s blood upon the ladder

impact muffled by the masses din
another body, another limb
plummets and breaks, no-one noticing
as the failure strikes and splatters
or if they see, they simply shrug
give the bleeding heel above a tug
as they pop another prescription drug
and fuss about feeling fatter

mister, please don’t make me go
never once have i wanted to live in rome
but it seems to have followed us all the way home
and there’s blood upon the ladder

fumes of our fealty fill the air
we’re straining to breath as our wing-and-a-prayer
lifestyles curb our grand affairs
with acid pitter-patter
and it looks like a maudlin totem pole
like a host of ants in a sugar bowl
as we devour the poor, the weak, the old
whose bones at the base lie scattered

mister, please don’t make me go
would you damn the last free brook to flow
we’ll burn till we’re bone dry below
cause there’s blood upon the ladder

hoarsely i cry, can none of you see?
you’re damned if you climb, damned if you flee
but i’ll be damned, love, if i’m not free
before we see the end of the matter
so pass me the pixie dust and the wine
the pain’s gonna teach me to fly in time
the holy ghost has sworn to renew my mind
to make a dancer of the cadaver

mister, please don’t make me go
the rage of your slaves’ll be the least of your woes
as a river of righteous wrath overflows
cause god knows you know
that there’s blood upon the ladder


from The Knowledge of Good and Evil, released October 31, 2013



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Earnest Matthew Dallas, Texas

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