Weak as a light as bright as it is brave, Black as it is true, Cold as ashes dusting these shaking hands, Pure as tragedy slowly passing through Below, this hush that shines as it fades Shrieking back at you.
At some point it was no longer about talking. Directionless, we walk along the docks conscious of the silence we’d created, unable to express the vast tract that lie between us. We had grown cold; cold as the closeness the vacuum of chaotic space presses against each beating, breathless breast. In all honesty, neither conviction was readily defensible; we’d spent too long defending indefensible perspectives to leave any hope for compromise. For too long explicit inaccurate broadsides had replaced the subtle brushstrokes that portray intimate expression. In an instant it was all so obvious. With little fanfare, the clock softly ticking, indifferent to our differences, the veils fell calmly from our faces. Embracing the fears reflective of our defection, we cling to lies we whisper to ourselves throughout the listless nights. Quickening our pace, we faced our failure and frustration without the faith to fear the consequence. Talk had long since left us, unable to sustain us any further.
Into each gullied valley, each marl and barrow, aural to the marrow, the upper rapids cascade, receding escarpment. Legend has virgins in white doeskin canoes. Their likenesses embossed on coarse ivory cardstock. The buoyancy to fall singing, voices unheeded, believing a song of massed motion and sight. “Do you feel hollow, birdlike in flight?” Sheeted lightning nightly plays a primitive unfinished drumming thunderous overhead.
It is morning; longing for meaning we move slowly forward.
Distant turrets remain largely intact. Imagine watercolors, submerged outcrops where seagulls flock. And still the schoolies school in the warm shallow pools. One eye cocked. Rising to brush off the caking mud, thinking I’d left long ago, static mountains ahead best dead men buried below the snow line. No one will mourn me, no hearts will be rent with anguished cries, just an unnoticed passing of another lost, lonely man.
Stronger, the dead singing darkness vaulted, vaunted.
The sun, untroubled, a stone revealing our broken selves spoken, our courage held wordless, obscures through rumor. Reframing the photo, softer focus, loss of surface. Pompeian stone meanders delicate rivers, a Roman bathhouse fabled. Worn clothing of a man who failed, spirit ensnared, whispered of. Long suffering the silence common humming like Chinese balls.
“What was it that old fucker said… ‘Tis a face that recalls me to sweet Sunday suet…”
Entering the village, gusts of drifting powder dust the grounds. Wind brittle, biting. Every step grinding travertine chips and slivers of schist. Loose gravel pocks scattered white ash. Witch hazel stands huddle stunted. They’d built and were building walls of large howling stones. Stones levered into place beyond verdant open space off India and Water, a Customhouse view.
Women porter along brackish water.
One long ash keeps the spark glowing, not inhaling only rolling smoke between teeth, along tongue. The sores were not here before here. What was once merely bone grown callous in honest snow surviving the bodies necessary, the crushed heat, incendiary, speaks. Even the Furies weep.
“Long afterwards the news came back that all the donkeys were dead.”
Along vacant streets nail-bitten fingers roughly across tactile surface and deliberate place, aware no despair will quell this dispelling pervasiveness. Seeing the trees for want of a forest, each step is but that. Beseeching children press grave faced persons queued, sacrificing the spare moment or two, for this. Someone behind an opposing door coughs. The quay remains shrouded.
“Lighters, free fer a pound, lighters free fer a pound…”
One among the perishing, the perished. Dying here, here where time died long before thought? Pains only limit greater pain. In a lifetime spent in study of a language unread by many, rags of incomplete phrases knot unwieldy imagery as wholes. Sometimes old rope holds out hope, sometimes old rope holds back time.
So intricate and fine, our hands decipher darkness emerging.
The convent must once have held superior, devotion, and flock. Now delinquent, renounced, the steeple’s shards rise. Recessed in the clerestory, a spiked palate plate rusting in the dank dark and an iron brindle branks. No longer tolling, high hung bells grown less beholding. Haunting hymns no longer sounding those who long, overarching our reach.
We move, finding the skies, as Brecht penned, Empty.
The ground floor boarded, cracked glass afforded access through jagged panes. Two buttressed mattresses moldering in separate rooms. The room between held heaps and bottles of sediment souring. Above, dog-eared old books like winos lying facedown and spineless, forgotten where fallen; bindings unheeded spilling knowledge unneeded.
Would my sins, father, shock someone like you?
He woke up stinking, although he’d never know it. Masonic cattle breeding Rotary of another age in the time he’d made; a veteran of second Lieutenant wars, a bachelor’s degree & Harvard law. A rye man through his working years, he loved his Brahms, saw himself an Elder. To speak, that was war.
“Either my God should have suffered more or more simply made no point of suffering”
The night before a hoar covered condom hung from the drainage outlet within reach of a single ankle sock. Further down the shore a soiled blanket tangled in 40# test lay swept up in the current stretching a canvas of bruised agony. Imagine withered flames of peasant brothers, extant birds migrating south, unscaled sight beyond unfocused heights. Twelve years later, falling, his hands no longer bleed.
Sins without conscious repent to sin again.
Would my sins, father, shock someone like you: world weary prophet exhaustively drawn to smaller rooms, repeatedly wronged, lain incensed, unromanced, uncoupled clay buried dancing sanctified soil? Undone by the logic that love never comes, bliss lays heavy, fades; I realize now how earthquakes resound. Tremors, like rumor, remain.
For now the moon reveals itself like a vulgar cultured pearl.
Conception House. An abandoned estate. Stale must. Mold. Chipped plaster, exposed lattice, once salmon now stripped and peeling. A once visible diminishing of evening’s intuitions intimated. An autumnal darkness emergent. The path lay nearly convincing. The clearing opening below sea level. Its secret belies the actively seeking.
Offstage and unheard: the season turns quickly, unnoticed.
A few hundred yards encompass rotting fodder, teeming flies, gamey fetor and a primal scent of forged soil and domesticated toil. Scraps of clothing, soggy bog rolls, damp bedrolls staked facing the sun. Between rows of horse bean and cultivated corn, agrimony, blessed thistle, woad and weld flourish. Lye leeched for bleach burns breath from lung. Abject lessons in lonely nesting.
Contexts merely content, texture force of reason.
Light thickens cleansing earth. Four walls rolled boulders cleared from the surrounding fields, fitted snugly without capstone, oaken frontage hewn by hand. Crescent over honor point. Stag’s head dexter. Cross-sinister impalement painstakingly worked,
Hic et Ubique in charcoal over mantle.
From outer rafters brindles, saddles, helves of scythes, forks with blunted tines, pikes and leather slung gathering dust in shambles once stable. Collapsing chimney shelters skittish swallows, scatterlings returning. Beasts in silence surround poets without music. Highly descant singing ensconces familiar haunts. Mangy dogs paw boiled gristle. Gnarled smoke tree stumps tie august ground.
Postcard postmarked Tangiers late in the century. He had removed his hat in the heat.
This house where fall of darkness looks up to grieving sky, that humble flight, holds only close this mournful lyre and a calcified old barbarous eye. Want black, dragging blindly this stale churn of unalterable love. Moments before her death, she dreamt her mother call her name, “It’s late, sweetheart, no time to play…”
History: a thousand ships sailing for home tossed by patient storms.
Lrik: a fashioned mage collecting races, listing potentates, lighting dureen between pinches. Hrrumph settled into his lungs. Catarrh rising. Wistfully, “ Ahh… for an amber Hackney E. 8 vial…” Axia: 1.5 billion live cells. Painting eggs not blown out, green rakes and ladders, blue Beltane sparks, a chain of gold hung. Stains mantle the hearthstone, hardwoods brought from abroad.
Tallowed fat tapered, set with wick, waiting the spark.
Entering at nightfall. She slept in flannel, worn at knees and elbows, pushed up past her navel. Her window always left open. Blood just before it is touched by the air, a baby bird fallen from nest. Her face was pale. Dark furrowed brow, the bridge of her nose was thin. No time in night first fading descends. Hampered by damp and must, she wore her habit. A clade numinous. Caressing her stubbled inner thigh. Moistened lips parting.
The alternate movements of piercing.
“Fuck me with your cock, you cunt, fuck me with your cock,” she said. She ground her hips, tacky to the touch, down the chaffed length of my bloodied prick, slapping her mottled ass off my twitching thighs. Atrophied limbs unable to grasp or dance couple with wind, seduce sand. Driving pelvic bone into bruised musculature. A signature style of cutting weathered knots, swollen or shrunken, rope taken root.
Somewhere typhoons season crumpled surf.
The language of sacrifice lay blanketing an onus shouldered, axels bowed. Sorrow an extant existence palpable, ingrained on pall of day. Tacit, metallic blood on baited breath. A song of silence spoke. A song that draws pause. Surrender no kingdom as no one was listening anymore. Still, the whip sleeps.
creosote (kre’ o sot) n. A colorless to yellowish oily liquid obtained by the destructive distillation of wood tar. Used to treat tuberculosis and chronic bronchitis (p. 339 ob. sit.)
Closing time came. Raised grates were lowered. Amongst sinners and converts sat doubters and liars, all those drunk on a truth. Those afraid to sit judged sat in judgment as one. A round was begun as morning drew close. The quay remained shrouded. Last night no one cared, broken rocking chairs, broken clocks, broken teapots crashed down around them while the band jigged on in the corner.
Known to frequent afters, I would often call in favors.
Porters at the Nag’s Head. A mouth of peat, hints of currant and smoke gone to ground. Harpies roosting in the creaking rafters. In place of pins ropy hemp pliant beneath a notice:
All Sharpers, Beggars, Imposters, Vagabonds, Forestallers or Regraters are liable to be pilloried.
“I may organize tours to the sites where transliterations abound, Massacre Bay, Slaughterhouse Hill, the Lightning Field…” il dottore (to his few confidantes) throwing back his last grappa drops slaps his fleshy palm on the scarred table top.
The jeers of passing idlers, idle folk of idle ways.
“In Cayo Hueso, they inter above ground in cracked coral crypts. A rusting water pump lists handle less beneath an impassive handless virgin. Fire ants, laden with iridescent carcasses, labor impervious to the crawling sun.” Attired in black stovetop hat and riding coat, Baron La Croix, inaudible to most, leaning on a silver tipped ebony cane, takes it hard each time someone dies.
Sight secretly leaks from arcane flesh and bone.
Sipping a special concoction of dark Haitian rum served solely to him, the Baron pontificates at length on the parables of labyrinths. “The center, as Yeats noted, will not hold while the edge will remain, retaining its edge.” “Everything is magnified, slightly skewed by perception. For have you not read Pierre Menard’s translation of Quevedo’s Aguja de Navegar Cultos.” il dottore chuckled.
Each evening a variant riffing.
I wrote, “He was once known by the quote, ‘Here’s to victory, to boasting over empty graves: to those who fought to win this and all battles, this toast is their spirit’,” never intending it be read aloud. The pain now arcs from shoulder to hip, down through the veins running along the back of my leg. A dull throbbing in one testicle, usually the left, becomes quietly comforting. Most days I remain unable to raise my left above my heart.
metastases (me tas’ te sis) n. A secondary cancerous growth formed through the transmission of carcinogenic cells from a primary growth. (P.1211 ob. cit.)
Night evolves in eyes under no known sun. Sullen, desolate, pedaling a broken, limbless, naked doll about the barren streets, your image, your ghost, becomes you. Different rhythms free us in this inevitable declivity distending phosphorous light. Pleasure begins with a yawn and the world goes on its way as it always does, waking the dawn, taking courage from silence, from abstract shapes this sadness assumes.
Traveling through unoccupied space, air grows unrecognized.
Dry nettles and kindling script this pith, score bark stripped in sheets. Clouds burst overhead, overheard under breath, “Do you play with your demons? Do your demons play favorites?” Mining syntax from pleasure, scared red clay and an unnamed apparatus mesmerize. Circumventing the earth’s magnetic core, we descend; bastard to those sallow towns lost to time somewhere.
Running concurrent, on loan from the spoils, an exhibit of Durer and cabernet crystals.
A diet of rape (both residue and juice) compounds predacious eyes feeling these spectacles must be audience. Starkly reticent daylight bending brick face behind us. Around my neck an upper incisor in leather slung. In the street beyond the tattered plastic flapping in the shattered pane, the Tourette duet rages profane. Indigenous bitches lie in the heat, begging passersby to scratch inflamed teats.
St. Peter fled Rome soon after, hiding in inns unrecognized.
On the train beneath the mouth of the harbor, several sources converge, hazel husks floating overhead. An Oriental girl, to me Cantonese, rocks. Eyes smiling. Her pumps were white. Long stem plum blossoms fold her chin in her hand. Prepubescent breasts stress a sense of import. Her hair pulled tight in fist shaped jade clips. The base of my neck throbbed.
The harbored desire to loosen fire from its confining form.
Tentatively, distance approaches, itinerant, displaced, knotting horizon to foreground. Single-hair brush stroked skies inhale, exhale. Breath tremulous, burning wicks exalting silence spoken. Less miracle than score, timbre tensile, resilient. Once raised to station dust clung to stilted blotting sun. Torn hoardings surrounding dun hued houses slumped in unconscious slumber. Homes where owners never venture. Ventures where owners are never home.
Closed eyes envision differing hopes.
Wild-pinned pupils know ledges in altitudes unsound, in lemmas and caesuras, in veins in lateral moraines. I dreamt of rising from the ruins, the dead prelate incarnate. Beneath her loosened collar she looked no more than fourteen. I stared for some time, rubbing my chest, eyes glassy. With obvious effort and commanding tone, “We must not undue this distance, this violence suggestive, this gravity so hard to resist or ignore.”
She lies under the sheer weight of all those near. I lie unfeeling, unmoving on instinct.
Once, when young, in an age of gunpowder and flint, a past season’s runs wove marsh reeds into old growth beds no longer used. Where what had been stripped to mine paving stone and salt to preserve left secret sanctuary and grass widows with charges. Cupping a buttock in the palm of each hand, knees pressed to shoulders, she came quickly after two or three thrusts with an ecstatic shriek, bleeding profusely into the porous soil.
Left little more then avuncular touches, the mores inhere.
Her sisters stood watching. Rubbing my cock across their face and hands. Undressing quickly. Kissing each other. Heat bleached pink tin lay scatter shot, oxidizing. Jagged entry and exit holes. No words need follow. Mere sounds born of entropy uniform in this fixation of light. I wish very ancient signs to splay across the violent sky.
What I enjoy, I enjoy alone.
I remember reading from a hornbook when young the recipe for a philter of love. First the crushed skull of the beloved’s dominant trait, then coral, ground placenta from the loved one’s family, a copious amount of the loved one’s shit or piss and finally grated verbena petals. Consequence converted into ruinous vague yearning, Icarus burning, skin vertiginous atop beating wings, atop beating wings barbarous: the fitful sleep of a risen Lazarus.
anhedonia (an he’ do ne’ a) n. psychol. Lack of pleasure or the capacity to enjoy it. (p. 58 ob. cit.)
She came awake with shudders, gasping, pleading for release. Curling fetal to face the wall, “Don’t touch me now, I’ve already come and this room is oppressive.” Pulsing, my head swollen, glandular, she never let me come inside her, pulling me off with her hands instead. The depression off shore threatens. The road has ended. Trailing starlike blossoms, murmured cadences hurl broken nightmares, fits and anger. The cock crows well before dawn. The shutters remain drawn.
In lives of blur and pulp, only terror acts.
Swallowing the medicine. One eye closing. One lazy eye stares back. Stumbling to a small room overlooking a scraggy patch of bracken. An open archway crops a tin tub on clawed feet. Startled, she would prize the fire from my eyes. Still I am shameless, yet ashamed when it comes. “At least it will be of my own making. Not of despair, despair the course to have finally run.”
Eyes closed, the rasp resonating.
Double bent, a dead likeness of what is dead. Strangled, leaves yellow to gold, orange to red, fall. Charcoal cinders, unraked and mounded, smolder. A narrator seemed obvious. Plot, a murder. A beak of scuffed bone in needles exposed, tips worn, no longer meeting. How lovely the mirror’s passing landscape.
Everything once truth and honor above which no one spoke, low clouds overhead.
The brown eggs were cold, already congealed. The cheese, though, was warm. Brief eye contact was made. In a patronizing tone two lines were spoken. “Can I come again…?” “…and sometimes a palm cupped to the ear is all you need to hear…” The scene darkens. The clashing of swords is heard offstage. Sometimes the voiceless best voice the dread. Sometimes what’s said is best left unsaid by the dead.
Lately I’ve been seeing the hints of vision along the edge of sight.
People who no longer love, each other, themselves, often fall into time. Time and a way around the flames dancing higher. “I thought it was once. I told you at the table. My last best chance to take the step back. But it wasn’t enough. You said it wasn’t. And it never will be.”
I am treading water in this air, in what is falling through us. I suspect that I cannot be drowned. You would maybe think so. I warm my feet by the fire of the gathering storm. Each night I count the stars as more than silhouettes, more than breathless shells lain waste along the shoreline. We will walk all night in this dress of dust through this wide tense.
In lonely one-eyed bars, absence becomes memory.
A series of quick edits: animals in agony, dissections advanced frame-by-frame, burnt ochre sunsets bleeding into tawny clay. Standing alone, wicked, drunken sons atoning lapsed passions culled to term. Sunken cheeks from missing teeth and deviated septum leaving no clean lines, raw wounds opened by wind, sacraments of somber tone.
:then a small million of dark voices sing against the awful mystery of light
As timber in shallow rain from furthest things commingle hunger, hatred, the unbearable resilience of being. Breaking like pheasants by beaters flushed or a stray ricochet cock full of vengeance or self, a long slow bullet & the will to pull it. Would my desires be any different? The last to be consumed, you, who none would restrain I approach as having never left.
Once lit, what weight in cisterns ash?
This is the time, the time of ourselves. Possessed of ourselves we are singing, emerging, uncertain, recurrent, worshipping all that is found. Ambiguous oracles of our own sought, instead texts lost in translation. Too far hung to see, my feet upon rock, my hands unfolding grown abusive, suspicious, I muse, ‘We step over the barbed wire into the pasture/Where they have been grazing,’ unsure of a source.
It’s a terrible thing to have fall into our hands.
The pantheon of those unspoken yet to come: rumors abound but none have yet been sighted. “The corpses could lie in state for weeks. They’d burn incense for days on end.” “They say fire has no honor. I, too, am fire sign.” The wind, swaddled in blankets and revelations, conjures nonsense from common sense. Finish fish gutted alive and bursting, foul and dying. As we ask we remember never forgetting the reason.
This darksome art calls forth, catches flame hurled from the cruel beyond.
Into the Nag’s Head a homeless stranger, clotted blood temple to chin, extracts a small box from thin air labeled ‘Aide for the blind.’ In an old winter coat made from carpet underlay he pivots the center quoting Mary to no one, “Remember that I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather thy fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed.” We step around the table, bone meal sprinkled on the floor. In wineskins it lies warming by the shore. It spills, implacable, as close to heaven as Japanese prose. How many authors have penned The Art of Dying?
After years of sickness and strain, let your boat of longing float into greater chaos.
With genuine interest, he began his orgy and the posthumous story that made the avant-garde clique. And while an autopsy would no longer be possible, the ubiquitous nature of the extraordinary amount of written material left should allow ample opportunity to delve as he spiraled further and further downward into the maniacal and aberrant behavior he had made his forte.
Just where the truth ends and fiction begins is never easy to discern. By separating the mischievous and the risqué from the barbarous and debauched, he hoped to prove just how culpable the hyperbole surrounding a man with a penchant could be as lived vicariously by the anonymous and androgynous minions who passed through his home.
Most of said works, though, would be difficult, at best, to locate. Aware of what a naïve picture they would paint, he was adamant that this information was neither superfluous nor irrelevant.
His main hope, though, was to see the risqué theater where these productions were know to be staged.
A man with a habit. Man (?) unnamed. Often viewed in the 1st person, although this is not always implicit. Tends to say all we have suspected.
Principle players: A Cast of Characters-
Tool Shed Slum Lord: (in a commercial voiceover) For hire---Units to make U!!! BIG BUX! Surplus USMC Quonsets. Will construct! 1000’s in use. Great 4 farmers, seasonal workforce, extended families… DIAL 1(800)QUONSET. TODAY!!! (sggstd. max. occp. 10 adults.)
Crazy Lady: … my hat, I’ve neglected my hat… …my family, my hat… …It’s my family, my hat… …my sister, my hat… …my life is my hat…
General Tao: relentlessly tired. relentless mass tired. too tired to shuffle the wait between steps. fatigue’s easy leisure.
François: I will frame you in light. In the light of the dark. In a dark corner with light from behind. Behind the dark light.
The Chorus: Several soldiers of various ranks. 1 Spy (maybe double.) 35,000 indigenous persons (give or take a few thousand.) 1 iron chain. 2 love interests. 1 missing fiancé (motives suspicious.) 3 minor East Coast crime bosses. 2 apartments in Zurich. A rocky coast in Nova Scotia.
He opened his journal he always had with him.
It was a cool night. Snow fell for hours. The company was camped sunder scattered pine. He had matchsticks, no more Than a dozen. The memory haunts him.
He leaves a small trail, often too small To follow. Spent matchsticks Never consumed with enough left to grasp Between fingertips. Always the snow.
Because of the fact he delayed so long in going. Covered by instinct, he loved wooden bridges. Loved to burn bridges in passing. A man with a habit yet very few matchsticks. That his own body fits not into this discusses today.
Somewhere in Cornwall or on the Isle of Man. A Manx tongue was spoken. A family quite clannish, fond of inbreeding, played host for the evening. A dream of someone’s at some other time. Maybe late afternoon. The visitors drank long draughts of dark heady brews.
“Time is absent mostly, and oceans, like love, most often out of reach.” “Our's is the cross, those plaintive graves, the open sky, the threat of rain.” “Every passionate man is lured by faith. A jumbled tranquility of late 13th century declamatory voices, boisterous and false.” “J’accuse. Je ne regrette rein!” “I’ve heard about him and his habit. You know the one.” (The room recoils) “Christ, life his head. Give him some air and I think he’ll be fine.”
A separate indictment. The paths of chameleons come easy to some. A series of crises or spring rituals. Arguing gristmills and grindstones are just. Another burnt bridge and a trail to fresh to follow.
“Jesus, when are we gonna know.” This not knowing will kill me.” “Can I get an ‘Amen’ in the house one time? Amen.”
They reveled in excess, in red wine and opium. Someone quoted Byron. They all laughed at the thought. Smoke reeled about them. Fight songs and gospels sang the creek in old chairs. Dogs slept by the fire. No one slept every dawn.
“You know, it strikes me funny sometimes, all of this.” “The ‘yea’s’ seem to have it, at least from my point of view.”
The verdict was guilty. No one stayed for the sentencing.
“Wire the consulate. The press in Chicago.” “They said the postmarks were foreign, maybe an island. They showed a light- house and black sandy beaches.” “They say they carried old maps that looked quite Germanic.”
The plan was to rebuild most of what burned. Selective at first, inclusive with time. The practice attacked, a balance was struck. No one seemed happy but profits secured.
“We need to carry labour and the power it wields. If we just controlled labour then business would follow. It just seems to follow.” “It must be that simple. As simple as that.” “It seems the prevalent notion.”
Interior shadows presage time’s passage. Armadas assembled an obsolete weapon. Generals fought over a feel for the action. Some headed for doors. Others took names. Cigarettes were snuffed out and another round was begun.
“Can’t no body do me like Jesus, Lord. Can’t no body do me like Jesus.” “I was working near here on something important.” “Fuck that noise. Someone bring a new rage. Bring me a new phase.” “Jesus, tell me it’s gonna be alright.”
Conversation lagged. The end of markets discussed the start of a new one. They all spoke quite clearly. Despite this, conversation struggled. No one could recall first names of faces.
Time grew expensive with interest yet to be met. With a sense of insurance a mortgaged future was spent.
8:36 (now probably PM): Scene shifts to the Caspian shore. A cold wind blows onshore making its scripted cameo. No one recalls why they are here. Someone mentions Older-Vistula, although no one’s sure who.
“It’s when they tied spirits to the cost of living. It’s all fucked since then. You can trace it all back to then.” “I think it’s the weather. It’s no longer spring.” “Given all things this was just bound to happen. Yes, they were bound, it was bound to all things.”
The room crouched around them steaming musk from dank corners. A railroad bed waited. For miles railed singing. The memorial looked Gothic. All spandrels and buttress. They feared to gather no longer. They rarely remembered. It was thought to have passed, although no one was certain. No one else seemed forthcoming.
“No one will wonder what troubled the dead.” “It is sad, it is said, of all men in this land, it is sad in this land in this time unenlightened.” “No fences for thunder leave no words in the end.”
A few stagger from the mouth of the crag’s rocky cave.
The lights in the harbour show the snow falling lightly.
Over the hill, a dull cage Draws fire, catches flame From the cruel beyond; Tell me child, Father To the man, earnest, Earthless, of this Sweet landscape, sing to me. Eurydice- even the Furies wept. The hard wood dappled With honor dark, hark Fair fallen oak, the mind’s Mirror, how lovely we see?
In midsummer morning, lined With grass, this house Where fall of darkness Looks up to grieving sky, I, this mortal airy cage, This humble flight, holds only Close this mournful lyre, This rock’s face, this calcified, Heart’s eye, too old to end, Beholding forked lightning, A flickering candle, the unfeeling, Barbarous wind. I come from
This darksome art no High-hung bells can answer. Light grows less to hymns Gilded to hang between Mortal beauty, hovering And haunting, than these Shy wings which long for rest From those who bow, who bless.
the west wall begins opposite the open prophecy, ‘behold a virgin,’ our lady, handmaid, who, kneeling with divine ritual spoken, figure in full length, is seated, right-hand held in benediction in an eastern manner for deliverance while from behind seven swords thrust into her breast, her body firmament. about her neck she wears marvelous salutations, ‘come my chosen one into the kingdom. the movement begun.’
attending the entrance, the messiah, a lad, enters. harps weave in, out, about break into his song of departure. all earthly things dominate, capture the conflict. cocks of immortality rise to caw sanctus continuously. fulfilling the promise of his race, redemption an unrelated theme, graves by the sound of trumpets suggests multitudes of lost souls, the wrath of the lord redoubled against his people. that they repress falling upon children surprises.
in the niche on the east wall are various conventional symbols from the west. beneath the feet of Adam false gods bow despairingly, their central figure typifying humanity. nonetheless, their daughters, idols ensnared, sensuously veiled in blue, screen their faces in the wings of seraphim. in counterpoint at the wall’s furthest edge the Christian concepts of judgment. the heads of burnt offerings, the eucharistic chalice filled with sacred blood,
the lamb, the child, the lion, the yoke. above, the staircase leads up. upon the vault of the ceiling between the long walls strange gods whom the children adore. to the left the visitation to draw forth. on either side they are bound closely. their most despised enemies rule over them. on the cross is a dead Christlike figure. the symbol of the cross fulfills a like function; the passion: the spear, the nails, the reed.
three groups of singing angels flank the crucifix while behind each godhead the dragons, the sun-myths, above whose heads the sun with rays reaching the oneness which ends, stand. upon their shoulders his name shall be received into the arms uplifted to strike with scourges & sword. purified of soul with turbulent, terrible fear, the religion of the virgin, the condemned made perfect by demons while those of soul are thrust down, heathen, discordant. in contrast, a beautiful,
soulless figure sheds innocent blood, even blood of one’s son. stretched forth to stay female oppressors & prostate victims prophets ignorant of the division adore the new born infant since all are one flesh, while in the remaining quarters, the heads of the trinity are crowned each of the three raising three fingers. the law balanced between eternal & agony weighs mere mortals emerging from the opening
borne on a tempestuous crescent moon. on the south wall is set forth the dogma. the spaces outside the panels are numerous. surrounded by enticing assumptions of virgins are etched the words below the arch, ‘I am the maker of heaven & redeemer of all that I love.’ dust, dancing silhouettes in western light dying. they come in already dead counting blessings that hint at beauty & concord, gated gardens, colossal ivory towers.
Death, at best, rest. Hunters drawing The nail. Pride of the morning, Each night’s death’s watch Tapping, walled. Wounds. Relics. The nail beastly drunk, Mangy dogs crouch while bells peel.
Hunch back lanes blackened, rabid. Peel Bells dawning flitted away drawing With sleight of hand the morning, Metal struck dumb. We watch Love like archers blind, relics Without rhyme, drunk
Less glazed. Exquisite wine drunk From lead crystal refracting peels Unrecognized. Shadows drawing Grave faced people on anxious moorings: Forfeiting seconds of dying to spy A distant, lying history of relics:
Unpublished stories, unspoken texts. Relics Along brackish standing water. Drunk By mouthfuls, stolen as laughter peels Riotous, gathering violence, drawing Breathe as peonies bloom, mourning As fragile as we watch
Extravagant young corpses. We watch Atop large howling stones, relics Of passing interest, drunk Where madness as an inner peace peels. Dawn’s creation hunkered down drawing Infectious wounds. Morning
Rising from fire born mourning A clashing of swords. We watch Wind ground mountains become relic Where no coherent thought drunk Leads incoherently to others peeling Away skin. Drawing
The nail. Drawing a poison drunk While on watch, while bells peel Morning once relic and at rest.
We sleep, lament, content, in the city of public squares, Where I saw my spirit trapped, snared by torsos Who whisper of youth as recourse. Of course I tried to tell them, occasionally stepping Down from this barren rock where no poems Grow. The sounds in my ears Were clouds low overhead. Emptiness- this is the courage, A feeling like being choked, To be locked in this, this scene Above which I hold no other. Speak of it and about that Which they have no knowledge By the fire, while the train keeps bearing down On us weighing down what might Be left to sing in our nightmares. You knew, and I know, but without caring, We will walk all night, Treading water in the red light, In what is falling through us. And now, each night, in sleep The bliss lays heavy- fades, And thought never comes, the dancing Lights of gray and white. That’s why you taught me tears. After weeks of strain and sickness I didn’t find what I looked for, Not knowing what it was, yet Knowing I will lose it if I learn What I know. But for now, Here, in this city of delicate surfaces Aware, this once, as I will always be, Among the dead packed immaculately Away, there’s no despair that could quiet You. Through innumerable choruses Soaring higher than we could ever climb, The thought of pleasure pleasing Flesh and bone opens with a yawn, And the world goes on The way I always felt it would. Again, waking at dawn, The sweep of it, taking courage From silence, your silence Letting drop my bright eyes, accusing. Little did I imagine then These images remain with us every day. Dawn breaks. It is only the sun But we carry the weight of middle-aged trees Diseased along the streets and boulevards. Here sadness takes on abstract shapes Light scrabbles at the open door. I breathe. I am not asleep. The light screams into tightly held secrets Of those dark spirits who lie still, still dreaming.
I was working with…? Anyway, although I’d been in the conspicuous absence of time constraints known only to the idle rich or chronically underemployed, this was meant to be a quick strike. I only had a couple of hours… Unfortunately, neither of them was suitable. One was (how can I put this judiciously), an audacious threading running vertically, the other, vintage contemporary... It hung in my back garden for many occasions. Along with my purple silk Indian elephant bow tie it complimented…
This ground as grains of harvest Unsown, porcelain as loose stone, rose Pressed willow gold; across bloodied shoulders A pale flag unfurls for in your world Helen lies dead. A life of faith one burial In Ilion's ruins recounts in faded murals.
History: a thousand ships sailing for home Buoying shards & fragments tossed By storms patient to surface; the price Of this union little more than wares Of kiln & glaze haphazardly thrown In some harbor as yet uncomposed.
":then a million of dark voices sing against the awful mystery of light"e.e. cummings
in lives of blur & pulp only terror acts. passion, tactile, each night incites endless circumventions, arbitrarily. islands, alive, uncharted, a million voices light the awful mystery, the obligatory intercessions.
"I would be Jesus Without a cross to prove me." A. Sexton
You, kind sirs, tore the gaunt border down Daily. Music, the bells, gone. Drowned out in symbolic form & in single view; uncovered Lens, black holes, black dens, the last, lost Raptures... So I will go now Without knowing my best route Distance wildly inaccurate. My feet, dry, cracking, gold leaf Underfoot, footsteps up steep steppes. My clothing walks back to me. The waiting a story: unknown Girls, skin on lost roads, the tavern Wall. All making a living; Aeschylus, the Oceanides, Faustus The Furies: walking, rowing, bearing A torch, observing falling stars. The truth & the dead know curses Profane for gods who weep deep, The fortress old, doors weathered & still. Born the unnamable nature of Holy hows unexplained, we die Awake, horses beaten to fever. With no safety in place The hegira abides.
...racked sterile cultures host as centurions voice... reviewing the troops overlooking the queen & the tower of london... black warriors running the gamut, a buffalo stampede of slaughtered instincts... musters confronting the cynic in me... politicos dealing the enemy away... there were no messages sent on the fate of the rebels...
...open magazines litter flickering fires... ravaged fields fume from diesel & lead... confederate generals mine industrial crime... blockaded supply lines starve out the blind... shrieks keen disembodied with wounds crawling rampant... pig iron quarried weal’s warlike rebel order...
...around ploughshares beat down, around harsh funeral wails, a third lung found breathing this storm wed to pain... time & a way around the flames dancing higher... stick matches yet no spark to burn down the blame... gasping belief while tearing down idols... leaving nothing living in the homes of fell hunters... but a dozen or so banners dividing faith into ages...
...the trance of robed shamen in mansions of flux... two voices intoning with breathless remembrance... using the right word in all the right situations... dangerous moments in this occasional love... cold blazing manhood but a share in the profits... blue feminine soul producing portraits & godheads...
...a stream consciously painted in a desert of want... honing old speech to remain treading water... swift water rushing washing the bridge out... tidewater flooding a barren rock’s cape jutting skyward in rain... towering vistas imprisoning steel, glass inside... spent residue thawing, sticky & seeping, strand by strand falling...
Time. Time to make time. I had time on my mind just a minute ago, what was I going to say? Time on my mind but not on my hands. Time to try to make time. Time for Timer. Hmmm, would anyone get that reference? David would. We liked Time for Timer. Maybe I’ll just leave it dangling and move on. Time. Time in a bottle. Time table. Time to get a move on. Time to shake a leg. How long can I keep this up? Time to rise and shine, sunshine. Time for school. Time for bed. You keep writing time and it starts to stop looking like time. A riff on time. Time directing, time dictating. Me time. My time. My time is your time. Your time is up. Time please, put your pencils down. Time gentlemen. You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here. Time. It all comes back to time. Do you have the time? Can you make time? What time is it? What time is love? That was a jamming song. If I’ve got time I'll tell you a story…
the strains strain faith restrain Siegfried’s march overarch the posture, force. arched & armoured in colours lost as smoke, cors anglis augmenting miens sounding air as if in north sprung unrepentant soars a hint of poetry.
"There remains a void where the heart is" J. Marti
Nesting green leaf tops, Cuban emeralds Sip from fulsome urns. Green pinnate Leaves bleed gold blossoms. Granite, Mortar, marble mausoleums tier. Pilings leeching pitch from piers; Beneath ebbing angels languish Flawless ivory nautili. Cayo Hueso.
Last led, lashed bare, los Martires de Cuba Shape the buried ground below The unfazed virgin's unmoving gaze. Uprooted, the restless tamarind root Reeling, wheeling gulls' unbalanced calls, Sea salts pitting an old air sung In anguish of forsaken language.