drop

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one jot in the ocean, one clot in the lung

hard -hearted departed still clinging to the bottom rung

i see you up there, wearing those crowns of jade-locked air

free for the moment, never know where my curse went

keep spending out the bric-a-brac from the golden coffer’s lent

i howl in the dark, hands on the ladder still

praying for a break mistake where I make my final meal

my people eat brown and choke on the ash

upending neverending piles of sorrow in our father’s stash

stronger than fire, more devious than song

this curse is bloodborne and it doesn’t tarry long

i howl in the sun, the black blood how it runs

bones on the abacus still flipping until we remind the sums

staying for a wave, an eruption or a masquerade

bring me within reach of the table where the bronze and silver game is played

i don’t have much but a drop of the ocean

furor is favor for those that replace thought with motion

what magic is left, i call on it now

riddle me seven, but six will never bow

strong are the gates , built tall are the towers

banging my way to the feet of the fetid powers

i’m here in the silence, cloaked in thorn and ivy

almost there and hoping that you try me

i’m ready to burn, spend gold on the turn

sick of howling at the bottom of a city that never learns

eight seconds of midnight, nine drops of my birthright

look away thirteen, i’m running out of hindsight

the moment passes and i’m lesser, the same

standing in the alleyway mumbling my  name.

 

Thief of August

 

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William Faulkner – Light in August

take a look, take a long look and come running back for summer

wrapping atoms of madams and bricks made of wonder

already i stumble i grumble and trundle and pray for the glass to be thinner and humble

because i am the thief , sacks full of stolen light, heart full of borrowed grief

and no matter the cage, no matter the masquerade,

I keep on checking windows for the latch that is broken

sometimes meter doesn’t matter when the clockwork king has spoken

as often I slide down in the slush and the mire

as often the city guards hound and holler around the cobalt spire

my fingers are sure, until they are only bones

lock up your words, this thief has been in all your homes

craven-heart wish made on a nine-day fish,

i let that wide-mouth go and now this kid’s come to dish

not for me the farm or the plow

not for me the milk and the cow

i’m stealing the patter of rain on the sedge grass

fast dealing the cards and hoping for a queen’s pass

some skill, some fire, but unwilling to retire

i’ll reach inside your heart and rip loose the golden lyre

so don’t show me the cash box, don’t show me the vault

others may kneel but this kid was born in a circle of salt

as long as i breathe I can undo the bolts

grease up the hinges and slip in revolts

olympus is grand but looking bare by the year

this thief will release every spin of thunder’s peal

can’t keep me out

can’t stop me now

i know it’s a lie but the thief in me can never bow

two daggers in the sharp night

black cloak on my shoulder right

pockets full of poems and sacks full of syntax

don’t let me inside because i’ll pull up the carpet tacks

no power but the moment, no wit that isn’t stolen

through grime and grease keep praying my lantern’s golden

i am nothing but Now unravelling Then

too scared to part the waters that hold back When

this is about me, the two button-bandit

it’s always about me, check the feet as you scan this

don’t know won’t learn, but the ember still burns

nose against the glass and waiting for the three moons to turn

then i’m out again and hands in your wallet

nowhere to land so perhaps time to call it

dance in the east, bleed in the west

sleep in the south, northern lights only by request.

 

The Circle

Stand in the circle

and  hold,

hold light in

the circle and stand.

made of song, made of ink

made of water overflowing the sink

circle of salt

circle of bone

circle of holly all green and alone

circle of hands

circle of eyes

forget this charm and the last fire dies

we are the circle

and the howl is the wind

singing of  moon

singing of End.

Not tonight

not today

not while the circle is we

standing and demanding

our blood be more than the sea

burn like the lightning

sing like the sun

remember remember the charm’s twice done

all of us fall and all of us die

but the Circle still stands

and we give our reply:

as long as we stand

as long as we hold

as long as the circle

burns hot in the cold

 

riddle of heart

rot in the bone

we stand and dissolve

but our legend is stone.

Wind up the charm

thrice bound against harm.

Hold.

Hold.

Hold.

Verbena

thinking about time

and spooling up rhymes

and singing out my check account

and rustling through the vines

of ivy and cracked leather

that burn through the weather

and pull me like a sycophant

down to where the bone-clock chimes

yeah, Mitchell Dave i’m touchstoning your story

every  spy glass gets a peek when I come home in glory

i can feel the air, i can feel the weight

the door is closing early, then, Now and Late

but for now I breathe, the stone yet to fall

what can I dream when the End is written tall?

only dance in the moment, unraveling the quotient

carving a mask that i’ll burn with the crow’s consent

can’t change the stone, can’t unmake the tone

the rhythms run riot and rivets down in the bone

Fire finds me but leaves no clue

wandering up gravestones and laughing at my secret blue

hollow and hallowed I lay by the bier

without even gray memory to lead me clear

i don’t want to escape, my grave is carefully laid

just unrolling time until the last gambit’s played

come sing with me and tell me what i knew

remember the tender defender of things untrue

thinking about time and cobbling up rhymes

uncertain who is speaking on the lonesome vines

lay your hand on the blade and remember the knave

heart-blood still pumping, am I just camping on the Save?

unleashed on the airwaves, spreading like a virus

songs of the Lost keep playing, I’m hoping you try this

you’ll never be rid of the copper crown king

burn out the shelves and I’ll be smiling clean

can’t escape what’s already falling

unspool the stammer, just another way of stalling

shots of verbena and draughts of gunsmoke

thinking about rime and last time the cipher spoke.

 

 

 

 

brown leaves

uncork the prophet
and come running for payback
still gunning down interlopers
cotton thieves outta stayback
wiggle my toes and rummage around for flows
hoping i’m still beating when my heart already knows
song of the vandal, coming back to ramble
leaving my gleaming all screaming on the bramble
home of the brave and cost of the knave
and singing down august and hoping the joker’s played
i hope you have time and I hope I find mine
and I hope the clock’s still running when Frog’s down in the mines
luck in the scandal, trust in the vandal
legends are burned like any other candle
stars fall and i’m still dreaming
hand across my face and the gear-work still scheming
hand on the blade and fog in the glade
and this is the only meter that matters when the psalm is played
hum it with me and remember me best
when the sun is down and autumn is creeping into my chest.

[Originally posted over on verses.site – a new social media thing for poetry, I guess?]

Supplies

unlikely and tritely
and measures of soup
who knows the ketchup man
when he’s covered in goop?

stop in the rain and pound in the sun
my heart is a rolodex and the time never runs
frank like my idol, can’t scratch the vinyl
keep chattering and nattering i say when the mix is final

worlds like birds that flap and then are silent
i hunger for the wonder but feel only the violent
blood that spills and pumps through my caustic veins
brown earth choking and the black water all that explains
my inability or responsibility to mutter more matter then one or zero
flashing on my screen, hoping that this syllabic construct’s the hero
i duck and dive and stay alive
slurp down the sugar and wander through the bee jive
is it me or my environment
that remembers where the echoes went?
did i make this place or did I make this face
or do i face this place so i can contemplate disgrace?

same rhyme same story
don’t care, cut me Hal’s piece of glory
sinner covetous, young man grown older thus
howl at the moons and remember the brittle trust
i once had for the turn of the page
the child’s love for the step on the stage
the horizon never dies and Vash never lies
but i’m left in ash running short on supplies
burn out the heart but leave me the rest
nothing in here but rubble that’s double blessed
hold and hold and hold and hold
name of the game and the player’s old
but still i remember a long way from december
the sun is hot and can lead to distemper
i chase down the beat and dream through the heat
singsong radiation keeps me humming in the street

i’m coming home
always back to where you start
unlock the clock
and tell this shaman where to park
brown and gray a song of the elder days
turn up the radio and hope that tune still plays
singing in the dark pines
hoping that I have the time
press me in brick and I’ll paint you in steel
quiet is kept when the Future’s Past is real

Ink is Poison

ink is poison and

tongue is granite

and

can’t stop hoping there’s a way off this planet

and

rumble and jumble and sections of squares

i howl and i holler and i’m running out of spares

keep returning and burning and scattering the same words

say it again and again, this character class is for the birds

flipping my sheet and squinting at the pencil marks

am I all out of spells or just out of steel-cased heart?

stabbing and grabbing and hoping for shade

ghosts can’t sing when their vein-blood begins to fade

i return to the numbers, the lines, the clack and the clamor

hoping that muscle-lies can out run this stammer

working up a head of steam like a train wreck

best believe red and black when this kid finds his deck

tapping Plains and TRAIN and Automobiles

baying at the moons and cooling my heels

i stay for the moment, elapsed for the quotient

corrupting the eruption and collapsed for the tone when

the trumpets will bray and the gray stone moves

love is the ink that my straydog paper proves

i am he who stands, the storm no longer

missing the lightning, but my copper teeth are stronger

spitting and spraying and praying for rain

knowing that the coracle-doors are never quite the same

pocket full of stolen keys, dreaming in the forest breeze

forget at your peril the unparalleled shaman please

i can never know the way, but i find it when true

remind the vine but always give the Gray her due.

power in the east bows to the west

north vs. south ulysses grant this weight off my chest.