Phantom Pastoral

February 3, 2016  :: 0 comments

Scenes from tomorrow,
Scenes from a borrowed diary,
The child is a series of patterns
Sown into a quilt,
His dagger is his name,
Eternal lash, the peasant’s hymn,
The bed of snow and soot,
The crypt where no dove lands,
The cinders fall,
The phantoms play with windows like pets.
The wrong side of the tracks awaits.
The movie departs from her myth,
These wings, divine, to embers fall,
Through us to the light all shadows come,
To us from the pale rehearsal we’ve passed,
The mirror reconstituted
Lapsing red in the lamps,
Sown into our terror the bright pageants we’ve escaped,
Sheep without skin walking circles,
Trapped in the railroad car and dice in the alley,
The vaudeville and sulfur go up in smoke,
The queen of chalk in her brothel costume,
The pure jewelry of the haves and the have nots
Eclipsed by the ghost peddler.
The factory filled with rusted stomachs–
The leather comes unstitched–
A crow–
Shells of wilted flowers watching–
From the ferris wheel she falls through guns and rain and concrete
Her voice composed of billiard hall whimpers,
The blood opens like a corset,
The pharmacy is always closed.

There is no way to spend your youth,
Running your fingers through your hair
To the new scar
Same as the first,
Your face unmarred and fair
Distant in its religious truth,
It was nothing more than it was.
A freight car rocks the town to sleep,
Old man or child like a rabbit in a box
Rolling beyond mountains, rivers,
In your vigil the meadow will never touch the sunset,
The smoke pretends to sleep inside your hands
Waiting for the wind to save it.

Finally you have learned
The face of gold
Contains only menace in its passage,
Standing at the garage,
Winter families at the laundromat,
Miracles neglect them.
That boy is always up too late,
He will become a cop
Or die.
It’s all for hire.

The Christ and the barbed wire,
The musical cigar, wineskin,
Jewel encrusted sirens:
The horizon drying on the factory roofs,
Winking lies at the hero’s funeral–
Last supper of cheeseburgers and milkshakes.
Mother was fair,
Papa died in his rocking chair:
They were the lucky ones.

Forgotten on the bottom rung of a hospital bed:
Is this what it takes to be forgiven?
Unremembered son; every blade is the last, every glance.
Nobody should die young,
But you make the paper.

No more wanted photos
And no hero’s return.

We reach for the mirage that cast us off
As the dressing room consumes her changing.
What can you teach perfume?

What was and isn’t still awaits,
Says a street urchin in an amulet of paradise,
I read all your letters by fog
So my ghost would remain haunted.
Give me your veil–
I once had hope.

The crossed stars on a boy painted with scars.
His crown lit by the unborn part of town;
Who was he? Fires that never burned,
Dragging his fortune like a prince
Who never leaves his war.
Scripture recited in empty bars.
The body of the host
Sealed as the petals of a stillborn rose.

Dancing in the ash tray she begs for time.
Stranger in a sash of rubble
Who says no one will be absolved.
Their crimes still tick, revolve.
The puzzle pieces still fit the storm,
Your wan welcome,
Give up your spell,
Your blood still stands,
Songs in the temple of the hourglass,
Childhood friends never last,
They are all left behind in the sound of a promise,
The sound that never heals.

The veil asks for more blood
And never makes a sound.
The other self,
The other requiem,
The stray cat sleeping by the neon sign
Begins to tick
With fingerprints the mirror left.
You try to disappear
In the dim search of a streetlight,
And constantly between,
The bejeweled vine
Draping the procession–
Watch them totter through the mist.
We never learn the dirge.
Behold the dove
Flown from your touch.
Behold old age and concession.

The crooked soldiers on the porch
Betting their pay,
The rotting cherries turn to earth,
Their boots shine like lighter fluid,
Their cigarettes court the street lamps
Before they lay dead in their sheets.

Every alley has its jewels.

The sidewalk never ends
In a child’s diary.
The water towers of a thousand Saturdays.
Twilight pounding like a heart on the railroad tracks.
You’ll always be down on your luck.
There will always be another card game,
Midnight, awaiting the bare teeth of a dog.
Legends of a switchblade, a valiant truck,
Chain link that never rusts.
Teeth the soil will rot out,
The rich boy and the hood,
Fire only brings the night nearer,
Fire only brings us nearer to the night.
After the mill
A girl chews her lips in a checkered skirt.
Like dust from the tires she let go.
She holds a jagged bottle to her knuckle, says,
Marry me, I don’t care if the ring’s made of brass.
You run like the whiskey on your breath through your blood
Searching for the life you lost you want to stay lost.
Your brother in the light of the oil drum,
He can’t care but he’s all you got.
You’re second, kid:
Second hand, second rate–
You’ll never find justice
No matter how many rich bastards you bleed.

The morning sparks above the bar,
5:35 to Windrixville,
A steeple in the weeds.
Mice in the walls,
Owls asleep in the snow.
The dream passes in other dreams.
There is nothing more than what was:
Empty bellies at sunrise and harvest.
Is that still all there is?

And you remember her,
Running her fingers through your hair,
The car is fast,
And we are the lost ones, they say,
Faceted with shadows.
We are alone and will never belong.
Blessed by the poor and the noble
To tragedy they long to extol,
We enact the tragedy’s law with each kiss,
Each signet parched,
Wild tapestries of flame
At the school dance.
She was my thread to the world
As it collapsed.
I watched her fall with it.

Men who find themselves in crowd and lantern,
We fugitives die on the run,
Transparent roses the wind cannot touch
Scattered through the curtains and the cellar sun,
All beginning to haunt
For their vacant web’s yesterday,
The mirages we cast off reach beyond us,
The many rooms to change into.

The shacks of an innocent age
Frail as they see themselves
In the puddles after the rain.
Sacred as the fall, the chastity of it all
A lie yet sooth,
Oathed and sworn by a star under the coal,
The fury pressed into a nail
Hammered upon the grave faded film
Held in his hand:
A dove the first time it incandesces.

And this the last ballroom we can forget:
A warehouse filled with amber light,
The wrong side of innocent knives
Finding what must never be bought:
The soul’s last wound,
For you so poor,
The blood of your costume
Flows into her’s.

editors note:

All live a hero’s life, all made sacrifice; body and blood. – mh clay

Phantom Pastoral, excerpt

featured in the poetry forum February 3, 2016  :: 0 comments

The Christ and the barbed wire,
The musical cigar, wineskin,
Jewel encrusted sirens:
The horizon drying on the factory roofs,
Winking lies at the hero’s funeral–
Last supper of cheeseburgers and milkshakes.
Mother was fair,
Papa died in his rocking chair:
They were the lucky ones.

Forgotten on the bottom rung of a hospital bed:
Is this what it takes to be forgiven?
Unremembered son; every blade is the last, every glance.
Nobody should die young,
But you make the paper.

No more wanted photos
And no hero’s return.

We reach for the mirage that cast us off
As the dressing room consumes her changing.
What can you teach perfume?

What was and isn’t still awaits,
Says a street urchin in an amulet of paradise,
I read all your letters by fog
So my ghost would remain haunted.
Give me your veil–
I once had hope.

The crossed stars on a boy painted with scars.
His crown lit by the unborn part of town;
Who was he? Fires that never burned,
Dragging his fortune like a prince
Who never leaves his war.
Scripture recited in empty bars.
The body of the host
Sealed as the petals of a stillborn rose.

editors note:

All live a hero’s life, all made sacrifice; body and blood. (Read this in its epic entirety on Quinten’s page – check it out. Also, read our review of Quinten’s latest collection on our Blog – check it, too.) – mh clay

The Cold War

featured in the poetry forum November 28, 2015  :: 0 comments

I don’t know if we were spies
or just fugitives.
We were on a bus.
I was fleeing again
but confident this time
I would attain liberation,
insoluble levity,
ascent.
Everyone on the bus felt the same;
we could see ourselves gliding across the map from above
through a country of weightless gold.

Sitting next to me was an Indian girl–
Hindu, Aztec, Iroquois…
I couldn’t discern her origin–
I thought she had the power to heal.

I knew I would never escape my native land,
though it seemed the journey itself was a sanctuary.

The girl asked me where I was going
and if I’d taken this route before.
I answered then asked her the same,
here eyes a window to the foot hills behind,
the desert a mask for the forest
absolved of all duration.
She had a baby in her arms.
I asked her its name.
Her lips turned ocher like herbs
and she was silent:

This child was a gift.
Our destination cannot be determined.
Her name is October
and she must never awake from her dream.

We entered a territory of wind and sand
and wheat.
This was America.

The girl pointed out the window,

We call this place Russia
, she said

editors note:

Ascendance becomes destination; place names are irrelevant. – mh clay

Cher

featured in the poetry forum October 14, 2014  :: 0 comments

On the co
bweb of he
r tongue I c
alcul
ate the los
s I coul
d have w
on.

editors note:

Soh ard tow in, han gingby lov e’sth read. – mh

The DA/The Criminalization of Reality

featured in the poetry forum July 24, 2014  :: 0 comments

This is the end of Gravity.
We can live forever
In a place that does not exist.
What does that mean,
“Living in the past”?
Ourselves the mirrors
That most resemble them.
Do we mostly resemble ourselves
Or do we?
When we look into ourselves
The heroes we hide
Show us their idols:
Artificial, complete,
Completely sterile
featuring The Sonic Dildo
By Patrick Carr.
Sugartime and Lucy
Were his disciplants.
They lived at the collective
With sybarite Jesus
From 2150 A.D.
They said,
There’s a scar on your face
For every sin you’ve committed
And two for every grace.
We found this answer
Searching in the wrong place.
We are our heroes’ idols,
I said.
The art of leisure
Is the art of dying easily.
Do not be misled,
Your time is not spent
Increasing.

The hierophants magazined over the waters:
Cognizance and wax.

editors note:

Reality derived through prosecutorial prowess is trumped by sonic sex and a wax job. (Google Patrick Carr for a giggle.) – mh

What Entrances Them

featured in the poetry forum December 15, 2012  :: 0 comments

it is not
the flower
caressing
her ribs
it is not
the vinous
stain on
her lips
how they
blossom
smile and
wilt
it is not
her nails
emerald
cerulean
crimson
or jade
it is not
her bracelets
or anklets
of wind
bright as
the sun
balanced on
her hips
it is not
the feathers
or wings
of her hair
or the waterfall
of sequins
pouring from
her breasts
it is not
her arms
or legs
incarnadine
serpents
it is not
the crowd
or their brazen
ululations
it is not
the howls
of master
or servant
it is
the veil
that will not
be lifted
in the spiral
arcade
of her
dance

editors note:

Salivating salacious slurping curs, we wanna see what’s behind that veil, damn right! Not… going… anywhere… – mh

Twins

September 5, 2012  :: 0 comments

I
I came by night
for your symbols:
the raven splayed,
the severed emerald;
between folds I exposed myself
like a ghost
fingered by bridal lamps,
searching for furtherance:
the completed vulture,
the last geode:
abyss.

II
I’m sure you’ve heard about
my infatuation with the abyss.
It’s only vanity
but come,
share it with me,
cleanse the world of yourself,
the window is open,
the belly of your breast exposed,
the milk is nothing:
undress.

Manifesto

featured in the poetry forum September 5, 2012  :: 0 comments

Receive the ordinance.
Give back your property.
Tend to the flock.
Make the child a cerebral mess.
A rolling spore gathers no moss.
I believe all illness should be cured
With Amoxicillin.
Flash of lightning just like
A light bulb popping in a plastic bag.
Enjoy the wirtschaftswunder.
Pro-proletariat.
First round #1 draft pick:
Retired.
Beautiful spoon red as sunset:
Expired.
Drunk sex offender dishwasher:
Rehired.
Bring me The Tea Party.
Yes, Comandante Top Zero.
Sub-Prime Mortgage Prime Rib
Prime Minister,
Minestrone, Pasta Primavera.
Inculcate me that Chimera.
Citadel: civilian crystal
Plaza where they pump the student
Body full of steroids.
Is my salad ready?
Organic as milktoast
& blood pudding.
We have the plum mediocre
On a supplemental program;
We replace the heart with an orange:
Citric bypass.
It makes a good breakfast
For the masses pledging mop & sickle
To me: Herr Uber-Munch,
Mr. Normal Gospel Pornographer,
Fear Sommelier, Polaris General,
Emperor of the Common Good.
It’s all so revolting.
The waiter won’t be tipped.
You have my word.
George Washington.

editors note:

This he spoke rapidly, while drinking a glass of water… – mh

Popsicle Aquifer

featured in the poetry forum July 19, 2011  :: 0 comments

Wipe the saliva off the sky.
My forehead desires it.
I am sweating in a coffin
Sweet as a lyre.
This decadent polyester balloon candy
Entices me.
Automatic sugar,
Diabetes moonbeam
Slash eulogy seduces me,
Slipping off like stockings
Silky as an ear drum
Beating itself
To pulp in a seashell.
I will find my demise
In a basket of grapes,
Plums, pears & bananas.
Prepare the marmalade.
Men, I am here,
Distended as fruit cake,
Peanut butter.

Quintens

featured in the poetry forum June 4, 2011  :: 0 comments

I

Here is the dawn: a pearl, gauze and gingham.
She can never stay long; incandescence
Drapes the Mesa in platinum vapor,
Transient as a gown of lily tongues:
All things young thrive in love for an instant.

II

The light of the room
where you first awoke: the light of the room
that wakes all first things:
the noxious mirage of cartoon colors
threading moment to
moment; idiot elves and princesses
infiltrating our
“living” room where part of what wakes still sleeps,
as the day, outside,
uncloaks each atom to it’s origin,

we rehearse the mute
crystal, mute yet still babbling, blaring
(Is the day painting
on the flowers’ shawls? How real is her light?)
a mindless trumpet
for all the other geese- violet, pink,
electrode azure,
pathetic mauve and cold, screen-vacant green-
to join in chorus,
permeating Now with the less-than-here.

I apologize,
but Cohen, Nicolai, and Boots I see
no other way out,
for every door in this house leads either
to lunacy or
The Desert, itself just a physical
manifestation
of The Universe’s mental illness
(Perfect Sadhana?)
seeming more often locusts than honey,

till the rain strings us
with your stars, Leo and Aquarius,
Capricorn’s necklace
of milk the web that entwines our fortunes-
I must remember
this, read the artificial generic
as a joke with eyes
anagogic: all is changeless, a soul
cannot be tainted
or cleansed; all is passing: a soul is healed

or hurt already,
so where, Na, Scrumptious, do we lay the blame?
Karma? DNA?
Cartoons? The dawn reveals that each atom
has no origin,
is neither here nor there (are those bruises
or chocolate palm
prints crossing your ribs like wolf or squirrel
tracks until your heart?).
This Valley is an inverted mesa.

III

Yawn: orange diaphanous: dusk-etched cloud-sighs.

IV

Close
your eyes:
a
curtain of
fingerprints.

V

A part of me
Apart from me;
dreaming your own
ciphers, nested
against my ribs,
despite how I
contort myself,
bed and futon
support only
one acrobat
a night
(Yes, I
am well
aware
that this
is what
the next
twenty
years will
comprise).