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Inconveniences Rightly Considered

 

INCONVENIENCES

rightly considered

 

 

 

poems from 2005 – 2017

 

 

by

lancelot schaubert

 

 

ft. “Holy Saturday” by T. A. Giltner

copyright © 2017

Lancelot Schaubert

 

 

cover image “adventure awaits!” by Zach Disner

used in compliance with his creative commons

attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license

 

 

ISBN: 9781521816615

 

For Doug

Who liked some

 

For Karl

Who liked some more

 

For Jessie

Who unfortunately liked them better than any other thing I’ve done

 

And for the Unclave

Who said as much, but asked for them in writing

 

 

 

 

In Defense of Poetry

 

 

Sometimes the best things happen by a strange-but-steady sequence of happy accidents: inconveniences, rightly considered. This one is about a decade in the making, give or take a few years. But it’s a story that needs the telling because if it were up to me and my own efforts and preferences, this book never would have existed:

 

At the Writer Unboxed Unclave writers' retreat of 2015 (I kind of wish I had more words to put in the title -- Wordstravaganza? Manuscrivening? Reperstory? Storiginating rest machine?)... anyways at this retreat thing Momma L.J. Cohen, Momma Barbara Morrison, and Momma Gretchen Riddle all three told me I should assemble a book of my poems and lyrics. Three music producers in Brooklyn said the same thing shortly afterwards. People like Jessie Weis and Karl Mitchell have said for years that they prefer my poetry and songs to my other work, a weird kind of unintended-yet-still-backhanded compliment that made me say, "Thanks, but that stinks since I've invested more time into oral storytelling, fiction, screenwriting, and nonfiction." I thought it was unfair: the thing I spent the least time on was the favorite of some of my closest readers.

 

As it turns out, that's not entirely true -- I have spent a large amount of time practicing poetry over the last ten years or so. And Jessie and Karl were right, in one sense, to prefer it.

 

I started out writing poems to my future wife in letters in highschool, transitioned to journals, and then blogging as a college freshman prompted by Michelle Johnson of Poefusion (wherever in the world she is these days—the internet was a weird place even early on kind of like how Neverland may age but never lose its fairies and pirates). Because of those early habits, when I get stuck between projects or struck by some unexpected beauty like a random set of fountains in the courtyard between two skyscrapers, I’ll pull out my journal and write a few lines of a verse. Sometimes it’s just to take down an image and its corresponding metaphor. For instance, a bit of fog left behind a car beneath a streetlight at midnight and no sign of any vehicle for miles around:

 

Ghost car?

 

Angel farts?

 

Poetry?

 

Yes, maybe poetry.

 

Sometimes this combined with assignments for Rev. Doug Welch’s or Dr. Tom Lawson’s classes would yield an inordinate amount of time on a villanelle or a sonnet. Sometimes a client would ask for a spoken word piece (ick!) or better yet, an ode or sonnet for someone close to them. Sometimes a superior songwriter would ask for help on their lyrics or a children’s picture book author who knew nothing about meter would give me a call and I would delight in utterly destroying their manuscript. Whatever you think of the lasting impact of Dr. Suess, you must admit that anapestic tetrameter is a BEAR to write. A rabid one.

 

Most of the time it was me sharing things with the soon-to-be Dr. T. A. Giltner, who had invariably written something very similar to mine almost at the same moment I had written my own. Or bantering over a line with Rev. Kyle Welch (Doug’s very-younger brother) who to this day puts up with my incessant barrage of manuscripts upon his email server. Without long suffering men like these, a writer buries most of his work. And even with them, I’ve buried a good deal of my own on a hard drive or under a mattress or even permanently in that massive fireplace we had in the cottage on Emperor road. The one the felled oak tore in twain.

 

In other words, many of what Professor Matt Proctor might call my “spare change minutes” over the years have ended up devoted to the mixing of metaphors to the tune of meter, verse, and rhyme.

 

And after awhile, the meter started to show up even in random drafts of children's books like the still-yet-to-be-sold "Harry Rides the Danger" which is about Mark Neuenschwander's (of 9art Photography's) son or "Shrackle Seeds" which is something like Carroll's Jabberwocky. It started to show up during my years as an editor when I reformed the poetry of clients. It even started to show up again in my marriage -- in little notes or letters or things hidden behind kitchen cabinet doors.

 

In that time, I sold some poems to various small magazines, but I stopped submitting fairly early on for two reasons --

 

(1) Poetry pay is crap. It’s disgusting how little we pay our poets. Did you know a poet helped incite the Ukrainian revolution? Yeah, that would never happen in America these days. We’ve deferred the future of our language to Top 40 vapidity and advertising jingles.

 

(2) I have no interest in trying for laureate or whatever first because I would never make it and second because I value the lay poet as much as I value restoring the role of singing to the common man . We are a lyrically suppressed society as much as we are a vocally suppressed one -- and that idea comes to me by way of the songwriter and musician, Nicholas Zork, here in New York City (I think he's in Harlem these days). To revolt against vocal and lyrical suppression in the public sphere is to revolt against the worst parts of Americana, jingoism, and the imperial cult which thrives on brain drain and the gutting of our culture.

 

Then I sold a poem and an article to the 2016 Poet’s Market randomly (the biggest advances in any author’s career are often the most random, which shows that you really do have to be ready in season and out of season). Poets came out of the woodwork within my immediate sphere of influence to ask me questions as if I’m some expert when I’m really just fumbling my way along like the rest of you. It really wasn’t a huge sale, all things considered, but it was a statistically significant anomaly simply by way of the poets it swept in its wake. So if nothing else the email fallout was something, I suppose.

 

But it truly felt doubly strange to me seeing as how (1) I'm a dilettante and (2) I have zero interest in becoming a professional poet moving forward. My role -- like your role -- must be that of restoring poetry's prominence in every home and every pub and every church and every barbershop.

 

And yet people have asked me about this subject. A lady messaged me last night for advice and two nights before that, the same. Why? Why would you do this? Why not email David Lee or C.D. Wright or Eugene Peterson or Berry or Wiman or Poe’s gravestone in Baltimore or something?

 

They do it because poetry is a layperson thing and I'm the one layperson they happen to know who has invested time in this. That's it, it's nothing more, it's nothing astounding, nothing miraculous or noteworthy -- I'm their equivalent of the local blacksmith, the local tinker, the local tailor. I'm the poet they know and the best example of this comes from a street artist here in Brooklyn as well as my barber.

 

The street artist is named Appleton. He does these wheat pastings of insulin bottles. As a type one diabetic, Appleton hit it off with my wife immediately and I interviewed him for the piece Sitting at the Feet of Type One Diabetes. Shortly after, he asked me to do street art with him and though I’m no visual artist, he pressed me a bit to consider what I’d do. “Could you hang some poems?” I asked.

 

“Basquiat did that man. That’s a good idea.”

 

And so a devious collaboration started. One that would involve New York Subways and walls and would involve my words and Appleton’s penchant for ornery behavior.

 

Meanwhile in Sunset Park, I continued further in my quest to become one of the pillars of the neighborhood -- not someone participating actively in gentrification, but someone who participates in what Gordon Ventruella calls cultural agility and situational awareness, the sort of chameleon adaptability that moves beyond survival and into the realm of solidarity. In short, I started learning Spanish in earnest and offering to tutor the illiterate and give to the poor and finally spending a lot of time in local organizing groups and hangout spots. One of them is a barbershop owned by a barber named Eric who has lived here his whole life. He spends every other Saturday night hefting those old barber chairs out of the way, setting up speakers, turning on the beats and letting people freestyle hip hop, beat box, perform new songs, and read some poetry.

 

I asked him if I could try some.

 

The last poetry reading I’d done was for a short film. A mic. No live audience.

 

He said, “Sure.”

 

Took two weeks for me to take to the mic.

 

When I finally did, I found those guys -- my neighbors -- to be the single most receptive audience I have ever read for. More than any professor, any writing group, any theater. They care. They care because hip hop saved them and the neighborhood from what Eric calls “bombed out buildings.” And they’re no respecters of styles and fashions and forms: I’ll read a spoken word piece and then a classical ode or a sonnet, both in the same hip hop rhythm, both in the same night, and they don’t care. I read stuff that was written in Old English alliterative meter and it went over fine. One of the guys, a great dude named J.R., says, “More words, Lancelot. We just need more words.”

 

Anyone that tells you poetry’s dead, dying, or irrelevant has obviously never been to Brooklyn.

 

That's why out of curiosity tonight, a curiosity prompted by the slow culmination of steady nudges from several other writers I respect -- authors like Ellie Ann and Momma Therese Walsh who are much farther down the road than I am, I dug into my archive to see if there's enough for a book of poems from the last ten years.

 

The first thing I did was to refuse to copy/paste anything that was obviously atrocious, obviously unsavable, poems that I should leave in this great sea of hard drives to drown forever like some dark and secret naval scheme. Then I copied and pasted anything that vaguely interested me to see how much we had to play with.

 

Much of what I’ve left alone was published in small-run self-pubbed books like “Whispers in Green” way back when Labiakgneta “Novel for a Name” Zaidarzauva hand-drew me covers and Marilyn “Andretti” Wiggins bought up copies to encourage me. I still have a feeling that those books will come back to haunt me some day, but I leave them and the first poem I published in my high school’s paper on my “Published Works” list because it’s important for young authors to see an unbroken line of progress from childhood to adulthood, the catalyst of the work of duty required of us by some high school instructor that radiates outward to the work of love that ends up having mass effect in the professional world.

 

Having left out the nonsense, I STILL found a way to climb this very early and rather raw document up to 80,000 words of poetry (and climbing even as I wrote this). For those who don’t work in word counts, it’s longer than the first Harry Potter but just a hair shorter than To Kill A Mockingbird. This was absurd to me. I had no idea there was so much. Then again, one of my mentors Randy Gariss always says, “We overestimate what we can do in one year and underestimate what we can do in five.” How much more for over the course of a decade?

 

Well, I copy-pasted more over the following weeks, and added the first draft of a book of self-published poetry to my very full slate for 2016, with plans to revise it towards publication for 2017. After the first pass I got it down to 60k, then after gutting more poems and lines, I whittled it down to 48,600 words which lives up to brother Doug Welch’s constant exhortation, “Good. Now half as long,” which is a quote from A River Runs Through It.

 

Some will think 48k is still overkill, that it's excessive, verbose, whatever. Christian Wiman finds collected poetry compilations offensive since he thinks poetry is so rare -- he says this as the former editor of Poetry magazine who had to reject manuscript after manuscript, so deepest sympathies and sincerest gratitude to brother Wiman. You must remember: I am filtering. I am trimming it down from a near-six-figure wordcount. Wiman thinks it’s arrogant to do anything but assemble a handful of carefully crafted poems around a very targeted theme. I think I know what he means: moments of rapture are rare.

 

But then again I don’t think poetry’s the problem.

 

It’s not poems per se that make rapture rare.

 

Certainly not an abundance of poems. If so, why would the same folk say that poetry’s dying and “can live on very little?” How can poetry be BOTH so unpopular that it’s uncommon for anyone to write it and yet so popular that it’s too common to find true poetry?

 

As Chesterton said, "The world doesn't suffer from a lack of wonders but a lack of wonder." It's not that poetry's rare. It's that we rarely have an eye for it. It's not that we have too many poems -- I stand with those who say we have too few. Rather, it's that we have too few moments where we actually rise to the title of Poet. It's not that the world, in short, needs more enchantment. It needs more enchanters. It simply needs more of us who know how to cast read magic and who have knowledge both arcane and divine. With all due respect to Wiman, a terrible poet may write a terrible poem and submit it to Poetry magazine. A good poet like Wiman may become the editor of Poetry and reject that terrible poem from publication, deferring to the ones he prefers, and arguing for the elusiveness of poetry per se.

 

But a great poet would find rapture in the ugly and the disfigured and even in the abyss. And as the author of My Bright Abyss, I would think that Wiman would have applied that thinking to his own discipline, but perhaps if entitlement exists at all it exists for our own titles. Perhaps the one thing apologists defend most is their own syllogisms and apologies. So I wonder if it’s possible to find poetry in a bad poem? After all, there’s something poetic even about the smell of a nursing home, of those bright souls dying in obscurity and anonymity precisely because the world that benefitted so much from their labors now finds them inconvenient.

 

In another sense, an inconvenient old, horrible, local poet hanging out at some crappy diner in a ghost town, rightly considered, is a bright and lonely human soul.

 

So I really don't care if you think this manuscript is too big and that includes this 4,600-word introduction that's more a defense of poetry than it is anything like preparation for what follows. These are simply the poems I've written in my twenties -- at least the ones that can overcome the gravity of my own embarrassment and get airtime for the better half of a minute. With luck, a decent chunk of them will take flight. And with your advocacy, some of those poems will make intercontinental journeys.

 

With providence, maybe -- just maybe -- one of these poems might break the stratosphere and join the stars one day.

 

Maybe that’s what Wiman meant? Classic poems?

 

Who cares, he won’t read this. And in any case, whether any of these poems lingers is not for Christian Wiman or me or my family and friends or even you to decide.

 

I have zero commitment to the success of this book by any metric. I won’t care if no one reads it. I’m doing this as a layman who believes that poetry should be circulated in small groups among friends just like how we should sing together at the end of a long dinner. Your family doesn’t sing together at the end of a long dinner? Your family doesn’t have long dinners? Your family doesn’t sit down at the dinner table once a day? Make haste: start the tradition.

 

If anything, I'm trying to offer my friends what Amy León and Richard Prins have offered to me over the last two years -- poetry shared in the midst of the everyday. We have found common things at last, said Chesterton, and marriage and a creed and I may safely write it now and you may safely read. I look for the return of the common poet as surely as I look for the return of the butcher, the baker, the fowler, the cooper. Were not the bards once equal with kings? Did not Luther say, “If you can be a preacher, why stoop to be a king?”

 

Well what if you can be a poet?

 

It is a job for each of us, in the wee hours of the night or the small hours of the day, to “create a language the unborn may dare to speak,” as C.D. Wright would have it. Write poetry and sing in public and we might steal back what the American insecurity and obsession with comfort stole from the Irish and Arab and Italian and Native American and Jewish German communities. We may reemerge lyrically and vocally literate, no longer gagged and muzzled.

 

In short, thanks for those few of you who have pushed me to -- quite literally -- my wit's end. That is, for those who pushed my mind towards the final cause -- the ends, not the means -- of Wit.

 

For those still wondering why in the name of Calliope would you publish a book of poems, Lance? There’s one last reason: duty. The soldier must at least defend. The painter must at least discover new ways of combining pigment and lighting. The writer must at least create that language the unborn may dare to speak. English has suffered an assault of ten thousand compromises. We have given our word-birthing and word-begetting over to the petty portmanteau of copywriters -- explain to me just how in the hell "entreporneur" makes the porn business acceptable? And if it does (it doesn't, but if it did), is that a net win for society? As a recovering copywriter myself, I can say with confidence this forfeiture of language creation to businessmen may be the greatest linguistic crime of the millennia -- on par with N.S. in word history section of any given etymology in the dictionary or the creations of the term "non-persons" by Stalin. We have given our etymology over to the politicians and lobbyists. We have sold out our language's birthright to the revisionist histories of power mongers and the new pornographers and are left with little more than pop culture for its creation -- left with less than even Esau's bowl of soup. Luckily, the R&B crowd and the horniness of high school students strike upon a new vein of semiotics several times every year, but our language is on life support at best.

 

At worst, it’s comatose and hemorrhaging.

 

Where are you, poets?

 

Relegated to those dungeons owned by all of the above, forced to write with a gun to their head, hiding in the hip hop hollows that masquerade as barbershops and bakeries. There was a time when poetry -- hell, when singing itself -- was something expected of all English speakers. Our vocally suppressed society and, in equal measure, our lyrically suppressed society measures our songs not by what they offer posterity but by their catchiness, not by their depth but by the contagion hidden within their own vapidity. People read no more poetry because they've cut out their poetic ligature--the language they've created offers no backstage suspension from which to hang new words, let alone to manifest the magical flight that accompanies said strings.

 

I believe in shaping English for the better because I love her just like I believe in shaping my wife’s character for the better because I love her. I don’t claim to be good at either. I don’t aspire to win awards for my work towards either end. I don’t anticipate income through publishing or publicizing either. I doubt even the majority of my readership will get their hands on this volume and fewer still will hear of the private stories created by me and my wife. There remains room for reticence in both quests: the hardest part of Frodo’s journey is the lonely, quiet road.

 

I claim to merely do my duty, to God and my country, to help other people, and to obey the law of the poet.

 

For better or worse, this is some of the contribution I made to tomorrow's English speakers from 2005–2017, from age 18 to age 30. It's my duty as a common -- as your local -- poet to publish it. Which also means it's your duty to filter out the dross (i.e. most of the words in this book) and let the world know if you found any gold in here. Our culture depends on this -- not only in this book, but in all of the books of all of our poets.

 

Thanks for being relentless in the reading of my work. I’ll continue to be relentless in the writing of it.

 

As for the title, I’ve named the volume “Inconveniences Rightly Considered” for four reasons. The first and most obvious I must blame, as always, on Chesterton.

 

G.K. Chesterton wrote a very short piece that everyone should read entitled On Chasing After One’s Hat in which he argues that an adventure is really a matter of perspective and traveling companions, not a destination or a time slot or a reason for travel. His typical one-liner from that piece goes, “An inconvenience, rightly considered, is an adventure. An adventure, wrongly considered, is an inconvenience.” In that spirit, the spirit articulated above, these poems come from my adventures over the last decade.

 

∴ they also come from having rightly considered all of my inconveniences. That definition of adventure is also a wonderful definition of poetry. I say this as a romantic in the old sense of the word, as someone attempting to build upon Inkling and neoplatonic thought, as someone whose every contact with the world sends out further spores of mystery and chivalry, bee and his pollen, love and the court that follows after her. After all, the damsel’s distress had nothing to do with needing saving and everything to do with the internal turmoil of her mind as it attempted to seek the higher in the midst of the every day. She was distressed not because she was in a tower and needed a prince, but because it’s hard work to rightly consider the inconvenient. Again, Chesterton from his book on Blake:

 

“We all feel the riddle of the earth without anyone to point it out. The mystery of life is the plainest part of it. The clouds and curtains of darkness, the confounding vapours, these are the daily weather of this world. Whatever else we have grown accustomed to, we have grown accustomed to the unaccountable. Every stone or flower is a hieroglyphic of which we have lost the key; with every step of our lives we enter into the middle of some story which we are certain to misunderstand….”

 

At the intersection of those two Chesterton quotes lies this book of poems. In life, you come across inconveniences all the time -- a stone in your shoe, a raincloud over your morning walk (in Brooklyn, a drizzle seems a downpour when endured for thirty blocks), a flower petal in your eye, a loose baby tooth, gallstones that pass and come out in the shape of fool's gold. When these things happen, you have two choices -- annoyance or reverence. Those who treat the inconveniences of this world, the nuisances and trials, the bothers and pains with reverence -- there lie your adventurers, your romantics, your poets. Everything truly is a hieroglyphic, a prop in the midst (and mist) of this great and eternal drama we find ourselves within, something we are certain to misunderstand without the proper key.

 

And that includes the bad poems brother Wiman rejected.

 

Poetry, for me, has been one of these keys to unlock the inconvenient -- even inconvenient, lesser poems that I do not like and cannot "get." Poetry's not the skeleton key, of course, but it is something like a key to the foyer. Poetry, when done well, unlocks the bothers and nuisances of everyday life, sometimes through observation, sometimes through participation, never through willful ignorance and disengagement. Poetry begs us to engage with the world around us, to discover the story and the world hidden in every little thing, to delve into that Inside which is surely deeper and higher and broader than any outside, let in The Light through that crack in everything, and call us further Up and further In.

 

Which is also the third thing: my methodology. I do not write a poem unless I find myself rightly considering some inconvenience in my day-to-day. Of the poems I have written, I have not kept one in here unless, upon rereading, the poem itself helped me to consider some inconvenience aright once more. And that means that I also find this whole volume to be terribly inconvenient for my professional schedule but also, rightly considered, something like an adventure -- I have had to turn these poems over and again in my mouth like the pebble that wards off hunger. And I find myself a little less starved now that I've finished.

 

But the last reason?

 

The last reason is that "inconvenience, rightly considered" is another word for Epiphany. Once the wisest men in the world found themselves inconvenienced by the omens in the stars and the events on their calendar books, but rightly considering it all they went to Bethlehem. There they found another inconvenience: an unexpected pregnancy that resulted in a toddler. Rightly considered, the boy became the Epiphany of epiphanies, the inconvenience of inconveniences that rings all considerations until they tune out right. The more I puzzled that out, the more I discovered this book's structure -- the poems naturally started sorting themselves into the seasons of the ecclesiastical calendar. However, unlike most books arranged by the church calendar, we will begin with Easter and end with the Black Sabbath. My reasoning will be explained in the final section, which ends -- and indeed the whole book ends -- not with one of my poems but with one of T.A. Giltner's for his is better and truer to the theme and therefore more fitting for a finale.

 

The names of the sections -- something like my tale of contents -- are:

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Language and its Irreducible Complexity on the Ecclesiastical Full Moon

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Penance in Eastertide

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Beyond the Mountain for a Week of Weeks

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The Solemnity of Elemental Weaves

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Is Your Mind Meaningless? And other thoughts to mind in ordinary time…

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The Gentry Moved in on Halloween

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The Jester’s a Herald? Wait… Wait a minute: did The Lord invent laughter?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Holidays

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Inconveniences, Rightly Considered

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Looking into the Abyss while Chewing Glass (and the Abyss Stares Back)

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Black Sabbath

 

Here, at the mixing of metaphors and the spelunking of steel bricks and the flight of gravitation, we’ll find the door opening beyond our before into something…

 

Other.

 

Now consider, with me, how…

 

-- Lancelot Schaubert
King’s Park (Long Island)
New York
26 December 2015
as the sun sets, having hidden
behind the sky’s greying hair

 

Language and its Irreducible Complexity on the Ecclesiastical Full Moon

Silt

originally published in the 2016 Poet’s Market

 

…the Germanic tribes
had a word

[bruch
__]meaning “marsh,”

but it sounds like “book.”

I’ve wondered whether

brauchen – “to

use”

or “digest”

– is related to bruch

For our world’s stomach

acid eats

soil

away from

stones, anxiety

beats us, erodes… or

uses us

well,

how The Brook

deltas Marshland’s clothes.

 

Old English men came

to use broc:

stream

in a marsh.

And new words arose:

 

The Poet tramps through

the marsh then

home

to help his

Misses cook a meal,

 

drops a plate down

on a stone

where,

shattered, it

reminds him of broc.

 

He points. Says, “Broc.” Writes.

His village cites.

Then

citation

stops. Revises its source:

 

Broke. (A word is born).

Words: fountain

head,

then mouth. One

spank, then follows sound.

 

One life-giving muse,

one ruin:

brook

(marsh’s veins)

broke (penniless; pain)

 

We come to now, to

towns how named,

race

-s splitting?

Regenerated.

 

We ask our burrow:

what is this?

This?!

Oh what will you be,

today,

my Brooklyn?

Grunt

For Eugene Peterson

( who claimed to have liked it once )

(( hopefully I didn’t edit out the parts you liked, wherever you are ))

 

 

Poetry, sweet poet’s vain abusing of the form

comes from our first language

 

For there are three, no more, no less

Three ways we speak in space-time:

 

Third motivates, pushes, irrigates thoughts

Reaping where others sowed.

How? Why?

 

Second informs, describes, fills minds with sounds

Giving us names for things

When? Where? What?

 

But the first comes from our ancient womb

Our mother’s amniotic tomb

Where we grew for Whom?

 

That cry when doctor spanked to awake

For him, for her, for pity’s sake

 

That sigh when mother held us close

We suckled, cuddled, dandled there

 

Our coos, her caws, grandma’s high-pitch wail

Grandson rides forth in his onesie mail

Other Granny smirks

 

Sweet giggles, gurgles, baby faces

Groaning moans of sorrow’s bedside

 

Dad wept loud, mother sighed, holding close

We suckled, cuddled, dandled there

 

Yes, the first isn’t unlike

names nothing, claims nothing for itself

 

No, the first is not like the others

She has no name or claim for herself

 

She’s a tie tween you and I

A mother’s sigh when all else whelps

 

She’s the speech of poetry, a YAWP, a prayer,

A knowing grunt at failure or triumph.

A nod hello.

 

To Jack Across the Sea

We two met in the one Irish

New York pub known and still run

by Eires like you. Our talking it

turned up tragic: tuition, writers from

the thirties rotting. These thoughts comic, these

Interrupted oral momentums:

translucent roofs true to Spiderman,

blurred and iron // blank and fragile—

clichés are the things clinging life to

life and we make light of phrases

but are aesthetics made for easy friends?

When I say “Oh that’s cliché”

I forget it undergirds life,

How “Don’t Murder” deems being

Beats non-being. Be cliché, Jack,

And mend the maxims. Maximize the facts

For truism acts. Trace the shapes

Of truer beings -- tissue and pencil

-- Until their manner tunes you right

And let light come to loves you keep

Back in the brackish breezes of Ireland.

 

Braille

When night sex—lips to lips—

When wind hits open hands—
When whitecaps wash right over feet
that stand on laundered sands.

When chocolate after fasts—
When noodles for the poor—
When children who have found their meal
will beg summore, summore.

Mere inches from the lawn
my nose—on what’s been mowed—
Or bottled wines and siloed grains
when smell of what’s been sowed.

When symphonies unsung
before the present time.
When sudden lyrics overheard
disclose a metric rhyme.

Listory

My current shuffled mix

of songs tells stories:

 

Alabama, I won’t let you down.

Buffalo soldier falling off the face of the earth.

Alberta, be not silent.

Hold on closer to the sun.

Life before aesthetics sparks late bloomer.

Not enough eyes on the prize.

Brooklyn with your highest wall towards the sun.

Harvest moon. Sister falling… parachutes.

You and me shiver.

Every passing day, Steven, we never change.

Mirianne miracle-cursing Pope Killdragon.

I live in your ghost before you accuse me.

Thunderbird—wade through the night, unknown legend.

Leave it all behind; carry the weight.

Such a woman out on the weekend one of these days.

Wise Old Owl kill Dragon.

Saint Cecilia, hold me near. Sharpest blade? Crash into me.

Broken hospital like minded fool: right on time.

Matinee bound to this world from Hank to Hendrix.

Layla, this and that open my hands.

Curbside—isn’t it poetry?

Grandma Mary, head home.

Words? Fears? Beautiful boys and girls? A man needs a maid—let it go.

If you are the writer, that’s how strong my love is.

 

Some mixtapes ring truer than others.

Mearcstapa in Emmerson’s River of Man

find me in the river of thought and event

carried by the current of contemporary men

see me stack their pebbles higher into my modern wall

damming up their river into my waterfall

genius ain’t meaningless

its genus is in genes from us

we can’t be me

till me ain’t we

original hearts make original starts

so take art, take heart

take it from from me:

you be you be you be

not me

 

mankind’s eyes look onward unto my journey’s end

church-reared, war-bearded, floured by what two states can give one another

between them strike my railroad, armistice reinstall

turn all their wood and iron into my shared prayer shawl:

 

come and pray together

come and play together

 

The human race went out before me

sunk the hills and bridged the rivers

men and nations, poets, sinners.

Women, slaves, kings and skinners

raise our wave, our tide of winners

from the cave of new beginners:

Anne Franks from Jewed Berliners,

Skywalked Lukes from Rancor dinners,

Jonah from the Lochness innards,

raucous bars bring Cohen, Leonards,

Shakespeares from the novel skimmers,

Beowulf from channel swimmers.

 

Our reception stacks the tinders,

starts the spark, and stokes the cinders –

worlds inspire us when they hinder

(Spring: it marinates in Winter).

All the pain and baggage triggers

of the world’s eventful river—

let it pass to you from mirrors

through your mind and let it linger,

dim the lights, oh dimmer, dimmer…

Find one thought and let it simmer,

sifting through the world’s litter:

when it hits it sends a shiver

up the spine and in the liver.

From mankind, the you considers

what your soul alone delivers.

 

Stack your pebbles in their river.

 

find me in the river of thought and event

carried by the current of contemporary men

see me stack their pebbles higher into my modern wall

damming up their river into my waterfall

 

Mystery of Seeing

When works of men have culminated in our ruddy sky,

When widows lay there destitute, abused in public eye

When we renew a simple call, a vain “hello, goodbye”

We all will trace it to our gaze. It is our evil eye.

 

At once translucent, sore confessions break from the blackened soil

Our Mystery will slowly see the root of Conan Doyle.

His whispers dimpled in our cheeks, his plots: tin torn from foil

And he is me, and we are he: all born from murder’s toil.

 

But what if once our warbles silenced in the sounding sea?

What would become of ichor scents, of blinded potpourri?

If we would kill the vain suspense to turn from shade to trees,

Would ever any average man accept our bourgeoisie?

 

For if the middle class was next, and upper feigned the last

If poverty was possibly the first so quick and fast

Would tipsy-turvy works of men turn blue the ruddy sky?

Would widows change from destitutes to what we glorify?

 

But we can’t see translucent pleas of guilt, of true avowals

It soils our brows with blister grime, and soaks our monogrammed towels

We drain it in the sight of sinners swimming in our bowels

To find we are the same as they: we consonants, no vowels

 

Yet once I heard of summer lads and lassies born of light

And once I saw a dimpled grin from renewed fallen knight

He took upon the bowels of earth, removed a vacant blight

And with it spawned the sons of God, and gave this blind man sight.

 

Inflammation

I wept to see the autumn

I cried to see the sun

It rose beneath a clouded sky when you and I were young

 

I felt our slow subtraction

in every missing post

we knew we ached for every mention of The Poet’s ghost

 

in that profound distinction

we bled the blood of youth

before our insides flushed out dry we heard a cry of truth:

 

A sound, a growl of sovereign

The six-string strums again

His ballad flew down from the heavens, filling us within

 

Our blood changed into nectar

our guts reformed to glass

and every gold prospector found his treasure cove at last.

 

In that junkyard

In that junkyard,

Snow covered debris

Like a soggy blanket

On a screaming child’s face

 

Winter spit in oilpans

stark, gelatin contrast

Plastic tarp

Covering yesteryear’s lies

 

He’s the owner

The loner

The scoffing man shown for what he is in his filth

 

We’re no different.

But we do hide it quite well under the lip gloss.

Locusts

How did it happen? How did the most

Important point and poem of sound

In our day indict dapper slices

Of itself and shrink slowly to the noise

Of phones buzzing? Petty to trade

The cuckoo clock or the bells

Of the belfry tower at the best hours

Of vigils and vespers or the violin my Great

Grandfather grabbed in the grey of dawn

To wake the women and the wider-eyed

Girls who had gone to the gossamer dreamlands

After they aimed amber shooters

At their mother’s marbles and maybe she lost

Them as in later years when lights went off

In her mind’s eye or the mixing swishes

Of the winter walk through wet snow

At an asinine hour to the outhouse door

Or the cheering crowds with their cheap beer

Showers shining at the shipping of balls

over the green outfield wall

To infinity from the finite. Find in me and drill

To the remnant of my ringings and require the miners

Of culture to core my cardiac sack

And my soul’s one for the sake of the singing of old

Songs and their sounds. Seek this or, Dust,

Settle for the buzz and scuttle of locusts

That claim the culture’s clanging moments.

Cold Fusion

At high enough speeds
rain on glass
jolts
lightening
itself to lightning.

 

The phrase “electrical
storm” means more
when
you’ve lived through
the deadliest twister.

 

Imagine: cyclones
inside one.
Now:
swap wind with
electricity.

 

I bet if you asked
him nicely
old
Pecos Bill
would rope’n ride it.

Planes are so funny.

 

Penance in Eastertide

The Rings of Venus

The Platonists pilfered impossible thoughts

From the tiniest things. How the thinkers

Mind a mouse or a mellon and dream

Distillate dreams that drink of the fountain

Of joy and justice that enjambs a row

Boat into debates beautiful and sailing

Or infers the fern from the foundry’s smelt

Singed gold leaf. See me hold

The metal handle of a mace whose

Head is the heaven of this hard earth

Some call a subway. Its scratches belie

Stories of summers when sudden lovers

Engaged in the glory of good intent

And the premarital moves like moons in orbit

Will vow a voyage that varies only by starting

Again at the gate of good intent

After straying and staying and striving to fight

To keep their flight coming home

To their virgin vows and the rings of Venus

Who reminds the man he’s married and tames

The maiden’s makeshift men whose pretend

Strength and statehood would shift them to a seduction

Of meaningless “manly.” Manful bands

And engagement rings go around

And around the rigid rod on their commutes

And scar it with star searing and the heat

Of homeward bound. Or the hapless and loveless

Rust that chooses to rest itself at the top

And hope that Heaven has homes for the lone

Celibates and their silent study of the

Music Of The Spheres and their many rings.

Communes

The phone flings beeps, fingers respond

By typing tamely, or the thumbs clanking

I love you in laminated

Golden age .gifs or emojis

Like knot-tying nubs that fumble

Half-hitches the harbor uses

In the nightly fog. We never meant

To replace our prose with power cords

Or whisper with widgets. Where did the letters

Get sold like slaves shamed and whose faces

Masquerade mainly became

For the overconnected empire of event

Notifications and newer likes

And videos viral? Verily I say

That he who hardens harolds into song

Samplers is sunk. Surely I tell you

That texts take time and tinkering like all

Ancient tomes -- oh, honey, did you

Think I was talking of texting on the phone

Instead of study? Standards will change

But Canon keeps and communes and abbeys

Communicated mainly in manful and better

Ways like wonder and wayward sleeps

That end in dreams. Even the vow

Of silence ensures sanctifying

Exchanges of meaning whereas checking the red

Number of notifs does nothing much

for the major minds. Remember how Antony

Said of the Pope: “If my silence doesn’t

Edify him, oh how will my speech?”

 

Caged Verse

The free verse leaves out the back of the line, aimlessly grieves until we hear it whining, wailing, singing for more, more, MORE. It has never paid nor gone without—a babe, a brat, a brawling rich twit.

 

But a verse that stalks

down her narrow lines

would never walk

through a crowd to dine

with her verses bared, unclothed.

Behind locked doors,

she opens her chest and sings.

The caged verse sings

downtrodden trills

of the hammerfells

on the windowsills

and her tune is heard

on the First-World hills, for the caged verse

sings through freedom.

 

The free verse floats, breezy, queezed by ethereal motion-sickness, a sickness that leads to his vomit on pages, he vomits and sees that all his might and all his dreams achieved no more than a dawn-bright antimeter in a world measured by metrics. And returning to his vomit, eats.

 

But a caged verse stands on the graves of pages

shadowed still by unsaid rages

her reservations mirror the actress:

smiling, though distressed.

The caged verse sings

downtrodden trills

of the hammerfells

on the windowsills

and her tune is heard

on a First-World hill for the caged verse

sings her freedom.

 

Dear Ozark Freshman Boy

You’ll set out to save this sullied world

But the world it won’t want the saving.

You’ll choose to charter a change on the earth

But the earth it earned the old abyss

And its pain of unpleasure of purposeless clicks

Like clockworks corrupted. Cling to the other

clockworks’ chimes: clean saving and

badder days blaming the rising

up of the earth on all of you.

 

If you want to weather the world and its stasis

You take time and tinker it up:

Broken cogs and brittle springs

Upward and inward on angel wings

Melting black marks to white

But the parson’s grey pigeon feathers

Like a naked Franciscan -- are not we all

as nude as Francis? Nevertheless

Redemptive clockwork drains your winder

But it’s worth the wait. When can the cool

Air of Elysium enter our stage

And dramaturge endure? Depends on the other

Actors and the aim of their aimless clock.

 

Making and mending. Maybe redemptive

Clockwork cleans not the cogs but the old

Watchmaker’s heart, withering roots

Can bloom again and blackened logs

Tock to the tinker’s time and value.

Saint Francis saw the church in

Ruins and reformed not the rites but himself.

The Righteous and Unrighteous Alike

Three hawks I saw & a crow on a day when the rain drizzled down from the shroud overcast on our hills, wings in spray, wings (brown tops, white bottoms, farmers’s tans) weighed with water or now dripping, then dripping inken-black, now flinging ringlets of brackish wet as they dove into blades of the green or sopping crops (that needed those sky-slops) catching mouse-like-things-soggy in their mouths (beaks) and rising again to dead oak trees, truncated by light and fire or human hands in storms or for the “necessary evil” of power lines and waiting, waiting (three in the tree and the crow across the way) for the presence of life (life or lack thereof respectively) for a dive-dive-dive or a slow-flap after the remnants of overcast.

 

And I drive on past on the wet WW highway, double-yellow roadway upanddownandleftandright over runnels with far off woodlots pressing near and breaking out, flocking and parting and lighting (like I always envisioned a drive through The Shire might be) until crests the hill a red brick chapel with white-framed stained-glass and a white-box belfry capped in grey shingles indistinguishable from the asphalt heavens, grey gaps of God that break apart its peak into seen-unseen-seen-unseen and again seen until the cross tops veiled somewheres in them grey clouds, grey rain resetting the saturation scale of the world full to its factory setting.

 

Behind it, the cemetery of a small Missouri township of thirty-three homes.

 

Hawks and crow in the rain, thriving off of life and death and life again.

 

…wait, I’m sorry…

 

Rather, thriving off of

 

rain.

 

For Grandpa Schaubert, On His Eightieth

Like the time we made eight dozen swords

from scraps of short-term fences

like gardens grown in backyard troughs

require all five senses

like smells of Summerfest behind,

of corn dogs, sweets, Budweiser

like sounds of Glory up ahead,

of laughter, song, advisers

like sights of Gateway Arches,

woods, a Florida beach in winter

like tastes of dandelion wine,

of sawdust, sweat, the splinter

like feelings unrelated prior

to the time remembered

like stories told by fireside,

the zappers, s’mores and embers

are eighty thousand moments forged

of laughter, zeal and fable.

We’re here to lap it up with you

as long as you are able.

Shrackle Seeds

“Sit down you Cack!”
The young Tish said
And tossled on the skrey

“I’ll sit you hack!
When e’re I please”
Said Mozzle to the prey

“You’re blockin’ view
of Glureon -
my source of tynsoday”

“I’ll block and blind
and show you mozz
If you keep in my way!”

“My bag of shrackles
ranneth out
And not a splidget more!”

“Fill it with cackles
Dumb young rit!
Caprussule to the shore!”

So off went Tish
To Glureon,
A marnlin’ in the reeds

And soon he came
Upon a qest
Of shrackle-spreading seeds.

“Oh sheer delight!”
The young tish said
“The shrackles will resume!”

And off he went
Back to the skrey
To end the old cack’s gloom

When he arrived
The cack had died
A-shlouging in his chair.

He bowed and sighed
Tish Bowed and cried
to settle in despair.

As Tish’s tears
Fell from his face
And settled in the Bag

A miracle soon
Took its place
To wave a hopeful flag

Light pouring down
From somewhere up
In cloud and sky above

Hit in the bag
To shrintle there
Out sprung a shrackle grove!

 

Soon then, it rained

with tynsoday

Upon the lifeless Hack

 

His fingers twitched

In joy Tish yelled

“Get up you lively cack!”

 

ランスロットの探求 (a heroic haiku)

Lance yawns

bed of leaves

nuzzling

 

dreams:

Go. (cold air

waking)

 

enters in

foreign woods

blooming

 

blooms too:

hot, high, hardy.

takes light.

 

gets “Go,”

harvest of Goes

brimming

 

costs cuts:

cold air comes,

steals Goes.

 

back again:

bed of blooms

waking

 

no more dead;

growing Man.

changed.

Inheritance: Part 1

Window in this darkened house

Three-feet by two-feet

Eight panes above their front door

Morning grey, images of

Wintered trees wander

in, framed by rules of thirds

But Phi also holds this light

Two-thirds in their lounge

Over entry way’s one-third

It’s not as simple as that

Math got left behind

 

But I am taunted to climb out the panes

Into worlds out there beyond glass

I’ve missed them in my work, writing of what the five-year-old

deep inside barely remembers…

 

Years passed

bare feet connected to my limber legs

wandered into the worlds lying just off

well-beaten trails (that

familiar meek feel of

inheriting the earth:

tender grass blades

underfoot).

 

In the Thirty-Third Year

Plants bearing seeds according to their kinds and trees with fruit with seed according to it and (GOOD!) evening and goooooooooooooooood morning Vietnam and

Third day.

Third river’s Tigris.

Three sons: Shem, Ham Japeth.

This is how you build it build it build it: three-hundy [insert colloquial measurements] long.

Wife and three sons enter,

three sons from whom all earth is center.

Then a…

heifer and a goat, each three years old.

Three visitors

(three men)

who didn’t want to get [radio edit]

by other men.

Three [insert colloquial measurements] of flour.

Third day: in the distance saw the place.

Three flocks of sheep.

Maybe her husband would love her some more since she bore him a live third son.

Third day they tell him Deceiver escapes.

Three-day lead between he and Deceiver.

Told the third servant forewarn his brother the presents came from Deceiver.

Three days later, all in pain slaughtered with pants around ankles.

Three months later the Lion finds out his sister’s (the hooker’s) preggers.

…and on the vine were three branches.

Three branches, three days.

Three days and the king will lift up your head and restore you.

…and three baskets of bread.

Three baskets, three days.

Three days and the king will lift up your head on a pole.

…and they all went to jail for three days.

…and he said, “Do this, that, and the other (3) and you’ll live.”

Three hundred [insert colloquial measurements] of silver in Ben’s bag.

The poor woman by the end had bore their daddy thirty-three kids in all…

…and Jo saw the third generation of his boy’s kids.

Preggers again, different gal, gave birth to a boy – “a fine child” – and hid him for three months.

Let us take a three-day journey into the woods to–

Let us take a three-day journey into the woods to–

He was eighty, his brother eighty-three when they went to the King again.

Let us take a three-day journey into the woods to–

After getting interrupted three times the “fine child” no longer a child stretched his hand toward the sky and the world as they knew it went dark for three days.

No one could see or move for three days.

The kid (not a kid) then took all the slaves on a three-day journey into the woods to–

dang, no water.

First day of the third month, they came to the desert.

And they were supposed to be prepared by the third day because the provider of provisions would come down from the mountain to provide.

That meant no sex for three days,

totally weren’t ready.

On the morning of the third day, thunder and lightning. Gooooooooooooood morning Vietnam!

“Screw up and it’ll affect your family to the third generation.”

So…

if Him don’t provide Her with them three things, he gotta just let her go free.

Three times a year: party.

Seven branches on the lampstand: three on one side, three on t’other.

buds on the stand: third bud under the third pair

three cups like almond flowers buds and blossoms on one branch, three on the next

…of acacia wood three [insert colloquial measurements] high

curtains fifteen [insert colloquial measurements] long on one side of the entrance with three posts & three bases

third row’ll be jacinth, agate, amethyst

Dudes in Levi’s family followed the orders of The Fine-Looking Kid and three-thousand died anyway.

Three times a year ALL YOUR MEN show up. On time.

No one’ll be jealous of your land when you do this three times a year.

(three branches one side, three on t’other)

curtains fifteen [insert colloquial measurements] long (that’s a three-by-fiver)

burn the meat on the third day

but don’t eat the meat on the third day

but eat it on the day you give it

but don’t eat it after the third day

woman, wait thirty-three days to be pure from bleeding

and bring three-tenths of an [insert colloquial measurements] of flour

three years before you eat from trees

then on the sixth, three years worth’ll bloom all at once

three [insert colloquial measurements] of silver for a wo-man, lad-y or other term for fe-male

Ephraim sets out third.

Eleb brought the goods on the third day,

traveled for three days,

golden angels before them three days,

“Come out you three!” Aaron, Moses, Miram come.

clean men make unclean men clean by sprinkling water on the third day

Three times a jackass talks to Balaam.

On the third time, he gets the picture.

Three days in the Desert again.

Aaron dies at 133.

Third generation can enter the temple.

all produce set aside in the third year

three cities east of Jordan,

three cities of refuge for falsely accused murderers

three witness? death penalty

set aside three more cities, while you’re at it

Third day, they crossed east of Jordan and came down to their cities

(none of the three refuge cities that day)

third lot falls to Zebulun, they get some of the conquered land

they hid for three days

after three days, officers went through the camp

three thousand men took it

three thousand went up

three days… a treaty? A treaty.

three men from each tribe for the survey

three towns

three towns

three towns

three sons

Three hundred on knees who lapped like dogs

three hundred, no more, who would fight the hoard

three hundred, three companies

three with their trumpets

three with their pots

three with their lamps

Abimelek, 3 yrs

Tola was 23

300 years to occupy settlements

3 days without answer and

300 flaming foxes, tail-tied in the crops

third time he made a fool of her, then she of him

(1) tied him to the kitchen chair

(2) broke his word -- cut his hair

(3) from his lips she drew the hallelujah

 

3,000 to the cave afraid of the enemy

3,000 in Dagon’s balcony

One man, two pillars

ashes

ashes

all fall down

2/3 of a [insert colloquial measurements] of silver to sharpen

3-year old bull when Samuel was weaned

three-pronged fork into the meat

three sons, two daughters

lost donkeys three days ago

THREE MEN WILL GO UP TO WORSHIP THE lord

One with three goats

One with three loaves

One with the wine

three thousand divided in three divisions

an infinite foe with three thousand chariots

three detachments -- raids

Jesse’s three oldest

Shammah, the third son, but not him, no not him…

David the youngest, three oldest met Saul

Saul sent a third prophet, all of them saying what he didn’t want

three arrows to the side

Dave bowed three times before Jon

and ran

three thousand men to search again

(dave hid with the man with three-thousand sheep

he's hungry -- no food, water for three days, three nights

Egyptian shows up, left his master three days ago

Dave and his men reach Ziglag -- 3rd day)

The Three sons of Saul and Saul’s armor-guy, Saul all died

Dave’s thirty, becomes king

Dave’s third son: Absalom…

every three lengths of rope, a man can live -- the rest die

Dave’s men kill three hundred (and sixty) Benjaminites

Dave’s reigning in the midst of 33 years

ark rest for 3 months in Obed-Edom’s house

Absalom flees for the best of three years

Had three sons, a daughter named Tamar

tried to take over the throne

oh no

Absalom (third son) tries to take throne,

gets blonde locks stuck in a tree, and dies at Joab's hand -- three spears in the heart

Dave’s words:

“Absalom!

Absalom, my son!

My son!

Absalom, my son!”

3-year famine, kills off Saul’s grandchildren

300  [insert colloquial measurements] heavy spearhead tries to kill Dave

saved by chief of the Three which were over the thirty-three

three mighty broke the Philistines

risked their lives, fought lions in a cave on a snowy day, these were the three’s exploits

“Hey Dave? You screwed up bad. Three options:

Three years of famine.

Three months on the run.

Three days of plague.”

“I’ll take number three, the plague.” 70,000 die

His boy came, spoke 3,000 proverbs.

Lots of other sons-the-3rd

Third day’s Esther with life on line in royal robes petitioning her king for her people

Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego.

Three men in the fire unhurt

because there was a fourth in there…

 

But it got so bad that Zeke found out that the place wouldn’t get saved even if these three:

Noah

Daniel

Job

were in the city.

three against two and two against three

then

 

prepare the way

make it straight

pave the roads

“three” kings.

kid comes and at 3×4 years is teaching teachers

third day, a jewish wedding in Galilee

twice 3000 demons in a guy, sends them into pigs, off the cliff, in a graveyard, in the land ruled by the equivalent of “white trash”

inner three on the third mountain in the story

Peter

James

John

three men in the lightning storm unhurt

because of a fourth,

One man standing in between

(2) Moses and

(3) Elijah

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem. Oh Jerusalem!”

Then they flee.

“I woulda gathered you into my arms.

Under my wings!”

Denied him how many times?

Yes, three.

Flogged thirty-nine times.

Two in the hands, one in the feet.

Three kings again, but different now.

False trials from three slanderous witnesses -- remember the murder verdict?

Far away from three cities of refuge

One man

between two thieves

dying outside this city-of-the-third-temple’s gates

three in the afternoon

destroy this temple, I’ll raise it in three days

three days

“must be delivered, crucified, third day raised”

at only thirty-three.

 

 

first time that story was told, three-thousand believed.

Came once as a babe.

Came twice (from the grave that time, three witnesses)

When He comes for the third time,

it’ll be the third time

for the last time.

 

“was

is

is to come”

 

sounds like the sounds of trinity.

 

Hail Mary

they caught me laughing

chuckling to myself on the two train

headed from Brooklyn to

Upper West Side

couldn’t hide it,

but I tried.

 

Some old cat flopped on

caught me off guard

buckled over on the two train seat

head in my hands

 

he stroked

not long ago

paralyzed half his side

half his life

Plummeted like buzzards do

wife, three kids, house and home

now, though once a metal worker,

left to plead with

unions for a lame job called

“time keeper”

 

six ones in hand, beggar’s plan

no one raises a buckled brow

after a bushel of minutes

one more, one more gives

maybe he’ll live

gimp through

 

maybe not.

 

he had a line, a rhyme:

“thank you, God bless you for your generosity

I hope your kids, your family’s well

and thank you for your generosity?”

he left.

 

some hag named, 

i dunno – Martha?

ragged on him:

“They’re all like at,”

to an audience of three

“I see one every Thursday

trying to get to Babylon

told her I’d drive her

buy her a ride

to get to her dying mother

Butter mother’s still dyin

every Thursday.  Fuggitaboudit.”

chorus (hers) laughed

tailing her path to 42nd

time’ll square’m out

 

maybe not…

 

next stop, a blind woman got on,

- true story

come on with cuppa change:

 

“I wasn’t born blind, but I am

now thanks to my mother.

Hail Mary, full of grace.

Can you help the blind?”

she shook her change.

 

“Hail Mary, full of grace.

Can you help the blind?”

she shook her change.

 

“Hail Mary, full of grace.

care to help the blind?”

she shook

seized

on the ground there

in front of the three

no change

another stoned

no

hailed

Mary

, yes they refused

to flinch

for fletchers that feather

The darts of their coming deaths.

My Consolation

Boethius claimed badness or the wicked

Or evil is a disease, even as weakness

Wanes the body. Well, then, I

Am so sick, my friend. See my shakes?

See my quaking? Soothing balms

Of wiser words evade my mind

And its dreaming machine. A dry and an arid

Landscape was seeded along the trenches

Of my river valley, my rain cisterns

Than once evoked green. Why has the grain

Gone to be ground? The golden things moldy

And silence from sound? Spring will heal

The deserted and the dead: drink oh bulbs,

Come up in an anthem and empty the silence

Of all of itself. Evil is a disease

Like a weakness wanes us. But the weak things heal

And errors are evened and even corrected

And minor minds made Major.

Curtain Call

Beauty came to me

in the still dark of the day

shining as a caretaker

slitting her gown in play

 

I found a freedom in flame

the burning of my youth

I covered it all in a kerosene fume

And wrote with a match as I do with a plume

And carved out her name on my tooth

 

Before that the people would cheer

When I danced for their praise and coins

Each song and each melody turning their ear

And I changed for their girls, for their boys

 

upon that black-thorned limelit stage

I stared my death in the eyes

If I danced one more dance with the fury that’s “Lance”

I’d impale my own self with my thighs

 

So I stopped moving each little limb

And I patched up my tambourine wounds

With the sealing of lips how a whisper was heard

And it moaned over crowds and their swoons:

 

Each empty stare echoed the sound

And every eye watched it in awe

I dropped every instrument, silent in crash,

And I joined them by buying a ticket with cash

And my heart felt as washed as with caustic potash,

tearing up all the sights that I saw:

 

Beauty came to me

in the block marks of the play

shining as a caretaker

And nude-stripped for ballet.

 

I found a freedom in her flame

the burning of my youth

I covered my mind in a kerosene fume

And wrote her with matches as I had with my plumes

And called out her name, told the truth:

 

both a whisper and YAWP ambled up

to the foot of the blackthorn’s dead stage

with the still of the audience hearing it clear

And I’m one of them now by my clap and my tear

While performing though dead like a British life peer

There alone on the stage like a black marketeer:

I perform what I learn while backstage.

Passive Agressive

I’d rather take warhammers to the face

Pickaxes to the kidneys

Straight-slander & libel

Murder of my firstborn

Rape of my mother

Blasphemy of my good-intent and

the word:

“No.”

Than let these whisperers sweet-talk my face

Gossip behind me while

Stealing my cars and

 

Pouring sugar-water all over my desk

my books

my laundry

my looks so that I

Awake in the morning to find not a sunrise or feigned

Sweet calm of morning dew,

not even sweetness, but

Ants

ANTS

Eating everything.

 

Beyond the Mountain for a Week of Weeks

Aftertastes

I’ve wondered at the flavor

of the tastes of hidden things

I’ve licked the air to savor scents

unknown – from palate, wings.

I dipped my thumb in The Thick Of It

and stuffed it in my cheek

and held it there till it dissolved—

tobacco, so to speak.

I bite into unbitables:

like loss and cost and death.

The tang of loves unreal and gone

as my monastic breath

reminds this old saltlicking stag

(whose senses ever gray)

that tastes behind the tastes exist --

stagehands behind our play.

I’m waiting here till every food

tastes equally of dust,

then all those tastes behind the tastes

will bloom and make us blush.

 

Fallen Autumn Playhouse

originally published at  SP Quill

 

A hardwood floor below the lamps

of yesteryear’s array of scenes

I yield to wind—escorting leaves

through double doors we’ve opened here.

The theatre of yesteryear

brings sweat and chill and feverish cue

malaria of memory

when lines forgotten plague my dreams

of song, of line, of love life lost

unmattered now, for untouched scenes

have whispered in with whispered leaves

and formed a novel, gold frontier:

an incalescence in my heart

restarts my spirit, paints the hue.

Hysteria’s no emery;

my quiet soul’s at peace with me.

Greenwood Cemetery, Midwinter’s Night 2015

solid ice erected a sheen over

thousands of shipmasts, hundreds of spires

I looked again through black wrought iron

spikes beyond their frozen ocean wave

to the light some faced – others ignored –

beyond the second wall of steel.

orange warmth washed over mistless masts

stark-set against blued half-things, vapors,

half-trees, half-stones, half-beasts there roaming

over that frozen wave of bones.

 

Above, Diana cloudless waits, her

dogs loose, her virgins hidden, weeping

for those taken too soon – said simpler:

for all taken.

 

The sea of the dead, they’ve moved each night:

I notice McCullin further down

I notice Harris on higher ground

or do some stones share names?

 

But tonight -- everynight -- frozen

bones-made-stones-made-masts from where I stand.

I can’t unmake the dead, their deaths.

I can’t unsee their ends. So Progress

for those few I see fighting the wave

of ice to light is not a fight. It’s

gifted. And we who stand behind grates,

behind black iron plates watching all the

roiling waves of the Styx – clips, slides, snips,

negatives left on the darkroom floor –

have no more to say or show or score.

So we watch. We watch the dead play down

into frozen darkness, their motion

off stage left

set in stone set in ice,

frozen momentum

or ride the rigging up into light

tower and its thaw.

Dark Towers

At the end of every alley their stands

A timeless tower. Top of the Rock

Rises rustic and rearing tomorrow’s

Artisan deco amateurs and their visions

Of gilded ages. Glimpse it at the end

Of an alley or walkway. Empire is there

At the end of Broadway or as the aim of Macy’s

Herald Square. How did the Trade

Center’s Tower sneak to the end

Of Avenue Six? Ask how Long

Island City ends in the Tower

The King of Kong climbed in the old

Black and white. Bear with me

As I ponder the pillars -- the power of the Dark

Towers we Rolands take as the aim

Of our journeys’ end. James said that faith

Without works wearies, wilts and then dies

So we take in the towers and the turns on the road

And we recognize no roadway map

or landmark and it leaves -- the little old

Thought of a road trip or a voyage

That we sit back and savor as one

Would a cruise to the end of alleys where stand

The timeless towers. Tops of the rocks

In the crags where we cower and call out for aid.

Bible College as Told by a Liar

A cold shower

A packed vanity

Two snooze slaps

An alert friend

His own sound

The light of his desk

A clean pain

An empty class

That fills up some

A cold prof

Who must check

Out of his own lesson

He calls role

I write on

Prayer’s an epic fantasy

For the Christian ficitoneer

Spirits rise

To the right

In the periphery

Adrenaline: the fear

Endorphine: the comfort

 

Who is the ghost?

Who carries the ghost?

What on earth always remains in our periphery?

And am I still on earth?

 

“Schaubert!”

 

I look up.

 

“You’re off in your own little world again. Tell me: what was the difference between Brother Lawrence’s and St. Benedict’s positions on prayer?”

 

I pray before I answer.

I answer before I check out.

I check out before I write some more.

 

Burritos.

 

Underfoot -- the skin -- the clover

-- it's winded -- the orange

In the sky as the last sunbeams squeeze through Kansas dust storms

Tulsa smog

I return having spun silver lies

Into things made in the image in which I’m made

And therefore true

 

The fish I caught was thirty-three feet long not because it was thirty-three feet long.

The fish I caught was thirty-three feet long because I was the one who caught it.

To catch is a marvelous exaggeration of human passivity.

Catch for us the foxes

The White Stag calls:

“Come and catch me.”

His antlers had to be at least thirty-three feet long.

 

A hot shower

empty vanity

no snooze relapse

 

And dreams of things to come

That come true

 

But who is the fourth man in the furnace?

 

Fantasy’s an epic prayer

For the pagan reader

Spirits rise

 

And am I still on earth?

 

To the right

In the periphery

Endorphine: the fear

Adrenaline: the comfort

 

Who is the ghost?

Who carries the ghost?

 

The Solemnity of Elemental Weaves

The Ballad of the Silent City

I.

Before the sounds of summer came

Among cold Rocky Mounts,

The City of the Silent grove

Was spun (by one account).

Before the cries of citadels

Besieged by brigand bands

The City of the Silent grove

Signed sonnets in the land

Decades on Amerigo’s coast,

Scores of centuries spent,

White horses crashed upon his shores,

On the Still City went.

Still City knew the Union

When brothers drove apart

She heard the shot heard round the world

Saw Chinook Ship Monsters haunt New World

And hushed her bleeding heart.

 

For the end of their world came long ago

When pirates stole their bay.

Like children of an afterbirth,

Now we who walk on sand, on earth

Came long after judgement day.

Yes the end of the world was long ago,

But not what the Chinook saw

For the whore on the seven hills will rot

By her own damned martial law.

When Rome unwrapped her pax Romana

On her margined fiefs

She set herself up for rape and pillage

By foreign peasant thieves

Oh it came upon a silent night

It came on a midnight clear

That in the borderlands of Rome

Where asps and locusts make their home

Our coup d’etat appeared.

But when every roadway bends to Rome

When every state declines

Poor people rise to take the throne

White horses chew thawed cannon bones

And the city-state resigns.

 

For a wind blew down from the northern lands

To freeze their molten blood

Unleashed from her ancient bulwark cage

By nameless terrors beyond age

She brought a frosted flood

Where warriors stood upon the gates

To shield the city’s lost

Their migrants painted on their brink

Archangels passed onto others, drank

Their sacrament of frost

For wind blew o’er from the eastern lands

To topple anchored spires

Roused from his ancient slumber cave

To wake the dead, upend the grave

To the tune of grisly choirs

Where mourners kneeled afoot the hill

To rue her dead by the wailing will

Nor’easter twisted every sound

To bleat like the weep of a basset hound

By cyclone, squall and gale.

 

For a wind blew up from the southern lands

To burn away the chaff

Stirred from his gilded feasting-hall

Annoyed and armed with his mace and maul

He sounds the cry of the curtain call

Where mockers mocked their wounded peers

Inside the palace pyre

South wind removed the flaming sword

Hidden in Eden once sheathed, restored

Let loose Beginning’s Fire

 

When ashes settled, snow on sea

When twisters slowed to sighs

When hoarfrost melted, flooded rivers

New earth dried, now baptized

When those left hidden in the caves

Some camped on mountain peaks

Remembered what incited all

Rome’s storms and rising creeks

They wrote it down upon the scrolls

Passed down to us today

A Jewish child past the Roman border

Born upon the hay

But that, I said, passed long ago

‘Fore pirates stole the bay.

Like children of an afterbirth,

Now we who walk on sand, on earth

Came long after judgement day.

And every native of the land

And every painted face

Renewed a vision that tidal rose

At the spearhead of their Anglo foes

Which silenced every space

Between the death of Chinook babes

And wind-blasts of the whore.

A silence settled on the isle

Up from the sand in a twisted smile

To still the City’s shore.

 

II.

Once was wood fort of the frontier’s men

A bulwark formed of tall

Timbers felled from cold virgin woods

By lumberjacks sprung from Titan axe-men

Stood strong, the wooden wall.

Late by the gate under gleaming moon

One wise man brought to us our boon

He whispered our unsung fear

His twisted words hit twisted ears

Of the counsel of our doom.

Yet we don’t speak of silent things

Spoke under night’s gray light.

We’d rather nod or point or stare

Or kick folks out forthright.

That wall grew up from wood to stone

From stone to marble halls

From marble grew an obelisk

To mark our starting stalls

One chipmunk ran around its base

Five cattle came behind

One general’s legion followed them

Then cars and trains combined

Our street ran by the sharpest stone

But it had a nameless face

Until one gambling troubadour

Who grew up run aground, unsure

Wrote “Wall” upon the place,

They made a sign from the polished timbers

That once preserved the fort

He wrote four letters in the wood

First one for winter, “L“s for  good

The vowel for anyone,

Our people flocked to city gate

Before the obelisk

To bid and bet and stake and risk

For family, love, or fate.

The Wall-street ran across the river

Over the western shore

It turned into an interstate

And gained its own rapport

The crowds, they came from Baton Rouge

From Vegas, Saint Louise,

With tickets, tickers, ticked tick-tocks

For money labeled “free.”

Deep beneath the obelisk

Which marked a massive grave

Where bones of Titans carved with wood

Marked for the others bans and shoulds

Howling to all “BEHAVE!”

A noiseless stir awoke the woodsmen

Under our credit crypt

Boring holes their hoard arose

When breached streets surface, thorn of rose,

Tranquility unzipped.

Now in the room upon the floor

Within Wall’s sepulcher

No man nor woman nor their child

Stood in trading rooms tamed wild

From silence, we infer:

Where once the sounds of wealth pealed out

Into all city streets

Now quiet rests the heaving chests

Of lovers who know the stillness besting

Gambler’s loud receipts.

 

III.

Before our Dark Knight haunted Gotham’s

Trasylvanian wings

Before horse racers chase big apples

While warm sirens sing

Before the Fort of Worth could gamble

All night, dirty, cheap

We knew our city’s moniker

As one that never sleeps.

But I have slept above the town

Where horns and pigeons flee

Where screaming victims’ cries grow still

Under the churn of the tower’s mill

Beneath a storm cloud’s knee.

At morning, at three, with no souls out

I woke to look below:

The cars lay dead, the kids in bed,

The sewer rats left much unsaid,

Streets smooth like fresh-turned snow.

I jumped out from my window pane,

I fell ten floors in secs,

Past dozing grandmas, snoozing dogs,

Beyond the peace of subliming togs,

fiancees having sex.

 

As I fell, then I looked down the avenue

To north, to south again

No lights poked out of the black alcoves

For the city gagged itself in droves

Unlike frayed Baharain.

I cried out to the quietude

Which bore me to the park

I stood among the sleeping squirrels

Nestled in the dark

Then flying up among the treetops

chanced upon a grove

Which others named, “the place of titles”

I just called it “love.”

One lone Hawthorne inside our park

Drank up rare central soil

Its rich life shined out in its bark

Shaded calm like the tight-lipped lark

Beyond all other foil.

Tapped thrice did I upon the trunk,

Waited three seconds more.

This tree had known to give the names

Of the world, the elements, the games

That all of us play ashore.

But Hawthorne kept a silent stare

Shut up his whispered mouth

When asked I for the name of Gotham,

She pointed west by south.

So flew I down to the Island’s point

To listen up some more,

Yet hearing now the city’s voice

Known by all run ashore:

She is not like the Vegas whisper

Not like the NOLA bands

She speaks not like a Texan’s swagger

Not like the Cali hands

Before the sounds of winter came

Among warm Appalachia

The City of the Silent Grove

stays quiet:    …  …  …  …

Before the cries of citadels

Besieged by bitter bands

The City of the Silent grove

Signed sonnets in the land

Decades on Amerigo’s coast,

Scores of centuries spent,

White horses crashed upon his shores,

On the Still City went.

 

IV.

(an interlude)

Oh hear the sound of the wakened beast!

Oh see her rise from the coast!

She knows I’ve called her to her feet!

She knows her silent toast.

 

Oh hear her wait for the coming calls

The woes have not yet passed

Let her fall, let her flail to the wailing wall

For the silence, still, will last:

 

V.

The King of England landed

With troops armed at his side

His standard scarlet-branded

By the anvil, polished, sanded

Leave the wounded flailing, stranded

On the heels of his wake, his pride.

 

The Lords of Norseland mooring

North of the island point

Ten thou ships collided, shoring

With their breakers ripple-roaring

One by one I called them, “boring!”

Charged he south to make a point.

 

The Aztecs marched from southernlands

Glazed skin, soaked from their sun

Gold-plated armor will withstand

Poisoned darts, feigned shows, and slight of hand,

The brazen battalion’s cold command,

And the ever-gattling gun.

 

Unspeakable foes came

From west, fog, mist, murk, drizzle,

Hammer down upon our flame

Malign the others, kings defame,

Beauty of subtle bleak war-game

Seared flesh stank from the grizzle.

 

Met all four foes and my life there

Upon the silent isle

Quadrumvirate hemmed me in

Yet on my lips, a smile?

The King of England gasped a breath

The Lords of Norseland panted

The Aztec tow-dyed huffed-blew out

The Black Cloud disenchanted

Prepared all armies for their speech

Drew up they words for telling

Composed they rhetoric for slander,

(Thought they themselves compelling).

 

Yet stood I there beside the tree

O. Henry in the forest

We muted out our words from them

And with our muzzle, held within

the words they hoped would stir us.

And when they spoke, I sucked it out

The whole lot of their voices

Inhaled I every vocal chord

That curses or rejoices

And when they saw the silence here

A grove primeval, virgin,

The Quartet throng let tacit deference

Sing all best left unsaid.

 

A full half-hour heaven hushed

To hear the island’s prayer

Their hearing washed us, living flush

World’s foursome turning tail to rush

Mail, horses, sabers, buckles brushing

Past taciturning air

And I and I flew back to home

And I then dreamed of war

And I heard crashes on the coast

White horses on the shore.

 

VI.

Awakened I inside my bed

Stirred not, to bind the heat

It shifted under piles of sheets

Hoping to find a way to flee

Warming my chest, my seat.

Succumbed I too the restless wind

Aside my covered core

Breaking out humidity

Upon my shameless nudity

My mind ached, tired and sore.

Leaving out front still city’s streets

Pajama pant-legs long

Vast puddles licking at my cuffs

Climbed the cold to scarf, to muffs

Heard I their slumber song:

 

Multitudes passed my striding

Walking past in droves

I went downtown among the lights

To see fare, shows, bar-brawling fights,

Ten million treasure troves.

If you were there along with me

And waited several years

You’d only just begin to mind

That sound that hit my ears.

Ten million people in five miles,

Ten million five beyond,

But one sound shifted in that sea

Of people moving busily

On our side of the pond.

A decade past, it holds the fort

A century, the wall

Deep in the soil ten thousand years

You hear the roar? The call?

The song sang long before the White Horse

First hit Britain’s rocks

The anthem of our generation

Preservatives and liberation

Pandora’s music box.

Stand with me in the corner now!

Stand Times Square, Wall, our park,

Hear rat, ant, true man, rosy sow,

Heifer, eagle, lion’s growl,

Both mockingbird and lark:

Sing onward, isle! Intone your noise!

Belt out your eld refrain!

 

Listen, my friends, unto her now—

I’m telling you her name:

 

VII.

 

(Once the seventh part existed, now it is no more. I wrote it, turned it into braille, pasted it before I’d copied down this section’s words into some other file. So when I used a lesser font, it turned it all to dots so disconnected, so un-brailled, the meaning there was lost. I tried five online tránslators, I tried it note-by-note, but when I finished I had lost the sound of what I wrote:)

 

VIII.

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Halves

To-day:

Half-day through Salem

saw them at my reception

 

Yester-day:

rushed through a half-day

a wedding day

with him there

 

Half-Christmas-day

they drove to me

six-hundred miles for a

half-day.

Three of us

wish the snow had kept them.

Even frozen them like Han Solo.

Does that make me Jabba?

 

Before all that, who knows?

 

Today’s letter came

(three weeks late)

“Happy Birthday son.

I’m proud…

I’m happy…

I’m sorry…

I love you,”

 

Cried out the other halves.

 

Mist Drizzles in Brooklyn

A drizzle in downtown Duenweg is something

Like my wife waking and the water of her shower

Misting me while I make my chin

Clean with the cutting. The crisp mist

Is a walk by a wayward water fountain

Or a splash pad. Spread the mist

Over the evening and aim it at me

And my head for an hour? The hell of The Mist

Is in taking its time and turning her loose

With a hose in hand. The Holy Lady

Of the mist maybe makes light of

Freezing her folk -- I found Niagra

Dipped and deafened in the dark of wax

And a yellowed ice. A yard in the mist

Is a play date. Place it over

The plodding pace of Park Slope

Or the Manhattan miles or make Brooklyn

Meander aimless under the years

Of her mistings and maybe she’ll make the nightly

News in drowning our novelties slowly.

Concerning the Halfway Mark by Turkey Creek Where I Parked My Bike and Turned Off the Noise

As water when in droplets formed

falls winded down from leaves

when rain returns cold fire upon

two breathless, dusty forms

as liquid courage quickens lungs,

roots feet upon hot hearth

invokes our subterranean fire

by song, by spit, by drink

as chill Noreaster wets her brother

Southern Wind’s dull heat

begetting the brimstone pillars, hail,

the whirlpool’s aery twin

as boiling baths break grime with steam

as stew evapors three

as books can ground an untamed blaze,

break blizzard’s bite, stop sea

as salt, as watered wind, limelight,

as sun breaks burns to rays

as wave, as particle, as bright

as solar winds in space

as lack of water, air, no heat

as absence of a sphere

of water falling through thin

air to ice the burning bear

she blows.

 

Awakes forgotten storms

from willowed memory.

 

She rains them down upon hot flesh—

our break from trails or sea.

 

Clothes

My wife wanted me to write a poem

For my shoes and shirts. Shucks kiddo,

I got the good ones from the great dead

Guys that gathered our growing need

And fed it feebly forward to their memories,

The gratitude of their garment garden’s scent

And aura and ether. Evanescent --

Mutilate, the moths, these musk ox

Wools and weather wear like the camel

Hair I happen to eat honey and locusts

While prophesying inside, or the petty boots

My grandpa gave me that gave when the dry

Rot ripped from the right foot’s heel

Or the tear in the tread of the third pair

Of tennis you bought me. Turbulent styles --

How fashion is fleeting. Feast, I, on the

Strips and strands of styles abandoned

in the gutter of God. Grace is when the

Clothing merchant’s kid disowns him

And strips and states, “Save me, Our Father,”

And the priest empowers the prince of cloth

Who leaves them looking at his little naked

Asscheeks and he enters an overcast winter

To find his faith flowering on the ground

As a robe and a rope -- rending there

A uniform for ages of open-handed

Friars whose fashion is feeling the cold

That the hoary homeless helplessly endure

The elements that sublime almost elementally.

Black Market Milk

Were I to film a movie,

a documented show,

I’d make its name, “Black Market Milk”

so everyone could know

that once upon a time there lived

a people of the land

who walked on dewdrop-laden blades

of grass and soggy sand,

who churned their butter, washed their bread,

who fattened up their sows,

who threshed their grain on threshing floors,

and milked their dairy cows.

These people, older native babes,

sucked straight from utter tits,

like fathers fondle helpmates’ breasts

in nursing time, in wets.

This somethin’ only fathers get—

that taste of gentle mom

when naked in the darkened vat

of master bedroom, mime

and mouthing like their offspring did,

like Denison would say:

She offered him her mother’s milk,

he made a milky trade.

Both Amish men and Mennonites

exist outside the law

by charging nothing for their milk,

(still less to use their saw)

but few are Amish in the land,

and fewer still before

Columbus crashed the Native party,

steel upon soft shore.

But still they traded milk for music,

mayonnaise for mead,

mint for metal, dark merlot,

then marble, marksmen feed,

a pound of orange marmalade,

molasses, mead again,

then back to music for the milk,

closed circle, grace and sin.

 

A thousand years would pass before

the dairymen would find

hormonal additives to blacken

up their dairy kind.

So now to get the mother’s nectar

free of toxic touch,

to find the milkman set to barter
milk for wine and such:

 

First buy yourself a skiier’s mask,

a camo gilly suit,

then let your money trade some hands,

prepare yourself to shoot,

and armycrawl your way to farms

at midnight in The States,

exchange the goods for lady’s fare

(be sure to close the gates).

 

Then, when at last you’re safe at home,

when no soul dares to wake,

drink up, drink up as ancients did
the raw, unfeigned white lake.

Is Your Mind Meaningless? And other thoughts to mind in ordinary time…

On the Instance of My Wife Sleeping in

She will sleep till her spine revolts

And then kick herself for caving to the accrual of fatigue

Type ones take as the normal

Day to day. Devastating

How the body rebuffs, rebuilds with scraps

Of remnant rests. I renig on the scoffing

I have aimed at her ovum and beta

Cells and their shames. Somehow I sank

Into thinking the thunder I thresh was harvest

For the helpless hers and the hardened organs

That needed a donut nightly or the shaking

Up that empires owe themselves

Here in the hateful harrowing of Great

And Vital Virtues. Evict my malice

And let me let her be lost in the sleep

That body and brother and bare nation

Require in these queer and unquieting times,

Oh God Almighty. Grant me a willing

Spirit to suspend the insane impulse

To delay the light and leave her to rest

Like an intimate elf or an injured sleeping

Beauty basking in the broth of a time

When the weak were welcome and wondered strong.

Five-Pronged Eyes

You saw me in the kitchen washing all your dishes

Cutting my hand; I bled upon your counter

In that bloody mess, soiling your wishes

As bland, crimson rags silenced our encounter

Dishes screamed onto red tile shattering

Your eyes, your cold gazing for the battering.

 

You saw me in the vineyard plucking grapes

Joining harvest, each one told rain’s love story

From which we agreed Houdini can’t escape

Bottling vintage juice for wine’s old glory

Corks would shoot off to the moon, shimmering

Your eyes, your warm stares now simmering

 

You saw me soon holding Enid’s baby

In that hospital rocking chair’s slow dawning

We met each other’s eyes thinking “maybe…’

That young boy interrupted us by yawning.

Blue cigars inflamed, then subtly searching

Your eyes, which cannot hide your heart’s lurching

 

You saw you through a ten-foot ancient mirror

I came to stand behind you, fully aiding

All your image, pulling you all the nearer

Yours is one which never seeks the fading

Crystal surface captured every moment

Your eyes hesitated at shame’s torment

 

You see us through an album full of photos

Each shot caching past days from our history

And when you reminisce (your face aglow)

You prove our love, our shrouded mystery

Faded frames revealed the thoughts behind

Your eyes that walk the hidden trails that lead back to your mind.

 

I see your eyes in five mottled prongs

Which form a trident of your liquid gaze

that forms the noble, evanescent songs

Which, when we hear them, start love fresh ablaze.

Jaded names are ours within the scene

Your eyes direct, each second caught between.

 

You saw me in the kitchen washing all your dishes

Cutting my hand; I bled upon your counter

In that bloody mess, sifting your wishes

As sand, crimson rags—pilonce soaked in color—

Wishes pleaded with the red tile bartering

For prizes meant for the dreamers and doddering.

Twoem

The following poem was posted on Twitter under the name “Twoem” with the handle “@ReadTwoem” between July 26^th^ and July 27^th^ of 2012, obviously long before my wife and I quit social media. To my knowledge, it still exists on the internet under that name. Each line was posted as a single tweet, one hundred and forty tweets in total.

 

ReadTwoem: a #twitter #poem by @lanceschaubert

One forty I wake, stomach’s in pain—ulcers usher in fissures again. Try taking alkalis, take pills, but mouth won’t consume, yet articulates

Words flow from adrenal heart along my bloodstream into lungs, vibrating vocal chords, which vibrate columns of air and come out like words,

When I hear me speak to myself in the second person invocation possess eight savages, two brutes chained to two wrists, the literature labor

First I type in [user]TAB[password]ENTER or longer process of registration for more online real estate & tweet reverberates, song and siren,

My first shares all-too-personal info about gastric abscesses, medication, choking precautions, left no room for rhetoric, but I’m warming up

It comes- something like #poetry but not, creative limitation to the beat of $140million or something-can medium subvert itself from within?

I disregard doubts as all artists (if they participate in eventuality) & I rage, text & verse, lunacy: mechanical terra firma, soil & tools,

What comes surprises me, a chance at something undone, at undoing something done wrong, meaning in restriction, in forcing lines into limit-

wrote this one first on my smith-corona to prove it’s still done. no power in my house except AC (that may still be weakness) comfort crutch

so I type a few to prove value as Hemingway or King would’ve done in his early days, for I’d refuse myself apps, open windows, notifications

I refuse this mirage of connectivity in this desert of woven, webbed hard drives, at least for the time being, for this breath, intermission

There’s me, a ribbon (that’s no metaphor) and letters forged from iron or perhaps aluminum, permanency as if to say, “When punched, then meant

Not only does ironed typography transfer straight to print, subverting processed words, but they burn, they engrave both onto wheel and page

So yes, I still rough draft whenever possible on my typewriter, for the value’s in slowdancin with the words, in not writing but typewriting

This’n in pen-green ink, moss & vine shoots conquer concrete & her digital cousin. Artery of exnihilo power: blank page & order out of chaos

I took pictures of my poem and that makes it meta I suppose, though such a thing’s value is in the vegetation to follow

Meta for meta’s sake’s like oil change for oil change’s sake—proof’s in the pudding, value is in the vegetation-that’s what I meant, I think

That we might see the tropes, systems, forms we find swell or form something substantial, that happens like layers of mold in the coffee pot

Layers (not just one) plurality of mold, mold upon mold, films stacked- Hollywood archive of decomposing greats-mixed metaphor and spectrums

Anthrax on black on green on white on grits on brewed water below, sedentary or anthropomorphic layers of rock, statues buried and born-time

proves inevitabilities & disproves ideas of proving those soul-things, those layered forms, those poetries. For what is soul is undefendable

It’s unattackable, unattainable, inconceivable (to the extent that cult films come to mind at the mention of the word) No we few who #poetry

, #Poetry hermetically, cloistered off, lobbing chocolates like Molotovs over these city walls. We few canaries stuck in our mine a’tweeting

I believe poets still lay breadcrumb trails that lead from the witch’s house to the woods, we work language into katas: IN CASE OF EMERGENCY

but Hansel and Gretel favor houses built from objects that cause root canals, tables loaded with torture devices, something a little more…

_____ _______ _______ _______ __

|____| |_____/ | |______ \_/

| | | \_ | ______| |

I plead the fifth, your honors, and in pleading chose that precise moment when I will testify against myself in favor of the cause, the word
#inspiteofthepresenceofabsurditieswherepeopleinsistonmakingeverysentencesearchablequantifiableorotherwisecommentaryonwhatneedssaidorpoetried

 

 

Like the #myWANA twibe—and does that not get at it? Tribe of tweeters? A collective art? A collaboration of otherwise cordoned off creators?

I suppose it could be worse if we could talk about the shortening of URLs to something like http://n.on/SenS3/ or the rest, et all infinitum

http://whatwerewe.doingthinkingthebeautyofURLcould.oureyesandcrossourTaslongaswecreateafullstopat.com/mercial_enterprise/instead-ofthe.org/

For there’re organizations and corporations, the latter swallowing the whole in body, the former giving the body to the whole, profit & non-

I still have these doubts, questions, uncertainties that give faith some breathing room, even in the midst of this medium we use, questions:

Do drug dealers hashtag their work like #hashish (coincidence) or #uniformity (that’s irony) If no, how they get paid in this climate? #DARE

If threads of @ chase back to a source, is the most recent like the roottip or the budding leaf? If so, does that make the original a trunk?

Do sources come as result of conversations held in real-time, in RL rather than DL? Can we conclude that we participate in continuum? Hmm…

& how’s that different? The layers prism into our eyes, refract #rehashed thoughts, retweeting what we ourself tweeted in re: unto another’n

Or’f my one-armed uncle Billy (RIP) got his hook on here his kleft hanmed woulkd mnake senmce buit hjs rugjht’s a hjoiok. Mean right hook…

So where’s the expression for Billy (RIP) who drove me on a jetski when I was ten using his hook for the gas and his left hand for his beer?

Also, doesn’t automated tweeting defeat the tweeting purpose? If people gave a tweet, people wouldn’t tweeting automate like mother tweeters

My friend went to prison there heard people use profanity, twittering about, trying to express the inexpressible. No poetry, but only curses

Like: tweet tweet tweet Dude tweeting took the tweetareet tweet tweet book atweetingway from weet twitterytwat me, don’t you tweeting tweet?

“Never been more proud of my education,” he said, “because I’m the guy in here that can express various shades of angst, ire, woe, euphoria”

To which I’d add acedia, zeal, poesy, ignorance, lighthearted jubilation, discontent, murderous wrath bits of joy and sorrow sprinkled about

We are more than our words, we are our wordings. We are more than our tales we’re our tellings. We’re more than poetry, we’re our poetrings.

The action in motion, the progress of prose, doing rather than merely being it-- like marriage (where people do it)-takes more than footnotes

Not that footnotes’re invaluable, but only the ones you’re reading, not those you’ve read. In media res come the footnotes, not postscripts^

^Schaubert, Lance “Twoem” (Twitter:Joplin, 2012) #51. He continues, “Because they add subtext to already established thoughts, reflections”
…and we continue as if they never happened, a daydream, reverent reverie saturated with subliminal messages and author’s intended meaning

View translation
It’s certainly a betterfluffalternativeflufftoflufffindingfluffwaysflufftoflufftakefluffupfluffspace. Especially this one:___________________

So yes, footnotes’ve value, but only insofar as they work the midriff, plunge into middle earth and meet us halfway into the action, y’know?

WE INTERRUPT THIS BROADCAST TO BRING YOU A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: [Insignificant product] will give you [divine virtue] if you [shady action]

NOW BACK TO OUR SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING: Of course there’s a difference between intermission and interruption, and though I’d agree with Nouen

“The interruptions are your work,” he meant in terms of the least of these, not the most of these. Interruptions work as poor, lame or blind

Not interruptions as in rich, mobile and visual. ∴ no, I don’t listen to the advertisements all the way through. Because I’ve better things

To do: Better things than these. Better nobler, more manful framings of this cubby hole of a world before we crowd ourselves out and falling

Falling, falling toward the black linoleum. That’s what happens in a crowd: trample damage. Good for the rats, bad for the butterflies, see?

“Wee sleekit cowerin’ timorous beastie,” Robbie said, & he truly meant “best laid” when it came to plotting grounds, when it came field mice

For we do, we do we do go on and crush one another beneath the weight of worry. We self-motivate ourselves until no one else feels motivated

Where were we? Who gives a-- Say! I do like green eggs & ham! I do so like them Walton, Sam! & I would retch them in a train and in a car and

My, what a lot of funny things there are. (funny [fuh*knee] adjective 2. – “unusual in such a way so as to arouse suspicion”) Funny guy, Sam

By this time, all three of you who follow this nonsense will expect me to ask you to retweet and, not wanting to disappoint: please retweet!

But don’t retweet out of pressure, but rather pleasure, not out of obligation, but out of a sense that you (pl.) are doing something herenow

We (the collective “I”) plan on saying something together as we begin to redefine the restrictions set around us from an SMS world, txtNptry

one more “T” makes: TEXT and POTTERY, which is so interesting considering the plethora of misinterpretations of personalized plates on HWY44

But yes, RDRVR (or any other license plate or SMS or tweet, for that matter) could mean any number of things, one stencil for phantom rhymes

RDRVR could be “red rover” or “rad raver” or “Our Driver” or even “Rider Ever as in the eternal biker gang in the sky which is why, I think,

Brother Scott teaches usns that context’s king, which, in the context, means interpretively not (as others libel) for allegiance or idolatry

Much like Hebrew without all the dots & tiddles, propretonicreductions & other fancy linguistic words that don’t apply to the matter at hand

RDRVR with an “M” at the end might pluralize it or with “‘M” might dualize it—the duality of Red Roveraim, two lines, two teams, a face off:

RDRVR RDRVR SND TWTTR RGHT WVR where “W” is the Vav or Waw, functioning as vowel and consonant, similar to our letter “Y”—duality of context

Like “Y” or “W” or the phantom “RDRVR,” GOOD and EVIL exist in context-abstractconcept sof right and wrong don’t come from physicalityorsubs

stance, they come from the application of virtue and vice unto myriad moments like the addition of cacophic or harmonic vowels to consonants

Hebrew & Twitter & perhaps license plates, taught us that. RDRVR for an orange 2012 bug might be “RedRover” but for a Lexus “OurDriver” fits

“RiderEver” fits for a philosophy professor’s Harley (or Honda)—I know one who has one just like that but the license plate’s way more hokey

something like “DSCRT” I assume is a triple-entendre between the Ebonic “Dis Cart” the mispronounced “Duhcart” & the philosophic “Descartes”

But who knows? You explain the joke and the funny dies with it, like dissecting bubbles-the effort’s in the blowing not the popping. Myself?

I like to watch them float off, hoisted on humor, buoyant above us by our own attentive tittering never probing the work of the comedian for

if probed, then popped if popped, then foundered if foundered, then no longer funny. But to make a funny? Blowing alone in our corner? Puff?

Efforting our own ruach upon amalgamated water & alkali until orb “music of the spheres” globe of hydrogen bonds exists, that’d be something

And so absolutely I respect the comedians for they confusticate and bewuther me by taking the longest way around to turn a very short phrase

In this, stand up comedians are some of our only public #poets left, cause they do the same thing with language &'ve a single measuring rod:

They laugh? Chortle? Chuckle? Giggle? Twitter? Titter? Crack up? Be in stitches? Roll in the aisles? Or, at least, they even crack a smile ?

If yes, then success. If no, then failure. Thats the formula for good comedy. For this alone #poetry fasts into the next millennium, exiled,

seeing the land of milk and honey from far off, daring not to go in until the infidels clear themselves out, having cannibalized one another

For poetry’s an unmeasurable thing, with no quantifiable canon. Comedy? She’s a form of poetry, but the only one that we can gauge or assess

For get that this makes us a bunch of asses-sors, forget how it degradates our legacy, our great-grandchildren’s education, forget that our-

kids actually envision the literal end of nature (not 2 mention the literal end of literal) that they’ll grow up in a climate where students

Exist: To learn, perfect, and complete a given task. (rather than: To learn how to become a good, decent and responsible human being) getit?

Forget that we’ve forgotten our roots, our etymological roots where “politics” has something to do with the city instead of TV or newspaper,

that “education” has something to do with leading out like a wandering prophet rather than “socialscience” brainwashing or worse, employment

that “religion” means a binding-a sense of self-committed devotion rather than a systemic means of oppression, violence, or false politicals

and that “media” means middle like medium like art-advocacy between the living and the dead, ignorance and truth, love and enemies> not lies

which means that “social” #media –socialis meaning “allied” or socius “friend”–could mean a society of advocates OR a society of united foes

I spose that it’s up to what the people put up with, for that’s always the case: the twisting of words in the context of our nation may ruin

us yet. And yet, and yet I bet there’s something more to us than meets the eye, for we’ve toppled triple times the regimes than any of our f

-ormer fathers, collectively, a global nation rather than one – begged to believe nations & colonies still exist on this ever-shrinking ball

We don’t, and that’s enough, for they will die off before we do and if we refuse to believe lies, if we hold to our integrity-that is enough

It’s enough to say “I’m not like that, whatever I am” with no set agenda, for Robbie agendas “gang oft agley & lea us not but grief and pain

…for promised joy” will pull through, I believe and that’s where he & John too were wrong. The present only touches thee, yes this’s true,

And “Och I backward cast my eie on prospects drear” as well, though there are good memories too, we must not forget our triumphs as a people

But the forward part-why guess and fear? Why guess at all? For it could be worse or better or both, but if we hold our integrity, I believe.

That same man, after all, said “You did not have a home. There were places you visited frequently, took off your shoes and you’d scratch yer

that we can still do greater things yet, greater things in word and deed in paint and power, in the vulnerability of our trusting commonhood

One man said we're not as strong as we think we are, this is true- the smallness of us. But our smallness is our strength, weak lowly things

feet cause you knew that the whole world belonged to the meek and you did not have a home, no you did not have a home.” Which is, I must say

honestly true: homeless people own the world, no one else. The nomads, the gypsies the hitchhikers’n hobos get it: all’s grace, naught’s due

You cannot claim what was here, neither can you truly create-you may subcreate, innovate, remix and rework, but ex nihilo is not for us “Get

your own dirt” goes the lame joke, lame because true to a cliché, true to an assumption, true in our bones, the things we walk upon so often

Then the #fruitninjas and #angrybirds of the world come and tell us that lie: “Old things’re lesser, stupider, more foolish than new things”

Clive called that “chronological snobbery,” acting like we’re better than our primogenators. #Success & Successor may be #LinkedIn roots but

unlike all of these other words, I find them woefully unrelated (in context), an eitheror addition to the end of one propaganda becomes the-

brass of its opponent, for this’s the #dilemma of our age: success or successor? Win or emerge? Fame/fortune or greatness/fragility ? Chosen

my side, have you yours? For I hope to live a mythological #life rather than profitable one [that my name’s forgotten] my story’s remembered

Thats our question & inheritance: to flee, or not to flee? Whether tis nobler in the mind to fight another day the small campaigns of men or

to stay unarmed against a sea of troubles, and by remaining end them? To brawl, to beat or more, to catch some sleep at night from peacing ?

These are the grammars from whence we choose: corporate takeover, espionage, and seduction OR corporeal rupture, confession, trust-building

The one from self-preservation spawns apocalypse, the other from self-immolation sows a neocosmos, a curded, honeyed milky whey, a new manna

These visions I see with mine waking eyes, and when I go to sleep the nightmœres come in twisted forms: cubicals, 401k’s, tax-deductions, a-

pplicable Christmas bonuses, FICA scores, litigation, reverse-engineered drone strikers, rigged elections, genocide coverups, reserves call-

ed “Casinos,” drug cartels named “state police force,” and Senators who in another life called “this life” worked for banks, pharms, trucks

Prepared 140 ways (four short of gross) as George Washington Carver might have asked us to, a future union in diversity (and not uniformity)

of Pacific oceans washing over, flooding stores of warheads and hardheads and jarheads, of the old “Come Together, right now” over me and my

dead body, if that’s what it would take. When our generation leaves the solipsistic, over-invested side of their convictions and wills hers-

elf to die for the others, for the cause, rather than to kill for it or worse, kill one of our global brothers for it, but to die fullbore -

I always wake soon after (three-hundred and sixteen characters pass quickly in masks) and remember that this’s all a very bad dream or #joke

More like me see the world gossamer and gilded, Edenic and Urban, Garden and Guarded, city and country-the difference of culture unculted or

and unafraid for one another, to release our clinging to sustenance and to embrace quietus, to walk freely into massacre- Boston-style - and

relinquish ourselves to whatever red, grey or blue coat takes us—that to me’s courage, that to me’s conviction, that to me changes the world

for it was a similar sort of death on the edge of the empire that crushed Rome and it will be that sort of death that brings us into new age

But don’t mind me what do I know? I’m only some affected soul on this edge of empire: part Ozark, part Appalachia, part Cherokee, part Jew,

part Zimbabwean, part Barbadian, part Shawnee Forest—a noname upstart from a line of carpenters (union & otherwise) that chose ink over wood

I should go on like this, should continue in characteristic restriction, in #thevoice people use #thesedays, #amwriting something more here.

Then again, art consists, as Gilbert said, in drawing the line somewhere. Somewhere we must refuse to type, to fill, to censor, editorialize

Then again the time comes where: silence… listen… (and then again) hush… shush child… the wind gasps answers back, hoping to startle

In the end gag or tweet. I'm the former: _____ ______ ___ ___ _____, _____ _______ ___. ____.

 

Giving Up the News

…Is harder than hearing. How you shatter

Bones as a boy before the season

Ends and you ache to even the score

And return to the team, or take a sick

Gardener’s groaning for the great outdoors

Or a landlocked lady of the water

Or a shut-in sailor. Soon you will find

the lane to the life you love is behind

The avenues in the alleys where even the news

Seldom will stray: in the singular voice

Of the Clarion call of Christian thought

And Philosophy’s prudence and the power of Historic

Agreement gathered in the grisly books

On the shelf till you’re sure that status updates

And news is a nightly enigma that cannot

Be solved as quick as stitches on broken

Hearts or the healing of a holy man’s pride.

Untitled Man

I play this thinking game

as an artist by the scene

Or dancers sitting oh-so-serene

moved beyond their minds

nothing comes out right

Angled.

 

spirit groans

 

fashion my true name

on a stone

The Gentry Moved in on Halloween

Blameshift

market boy

leaves (yellowed)

hit by carts

The Wild West

The Wild Wild West is what they call

Baltimore's broken -- the battered western

End of The East. With Indians murdered,

A white western needs rewritten as an Eastern

In this city’s sinning. For soon The Black

Man is made a modern native

And Manifest Destiny masquerades

As eminent domain. Even the firemen

Ponder the plastic pouches and shopping

Bags that are blowing like bits of tumble

Weeds in the weather of the western films

Will blow by, or the blue and red

Illuminations of the long trucks

Of paramedics that paint our earrings

And our whorings that hedge us by habits and the vices

Of saloons and not our longings. Leave the duelings

And high noon hoarding of respect

And the Trail of tears take and replace

It with the praxis of peace. Power is a fickle

Thing when the thunder is thought awful

yet is bark and no bite, a bumbling shout

That’s strikeless and strong, when the stranger in town

Is the sheriff who is surely the scoundrel and the brigand

The wandering wicked. What are the natives

Left with to love? Left with the tyrants

to rescue hope? they would rather die

At the hands of hell than husband evil.

The Yoke of Mothers

A Queen is a King who carries the weight

Of the world within her. Enwombing the younglings

And entombing their titles, taking their passings

On a pilgrimage or a parade. Powder she spreads --

The ashes of embers that echo the flames

Of memories marking men and their gains

And lovings or leavings. The leftovers abide

Within her insides. As if she’s an urn

Made of flesh and flight, flare as her throat

And incubating her nest of ashes for fires

To crack their creases in cognate eggshells

With phoenixes inside. Fertile, embracing,

The life light leaves and then backward

From manhood to Godhead and then childhood again

Nursing on the nectar newly replenished

By matriarch’s mam’ry. Making, when we die

Embattled, the bridge to the births of the sires

Taking twine and a twinge as they hoist

Their father’s firearm. The fumes lift

And stands the structure: see how Queens

Bridge we broken princes to our Kings?

Mother of Exiles

Eight-hundred. Their open mouths

Similarly sing songs we all know

Though know not: their tongues -- they show

No face cards. Nimble, demure, go ghosts

Of the Mind of God, mad sod made sad,

Triangle eyelids, squares and trundle sides,

But they’re still eyes, you know. Stopping together

They see as one. Smell as one though

Misshapen besides, share the same tastes,

Touching race to race. Liberty Regal --

My crimes are crude forms of your name!

Languages languish, lampposts made fenceposts,

Made into metal pikes masked by barbs

And whatever the shipyard itemizes

For cordoning cows. Killing clouds and

Roosting with pigeons unrich and sundry,

Your overture oxidized, olive and sickened

Remembering tyrant, Napoleon moneyed

Whose citizens ceded céleste to us

In the form of a figure with flair for the gracious

His Frenchmen entrusted freedom to U.S.

As a strike at his reign, as a slap on his chin.

And the chauvanists of Chauvin? They chaffed cause they ruled.

 

Perhaps it is time we handed the torch

To some budding statehood of freedom?

To places now warming, their playboys deserted

To United States, knighted for evils

Done in her name. Dead are the ways

Hospitable Yanks hosted each other

In the wake of the voyage. We opened borders

At the start so we’d found this state of migrant

Pilgrims who had dreams. Pilfered dreams

Of mixed-race babies and the peace they imply.

We did it at the start. Will we do it again?

Can we become a nation on pilgrimage

And leave our little bit of land?

Guantanamera

You sing it. Yourn -- they mourn, they

Wring it over, ragdolls and wine,

Listening somber, listening longer

Than anyone else in the “N” train’s crowd.

Others ignore you, mothers note the

Boredom born in baby faces.

Teens spend their braincells as tender

On turn-based games in their tiny screens.

 

You sing it. Yourn -- they mourn, they

Wring it over, opium petals drip.

None here know: Now is Cuba.

The sounds of the lady: alma my lover,

Alma mi mater de terra mi pater

Torn out of time the trucks of the fifties,

The men who make more on donuts

Than dentistry or law. Done are the days

Of teeth and order, taken, embargoed so

Long ago, oh. The Long Islands

Commuters make no memory of this

Your National Anthem. Theirs announces an

Empire’s entrance, an empires sins and

Strangleholds. But strings on your

Guitarra strain to say, “We are strong

Because we stay carried away by

This woman, my Cuba.” The closest we come

To a fair hearing? “Come here.

Is that guy singing something about

Guantanamo bay?” Goes away: intimacy.

 

You leave it. Yourn -- they mourn, they

Wring it over, towels and the blood.

 

Train doors slide.

 

Your pronedance moaning dulce o(u) salé

Dies as our crowd’s tide washes you away.

 

Rio Sunset

Ghosts in the gold, ghosts in the late

Grate growing wet from grey waters.

Ghosts in the water gushing its spray:

Men in it which men aren’t mainly,

Shadows and shades, shadows in spades

Twinned and twining, twisting liquid

Pining from physique, from playing rain:

Where are the men within? White water at

Nighttime walks is a newness to me:

Beguile and charm, enchant and bewitch

Illuminating liquid marvel,

For we have arrived to watch one another

Move from my side to madre’s porch.

 

I leave it, I leave things

Charged and I think of thunder.

 

Upon returning to the tempest the tinkers

Heavenward woke from hydrant halls

Their cap clatters, is cast away

By grey ghosts in the grizzled pipes,

By poltergeists who perk to fight

The Zeitgeist of the ziggurat’s kings—

Landlords and landlord things loved

Not by common creatures or their cats.

Mats are soaking. Maybe children

Choking goes unnoticed for tonight.

The streets, they melt. The streets, they smelt

Of sulphur, of piss, and perfume until

The ghosts grist us back our grates.

A native child takes note:

“You play? You playing in the puddle mister?

In the black river we built, we reached?

You’ve passed to my crossing con tu perra?”

 

Was Venice very varied like Brooklyn

Before it floundered in the foaming sea?

Was Atlantis loved by little kids

Who gave its flooding streets felicity?

Pigeons and Turtledoves

Watch and the world withers before you

As you sit and sip. Seats on the peaks

Of stool stumps rock. Staying on wheels

Lateral that lean? Like we are just sliding

Towards the wakes? Towards the streets

And their dangerous drakes? Dream about biding

Time and the tide. Teach the childer

How racist we aren’t. Reach in and neglect

The trails of tears, the transgressions repeat

And the childer chase a choo-choo south

To the mouth of the rivers, to the moats in the seas

And the spaces of heaven to be seen by our watchers

And the holes where hobbits hide and bide the

Time and the tide. The Shire will be razed

Again as the evil gains footholds but

She hates the hillsides. She hides in Coney,

In Bay Ridge and Rio, in the bowls of seas

Crossed on floating things. And she clings to a hope

Of water rising. But the flames get anxious

So a mother migrates amid the poorest

With turtledoves two she treks south

Pregnant with her God. Prepare the way

Of the immigrant illegal who aims to save

The privileged by hanging. Prepare the way

Of the homeless heavens. The refugee -- oh how

Did he die for deporters? The dark-skinned child

Of the Middle East? Mary migrates

to the Edge of the empire. Even the Romans

Meddled in the Middle. And made their Maker

Into their brazen image: a terrorist.

 

Do suicides always slay?

Do immigrants always pilfer the union?

Or do some save nation states?

And even steal our sins?

Gotham Wakeless (A Cittandine)

I saw the consequences of our chosen fate

we read the world’s ending in cardboard and mile-high signs

– to be so near by so far, so far cause so close –

on intricate sandcastles grown men make, which vanish at night.

You have not died. You had fallen asleep and will now wait…

 

I met the kite club at the beach. They grow wings, yet stay

tethered to this sand through snares imposed

by those whose consequences cage our chosen fates.

 

Where Astoria’s humor meets Inwood’s bachata under the eldritch lights

no seer can take stars by astrolabe Home.

There we write world endings on mile-high, cardboard signs.

 

I met the Minotaur at the center of the West Village labyrinth.

He said to me, “What, you want a fucking cookie?” And clip-clopped off.

You have not died. You had fallen asleep and will now wait

 

for thirty minutes on the other platform for a fifteen minute train ride

or walk for forty. You choose to walk, repose

from intricate sandcastles grown men make, which vanish at night.

 

(Walking was a bad choice at two in the hot mornlate).

One-hundred dollar ticket for a used two-fiddy swipe-o

I saw the consequences of our chosen fate:

 

Hell’s Kitchen’s tiny forts fading in a purgatory of might,

Chileans shouting to Arabs “In English! In English, poto!”

We read our world’s ending in cardbored, mile-deep signs–

 

“This here’s a misdemeanor. Ever been arrested?”

“No.” “You sure? You ain’t lying? Cause in a sec I’ll know.”

–you have not died. You had fallen asleep and now await

 

flat Triangles Below Canal Street to grow up spires.

Still in two-thousand years they’ll stand on Wall and go,

“This seems to have been some sort of market site,”

on intricate sandcastles grown men make, which vanish at night.

 

Though not yet midnight – drinking five minutes later

means you missed the train and will wait until another ghost

goads dioxide into humid carbon from some unknown palace of nether-sky.

 

To be so near by so far, so far cause so close

we coax the world’s ending onto bright rag signs

trim intricate sandcastles grown men make, which vanish at night.

You hope for consequences of The Chosen fate:

we will not die. We had fallen asleep and must now wake.

 

CSA Potluck

Ciders spiked and the simmering wild

Rice that she rendered in a root soup

For the CSA staff and Martín

As we planned produce. Patience is a talked

Dialog dance. We drive one

another nutso with no thought

To listen along out of love for the mind

Of fellow men: we fight for time

to speak and spank. Speckles then form

On the hull of hope that harden to coral

And barnacles black to burden dreams

Of things thought but now thunder afar

Like the rain that could render a ruin to garden

Or drown deserts but died in the air.

Listeners left when loamier soil

Bid them back to bear a lighter

Burden of talk: the beauty of heeding

And having been heeded: hulls that are smooth.

Beckon

When you sail between both soundhouses

You will hear

that the lighthouse ain’t the only keep

emitting sense

for the feelhouses – those phalluses –

reach, tingle

make the hairs… how they stand on end,

shivering.

And the scenthouses billow upwards,

smoke signals

of the fragrances, fair and foul, to come:

ethereal masts.

 

When you walk between both soundhouses

feel free ----

for the lighthouse wards off crashes

twisting counsel,

for the feelhouse wards off creeps

– it begs permission –

for the scenthouse wards off stenches

olfactory white ----

The soundhouse wards off sounds-to-be.

 

I walked outside in Tuesday morning’s

cold, gusts, ice

between a man and a woman both

saw neither

until my periphery noticed

me between

two soundhouses: both emitting scrapes

scratches, both,

nails upon jail cells, burrowing,

two humans

scraping gilded tax papers for sums

hollowed. Both

harrowing one more future of

reinvested change.

 

The Lottery. Scratchoffs heard, unseen, warn:

crags ahead in the dark

 

Prog Code

From the broken bytes of Bernie’s movement

A scrapyard assembled. Seams were bound

By unseemly stitches, a scarlet old thread

With a green or a gold or a great navy

And the parties perished and progress was encoded

On the minds of mankind and the matriarchy

And they plugged in the power. They primed this well

With a meeting map and a Medium for social

Events converging on varied issues

And the code progressed. Clearly the machines

Were intended to tame tyrants and bind

Bureaucrats to their base, to the blue virtues

Of the life we live, learning from each

To each and earning an evening with the mic

Open and our ears too. Every noble

Adventure varies, but viking and coder

Alike will leave the land they know

For the sake of a sudden search on a new

Map and a morning maybe-we-could

And a vision of voice. Virtue will emerge

from the bricks of brothers bound and sisters

Who were run aground from the graves of sailors

Who journeyed on out, jumping at fate

For a mainland where mountains had made a life

Of namelessness and were nourished by the Native Good

And in this the thinking of Thy Progress

Is regress towards the right uses of the riches of creation.

Holidays

Notes from Heschel: The Architecture of Time

Techno-civilization

breaks existence – time for space –

more objective(s), more to place.

Having more ain’t being more,

might of space still dies at time’s

borders. Existence beats its

heart not in spaces, but times.

 

Set out to control my space,

gain some power, forfeit time.

In time: not have, but to be.

Own not, but give some graces.

Not control, but share. Subdue

not spaces, live in accord.

We forfeit life when control

of space, accumulation,

concerns us first – stocks and Fords.

nothing’s more useful than It –

nothing’s more frightful than It –

poverty once degraded

us, but now we are threatened

by Power’s degradation.

Enjoy your love of labor

but hate your loving of gain.

Hearts and pitchers break before

the fountain we call ‘profit.’

Technical society

grows up from propriety –

tools and spinning, farm and house,

sailing, aleing, data, blouse,

each in spatial surroundings.

Subdue? Manage nature’s force?

Worship nature in mountain,

forest, water, flame or stone?

God’s not space. Is man alone?

 

Inside the universe you

like to see God make presence,

but do we get to choose how?

We want God in space, not time,

in nature, not history,

as if Godhead were a thing

not a life-giving spirit.

Pantheism worships space:

Supreme Being is no more

than infinite space minded

deus sive natura  –

extension – space – but not time.

For  Spinoza, time’s mirage –

he wants philosophy warped

to geometry’s place.

Primitive minds won’t realize

ideas unimagined. Space –

where imagination rules –

we revere sacred image.

Monuments, places, banners,

flags, national shrines, statues

– memorials stultify

ends, aid amnesias. Though too

sacred to be polluted,

not too sacred to exploit.

To retain the holy, you

fashion gods you can confine:

mere shadows, shadows of man.

THING is the category

heavy on our minds. Concepts

– all – we mold into its form,

attending to seen, smelled, heard,

touched, tasted. Reality

is thinghood. Even our God’s

conceived by most as a thing.

We’re blind, we’re deaf, we’re muted

to half of reality:

all that is shy, all that won’t

identify selves as things.

The insubstantial we make

inconsequential, know

not what to do about time.

Time is sarcasm. A slick

treacherous monster, jaws like

furnaces burning moments.

We shrink from taking on time,

face to face, escaping to

space instead. Possessions are

repressions – fuel for near flames.

We can’t conquer time in space.

We can master time in time.

For the higher goal of all

spiritual living is not

to amass wealth of data,

Evernotes evernoting,

but to face sacred moments.

Please do not use your moments.

Please don’t abuse your moments.

You cannot spend your moments.

Your cash won’t trade for moments.

They aren’t alike, your moments.

Not shells, nor stamps. Your moments,

sole, enchant. Savor their spells.

Each hour’s the only one given

exclusive and endlessly

precious. Holiness in time –

to this, to sacred events –

we must attach, we must build

our great cathedrals – Sabbaths –

Our architecture of time.

Qadosh. “Holy” in Hebrew –

mystery and majesty

of the divine. What was first?

A mountain? An altar? Man?

No. “God blessed the seventh day

and made it holy.” No thing

was holy at creation.

God did not become a tree.

God did not grow up from rocks.

God’s not stuck in Jupiter,

atom clouds or public stocks.

God’s not mere geometry.

He chose time, but we choose place.

God’s right here in history,

builds his cathedrals in time,

palaces and brandywines

of hours and seconds like a

castle in the clouds, G.K.

called them, without regular

rules of architecture. Then

he takes his time with timing:

For providence means that he

takes the sixfold pain and toil

of spoilt maidenhead, agley

schemes of mice and men, takes a

murder here, lies and theft there,

and reupholsters them all

the way down, down to the bone.

Reordering disorder,

he takes eons doomed to die,

deemed by men to make men cry,

and turns them till they catch then light,

until he finds their prism,

folds it into his white bright

of all, and redistributes

moments, rewriting from old

component parts and pistons,

cheery-picked the engine of

time and put a new one in:

His very self within man.

God, defined by history,

became History again:

First he set aside a day,

Then he taught us, way by way,

“Take the time to face my face,

take the time away from space.”

 

In time, Lord Sabbath

Was put to rest

on Sabbath. Rose an eighth day

called it “Today, if you hear

me, don’t harden your hearts.” Glimpse time…

 

Ode to a Carpenter

[In hopes that the world relents before
breaking your back for a third time]

 

 

Below the old dark basement stair there sat

your drafting desk, whose nuts, whose rambling arms

belied the old fine flicker of forge and vat,

of framing, making, building, dreamt-up forms,

of vision, hope from unsung pioneer

will one day invent his masterpiece, his tour

de force. Aged desk, are you prepared to tell?

Has time arrived to meet fear

with nose, to nose? If asked, work surface, flour

everything kneaded, ease us—all is well…

 

Tinkering sets and Lincoln logs dispersed

along with the plastic basketballer toy

buried within a young man’s cedar purse,

casket of treasures, strong-box made of boy.

Always I played with playthings left from when

younger and younger versions of you lived

in worlds where daydreams folded on the earth.

Desire and intent

informed a simple world that muted moved

en route to Blissed Everlasting: Birth. Rebirth.

 

Soon come the fadings, manhood disenchants

in worlds without enchantments, glamoury.

When Everyone is worried, caught in rants,

conned, abused, used, massaged with emery—

they take (cause taken), break (broke), bricked (in turn)

because they know not if the “what I should do”

can break the reverie

of all I’ve known and know to do: to burn.

And thus the good we know we never do do.

Or do we? Really, do we only ill?

 

I think that the good men in this world are good,

that every bad man still in bed feels

all his guilt growing blackened mold-food

upon his own soul’s plinth and weeps inside

the backside of eyes, either eye like glass,

Man who, unmanned, unarmed, unmasked regrets.

From such no evil hides,

though some exist like their remorse can’t outweigh past

sins. Godly-born sorrow makes for better brides.

Repentance without regret ain’t hard to get…

 

For grace does marry mercy to the just,

it pays the debt with money from above,

the death deserved by inflictor still a must,

yet made innocuous, the vile removed.

Our resurrected Savior is alive

who died: it is his demise that extricates.

Be free. For good men get their goodness from

the Ghost Whose Life still thrives

in all things, reminds us all that “Grace on grace”

applies to the apple, airplane, smile, the broom.

 

For the begotten’s better still than the made,

for making takes what’s given, makes it less.

But the begetter rears up a peer, his shade,

his shadow, fellow, counterpart to bless.

Was not the Father him that Christ promotes?

Got not Christ glory making man his friend?

The Spirit earned his praise in Mary’s womb

slept not with her, but woke.

Begetting is the better thing: to die

so what’s begotten remains (empty tomb).

 

I can’t achieve your feat: No you? No me.

No you, then none of me of whom you’re proud.

I say that in begetting me, a seed

freed freedom -- piece of you. Behind this shroud

hid Heath -- a kinder man -- and Lauren came,

who is favored in form and pax arsa.

In Heath -- that open land untilled is a bond.

Distill these two, their fame

still trumps my own. You see? Like a dream, far as

I know, your achievement cannot soon abscond.

 

“But Lance, my boy, all men beget!” How true,

but not intentionally. And none can

beget this son, these three. Dad, it’s not new,

but older things are often better: you stand

where others flee. You foot our bills, you ache,

give when there’s none to give, and give still more.

This means more than the theories relative,

which split atoms, dry lakes.

carpenter, learn from Carpenter this trust:

 

Beget: to give another life, chores.

Through ecstasy, family from family lives.

This, I believe, is genius.

 

Cradle of Stone

It’s not when he came

Not his time of birth that matters

But that he came

Established his throne in fame forever

Little babe, little sage,

Little cradle made of stone

 

Holiday fervor with

Capital’s seduction

Mass produces our nativity

To dysfunction as a scene

Rather

   Than our story

That proves again Epiphany

 three, no twenty

 star gazers

 poets from the east

   invading a town

Whose newly crowned king

strikes fear in a once-bold

Herod, a grip of fear holds him

So, in the night he fights

   Waging war with the firstborn

  Babes helpless to onslaught

But our story proves through his wrath which,

  However gripped by fear he remains,

Won’t last the night…

 

Our star beckons

Twelve shepherds, deck the halls of time

  With their presence

God’s angels reckon the word by him

For his manger clothes aren’t

Mangy at all, but a robe

  Whose train chugs glory

 

Yet our story’s one of a twelve-year old

  Lost in a temple, but far from alone

  kept company by riddled rabbis

  as he teaches his teachers

Parents had left and still he spoke when found

  “I’m here for my father.”

 

People loved him

  A man, hilarious, the life of parties

  Bent toward healing and feeling

    the pain of the poor

  Loosing their chains to set them free

People hated him

  This man, vicarious in spite of word-traps

    Sent from heaven?  He’s a heretic & crazy

    the bane and a sore in our side,

  soon they’ll make him king

  if he stays

 

So chains came on a night

surrounded by saints & scoundrels

  his friends and fouler men

All watching his silent march

Up an infinite hill of skulls

   Scourged and taunted

   forgotten in time as guards

put his own clothes on him

  yet they weren’t shamed rags at all

 but the famed robe whose train chugs glory

 

Death met glare as he locked his jaw

   He obeyed to rule.

And he would stand

  At the turn of the week with Holy Hands

And side proven faithful

His true, grave clothes known only as a robe

  Whose train englories,

As our story strolled out of a tomb

 

Talk about making an entrance…

 

  It’s not when he came

Not his time of death that matters

  But that he came

Establishing his throne in fame forever

 

Little babe, Little sage

Little cradle made of stone.

Baltimore Buildings

…Are a weird weave. Windows, for instance,

Speak of the seasons of certain men

In America and their Maids -- of the Michigan sticky

And Virginia giant juniper leaves

And the Boston bricks baking and the drenched

Patoka tempest that tidally rises

The rivers nine. Read of the south’s

And the northern nuance’s names and acts

In these ruddy roofs. Read of San

Francisco’s solving in the sequence of row

Houses hanging. Ahead of the eastern

Apartment pillars. Ponder the deep

and whore houses high meeting

In medicine's middle -- maybe old John

Hopkins will hold the healing of a city

Walking The Wire, woken though broken

By racist ruts. Uproar this crossroads

That houses the homeless, how we forget

The closeness we share -- cleave out our

Inconvenient orphans or neighbors

Or black babies. Baltimore will

Never neuter the niggard past

Of white hate: wonder at the houses

that remember many masked lynchings

and the return of tyrants. Too many of the

Towers in the terran towns would rather

Fall than befriend a fascist or an Arab

Baby whose brain is bundled in the modern

Swaddling clothes. Or a swindling Jew.

Yeshua, Yes, You are not welcome:

You come to your own. They can’t receive You.

Vulnerare

In the Christmas Carols are the covered truths

About the battered beauties who then love

Despite the signs, the signaled fears

That cue our cowing, that create our fights

And fletch our flights with the feathers of something

That kidnaps our courage. They execute a

Plan as if plotting, as if placing a mole

Merrymaking among our jaded

Ranks who revile, who renege on Christmas

Spirits like Scrooge. See the lovers

Leave us, laughing? Look at them thrive

As they come alive and call us to rise

And love the leavers and lend to the dreamers

And sleep with the slackers who slumber in parks

And cosign their causes -- they co-habit

With certain failure. See how they risk,

How they frisk their freedoms? Frayed are the strands

Of ambition they owned, once before this

Chance went and chose them. Now they will linger

A little bit longer over the poor and the poor

In spirit like the Scrooges, who seek three

Spirits to speak so that they can see.

 

These risky rogues. These reddened lovers

Who grace and grace, who grant and then give

Like gods who go gayly along with

Single-celled existence and our minor

Attempts at terror. What truth I see:

Non-entity enters our Eve as a baby.

For the Love of God

[Could we with ink the ocean fill
__]Oh, God I know how we have tried

where pipe has burst below the Gulf

or man poured into it his pride

of place and privilege till it stank

of sweat and sin and suffering

and floated to a poorer shore,

our lavish petty offering.

And I, I stand before them all

The Worst with pen then pen again

all bleeding in my pocket’s heart

the black, vague, unpublishable.

 

[And were the skies of parchment made
__]not skies we’ve used but walls and trains

and bathroom stalls and table tops,

felled Amazons, fried Kindle brains.

We’ve written on the ocean floor

and staked our flags into the sky,

we’ve sent The Beatles to the void

Un(d)sealed gas chambers with a lie.

Though not of parchment, still of waves,

though not of paper, still the sound,

though not the skies, we’ve taken reams

from flame and water and the ground.

 

[Were every stalk on earth a quill
__]we seldom use the reeds today

unless our name’s Hermione,

we choose to press – it’s keys we play.

As beatles scuttle down night’s wall

the sound, the sound of typing rose

to me – a terror glazed in prose –

some dragged-dead sound: a typist’s maul.

We’ve hammered, punched, and primed the keys,

grew one long tail to history.

We’ve stroked Your love like a lover’s spot

but to its climax bring it not.

 

[And every man a scribe by trade
__]I hear that literacy’s rising

in the places tech has preyed

on countries without road or school

for power, peace or shade.

They read the books we’ve never read:

The Whale, the Brothers (less undead),

The Hunchback, and The Book once made

by sixty-some in sixty times.

That Book, they learn, was bound for them:

to give them pardon for their crimes

and learn to write along with Him.

 

[To write the love of God above
__]oh let me, help me, make me try

or if not Your agenda, love?

Whose program bids me come and die?

For if it’s mine, my death is vain

and if my country, death is hate,

if for family, kilt the dove

That lights upon all kindred fates.

To die for writing all your love

on sparrow backs and under crates

would push me past some sacrifice

for kin, self, business, or the state.[_ _]

 

[Would drain the ocean dry
__](reverse of Noah’s time and place,

fulfillment of temp’s cry)

if loaded in my pen all space,

if I, immortal, write

forever then another day

like a programmed keyboard meant to play

each song of languish-made-okay

till I wrote myself to the Judgement Day

I’d need another night.

Oh God of mercy, give me strength

to write I must write:

 

nor could the scroll contain the whole

this too we men have tried,

for no more books than about this man,

nor sculptures, planes, or grains of sand,

nor half of all canvas (if canvas can)

were made for any other theme.

God gave instead our light its gleam

behind the man who cried

the blood, which better forms an ink

for pens, unlike our kitchen sink

of ocean black and draining thin:

red letters, scroll of skin.

 

[though stretched from sky to sky
__]that skin-made scroll at one sky’s end

not tanned, but soft applied

to wood and iron, bone and piss

first slayed, then buried, still is this

your prince, your savior, one called Chris?

(We hear fiend hiss his lie).

But then, three days, our scroll’s complete

then rising up, new body meet

foretaste of healing: skin to skin,

scroll stretched from death to life again

and from sky to sky ever after end

enigma knows defeat

in red ink larger than the sea,

in a scroll of skin like a prophecy

written on either side,

in reeds like railroad ties on end,

like printer paper gauze descending

upon a warmed-up grave, ascending

Love to Love aright,

rewrote the tale of the world’s ending

Love with Love in sight,

He lives and does not need defending,

Love. From Love we write.

To Love,

with Love,

Insight.

 

Sinking

As the vinyl turned once more

  sounding closing cord

As the needle soft arose

  toward its resting board

As the old man slow approached

  knowing sounds no more

As he lifted up a disc

  placing it in drawer

As now walking out his den

   in his study’s core

As now seated in his chair

   foot upon wood floor

As crossed-legged, smoking pipe

   fireplace before

As he drank a last cold scotch,

   sank down on cold floor.

Asking in his very self

   (wondering all the more)

“Did I ever love another?”

  Died there on the floor.

 

Inconveniences, Rightly Considered

Untitled Ablist

Cut from the ending and pasted here:

not with hands, with running meat, just in case I get my hands cut out from under me.

 

A young man asked

“Legs or hands?”

Asking me which I would choose

to lose if given quandary

 

the paralytic point of view

Or

Captain Hook’s dual-wield?

 

“Hands” I said “I’d keep my hands.”

For what are legs to me?

For I can run and stand and limp

But legs shame amputees

 

Hands, of course, have given legs

To those who make Olympic games

And I have written of the fame of

Walkers

 

If you had a moment loose

To see the simple plain recluse

Who weaved her web with two small hands

And not by legs, you see.

 

Both hearts and hands affect the poor

No room for legs, but HANDS the more

We lend the more we open for

An army grasping love.

 

Yet still I wrote this with my feet,

The Speed of Sound in Water

Waves hold up

pillars hold up

The Brooklyn-Queens

Expressway

 

Beneath the

concrete surface:

hear ye nether

sounds, you see?

 

Still above

instill below

the din of men,

of fishing—

 

rubber hooks

rounded, calling

Me from the deep—

run aground?

 

Or deeper

dive? The acid

air, it muffles

sound in sleep

 

City Who

Never Sleeps, I

call you to the

ocean well

beneath the streets

above and rock

we rockabye

under the

wheel wells

and their splashing.

 

When It Hit the Saltlick

when it hit the saltlick --

sunlight -- crystals added white

to what’d released its color

 

when it hit the snowfall --

dayglow -- crystals made it better,

bright

Salt of the Earth

adults drawing from light’s

Abode magnificate

Innocents in their first flurrious

attempts at changing

the landscape(s) together?

Not.

White.

unbright, unilluminated

melted, grimed, calcified

on the subway’s aisle.

 

Innocence from holiness?

Holiness from innocence?

 

without a solid light

Source snowplow and dozer alike

rearrange piles of slow-eroding browns.

My Hooker

I write too few poems about Tara.

I forget she enchants children, scaring
away dark tears with bright blankets, how she
summons them to play, whore and Bowery.
You’ll say, “Don’t compare your wife with a whore!”
Not whoring but the non-whoring part

Of being a whore:
How even prostitutes must find Sabbath
when bad men proposition her form er.
She may refuse her coin, trade for a bean
and plant a garden in the brothelyard
and tend to it all year by daylight’s guard
after many untended nights come out
into the streetlamp light to shout,
“Wake up and see! Wake up and see!”
calling those who’ve been rough with her, too free:

men turn to kids
taste unforbidden fruits
like children on an airplane who
cry until one kind hooker

hooks them not by a flash of skin

But an orange blanky.

Upon Finding Your Old Prison Letters

It was freezing and fire and filled with the smell

Of men who made due with maybe two

Pairs of britches and who probably shat

One anyways in the evening. Yet over it all

You sing your song of something like a hope

Or a cosmic comedy, of a careful need

To never neuter the novelty of prayer

Again if God would go on helping

You and yourn. The yearning to “Never

Disappoint my parents or my Papa in heaven

Or my family and friends.” The food your cellies

Invented and vented like vases of steam

That you lovingly look at and leave thinking:

“I could open an Interstate Railway

Powered by pretty and precious containers

Of steam or magma.” The structure of life

To come has come and the collective ambitions

Arrived though eroded like rare Greek

Marble men who made it through

The wars and rains, weathered by things

They never knew would neuter the drive

And the hope of the heavens their hands raised

To praise and opine. Epiphany is a “showing

Upon” where a promise pours forth as

Manifestation. Maybe the hope

And the prayers you prayed have passed away

To make a means for the modest ambitions

To rescue your reason from the rigor of jail

When the hope of Heaven and healing prayer

Were the better broth on a blizzard day

As your blood froze, as it nearly boiled

In the summer in that box, and you screamed your hope:

“God protect and guide me out

And bring me back to brew coffee

In Sikeston Missouri safe and not dead” ?

Home

You yanked up years of dreaming

When they pulled the plug out. Powerful longings -- 

How they flounder in flame. But fleeting are the ways

Friction frees us: it frames our pains

But tames truth -- is the time we spend

Bitter a better base for erecting

Tomorrow’s morning? Minds fashioned

After the evening will ever fade

In the dreaming dawn. Dreadful, I know,

But the beacons are lit, they beam out,

Lingering light leads the way home

And the Fatherland foams with a fibrous tide --

This undertow aiming to pull

Us inward and upward. Isn’t it scary

To leave the land of your long birth

For the country that’s called Camelot by your people?

Inheritance: Part 2

We’re a people without homes

We trod a world of shadows in our sleep

Choosing tiptoes while you plant our feet

Still we’re learning how to belong to The Meek

As a people without homes.

 

In a global house of bones

half in flesh incarnate loyalty

Just like us, you came fleshed Deity

As we walk, so we own, both the barefoot meek

Over global house of bones

 

Call it: “Valley of Dry Bones”

“Can it rise?” people ask, hoping homeless meek

Take off their shoes and scratch their feet

Just like Zeke raising up both the dead and the bleak

Bare feet raising all dry bones.

 

None of us will have a home

Every place will be ours when there is no sea

Kick off your shoes and you’ll soothe your feet

‘Cause the Heavens and Earth all belong to the meek

For His presence is our home.

 

“Birds have nests

Foxes have dens

But the hope of the whole world rests

On the shoulders of a homeless man --

No you did not have a home.”

 

Looking into the Abyss while Chewing Glass (and the Abyss Stares Back)

To Della Beyond the Veil

You yearned for your homeland.

Always do. After the era

passes you, you pass too.

Music styles wane as moons,

Norwood’s fiddle when new knew you,

knew grandkids too, never me

though or the little themes that we know,

millennials make do. My how the strings

request of me: “Play.” Can resonance reach

across a sea? Out from you

unto we who sing? Or… are the strings

synced to this season of century gone?

Their song sung and strings rung out

whenever loss leaves us songless?

I’ve made my mothers feel

not so proud. So crowds take me.

But you are yearning. You quietly burn.

Obscurity scorns the scoop, awards --

The sounds of clapping cloven from hearts

Like you and yourn. Younger men make

Mistakes of fame, stake their claims on

Followers fondling, but fallow grounds

Grow up greenlings, great and silver

Towering trees take seeds to start,

Kernel and soil, corn and soot.

 

Thank you for thinking of us,

Toiling away at tender things,

Toiling away like tinder twigs

Will smolder — sparks and older twine.

 

Hope I that I will integrate

The privacy that premies bring

To wombs or moss weathers in shadows

Or stalagtites steal from stubborn ores

Deep beneath the dungeons.

 

The axis of our world acts unseen,

Yet it spins and clings to spiritual things.

We owe ourselves to owlish beings:

Nocturnal, wise, weathered, silent,

Sure to sneak snow mice in cold,

And watching, ever watching us

With eyes that know. With eyes of stone

That melted long ago in the River Jordan.

 

Færwel Welfær

safety

< salvus
~ salvare
> salvation:

deliverance from harm, ruin, or loss

There’s this idea in our society that… well… see… one of the old timers sipping his ale in The Golden Dragon said it better: “Keep your nose outta trouble and no trouble’ll come to you.” With all due respect to respectable, good, admirable hobbits, the old hymn had it right: 

 

When trouble comes                       --                        not if.

 

Today, I rode three miles in a machine that uses explosions to move forward. Specifically, if I want to move one mile in the span of one minute, it takes roughly 12,000 explosions to get from point A to point B. In fact, we seek the results of this mathematic equation when we buy these machines, "I just need something that will get me from point A to point B." Something. Anything. The explosion machine is attached to 4,000 pounds of twisted metal and breakable glass and every explosion coughs out poisonous gases -- some odorous and some odorless. Most human beings will die if they fall from a three-story building, the momentum stopped up short at stone will ruin their organs (vital parts of the human frame that boast the fortitude of water balloons). These machines, however, move faster forward than plunges from buildings fall downward and you shouldn't forget that if they run into each other, the speed of twisted metal... doing... doing... what do they call it?... oh yes... crashing into twisted metal is enough to kill any man, however strong or brave or innocent or true. These explosion machines kill 50,000 people every year – including a formerly current student of my alma mater, a student well-loved by his friends, a student who fearlessly prayed and dreamed despite his (and our) mortality. Even young dreamers, young passionate men like Brandon are not safe. After all, the only two things keeping them and us from crashing into one another are a line of yellow paint and willpower.

 

It’s more like what Moody calls… sorry, calledCONSTANT VIGILANCE.

 

Three months ago, I rode in another machine. This one lights air on fire after sucking it sideways into a pit through a giant fan blade made of real blades -- a pinwheel of knives. This particular machine could crush a herd of elephants -- kill 'em dead -- if it "landed" on them. It flies in the air like a bird, this elephant-crushing machine, up where there's no oxygen for breath -- a crucial ingredient if you're trying to whip up a batch of living human souls. Because of flying where there's no air, this flying, air-burning machine (also formed of twisted metal like the explosion machine) comes stock with plastic bags that may or may not fill up with oxygen if ever its insides bleed all the good air out. Those plastic bags are quite similar to the ones used by the Mafia for an activity known as "the Boston fogger." This machine is dangerous enough that anyone who rides it cannot take more than 3 ounces of any liquid, any sort of stabbing, cutting, trimming, maiming, grinding, sawing, hacking, burning, or other normal household or travel items on board. Why? The owners of the air-burning machines fear that someone may turn it into an elephant-crushing machine or a missile for towers twin and single alike. These owners are tragically under the illusion that such restrictions prevent the machine from being able to crush elephants or destroy buildings, and every year these air-burning machines surprise them by crashing and exploding.

 

Sometimes even right on top of poor, innocent elephants.

 

There's a machine in my sink that's supposed to help me dispose of the large chunks of food on my dinner dishes. This machine is made of blades and the switch to turn it on looks identical to the switch that turns on the light in that same room -- in fact, they're right next to each other. Turning on the light while my hand is digging out something that I shouldn't have disposed of (like my wedding ring) may result in fingers that lose the capacity to wear rings at all.

 

Also death by blood-letting.

 

There’s danger in the streets, especially where there’s no streetlamps. And even where there are streetlamps, those streetlamps attract more of the explosion-powered machines, and then you’re back to square one (a metaphor taken from the precise moment in board games when your pawn dies).

There’s danger as I type, for the roof could cave in and crush me or snap my neck. Does that seem ridiculous to you? It didn’t for Chicken Little. The sky did fall.*

 

*see also Daniel Craig as James Bondº

ºsee also Adele’s^ song for said film

^see also Adele’s dead ancestors†

†etc.

 

Wash your hands too little, you get infections. Wash too much, you mutate germs into superbugs and megaviruses -- radiation to komodo dragons; Godzilla crap, man.

 

Take too little aspirin, you die of heart attacks. Too much? Your liver fails.

Out of the frying pan, into the fire. Right Bilbo? Oh yes, look at what Mr. Tolkien did to cute, little, respectable, good, admirable hobbits: HE THREW THEM INTO A VOLCANO.

 

} so to speak {

 

There’s coughs and wheezes, choking precautions, SIDS, cancer, saucers (the flying kind), terrorists, communists, capitalists who practice corporate assassination, oppressors, gangrene, poisoned tangerines, house fires, betrayers, cannibals and human filleters, wildcats, vampiric bats, bloody shats and molten vats of murderous liars.

 

Also guns -- machines made of still more twisted metal that use a single compressed explosion to propel pointed hunks of metal through the air at hundreds of miles per hour in hopes to find a heart (or other vital human organ, remember those internal water balloons?) to pierce and thus end the life of the father, brother, mother, sister, daughter, son,

grandchild

 

of another human being who’s no different than you or me. Not where humanity’s concerned.

 

DAMNED IF YOU DO, DAMNED IF YOU DON’T,” says my uncle and King points to the dance of death. It reminds me of that movie The Box. Push the button, someone dies. Don’t push the button? You die.

 

Maybe pushing the button isn’t the whole story…

 

It's not that we need safety, security, on the personal or national level. Even if we did, we cannot find such things in this world of barbs and barbed wire, guns and roses (NOW including free thorns with every purchase). Death finds us all, and we do well to "meditate on our deaths and the common circumstances which attend death," as Johnny Edwards said. Get rid of the button -- that was the moral of The Box. Don't kill somebody so your life can be better. Stop pushing it and chose to die. You die. You die. You choose to die.

 

Not them. Not those people. Not your neighbor. Not your enemy.

 

You.

 

Don’t push the button so that you can be safe.

 

We don’t need to be safe.

 

We need to be saved.

 

If saved, we get a chance to save others – Brandon knew that, wanted to go serve a nation far poorer than his own, push all-in with his own mortality that others might have life. Risky? Yes, but so is getting blinded out, letting your chip stack dwindle with every pass of the dealer button, letting your stack get smaller and smaller until the last two chips fall into a pot which will inevitably be a side pot (not the main pot), one that, even if you win, won’t give you enough cashflow to carry you through to final victory. No, the slow surrender never suffices. We all must go all-in at one point or another, must risk to overcome, or we shall fade, some slower, some faster, into the loser’s bracket, blind following blind after blind until the bubble bursts and we fail to make it into the money.

 

Duly noted, Brandon.

We hear your message and hereby sign this memorandum – let the record show:

 

One put Himself in harm’s way for us.

We must put ourselves through harm that others might be

safed.

Infanticentric

We can’t go to that party
cause of the baby.
We can’t ride the subway
cause it’s hard with a baby.
We can’t fly anymore
with our newborn.

 

We can’t take that road trip
cause of the baby.
We can’t sail around the world
it’s hard with a baby, you see?
We can’t invent cheap space travel
or write our novels
or shoot our films
or save the planet
and forget sex
with the way our newborn cries.

 

I don’t know how we’ll make another.

 

We can’t have parties anymore
cause of the baby
can’t find unflooded shores
cause it’s hard with a baby.
Can’t breathe the air or drink the water
or end this war
what with how much time
these last few newborns take.

 

We can’t live past thirty

cause of the baby,

must ride our rascals
cause it’s hard with a baby.

Rot in nursing homes

cause of the baby

and you can forget about ever

trying what comes next

with the way our newborn cries.

 

I guess we’ll just have to never die.

 

The alternate:

that baby dies --

would be unbearable.

 

We couldn’t whine and cry.

 

Fall Into The

There’s a gap in the platform

between the train and the earth

you can fall right through it

mind the gap.

 

There’s a gap in the sidewalk

between the grate and the earth

you can fall right through it

mind the gap.

 

There’s a gap in the windshield

between the crash and the reaction

you can fall right through it

clean into midair

mind the gap.

 

There’s a man in the sidewalk

between the gap and the earth

you could fall right through him

you could wonder until you’re blue

was he in some sort of

extra planar space?

a bag of holding placed

inside a bag of holding?

that didn’t have room for bicycles

in front of B63 buses?

 

There’s a Gap on Times Square, now.

They used to have commercials about falling

into them.

 

The man is wearing one of their shirts.

His blood’s on the shards

in the gaps

of the street.

 

I have fallen into him

and no one followed me…

 

Sonnet # 0 K

to be read on infinite loop

 

Enough to still the movements no one sees

in statue, ice, or iron or the trees

which chip, melt, ring, sprout leaves. Presences still

.     Presences having their fill – face frees face

freeze face (my worry in Unworried Will) –

of one another linked :: moment and place ::

lesser in Greater (greatest, then Greater)

until my lesser freezes. Enough to…

This is the way Ice Ages can conceive,

can by unmoving move the world to be.

They tell me, “Worlds can only grow so hot

before they burn out, ours will burn out soon.”

Then, having fizzled, freeze amniotic.

Can I expend my energy to freeze?

To move to stop before I’m out of moves?

 

Megabus Moon Roof

The overpass eats, opens like a dark

To swallow the shuffle. See how the glass

Of our double decker darkens and the ear

Is silenced shuttered? Space comes to mind

Millennium Falcon’s maiden plunge

In the belly of the beast. Back when Han

Was still scared of sharper teeth

And the bowels of bore worms the bounty king

Jabba will joke in jumbled tones

While out feeding them the faces of free Jedis

And rebel parsec runners and the Wookie

And these two droids. That’s how a Mega

Bus will abide bridges that just

Barely brush the brink off the moon

Roof and render the row of ceiling

Windows into weird, wind-up pixels

Whose fellowship flashing fetches dreams of

Broadway’s bygone billboard lights

And their rickety rhythms. Remember then, I ,

How one of the panes offered its embrace

To some bad bridge that broke its trust

And shattered the shield of a second pane

Above the bunch. You bear up as

Luxury leaves below your fears.

New York Funeral

Put me with the pets. Pushing up daisies

Ain’t easy in the environment shared

By eight-million owners and workers

And predators and prey, so prone are we

To leave lions to lay rotting

For the birds and beasts. So bag me (and tag

Me not for the news). I never want a tomb

Or a catacomb’s colored glass to

Decorate my death. A dearth of rites

Wasted on withered wraiths of men -- 

Put me with the pets. Plows and dump

Trucks will take trashbags black

And filled with the fur of Fido or Milo

So that landfill is the last longing of the fury

Body and its brine of boiling maggots

Cause where can you bury a Wilbur or Charlotte

In the city that seldom sleeps or grieves?

Put me with the pets. Those purring, barking,

Corporeal powers, those purple flowers

In the Garden of God (who gives being

To each and every instant -- and existence

To contingent things). He thinks donations

And graces gives -- these good bits of the Soul of

God’s Glory, these goodly painful

Summertime stories of song and its laughter

Of fetch and the fletcher whose flights have stricken

The liver or the organ of love and blood

Of one so the wind can whip in the ears

Of a spaniel’s spring, or the snow leopard’s

retrieving or a terrier’s. The truth of the shared

Life and its loves -- of living being --

Put me with the pets. Put me in a bag

With the discarded dreams of America

And the souls it disposed of and summon the courage

To see me in the same image

And bruised body of the battered pit bull

And then put me with the pets and please weep

For them and their thankless thoughts and jobs.

 

Greenwood Cemetary Graves at Snowfall

Snow on the stones, salts and ices

That garnish the graves. Greenwood waits

For the day when dawn doffs the wrappings

And garments of granites, the garland of a robe

Or a blanket’s mask on the bleak pillars

Like condoms or clasps of copper bracelets

Or the hood of The Grim. How will their clothing

Slip away like a summer nightie

Or an iPhone sleeve? I sing a

Dirge of laughter. Dream, I, a

Joke of tears. Just as the summer

Shatters after sunlight sears

And the great globe burns. For God will decloak

These old oaks, these overgrown pillars

Whose moss remembers the making of life

From our rotting rinds. And ruin is quickly

Impotent rendered. Import is the weight

Given from without. Graces make

The meaning mind. And a mountain of giant

Phalluses vanish before the Master’s

Vanishing veil and the varnish fades

And the stone statues stand upward

As men of bone and mothers’ faces.

La Fin Du Monde

Read the world’s ending

in a book again today

and I laughed

Determined:

laughter

helps us finish strong.

 

It’s not the first book

printed whose themes

Feature the end of the world

Humans often transition from

fantasy

to

science

fiction

(from mythology to

eschatology)

by way of

apocalyptic modes of transit

and… here we are!

science

fiction

from

fantasies

my rich uncle
well-respected in my home town

preppin’ with canned food

ammo enough to sow a million fields

were they seeds rather than shells

of broken things

the heirloom kind they buy

unlike those engineered

to die

three generations out.

buddy told me to buy-gold-not-buy-gold-buygold

after the Dinar revalues

(after the bitcoin exploded)

after they devalue the dollar

nevermind, don’t buy gold again,

buy foreign stocks

from those countries America invaded

in order to have something worth investing

in:

Japan

Germany

Iraq (once they get theirs up and running)

because depression’s a great

foe, great depression

is

and I

determined to laugh

so

I laughed.

 

Call me a scoffer, a cynic, a mocker

but I see the ashes, the cinders, the embers

and laugh

cause the fire, it keeps me warm
throw some Benjamins on it

I see the smoke rising and see

smoke signals

in billowing willows

and think: if Isengaurd burns

Ents are going to war

poisoned wells

I rejoice that half the world has no

clean drinking water

they could be like we who

sitswimmin in 16,000-gallon pools

of rotting water

while theirs at least reached stasis

Drink up, drink up together and

laughing and chugging

poisoned sacraments of the poor

while we die of thirst,

so I laugh too

because that’s what my homeless friends do

and Rich told me

[“He did not have a home”
__]so why should I?

The whole world belongs to the meek,

why shouldn’t I?

Wounded wings mended

when kids giggle and bells toll.

Crashing planes

flown inverted

by drunk men

laughing

who say, “Hello, my name”

and laugh with others

who once nursed the bottle

in temperance movements

who readily admit:

we’ve all got some serious problems.

I see games to end hunger,

Givers,

people sick of taking The Stand,

game overs for Readied Player Ones,

all under Big Brother and I can’t help

but laugh

because even O’Conner and

Anne Rivers Siddons

Straub

Shirley Jackson

dude that wrote The Walking Dead

McCarthy – these “southerners”

all can enjoy the sweet

tea

black and

refined sugar

meet

in

brown-iced-liquid

They laugh at dinner like the rest of us

if given half a chance

and good company

“friends,” that is.

 

Don’t believe me?

read Malin’s recipe for “THE NEW AMERICAN GOTHIC:”

(1) setting: microcosm

(2) …as image of imprisonment, confining narcissism

New trends make sense:

zombie,

bomb,

economic collapse,

or your run-of-the-mill invasion

(of the body snatchers),

because it’s all as small

as claustrophobic

as the modern kitchen table

which remains woefully vacant

literally

(only one due to loneliness or

none due to fast food)

or figuratively

(only one due to worry or

many due to fast phones)

gather around and forget that this symbols communion.

And so we invest in

(1) microcosms of

(2) imprisoning narcissism

and let the wrappers,

status-updates,

preppers,

and divorce

leave us like the last man

in a prison of

living hells,

undead

but at least we got our guns, by God

and at least they have theirs, by God

hmm. [chuckles] By God

maybe not.

 

if “No man is an island” remains ignored

we convert

kitchen tables

back into islands

and the only way off the island

(Lost?)

is by building a land bridge

not in the Alexandrian way,

using the rubble of conquered cityscapes to

level the playing field,

but rather the rubble

of broken loves

broken kins

broken brokers

to rebuild a path from my side of the table

toward yours

and that sort of thing

starts with the sound of

kitchen tables,

starts with

a laugh.

Scared?
That’s how you know where the courage is

in this brave, brave, brave, brave,
Brave New World.

So yeah, I laugh when you tell me the world’s ending

not out of disrespect

but out of this respect:

laughter’s the way out.

“But Lance, the world’s really ending.

Like, for real this time.”

I know.

[sound of laughter]

Trust me, I know.

 

Has been for two-thousand years.

Apocalyptic

literature

‘s as old

as Scripture

after all.

We humans’ve done this thing for quite some time…

and the best of us knew how to overcome and

laugh. Look at John, Zeke,

Bell and her Dragon.

That Shepherd of… what was it again? Hermas?

Sure, why not, the world’s always ending.

So what’s changed?

Nothing.

Wars

rumors of wars

not yet the end, but the end’s in sight.

[sound of laughter]

Greatest man to ever live saw the end

and laughed,

scoffed, really, in the face of doom

(His)

and the world’s ending.

 

Oh we could wax on with the appropriateness

of phrases eloquent-yet-cliché:

laughed his head off,

laughed it to scorn,

laughing all the way to the bank,

but really

the laugh’s on him

cause he had the

last laugh.

Story time:

 

The other day my buddy was having a rough day

so we played chess after eating homemade burritos

at his kitchen table.

His world was falling apart

(he’d overstated a point)

My world was falling apart

(I hadn’t got paid for an invoice)

His wife’s world was falling apart

(she dropped twelve stitches on her knitting)

My wife’s world was falling apart

(we are moving away from everyone and everything we know and love)

His son’s world was falling apart

(he had to go to bed without milk)

His daughter’s world was falling apart

(she wanted to stay in the living room and flirt some more

with me,

even though I won’t flirt back—she’s three

and I married the lady of my dreams)

and everyone I knew was falling apart

and everyone he knows was falling apart

and our everyones everyoned into everyone

until every one

fell apart.

The fragments spilled out on the table…

even on top of our chess game where he beat me with

hypermodern openings he didn’t know the name of

He sat down a bottle of French beer named

La Fin du Monde

and he

Friended me

and I

friended him

over fragments

 

and started to piece together

a mosaic using glue found in the motherlode

running through all our

kitchen table islands

this natural resource,

this love-

glue

laughter.

We laughed

while I sipped,

some say nursed,

the bottle

of the end of the world.

 

Daylight and The Stand

…anyways authors arm their minds

With the rinds of ruined rights and their power

To bind black burdens of fears

That find them flailing in the ferret holes

Of vain environs developers dug

Out of stone or stock, steel or river

Like holes in holy hearths or the essence

of elements like earth. Earning your way

Seems a bit shallow when the sun dies

Or the power pines. Ponder what the writers

Who’ve taken the tunnel towards the Jersey

Line have learned: lay a system

On a system on a system, it soon burns

With a switch flipped off. The sea breaches

Stalone’s lanes. And left cars

Corridors clog for King after

The flu vaccine fails and the mighty

Choke on their snot. Choose your way

Carefully, cousins, because cosmos collapse

Eventually, see? Vials of cures

And silos of surefire shots will bow

To the fate of future fights and rustings

And you’ll yearn for the youth when the thought

Of claustrophobic conclusions to fictions

Seemed worse than the weather that warmed daily.

Dr. Robert Lowrey, In Memorium

I saw him call down fire from heaven

into young minds

primed for eruption

I heard him whisper names of things

secrets hidden in bittersweet scrolls

names, masteries, insights, mysteries, intuitions,

control over nuclei

of thrones, crowns, primeval beasts, modern call girls, flying scorpions,

red dragon

of the sea,

of the song,

of the seven thunders,

of the sacred surreptitious scroll

once buried under sand

I smell incense rising:

Nag Champa, Cinnamon, Egyptian Musk, Spikenard, Lavender Sage, Myrrh, Goldenseal, French Vanilla, Rose, Raspberry Crystal, Jasmine Flower, Juniper Breeze, Sandalwood, Super Hit, Coconut, Cool Water, Paradise – Let’s Go!, Cotton Candy, Mango Madness – Think Vacation, Cherry Vanilla – #1 Best Seller, Pink Sugar, Polo Blue, Dream Catcher, Eternity – Is Forever!, and 77 other scents!

 

I smell prayers rising

once filtered out of our fresh air

I take the scroll

I taste the scroll

I eat the scroll

savor sentences

relish recapitulations, refraining

piquancies within consuming consummation

deep in our cores

inside we who heard him,

discovered with him,

absorbing along, the

man who acquired this taste for things

 

Can you feel him?

Can you feel him among the great cloud?

Hear him bear witness:

 

Ireny

Allegiance is bliss, on our irenic side.

Celestial envoy giv’n to John.

Bless all who keep it, they shall hold the tide.

 

Good John wrote epics hard to hide

The Word, The Witness – act upon

Allegiance -- it's bliss, on our irenic side.

 

Blissed the reader!  Blissed the hearer’s life!

This Oracle will thereupon

Bless all who keep it, they shall hold the tide.

 

Every stroke, note, letter, ledger line

Was written with a King’s baton.

Allegiance is bliss, on our irenic side.

 

You must know there remains no time,

(Dear father time bears no more spawn).

Bless all who keep it, they shall hold the tide.

 

This vision escorts, let it be your guide.

You’ll take a side (take one that won).

Allegiance is bliss, on our irenic side.

Bless all who keep it, they shall hold the tide.

 

Revelation 6

I’ve held the broken seals

As a man returning home

Revisiting his desk

Finding open envelopes

Red wax unsealing truth

Whitened pages bane pure love

Before each letter reads it

History’s mourner’s song is sung

The first, a tyrant strong

Yells a conquering, taunting chant

Upon his white-clad steed

His bow, war’s stimulant

The rider’s parallel

Quickly slashed his second seal

His horse the hue of hell

His extensive sword kills peace

Thrice told with broken wax

Blackened fur now rides along

Both horse and rider poised

Holding scales, earth’s judgement song

A fourth! A paled horse

Bearing Death himself bareback

Hell itself still tails his course

Dragging plagues and famine’s shack

And as I read the furied fifth

Martyrs’ dirges filled my ears

Lives which seal the truth, their wax

Cries, “Vindicate our tears!”

Before my chance had come

To reread the open sixth

An earthquake snapped the ground

as an ice storm would a twig

A veiled sun behind

and the moon-man’s bleeding face

Stars detached themselves from sky

Looked like ripened, shaken figs.

By then each king of earth

With the free and every slave

Each man of natural birth

Hid beneath each rock and cave

Could any man now stand?

(Even I at desk received)

 

I heard a mighty voice

“Who can open up the scroll?”

No man, nor angel came

Not in heaven, caves below

 

A lamb came limping forth

Looking long as if it had died

He gently took the scroll,

 

He glanced inside…

 

OH!

Revelation 10

He had a cloud
a robe
but a cloud around his waist.
crimson, apricot, gold, avocado,
navy, cobalt, lilac all swirled into one band.
one halo on his brow.

His smile blazed in light
Light from a thousand suns
Bricks built towers that made his legs,
towers flaming as a gasoline fire
between the two, he spanned the hemisphere
rising in the western sky
the land, the sea, his stool he straddled
on and over,

by and by.

His voice roared as a horde of lions,
a pride of giant, hostile cats
which quake the worlds ceiling
sounding the seven thunders.

of those, I can’t write.

Maybe in the next compilation…

 

He gave a fling, a flick, an elevation of his wrist.

Raising his hand in solemn vow.

And winsome grin escaping now.

He swore his oath to heaven.

 

Resting on the elder,

The old man he swore by,

The was, the is, the coming one,

He swore his oath to heaven.

 

By the one who made the earth

With its rocks & muddy ruts

With its beasts & dummy ducks

With its birds of prey & honey nuts

Along with all them old trees.

 

By the one who made the seas

With its crabs & deeper depths

With its whales & lockness tales

With its cranberry toes & flotsam gulfs

All on this stormy sea

 

He swore that time was up.

That as the 7th blew his horn

One’s mystery would come

& all would complete.

 

An angel spoke

In speaking, set me free

“Go take the giant’s book

held open over the world,

He is the one upon the fence

Between the land and sea.”

So I removed my pride

Approaching such a being

His book outweighed a train

Theory seemed so small

“Now take-it-eat-it” so I kissed

sweet pages & let free

taste of honey sweet

my stomach turned

vomit, scorn, a haze

Then left to prophesy

To the men in the vale.

 

Revelation 12

Sylph with freckled cheeks

Well she stood upon the moon

She, more than any, dressed in sun

Clothed in light

Robed in shining cloth

A fizzy form engulfed her brow

A crown, tiara, diadem

Made of twelve sole stars.

She was pregnant, pretty as she was,

But not for much longer.

Cries -- the cries -- that echoed in the night

For her child’s coming

 

Another sign:

A Rabble, ruckus, caucus sound

flame & shadow, smoke & death

The first and only dragon.

All seven heads crowned in power

Ten horns more, still more for power

One flick, one twitch of His cedar-tail

And one third stars snuffed out

Falling, crashing to the earth

Shuffled by his tail’s girth

Crouched before her child’s birth

Poised to eat him whole.

 

The dragon’s mouth was shut

Boggled by an iron rod

Wielded by the new-born god

Son of sylph, the woman

Racket of nations soon will still

For he will rally yes he

Will fill the earth with his renown

Green the snake shifts

Sick from the truth

As the infant king arose

Snug & tight in the sight

Of God himself

on his throne on high.

 

Sanctuary. 

Protection, haven for a time.

In the Desert, safety

For 1260 days to be precise

Waited on hand, side, and foot, she was, mother of the King.

Weighted dawn tanned sky, afoot, to cause other love to bring

Hope.

 

WAR!

(Like never before.)

War is hell.

Especially war in Heaven.

Heaven was at war.

And war is hell.

                ∴ hell invaded heaven.

 

Hell’d forgotten about angels.

Dragon’s angels forgot Michael.

Who can withstand Heaven’s host?

The armies of The Lord know no match.

Dragon worked from every angle

Breathing fire and death in cycle.

 

None can stand.

None are strong.

None can pluck the cord they need

to sing the master’s song.

None are Him.

None but Him.

And Nothing holds a footing facing all of heaven’s throng.

 

∴ Asp fell

devil-king of cobras

And morningstars

Hurled to the earth

With his messengers

The enemy of mirth

 

inhale

booming voice before a gale:

 

“Salvation,

All power,

Kingdom. and

Authority

Have now come to us

Through Cristus

Victor

 

Prosecution of our brothers

Rooted in the one who

Persecuted all the saints

Accusing all our people

Now is heaved

 

Our brothers overcome

Standing Heaven’s ground

  By blood

  By proof

They loved to die for him

More than to live for themselves

 

REJOICE, O HEAVEN!

SING DEAR SKYS!

CELEBRATE UTOPIA FOR DOOM OF HIM WHO LIES!

 

Woe to you, poor earth

Cry temporal tears

Fill the deep, turn to sea,

through lowly mourner’s cries

For he who lies is here,

And know that he is RED

His anger mounts, you’ll be his sport

And now he knows his time is short…”

 

As Dragon saw his fate

Having crashed into the earth

He chased the woman great

(Yes, the one who’d given birth)

 

Great Eagle’s span shall bring

Her a haven for a time

Times

Half a time.

Beyond the dragon’s reach.

 

From deep within the eel

Within the sea-drake’s throat

A river cursed by pride

Sought out to torrent zeal,

To smash her hope, which floats

 

Earth helped her

By swallowing the flood

The Dragon raged, ticked by failure

Stormed to murder her sons,

Command keepers and

Holders of life.

 

Revelation 13

Dragon stood on the seashore.

Lonely and alone.

Wondering why his lonesome pride

Had furnished him no home

Feel not for him, nor pity

Pity’s no game

Bilbo’s pity ruled the fates

 

dragon stands

On edge of our divide

And from the sea, he calls another

“Blasphemous” from “Pride”

Ten Horns sprout from his face

Or faces, if we see

All seven – sheer disgrace

For both beasts by the sea.

 

Leopard?

No, the feet of a Bear. 

But that’s a lion’s mouth…

Well, whatever it was it came from the deep

 

Dragon gave the beast his sword

And with his sword, his blitzkrieg crown

And with his crown his tyrant’s scepter

Stained in blood, bent from drowning babies

The struggle, the wrestling, that ends in his taking

Even our names.

 

Precisely the opposite of Jacob.

 

One head of seven had a scar

No lightning bolt, nor pirate patch

A blow that almost killed him

World followed him, enticed by charm

Captivated by his words.

Men soon bowed for the Dragon.

For he had given sword, and crown and scepter

To the seabeast

 

That damned beast was worshiped too.

“There’s no one like him.”

They said.

“Who can stand against the Beast

who holds the scepter in his hand?”

 

They’d regret that…

 

He never shut up

Never closed up his mouth

His arrogant boasting, and blasphemous bout.

Beast did what he pleased

(for forty-two months)

 

Spitting, Swearing, Scoffing at God

Bedamning, Blaspheming, Excreting his curse

Upon the Name, and His Church

Mostly to those in Heaven.

 

Permission came for his bedlam and din

For conflict, for bloodshed of saints worldwide

For War and for mayhem, for sowing in sin

No tribe, Nor voice, Nor kindred could hide

From the Beast who sucked them in.

 

Rue! Woe! And Rain to all whose name

Hides not in the Lamb’s book of life

For they, as worshippers, must bow down

All remain fall face down in time

All kiss toward the Beast

 

Are you deaf ?

You’re deaf, aren’t you?

Because if you aren’t

If you really wanted to hear,

You’d listen.

 

You’d take it in.

 

If you set yourself up, tighten the trap –

  It’s sure to spring on you

If you’re tagged for chains, tighten the cuffs –

  You’re sure to be tied down.

If you’re locked in battle, loosening sheaths –

  You’re sure to be slain in war.

 

But if you’re of God

  And if you’re of life

  And if you are chasing like madmen after Christ

  And if you have passion

  And faithfully stand:

Sacrifice

  Saves every man.

 

Ground broke.

  No golden shovel

  No red ribbon,

  The ground split all on its lonesome,

  Crumbling as it rose, that Beast of the Earth.

Two horns for him, two like a Lamb,

  he isn’t our Lamb

One voice for him; voice like the Drake

  A marionette of the sea-Beast’s expense

  A slave, a herald to spread sea-Beast’s fame

Pseudo-Lamb, false-Ram forced everyone

  To kiss towards & bow’fore

  Sea Beast’s wake.

He looked with a taunting, tempting grin

  Supporting sea beast

    Who’s mortal cut now scarred…

 

Puppet – Beast performed enticing signs

  Calling judging fires forth from sky

Using power given from Sea-Beast

  False-Ram rocked our brothers to sleep

Soon they forged a golden effigy

  Bowing down before a gold Sea-Beast

 

He who took the deathblow stood alive

  False-Ram mobilized his golden form

Woe aroused in shape of idol bold,

  Ventriloquized by the puppet-beast

For all refusing bows to the Beast

  Stood steps away from their brink…

 

They coerced all public

All society.

They strong-armed nations

Forcing citizens

(Ranging from the lesser trivial -

Toward all the weighty, men of note,

Spreading from the wealthy comfortable

En route to meager penniless,

Stretched between those chained to someone’s floor

And those permitted rampant liberty)

All to wear a brand.

Tattooed on their hand or brow,

Their name is shadowed over.

For those without a brand

For those without a mark

For those who kept their name

Nothing could be bought

They couldn’t sell stuff

 

A labyrinth of a questions fills our minds

One veiled in truer mystery

Only all together will it show

(Revealing only comes through unity.)

To know the number of the Grounded Beast

We must know that he thrice has fallen short

 

Dear sevens, you are whole

You’ve earned rapport

But Beast has fallen short of seven’s par

 

Once he took a floundered blow

But healing now he has a horrid scar.

Twice more did he decline, run us aground

Miscarriage of his “truths”

He truly failed.

 

Thrice has he fallen short of we, God’s 7-star rated

Thrice he has amounted to only a 6-star safety rating

See his horrid number, turned upon God’s heavens

Hear his number slowly:

 

666.

 

Whatever that is, it’s not a jackpot

Down at the slots.

Ash Wednesday

It was the palm’s power to pick the one

Who would have the honor. Healers and kings

And prophets and priests enpalmed like the actors

Who ready for the road of red carpet

And the fanning of fans' fingers and extra --

EXTRA! -- Excerpts from the excess paper

Runs The Register or rather The Times

Printed for critique: petty to be used

As a cooling device. The carpet and the fans

We used to hail him, but even kings

Our loyalty lose, leave we the healers,

The prophets, the priests. And the palms either rot

Or burn and return to the black ashes

In which they once weathered the sowing

And the deluge of planting. The Dominican or the friar

Or the priest thumbs the powder and marks

My mind's meat --  Remember, my brother:

You are dust and to dust you do return.

Black Sabbath

Brief Intro

Sometimes coincidence happens. And sometimes providence strikes.

 

And sometimes the statistical anomaly of the universe's mathematical equation and the providence of God time out to make something truly, deeply odd. These two poems are the latter -- a wedding of statistical anomaly and providence -- and therefore they, as a unit, need a special sort of introduction.

 

One of my best friends in the world is the soon-to-be Dr. T.A. Giltner. Other than my wife and perhaps Mark Neuenschwander, no single person has talked me off the ledge more often when I’ve thought about quitting, hanging up my poetic spurs, and trying out… I don’t know… gaffing or fletching or cobbling or cooping. Candlestick making. Whatever. Point is, I owe a lot of the doggedness of my literary career to this guy.

 

Sometimes we go months without talking to each other but when we finally touch base again, we always connect on multiple different things and find that our minds have, more or less, gone deeper and higher in a similar trajectory. Even if we have studied completely different things. One such occurrence happened after a six-month span without reestablishing contact with one another. It resulted in these two poems.

 

I had spent time meditating on death, the abyss, suffering in the world, the death of the species, the death of the star, the heat death of the universe, gravitational decay and dispersal, entropy, and other things of that cheery brand. The abyss. I was staring into the abyss while chewing glass, as Mr. Elon Musk once put it, though it wasn’t a metaphor for starting a business. I was doing it literally. And literarily. In the process I came again across an old Fred Craddock sermon in which he said, “Evangelicals love the crucifixion and they love the resurrection, but really they’re like a bunch of mobsters caught red-handed: they don’t know where to put the body. The body of God.” When you add that to Nietzche’s statement that God is Dead and Holbien's painting of the Dead Christ which he painted after he literally fished a body out of the Rhine river and used it as the subject study for Jesus -- a painting about which Dostoevsky claimed in The Idiot , "It could make you lose your faith" -- you get into the deepest, darkest questions any atheist could throw at you.

 

I began meditating on all of the Dead Christ paintings I could get my hands on and then started reading up on the Catholic idea of Holy Saturday -- and how Christ dead in the grave mirrors God's choice to stop working on the Sabbath even though he has power to create again. It turns out the Jewish idea of resurrection isn't like our idea of life after death but something like life after “life after death,” as N.T. Wright says. Their whole idea was that if God created gravity and superstrings and black holes once, he holds that same power to do it again.

 

I then realized how much of my life had involved a deep obsession with the macabre -- how many horror films I had seen as a young boy, how many dead bodies I had encountered before college, how much animal blood my hands had shed. Even though I went vegan for a small season just to push closed-minded folk around me to reconsider their choices, still the vegans themselves gave me no respite: plant life is still life and therefore we must kill to live or else die to give life. I went into a deep dark hole, talked to my buddy Jordan Wood about nihilism, wrote a nihilistic children's book, listened to a Ben Quash lecture, and came out the other side with the long form poem Dead Christ.

 

Then T.A. Giltner called. It had been six months, as I said.

 

Somewhere in that conversation, I mentioned the dark process I had gone through and how I ended with this poem and how I was proud of it for reasons other than everything else I had written in verse.

 

“Who have you been talking to?” T.A. asked.

 

“What do you mean?” I asked.

 

“Who told you about my work?”

 

“Um…” I said, “I haven’t really kept in contact with anyone in your circle, man. What’s up?”

 

“I’ve spent the last few months doing the same thing and I just finished a poem too. It’s called Holy Saturday.”

 

We read one another's poems. The arguments, and therefore the trajectory of the poems, work in parallel. It was both coincidence and providence, dovetailing in ways only he and I can really get in the company of one another. I didn't really feel right publishing my poem without his beside it, so I purchased the first serial rights from him to publish it here. His poem is the twin of mine and the medieval folk believed that twins shared a special sort of power when they collaborated. The truth is, his is a far, far better poem than my own -- I only include mine because I think they illuminate one another. T.A. is much bolder with his language than I am with mine, as you'll see, but his harsh and even crass language has a very, very specific point that's incredibly important. Remember: Geoffrey Chaucer was a Christian who critiqued his culture with the exact same four-letter words that T.A. Giltner uses in Holy Saturday. If you don’t believe me, go read the article by C.S. Lewis entitled Four Letter Words.

 

With that, I give you first my Dead Christ and then T.A.‘s Holy Saturday. I always save the best for last and his is the best poem in this entire compilation. I’m honored to include his work because it raises the value of every fumbling attempt of mine that came before it.

 

Dead Christ

For Jordan Wood and Ben Quash

 

 

I. The Magazine

 

Holbien fishes bodies from the Rhine
stone or marble forms a slab
he clears green mold, seaweed, the guts
it takes to paint a Chrorpse,
and spreads them out to prompt his work.
Oh yes, he thinks, this one will do,
emaciated brawn like chicken legs,
Oh yes, he thinks, this one works nice
and from decay paints Christ.

 

 

II. The Meal

 

(Dig one out of that sink for me. No that one, the one that’s getting sour. Yes, that’ll do, I need brain food before I start this thing… thanks.)

 

 

III. The Conversation in the Funeral Receiving Line

 

Dostoevsky found it when it’s done,
he stood before it hours till his
wifey whisked him off, afraid
he’d fly into a further epileptic fit,
Smerdykov-like, and Fyodor’s
inspired formed a volume
an idiot viewed it, said
‘Methinks it holdeth
force enough to make one lose one’s
faith,’ this from the man who grasped
each broken boy
not as he was – a broken man –
but only as he could be
oh-ho-ho
someday

therefore never saw a dying earth
surrounding him, but mere Edenic gold –
the true, blue Tommy Tom Kinkaide of his day.

 

I. The Magazine

 

‘Here once more, oh laurels, and once more,[
__]oh myrtles brown, with ivy seldom sere,

I’ve come again to pluck your berries crude[
__]and with rough fingers rude[
__]shatter your leaves before the mellowing year.’

 

 

III. The Conversation in the Funeral Receiving Line

 

Not holy in a mess, Alyosha, no
Mishkin’s much more dead than that Christ
he saw,
stiff,
hanging hanging hanging
on a wall.

 

 

II. The Meal

 

(tomato-slicing and remember these were frozen green and shipped two-thousand miles behind a diesel eighteen thirteen-gear that hauls both limes and rest-stop lizards while my grandpa’s garden renders its libations scarlet fruit-worm-eaten both of ‘em fresh how we pluck them early and pluck them late but never right on time)

 

 

III. The Conversation at the Funeral

 

Joseph Campbell dabbles long
until his dabbles dapple
over every myth and faeble
now with Hello-Kitty-cute
anachronisms forged
of this thinly-veiled dogged heritage
he’s running from,
his Katholische Theoligischen
Annahme: that quest to hold no
Catholic theological assumptions,
blinds him to his own living, cosmic
Christ like every other sage
who reacted to a church that no one
else could know about
in our age
but us,
especially native tribes who spin myths
like prophecies messianic,
had pagans had some Jewish texts.
The Myth
about a dying hero spelunking
the deep, dark, dank black lagoon
to die
for those of us who would die.
And so
Joe’s own host of centrals share one face:
a Catholic Christ,
who plays in ten thousand places -- when I lie down, when I sit down, when I rise --
rather than ten thousand faces playing in the Christ he claims divides
into holistic forms:
shares.

Company.

That’s neither here nor
there in my back yard,
the Spirit of Life who made and sustains
the neighbor’s twenty-pound cat I’ve named Citrinus[
__]for reasons tinted obvious
feels something wrong and groans and cannot
fix the waiting Spirit’s groan so chose some lesser action
elects a broken road that made him
murder a tiny bunny
made him
amplify the groaning
of his selfsame spirit of
life.

and the groan
he’ll try to fix again
tomorrow
rather than groan himself.

But the spirit’s there, The
Word within all things,

both times

and weeps.

Joe said, ‘A man once had a boy
who said, ‘Hold my little bird,
my father,
hear his birdie song.’
But the man ignored his son until
he couldn’t any longer,
then took the bird and snapped its neck.
when he killed the bird,’ old Campbell said,
‘He killed the song, and so himself.’

Split,
divide the hemispheres,
a seismic
cosmic diagram of crusted molten cores

 

 

II. Meal

(that avocado half on your plate there, let me have that for a sec, just a second, I’ll give it back right after a bite)

 

III. Convo

 

Take the
straightest distance twixt two points:
from mine and then to yours a hole -- we dig to China –
there
like here
some larger kith and kin of Citrinus
offs a larger kith and kin of bunny

 

 

II. Meal

(Christopher-named Tigger eats what Christopher named Kanga)

 

III. Convo

 

to raise again Our Spirit’s groaning out
and in.

I get no hint of this event until
my puppy quickens my thinker from haze,
she draws me out of reverie with her

chomping chomping chomping
what is she chomping?
chomping chomping

and I come so close to find
grey yarn
of bunny gut strung out

across wide-open little belly,
the way she opens silver packages at Christmas…
How long had it sat there rotting,
and

 

 

II. Meal

(is it always that color?)

 

 

III. Convo

 

My dog
desaturated noodles

 

 

II. Meal

(I don’t think them’re noodles, bubba)

 

III. Convo

 

in her lips
that look like
“What? Is something wrong?”

Past Me had need of answers
for he remembers smells:
formaldehyde
the smell he smells each time a soul
unwittingly uncaps a blackened,
inch-thick, dubbed ‘permanent’ marker

 

 

II. Meal

(black, please, no cream)

 

 

III. Convo

the smell of my mother and her nursing

classmates spreading a cat upon a metal shelf

 

 

II. Meal

(though stones, rocks, marble slabs would do or cedar planks. I like them served on cedar, but whatever you have is fine)

 

III. Convo

 

where six typically pot-luck ladies
ooh and aah over
various bits of viscera
I, a three-year-old, grow
fast best friends with formalding –
scent of dead – there I lay –
I see me now – upon formica –
suspended dead one
suspended on
dead steel
and pinned
with little metal pins.

My brother’s twenty-pound cat
passes and his
wife asked for cremation
so there sits
in the midst of a roomful of Xbox controllers
wine bottles
acoustic guitars
on top of the shelves that hold the current tech for owning films

And half-finished classic literature
a cedar chest full of
Big John’s Ashes
a picture of them holding him -- all together now, he's heavy, lift together –
his collar on top
an expired rabies tag attached by a bendable grip
hook

I was made to dissect a fetus
of a pig in public school.
formaldehyde
smell it?
black permanent marker
cat

 

 

II. Meal

(No thanks, I’m off of bacon for the month. Why? I heard the pig’s anatomically closest to me, to man. That kosher with you?)

 

III. Convo

 

here I am by
pot luck ladies
slicing slicing
I was made to dissect a fetus
of a pig in public school.
They called Dead Piglet “science”
in the class that nixed my
right to a creator who,
in another class at the selfsame school,
created me with
certain inalienable rights.
They say they want The Word
removed from the phrase,
yet they praise basic human rights,
and rights assume a standard right,
a Right One
who holds both sense and power to right the wrong,
so whether or not He’s mentioned,
He’s present as
Righter
of Rightly named “crimes” against humanity.
The South end of the hall forbade
my Right to a creator
while the North end of the hall professed
inalienable Right.
When convenient, they raise Him up

 

IV. The Whisper

 

“When you are old, they’ll raise you up”

 

III. Convo

 

when inconvenient, they slab him

 

IV. The Whisper

 

“and take you where you do not want to go”

 

III. Convo

 

this and other tautologies of schools called
high
taught me that it’s never whether
To tautology or not to tautology[
__]but rather
which tautologies we mind.

I digress:

A student came to meet his teacher
back in ancient Greece.

 

 

V. Letter to the Editor

‘Master,’ he said, ‘the world is hanging
out in empty space?’
The master said, ‘Oh no, my son,
it has itself a base.’
‘What is it?’ asked the student then.
‘A turtle holds our place.’
‘But master,’ asked the student next,
‘What holds the turtle up?’
‘Another turtle holds it son.’
He sipped tea from his cup.
‘But master,’ asked the student thrice,
‘What holds that turtle’s shell?’
‘My boy,

it’s turtles, turtles all the way down.’

 

 

III. The Conversation

 

Well…

We all have our turtles,

but some of us actually hate the sounds they make
under the left rear tire.

And so I chose instead of slicing pig fetuses
to listen to Tolkien’s Gandalf –
mindset goes like this:

 

 

I. Zine

 

He who breaks a

thing

to find out what it

is

has left the path of wisdom.

 

 

III. The Conversation in the Long and Hot and Winding Receiving Line at the Funeral

 

Two quarks collide
left and Right
wind goes where it pleases
you hear their
hear its
SOUND -- the crash –
where they come from
where they go
no one knows
even when they thought the great crasher
would crash them to make more
they do not know
they do not know where they go
or if they can get any smaller
break them, smash them, crash them
find out what they is
I did this as a kid
with little racing cars made of aluminum,

tin, and filled a three-foot-deep hole with broken bits of
tires and plastic windows
had help from an Italian kid whose mafioso dad told us all
‘That cleaner right there’ll take blood right out of carpet.’
then, bored, moved on
did not come any closer to learning how to reconstruct a
model car
so it is.

even The Crasher crashes.

-- sound harmartology collides with pneumatological sounds  --

and so
Two quarks collide
one gives way that the other may
quantumly entangle with the soul
of owner,
either
on
or
off
or
both

Wait, what? Both?

A third place
it goes.

 

 

II. The Meal

(this soup tastes like heaven)

 

 

III. The Conversation

 

quarks in an atom strung together
into one of many proteins

 

 

II. The Meal

(there’s more than the steak available, perhaps you’d prefer almond butter or the spinach soup?)

 

 

III. The Conversation

spiral downward into
D
N
A
that compose

 

 

II. The Meal

(scraps go in the compost)

 

 

III. The Conversation

an intestinal cell
in intestinal walls of
intestinal cells
each holding 46 chromosomes
that eat
that magically turn food to poop

 

IV. The Whisper

 

“What comes out of a man’s
what makes him turn unclean”

 

III. The Conversation

 

unlike yet similar to the cat
and rabbit
and our gutted childhood Kanga.

 

II. The meal

 

(pass the sausage?)

 

 

III. The Conversation

Rotting gut rotting in my gut
an ache
a worry
a compassion powered by
σπλαγνον
go with your gut
mine and theirs,
mine in theirs.

Right?

Which may be why suffering and dying
remain my visceral themes

 

 

II. The Meal

(9 pounds of undigested beef was still inside John Wayne’s smaller intestine when he passed)

 

 

III. Conversatio

 

John Wayne
a regular old John Wayne
was Uncle Bill
who lost his arm one afternoon
when a shotgun leaning against a tree
slipped
went off, blew off
his arm.
He had a hook, one that subdivided
so he’d grip
and hook
and Griphook was that ornery goblin
Harry Potter met first, when they got the elixir
of life from the bank,
then again when they needed to kill the horcrux.
Grip
from a hook on uncle Bill’s arm
he drove a jet-ski that aways,
hooking the throttle,
beer can in the other hand, the good hand, the real hand,
“Hold on Lance,” he said
but he wasn’t holding on
and he died
later on
I saw that grip
hook over the casket wall
there with Aunt Midge -- the gypsy – in line. Hear the bells?
On her purple dresses?

Hear them ringing, casting

Spells?

sanctuary.

sanctuary.
sanctuary.

Enough of this nonsense
give me time
oh give me space to mourn.

Then sign the guest book or something, look there’s an inch-thick
black-dubbed-permanent marker.

Nevermind.

Look…

Here take a magazine,
a game,
something to occupy your mind,
please give me space
while we wait
in line.

Here – take this issue,
you’ll like this one,
it’s got a pastoral lament inside, this sonnet…
here…
let me find it…

there you go:

 

 

I. The Magazine

 

Mantegna’s weeping echos in our gorge
of thorax swollen, rigor mortis sets
Mary and John, their teardrops bulge and barge
into our world, mourning the shepherd’s death.
Glow and shadow, sun and shade remain
upon dead center: holy genitals.
Phillipe de Champaigne brings muscled thorns,
Carracci lays down tongs that just pulled spikes
Bellini lifts the herder’s head to block
the gorge’s landscape – still it looks so… cross.
Strozzi says, “How young he seems. A fetus
thirty-three years old who died.”
“By torture,” Manet adds, “You see the eyes?
He will not close his eyes.
He will not close his eyes.
He will not close his eyes.
He will not close his eyes.
He will not close his eyes.”

 

 

III. Conversatio

 

Did you like the poem?
Yes I knew him.
We’re closer to the body, now,
so close…
I don’t want to tell the story,
just read on,
occupy yourself:

 

 

I. The Magazine

 

Oh sure, there’s other mourners here in line.
Giovanni and his angels,
not a one of them know what to do
what to do
what to do next,
they stare at each other,
Sabbath-like, in fact,
as they hold our lovely little Jewish shepherd king.

 

 

III. Conversatio

 

A friend of a friend and that is enough, just read:

 

 

I. The Magazine

 

Gregorio’s here, “Why the knees?” he begs
“They didn’t need to scrape and skin his knees!”

 

 

III. Conversatio

 

Yes, okay, his name was
Austin. Austin Freeman,
is that enough?
Will you leave me alone?

 

 

I. The Magazine

 

Mazzola brings his young quadruplets up
both boys are nekked
two little wee-wees
two little girls in tu-tus
all four hold the corpse.
“It’s stiff,” they say, “and cold.”
“Move along,” Mazzola says, “and move alone.”

 

 

III. Conversatio

 

His stoner friends were in
d-group with me.
What?
It means devotional group.
Why?
To devote ourselves to God, can I continue?
We sought to help one another
find the way to/of godliness,
but none of us knew grace
and so we’d say
don’t do
don’t do
to one another
do, don’t do
don’t do, and
do
they quit the weed
they quit the drinks
they quit the chew
the girls that do
and then we tried music
do don’t do
burned the discs we wished we could keep but
do don’t do
snapped euphony

 

I. The Magazine

 

We will not breech Pieta,
we will not touch Mike’s stone
cold face,
still he simply lays a still
shot from a film
called Wall-E
I saw it there
in the picture,
when my friend Doug
nudged my shoulder
“look” and pointed
at the next offering in the coffin:
One white Madonna bot
holds the disassembled form
no disassemble
no disassemble
no disassemble
of an simple builder bot,
yellowed.
Then, leaving the poster there,
he kisses Mary on the cheek.
“Thank you, Michelangelo,”
she weeps.

 

 

III. Conversatio

 

Fine.

 

 

I. The Magazine

 

Dream, dream, oh lucid dream of day
daydream
this magazine’s the scene:

 

 

III. Conversatio

 

That night all the
do don’t do
cracked Austin’s will
he’s high

 

 

II. The Meal

(why do they call it Hi-
C when it’s on the bottom shelf?)

 

 

III. Conversatio

and drove in that state
and got hit by a train
on Hotze road
in his car
so they say,
so they’re saying in line
and I’m at fault.
His blood’s on my hands for our
do don’t do
demands
no, I won’t serve time, but my
demands
His blood
His blood’s all over my hands,
can’t get it off of my forearms
It should have been him who heard
‘If you can be a preacher,
why stoop to be a king?’
in Bible College
and me in the coffin,
for he was only high,
and I?
I’ve raped and pillaged
murdered, burned,
cheated, stolen,
done restless work,
carved my gods of plasma screens,
tortilla chips,
weight changes,
my brother’s lifting weights,
I’ve minted coins in my image,
committed genocide,
avenged,
and raged
inside my mind.

 

 

IV. The Whisper

“Worst of sinners”

 

 

III. Conversatio

in my mind

 

 

IV. The Whisper

“worst of sinners”

 

 

III. Conversatio

 

am I.

 

 

V. Letter to the Editor

 

‘Re: What’s wrong with the world?

Dear sirs,
I am.

sincerely,’

 

 

III. Conversatio

 

He should have been he who wrote this,
I of him it was written,
for I am always past my prime
and he is always gone too soon,
he the poet dead,
And I?
I take the road all travel by
until they’ve served their time,
a tab is opened at birth,
a tap in the wine cask,
and it pours out
day after day
it pours
and when it’s through, it’s through.
Not fate, no not fate,
we cannot know the time, the way, the day
but when there’s no more, there’s no more,

Wine runs dry.

 

 

II. The Meal

(when you’re out, you’re out boys, aren’t no seconds tonight)

 

 

III. Conversatio

Nevermore.

 

I hear
in Ernest
as I stand before the coffin
of the little shepherd poet:

 

 

V. Letter to the Editor

 

‘Those who do not last are always
more beloved
since no one has to see them in their long,
dull,
unrelenting,
no-quarter-given-and-no-quarter-received,
fights
that they make to do something as they believe it should be done
before they die.
Those who die
or quit early and easy
and with every good reason
are preferred
because they are understandable and human. Failure and well-
disguised cowardice
are more human
and more beloved.’

 

 

I. The Magazine

 

He to die,
I to fight,
both as lost as lovers lost
at sea,
drowning and
drowning longer than normal
and will we ever
surface?

 

 

III. Conversatio

 

Leave the coffin there,
if you prefer,
oh yes, please take your place in line,
or,
if you’re not there yet
and you prefer,
our universe advances
on the void
it grows

 

 

IV. The Whisper

“praise Him, sun and moon, praise
Him all you
shining stars. Praise Him
you Highest Heavens and you
Waters Above the Skies”

 

III. Conversatio

 

space
grows into space
water seeks the lower place

 

 

II. The Meal

(catch it! catch it! get a towel or it’ll cover the table and drip to the floor it’s okay it’s just a spill but hurry still oh come on hurry still)

 

 

III. Conversatio

 

Our universe advances
on the void
that vomited Leviathan on out
and will again,
but expanding is sufficient for
the growing presupposes
germinated seed
that is and was and will be
being.

To stand at that edge, the lip
of universe, to march being forth
into non-being, an ex-nihilo bayonet

 

 

II. The Meal

(leave it in a little bowl to the side, please, I prefer to keep the blades from mixing with my meals)

 

III. Conversatio

 

charge and watch void voided,
veto non-being
alone on the frontline…
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
. What is nothing, per se? . Nothing -- as such --

.

.

.

.
.

.

.

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
…Nietzsche said that God is dead
And this is s’posed to shake me.
Nietzche made Dead God undead
And this he thought would wake me.
But all my faith and all my future’s
bolstered by his theocide, for in my
Christ all death has died, for in my
Christ my God did bleed, for in our
Christ God’s ever dead along with we
who die, says Paul,

Another Dead Christ

 

 

II. The Meal

 

(let’s have
another, shall we?)

 

 

I. The Magazine Jumps Out of Our Hand in Line, Forms Itself into a Mouth, and Speaks about The Meal and The Whisper

 

Carpaccio! Carpaccio!
Oh whereforart our ‘Paccio?
I see the ghoul who’s busy
painting yellowed death
upon deserted vistas.
skulls hide under outside kitchen tables
(mom heath broke the patio table again okay no he didn’t it was me this time I was eating macaroni in the windstorm when it flipped which is why there’s yellow on the siding)
skulls there crushed
the sounds they make
under the left rear tire
women receiving back their dead
shortly after He died, I guess, their dead
who still look dead,
who smell so dead,
whose skin has pulled grey-tight,
bunny gut,
desaturated noodles
who seem to have come to life,
three cross
in upper right from
hanging hanging hanging,
dead twigs,
dead figs,
dead Christ with wounds from
slicing slicing.
“There’s death in the pot!”
an apple core from
chomping chomping
death in the corners,
death in the rivers,
death in obscure figures in the back,
the one obscured in black,
but who’s that in the middle?
Who’s that by the bark?
Who sits below the only blooming tree,
framed by blue waters
and a slightly-purplish mountain?
Who is this who sits below,
the only living color
in the frame that
from decay paints Christ?
His posture – now I know of his posture, I think –
his posture, have you painted this before
Carpaccio?

Is this one of your heroes,
dear Carpaccio?

Oh yes, there he is, now closer up,
with legs still cross,
The Thinker’s posture,
sitting there before the blooming fields
beside a throned, lifeless, slumping Christ.

Is that our Job?

It’s Job.

Job who knew a pain like none
of us living knew. Who lost
his kids, his fields,
who lost his servants, health, his
friendships. Why do bad things strike
good people?
asketh Elder Job, though deep down knows
none is good – and he, and he is bad –
deep down he knows.
In pain – he cries
to God – accuses – while accusing
[_ -- says: _]
“I know that my redeemer lives.”

That man, from the close-up of the two
before our throned Dead Christ,
now sits in the midst of other pigment
in the middle ground
with Christ on a slab
on Holbien’s slab
with the dead around – and the dead
have walked – the earth
returned –
at the death of one,
but one is Job,
who says,
“I know that my redeemer lives.”

He, who’s been full doornail-dead,
for several thousand years,
sitting,
thinking,
below the only blooming tree,
before the rivers green,
beside the blue stream that dips immortals,
and the melting snow in back.
Job speaks of promises to keep,
and miles to go long after we sleep,
and miles to go long after we sleep.

His presence there, at the burial,
at the sepulcher,
before embalming
no disassemble
formaldehyde,
says so simply now:

 

God suffered more in our world,
than ever we could in his.

 

 

V. Letter to the Editor

 

“Methinks it holdeth
force enough to make one
find one’s faith.”

 

 

I. Zine

 

Job sits
and waits–
–a vigil–

 

 

III. Conversatio

 

he will not close his eyes
he will not close his eyes

and waiting isn’t long compared

to four or five thousand lives
waits, he, three short
time, times, half a time…

 

 

II. The Meal Whispers

 

(“I’ll let everyone who overcomes eat from the tree of life. To everyone who overcomes, I’ll give some of the hidden manna… the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne… through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”)

 

 

V. The Letter to the Editor Appears at the Front of the Magazine

 

‘weep no more, woeful shepherds, weep no more,
For Lycidas, your sorrow, is not dead,
sunk though he be beneath the watery floor.’

 

 

III. Self-Disclosure Whispered at the Close of the Conversation at the End of the Line

 

for in my Christ all death has died,
for in my Christ my God did bleed,
for in our Christ God’s ever dead
along with we who die,
says Paul,
as often as He rises.

 

Hear me:

 

 

I. The Magazine

 

Holbien fished a body from the Rhine[
__]and heard it cough…

 

 

III. Conversion.

 

Evermore.

 

Holy Saturday

By T. A. Giltner

 

 

For the Dead. And the Living. But most of all, the Dead.

 

Prologus

ARGUMENTUM

 

[_De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine.  _]

Domine, exaudi vocem meam.

 

Here I stand.

Between a Friday and a Sunday.

the long-suffering abode of Κρόνος,
eternity in Τάρταρος his uncle,
a dismal day desperately desiring only deliverance,
for it is the lonely lot of time only to hope for its end.

I can do no other.

Here we lie in dried-tongue graves,

throats snake-parched,
our bellies black-hole empty.
In the grave.
Heads arrayed with the flower-crowns
of dancing skeletons,
then remembering that once we were mortal,
now hoping for nothing more.

Here I stand.

Amidst tombstones a pathetic Stone Henge,
hedging bets on Brother Sun and Sister Moon,
throwing but bones in the pot –
a clavicle for currency,
loose teeth for change,
hoping against hope[
**]these dead men were right:
something

must be going on or are we just playing in a valley of dry bones?[
**]
I can do no other.

Marduk made a world from the dragon,
but the universe he could not fathom;
one atom amidst it all,
a cosmos infinitely big but infinitely small,
vast enough to contain
Leviathan,
minuscule enough to maintain
a micron,
and somewhere in it all
an earthly organism
got smart.

Here I stand.

In the middle of Myth and Progress,
where Progress has
become myth,
and Myth only
a legend.
Once Myth served to chastise us,
now it only amuses us.
Once Progress was a necessary danger;
now it is our only wager.
Perhaps, though dead,
with the chested men of Myth
I’ll lie,
while those who worship Progress shake their fist and die.
We’re all dead anyway.

Even God.

Perhaps I’ll worship the Beautiful,
rather than merely the Possible.
We are all food for the divers.
Eventually.
Perhaps I’ll give my flesh willingly,
so the divers may feast.

At the intersection of

Myth and Progress.

I can do no other.

But even the divers shall die.
All will sleep silently,
but it may be that
silence is better than noise.
The universe promises no forever,
even to itself,
as far as we know.
And while as-far-as-we-know
may not be very far,
maybe it is far enough.
And perhaps it goes just so far
in other directions
that we have not yet contemplated,
or forgotten how.
I shall now declare myself:
I shall contemplate the universe,
and myself;
I shall remember those I’ve loved,
whose hearts I have broken,
who have broken mine.
I shall try to remember how to
wonder –
and not be afraid –

of a handful of dust,
of a patch of grass,
of a swaying embrace,
of a hand clasped.

I shall wonder,
neither ashamed nor apologetic,
for I now know that
those who think they know
are incapable of such.
In a foolishness so feeble,
I take profound comfort.

For unknowing is our supreme destiny.

Here I…well, you know.

 

I

 

PRIMUM PRINCIPIUM

 

Hominem te esse memento.

Memento mori.

 

Gott ist todt! Gott bleibt todt! Und wir haben ihn getödtet!

 

Status quaestiones: Why is there something and not nothing?

 

“What’s all this, then?”

 

What do you want to know?

What is best for a man?

The best thing for a man is

not to be born.

But if he is born,

the best thing is to die,

and that right quickly.

 

In the Birth of Tragedy

we are produced and deem ourselves a counter-factual,

actually an accident,

and accidents are scary.

Let us break the world with bombs and philosophies,

deconstructing ourselves into the Nothingness.

But which Nothingness?

What Nothingness did we come from?

All the spiraling galaxies,

two hundred billion estimated,

throwing out their tentacles, mating

with each other through the cold gaps,

atoms collapsed upon incomprehensible atoms,

quarks colliding and crashing,

the universe cracking,

all held together with a pin.

 

Let us begin.

 

Caught in the Big Rip, we are torn apart.

Everything decays.

Everything dies.

The Universe grows cold.

And becomes Nothing.

Am I waiting for an End or a Consummation?

 

But nevermind that!

Live in the Now!

We are the Masters of the Universe!

Unchained from the sun,

let us will to power.

Let us narrate the κόσμος

on a blank sheet of page.

Let us build a tower.

Let us cower in the shadow over us,

we proud Architects of the Age.

 

“Had we but world enough, and time,”

I would tell you about god.

I would tell you about that word

in the mouths of puny creatures.

I would have much to say

about that power play.

But stay awhile, and perhaps

Gottsprach –

what those strange, ancient mystics call Theologia

will bleed through the pages.

The Blood of God.

We might drink it, but we cannot speak it,

because to speak of  God is

nonsense.

 

They who think different

might well try conquer the Universe –

and they do, they do;

a mass of He-Men

brandishing Greyskull swords,

waving them about in people’s faces,

proclaiming: I have the power!

Suffer the little children to come unto me,

and do not hinder them.

Man shall be trained for war,

and woman for the recreation of the Warrior.

Fill your golden-glass flask,

and drink up,

then smash it on the cold stone floor like

a Norsemen god.

You are a Man,

oh you Mighty Man, you.

So precious.

Pick your poison,

gird your loins,

unsheathe your sword,

and go to war.

Tell us, you Mighty Men, about god,

and how he is wanted dead or alive,

and how we shall all be consigned to Nothingness or Flame.

Oh, you Mighty Men,

you are so big!

And when you hang up your spurs,

we will cryogenically store you in a cold chamber.

 

“You are thinking about the past.”

“My dad gave me this on my fifth birthday.

Said, ‘Childhood’s over, son, when you

know you’re going to die.”

 

But god is dead.

And he hates fags.

 

II

 

CONTRA-CREATIO CONVICTUS

 

Usquequo Domine clamabo et non exaudies?

Vociferabor ad te vim patiens et non salvabis?

 

Humanity lost an eye.

And it was none too happy about it;

so from the wellspring of revulsion

at the uncharted galaxies

goosestepped into the Abyss

and conjured up a mushroom cloud.

 

The pillars of heaven now shuddered,

the Earth become unfettered,

our barbaric “Yawp” been uttered,

we shuffled into the twilight,

beating our concaven chests and huddled around a Promethean fire,

there we scorched the earth,

and created a New Land,

the Twilight Land.

 

We are the hapless.

We are the machine.

 

We planted a flag in our Twilight Land,

and placed our hands over our hearts,

and how our eyes gleamed,

one tear scrambling down our cheeks,

as we looked at our Land,

our Twilight Land afire.

 

My Country, ‘tis of thee,

sweet land of liberty,

of thee, I sing.

 

We made a better world,

because the world we had

wasn’t good enough.

We trod bloodied flesh

and broken bones underfoot,

some were dead, some still alive,

and the wails were like that of the wind,

some fell silent, some abide,

on a cold Autumn day,

and we laid down our harps,

and wept,

because we had made a better world.

For we are the hapless,

we are the machine,

and in the face of our Progress,

no one may stand.

 

III

 

CASUS ET RUINA

 

Si iniquitates observabis, Domine,

Domine, quis sustinebit?

 

We call them Haters.

And we hate Haters.

 

Are not other people the problem?

Of course. I hate

them. 

But I am one of them. 

It’s not a poetic trick. 

I hate myself. 

 

When they anger at me,

I hate them. 

I have no compassion,

mirroring the compassionless

hate that spurred me

to speak with shortened breath

and a slow, ba(i)ted tongue. 

I hate them. 

 

God, will you hate such creatures

and love me?

 

L’enfer, c’est les autres. 

Huis-clos. 

I will do unto others. 

And make me vengeance. 

And so shall we all burn. 

I will conquer!

I will consume!

Watch as I, coiled and ready,

strike for sustenance,

strike for survival,

strike for supremacy.

And then you shall know that

I am the Lord.

 

For hell is hot,

and I – gladly, grudgingly – stab at thee. 

My hatred is a penis

in hope a circumcision,

in intention a rape. 

To repay the tearing 

of my own hymen. 

 

For Hate’s sake,

I spit my last breath at thee. 

A spermicide, 

created by the natural impulses

of my body formed upside-down. 

And so any possibility between us is

still( )born. 

 

Hate has no place or time,

the phenomenology of a broken nursery rhyme,

falling forever in a contra-Being.

In the loss of the locus,

there remains only 

endless, cruel, intransversible

space. 

 

IV

 

CONVERSIO

 

Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?

 

He was born a pauper to a pawn

on a Christmas day,

when the New York Times said,

“God is Dead,”

and the war’s begun.

Alan Tostig has a son today.

 

As humanity dies, the Universe lies waiting.

The girls are out getting facials.
The boys lie inbthe Internet.
And they don’t trust each other.

We weren’t given a penis or a vagina,
but a cock and a cunt,
and taught to fuck.
In that order.

Oh, I can
pull your hair,
slap your ass,
call you names…
but I shall never know
your name.
Or the one you came for,
the one we came from.

Our rocket ships are a dick,
space a pythonesque pussy -
disclosed by glitter-studded legs spread
across the universe,
hopelessly impregnated,
giving birth to a deformed mass
of huddling, shuddering cowards,
asking our smartphones about death.
The world will end with a whimper,
captured neat and nimble on a camera phone,
and the universe will view our pornographic suicide.
But as no voyeur.

Yet some Time Traveller may wonder:
Were the Morlocks really the sufferers,
we Eloi content only to exist?
Only a god could tell.

We are the hapless.
We are the machine.

Shall I hope for the dazzling darkness,
or be consigned to a darkness
deaf and dumb?

 

Tom Cullen knows what that is!

M-o-o-o-o-N!

That spells “deaf and dumb!”

Grant me one more image,
love me one more lie,
lend me just a little liberty,
while I, lusting only for the moment,
place my early-morning hopes
on a crushed cigarette,
a lonely desire
under the elms.

I awaken to love,
but live to loathe;
I hold my breath,
only to breathe,
and wreathe around my neck
an amorous sorrow,
gilded and choked by
an otium or an odium
of a tenenbaum or a tenebrae.

Holy Saturday.

Oh, Holy Saturday.

 

Perhaps I trade
my cock for a will,
my senses for a soul,
my kingdom for a horse,
my life for you,
and a way out of this
godforsaken place.

Like the Morlocks,
we must eat flesh, drink blood,
and know in the distant pews:
we are eating ourselves.
Then perhaps we shall not be devoured.

The Mother’s heart is like a sun,
breast-feeding all.
Clasped to her chest, I shall burn alive,
awakened to life in an instant.
As an instant.
And photosynthesize forever.
In the embryo,
in the Mother’s virginal womb,
there is no vagina, no penis,
no cock or cunt,
but only potential.
In my flowering,
I shall not pull but be pulled,
I shall not strike but be struck,
I shall not call names but be named.

There is no god.
God isn’t real.
And god waits for us.

 

V

 

REDITUS

 

Whát I do is me: for that I came.

 

 

I come into myself;

it feels like…

like…

like something I forgot,

mooring to a mystic Memory,

of a Land I’ve never seen,

a Place I’ve never been,

because it doesn’t exist.

But is it real?

 

I don’t know if that is the

right question.

 

As dust we are,

so to dust we shall return.

Ashes to ashes,

dust to dust.

Or so the saying goes.

Everything is circles and triangles.

Pythagoras and Origen,

pray for us.

 

Cogito ergo sum

 

I know now that

whatever I was,

to that I shall return.

And before I was,

I was nothing.

And so to that I shall return.

 

Come, Nothingness,

and I will curl into your embrace,

and in your formless chambers,

cry out:

I am!

 

VI

 

SACRAMENTUM

 

Domine, non sum dignus

ut intres sub tectum meum;

sed tantum dic verbo,

et sanabitur anima mea.

 

On a star-pressed sky, I traced the lines

of your face.

I sighed and held out my hand.

When you clasped it, I didn’t feel a

thing.  

You are always grasping,

always arriving.

Being is your Becoming.

 

When you smiled, I nearly died.

Your eyes shined like Sheol, the

abyssal pools of justice, and I forgot

what I had been thinking at that

moment.

You are that beautiful.

 

Your nose crinkles.

When you laugh, I don’t feel sane.

But I know I’m alive.

The curve of your lips is the curve of the universe:

no matter how far I go,

I always return.

Always returning,

always leaving.

Your waiting is a constant greeting.

You saw me in the distance, weeping –

but I was already there.

 

Let me put a ring on your finger.

Let me put sandals on your feet.

(Your slender, sexual feet I long to

kiss.

And when we take it all off,

a cosmos bursts in the dark)

 

Let me be your father,

and I shall be your son.  I shall drink at

your breasts so comely.

When we all as infants taste your

poison,

we will arise again, and be

humans.

Then we shall be gods.

 

I de(i)fy you as a goddess.

Look upon me kindly, and do not

break my heart again.

I fear the lines of your face are

blurring,

and I can no longer trace the

borders.

I don’t see you anymore.

But I don’t see me either.

All I see is sky.  The space those old ones called

Ouranous.

 

You and I, all of us, we are on a great

adventure.

 

VII

 

FINIS SEU CONSUMMATIO

 

Finem loquendi omnes pariter audiamus:

Deum time et mandata eius observa,

hoc est enim omnis homo.

 

 

Faith perceives God as One,

Hope holds God as Truth,

Love knows God as Goodness – and Beauty,

and swallows us up in itself:

the shoreless ocean of God Himself.

 

Do I embrace the(e) Beautiful perhaps?

 

Here I stand.  I can do no other.

Lancelot Schaubert is the husband of Tara Schaubert, the grooviest girl on Earth. He has sold his written work to markets like The New Haven Review, McSweeney’s, The Poet’s Market, Writer’s Digest (magazine and books), The World Series Edition of Poker Pro, Encounter, The Misty Review, Carnival, Brink, and many other similar markets. He reinvented the photonovel through Cold Brewed and was commissioned by the Missouri Tourism Board to create a second photonovel — [_The Joplin Undercurrent _]— that both fictionalizes and enchants the history and culture of Joplin, Missouri.

His work terraforms new worlds, tears the veil between the natural and supernatural, and jests with the paradoxes of classical metaphysics. When he’s not writing (or tinkering with cinema-ish narrative), he’s dabbling in dozens of different books, listening to people tell their life stories, camping, fishing, exploring unfamiliar territory (there’s a lot in New York), tinkering with new languages (Spanish, currently), exploring random disciplines like chemical engineering, as well as messing around with improv comedy and leisure de main and music.

PLEASE SEND SOUP — he loves soup. Yes, even if it’s summer. Find him in Brooklyn, New York with his wife, Tara, and their attack spaniel, Echo.

• • •

 

Thomas Giltner is a fiction writer based in St. Louis.  He works in several genres, from fantasy to existential crisis.  His influences include writers such as Stephen King, J. R. R. Tolkien, Cormac McCarthy, Herman Mehlville, Flannery O’Connor, and of course, H. P. Lovecraft.  He writes about the strange world he inhabits, and is convinced it’s even stranger than we have yet imagined. He will receive his doctorate in historical theology from St. Louis University later this year.

Also by Lancelot Schaubert:

 

Writing Rules, Revised

Wilderness

When Timbers Start

The Encounter Stories

The Blimps of Venus

 

A.R.C.

 

Wombrovers

Carry Cannons By Our Sides

 

Photonovels:

 

Cold Brewed

[The Joplin Undercurrent
__]

 

 

Stay in touch at http://lanceschaubert.org/ and shoot me your best email address by subscribing to my mailing list so I can send you more of my best work.

 

 

 

 


Inconveniences Rightly Considered

G.K. Chesterton wrote a very short piece that everyone should read entitled On Chasing After One's Hat in which he argues that an adventure is really a matter of perspective and traveling companions, not a destination or a time slot or a reason for travel. His typical one-liner from that piece goes, "An inconvenience, rightly considered, is an adventure. An adventure, wrongly considered, is an inconvenience." In that spirit, the spirit articulated above, these poems come from my adventures over the last decade. ∴ they also come from having rightly considered all of my inconveniences. That definition of adventure is also a wonderful definition of poetry. I say this as a romantic in the old sense of the word, as someone attempting to build upon Inkling and neoplatonic thought, as someone whose every contact with the world sends out further spores of mystery and chivalry, bee and his pollen, love and the court that follows after her. After all, the damsel's distress had nothing to do with needing saving and everything to do with the internal turmoil of her mind as it attempted to seek the higher in the midst of the every day. She was distressed not because she was in a tower and needed a prince, but because it's hard work to rightly consider the inconvenient. Again, Chesterton from his book on Blake: "We all feel the riddle of the earth without anyone to point it out. The mystery of life is the plainest part of it. The clouds and curtains of darkness, the confounding vapours, these are the daily weather of this world. Whatever else we have grown accustomed to, we have grown accustomed to the unaccountable. Every stone or flower is a hieroglyphic of which we have lost the key; with every step of our lives we enter into the middle of some story which we are certain to misunderstand...." At the intersection of those two Chesterton quotes lies this book of poems. In life, you come across inconveniences all the time -- a stone in your shoe, a raincloud over your morning walk (in Brooklyn, a drizzle seems a downpour when endured for thirty blocks), a flower petal in your eye, a loose baby tooth, gallstones that pass and come out in the shape of fool's gold. When these things happen, you have two choices -- annoyance or reverence. Those who treat the inconveniences of this world, the nuisances and trials, the bothers and pains with reverence -- there lie your adventurers, your romantics, your poets. Everything truly is a hieroglyphic, a prop in the midst (and mist) of this great and eternal drama we find ourselves within, something we are certain to misunderstand without the proper key. Poetry, for me, has been one of these keys to unlock the inconvenient -- even inconvenient, lesser poems that I do not like and cannot "get." Poetry's not the skeleton key, of course, but it is something like a key to the foyer. Poetry, when done well, unlocks the bothers and nuisances of everyday life, sometimes through observation, sometimes through participation, never through willful ignorance and disengagement. Poetry begs us to engage with the world around us, to discover the story and the world hidden in every little thing, to delve into that In-side which is surely deeper and higher and broader than any outside, let in The Light through that crack in everything, and call us further Up and further In. PRAISE for Lancelot Schaubert :: “Schaubert’s words have an immediacy, a potency, an intimacy that grab the reader by the collar and say ‘Listen, this is important!’ Probing the bones and gristle of humanity, his subjects challenge, but also offer insights into redemption if only we will stop and pay attention.” — Erika Robuck, National Bestselling Author of Hemingway’s Girl “Loved this story because Lance wrote about people who don't get written about enough and he did it with humor, compassion, and heart.” — Brian Slatterly, author of Lost Everything and editor of The New Haven Review

  • ISBN: 9781521816615
  • Author: Lancelot Schaubert
  • Published: 2017-07-12 05:20:45
  • Words: 38311
Inconveniences Rightly Considered Inconveniences Rightly Considered