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?]

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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.

 

As Above

unwinding the binding, the tape still rewinding

unstuck in my head, nothing’s lost for finding

days and weeks and months at the fulcrum

spinning and winning and telling you i’m all done

my hands are stone and this fossil’s forgotten bone

then the stars peek through I hoot and I’m singing  home

not old enough yet to really feel the weight

not young enough Seth to really fill the plate

i’m caught in the middle, squawking like a raven

hoarse on the battlements and  laughing for the maven

of blood and mud and the lightning bolt and midnight

i try to catch my breath but she’s already out of sight

i sleep beneath the sands but find nary a worm

whispering to the Maker, wondering when this kid gets his turn

who was  i then and what am I now

still don’t know the riddle but this fiddle-crab can never bow

so below I wake and below I brew my mistakes

hard slinging the ringing and hoping to catch a potter’s break

as above so below

a promise is kept

but only in the undertow

song of the east, dance in the west

never mind my science, this is how the path is kept.

 

 

lighthouse psalm

geranium

the eruption

before

and always

sometimes but not

never

would play

the guitar.

would sing

would fight

would crow at the moon and steal sunlight from the garter of day.

geranium stole songs

sang songs

love songs

rain songs

plain songs

‘songs are no ones to claim’ ear pressed to a new breast, unspooling their riddle

geranium wore a crown of melody

tore a bite out of the throat of night

geranium howled louder than

werewolf opera

and shamed the lunatic gods

who dared a crockery-challenge.

But sometimes

not always

just once or twice

three times in a leering moon

geranium would play

a

secret song.

Not his song, not a stolen song, not a madcap march or a sideways sonata.

Never on stage, never on the page, never never never

where it could be caught,

polished like a unicorn stone

in the laser beam heart of the eruption.

A song, a spell, a secret

a story never told,

alone in the bower,

alone in the quiet dark,

the song that broke.

 

The song that called,

the song that lied,

the song that kept the green ribbon tied.

Then to now and now to then

any wonder such a thing is forbidden?

 

 

quiet the eruption

lighthouse psalm

waiting for a ship

that never comes home

 

the song is rare

but played all the same

for only one ear

who hears not the refrain

sea salt and marrow

white gold and arrow

up and down I dream in your —

 

 

Fire

fire

New York Public Library -Bloomington: view of the town after a sleet storm, Jan. 1871

Ice and snow and the outside of doors.

The town clutched itself.

A stranger came,

squat and empty like a jug.

He rattled on the windows and tapped on the doors.

He whispered only, ‘fire’

‘where is fire’.

The town did not answer.

The stranger whispered at the keyholes, ‘fire’

‘where is fire’.

He whispered and trudged and crunched, white snow around his black coat and brown boots.

The town did not answer.

The stranger came to the last house, the edge of town.

The window was blue with frost, but he could see inside.

Inside was gold, heat and bone and gold, and she saw him.

She saw him through the window.

She did not turn. She stood.

The stranger pushed empty fingers to the glass and whispered, ‘fire’

‘are you fire’.

She did not turn. She came to the window.

‘fire’ the stranger whispered.

She opened the glass, she took his hand.

‘fire?’

‘Yes’ she said.

 

She closed the glass and forgot the stranger.

He was nothing but boots in the snow.

 

 

Nostos No. 6

image

Lines of steel, smoke and shout
Metal church and earnest lout.
Darkness wither, ivy-heart beat
The cinder revival is button-stone feet.
Remember the gods, count up their names
titan-bone memory stokes up the flames.
The violet leaf and the shining thorn
All’s forgotten on seven-pence morn.
Circle of Six, five and the shadow
Beggars are princes in the ettercop’s barrow.
Keep a hand on the rail, and your stone on the blade.
Greenglass coffins wait in the shade.
Heroes or Fools or cannon-shot spite
All Time is stolen from the fingers of Night.