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“You selfish prick!” She hissed her viciousness at me and I saw her standing there, coiled and trembling. Fury. Blazing eyes. I looked out of the window and remained mute. My mouth had been boarded up. A black bird sailed in the distance. I wished I were it. Stifling. Silence. She pushed past me with a flurry of her coattails. Front door. Slam! Windows rattled. I rubbed my tired eyes with the back of my hand. “Some of my best days start like this…” I muttered. I couldn’t make the one that I live with toe the line, but out there, it was a different thing altogether. They were so easy. Every woman needs a knight in shining armor. I smile. Hold a door open. I help move some boxes or something. They treated me like an old friend. They acted like we would be close until their dying day. Funny thing? They were. I saw to those details.   I must remind myself of what I am by looking in the mirror. Sadly, I never recognize my own face. Caricature. Painted in pain. I am a filthy thought on the landscape of the living. Zero. I go half the speed of what I take.  I open the trunk. Shovel. I pull her by a cold, white wrist. She stares at the sky. One long last look?  I wonder why she says so little. She never blinks. I dig and dig. Soiled. – Ozzie


of the tongue

Words. Painful, even when unspoken. They squirm when venturing forth. Restricted. Worms. They have no legs to carry them home. We can’t say what we mean. My inner longing is a raw, naked wound. My mistake in giving into it, stood so huge, that I couldn’t close my eyes that evening. A vague emptiness begs me to buy the lies, until my heart is like a clumsily-handled thing. I wander through the empty dawn. The good parts of the city start their daily parade, while the brazen side saunters the sidewalks home, to sleep through the light. I need around me, the chaos of the city. I pass frantic-faced, denim-clad vultures, teeming the sidewalks. I feel above them yet remain a dirty bird… clipped wings. No flight. No song. No worms. – Ozzie


You, who arrived, were lost to me from the start. Not a backward glance. Windows in the storefronts ached and were dizzy at your reflection. Beauty. There is temptation always around us. Every new glance and smile offers a forward reward. Promises. Eternally unfulfilled. Our hearts destruction. What doesn’t this storm lay claim to? I look to the pale sky. I listen for a Gods voice. Solace. Nothing could ever be so mute…  Ozzie


He fought against the metal in his mouth. Barbed wire and blood. There was a time once, when he needed to bleed… it was the only time that he was sure he was alive. He heard voices outside and craned his head to the side, listening. There were small holes near the ceiling that let light in. Wan fingers of sunlight filtered over his face and he would’ve been startled if he saw his own eyes. Bestiality exists in his cruel world. He heard the voices again. Low rumblings. Innuendo. A scuffing of boot heels. A door creaking. The leather straps around his wrists bit deeply. They left teeth marks and memories. A pair of boots approached and stopped nearby. A sliding sound. A chain and lock. A door opened and a pan of dog food was slid into the wooden box he called home. Silence fell and was only broken by the grunts of the eater…  Ozzie

schizophrenic tenant


Voices raspy. Threatening.

Tablets of Lithium, smooth and green,

running fingers up the spine.


Sanity is a sleepy mate that lies nearby.

Splintered thoughts…

hush the faces, let one dream.


Ozzie Ausband

21 September 1996

Pennsylvania State Mental Hospital


I once lived in the dark with a stranger. He was me. Lies covered the handicaps. Liquor and pills dressed me up in courageous clothing. Bulletproof. I was unable to feel pain or anything else for that matter. Who was I? I let so many people down. I once was a little boy. I wanted to be like my father. He was strong and I recall him striding into our house in the afternoon light. His legs were dark and long. He seemed to go up and up. His voice rumbled. He hugged me gruffly and took me fishing. Those cold, wet mornings were the most important things in my life. I didn’t know why until much later.  My dad taught me to laugh… especially at myself.


We would sit as a family and make up funny stories to tell each other.  I once laughed often until I became the sad clown in a cheap mask. I lost sight of who I was. I forgot how to laugh. No beauty. Eventually, I asked and received help. I am sober almost five years. Everyday, I try to find the humor in all things. I simply will not be around negative people or those with massive ego’s. I can’t. I won’t. I turn 49 years old tomorrow and it is strange. I feel like I’m only just starting to live. Thank you to Lucia for the image. – Ozzie


As Paul wrote in the Bible, “Even now in heaven there are angels carrying savage weapons.”  I saw a film once. In it, the protagonist tells a tale. He relates that when God wanted someone punished or killed, he sent an angel to do it. Looking up slowly…  he asks, “Can you imagine what such a creature looks like? Would you really want to see an angel?” I think that angels appear to us as we imagine them to be. I find it curious that everyone seems to be looking for someone — an angel– to save them from loneliness. The search for love. Everyone looks and looks. Eyes scanning the horizon. In some cases, heaven already sent an angel…  it is right there with you. But we always want someone else. I study human behavior. People don’t want to be hurt. They hold back. Always cautious. People begin to stop caring and this makes life easier on them. To my thinking, this is the seed of callousness. In the end, people find themselves older, tired and alone. That won’t be me. I am going to cling to every emotion I have. I am a raw nerve ending. Anything is better than being  lonely and unfeeling… – Ozzie