Hah! Well, mother might well have gone mad towards the end, even without the angel’s help. There were walls to every inquiry, a bleak infinity of shut downs from, how about this, a wrinkled up… More
My pop was a ponytail rider on the outskirts of decency. Not given to fits of rage as his father was, as I am, but certainly given to other unpleasantness in his own way. He would smoke on his pipes, he built them himself from copper tubing, and tell stories to me. They were dark, brooding, bloody tales. They twisted and turned with his mind, meandered about pillars of his experience but never brushed them, took me away to places so beyond the human experience that I was set to reeling in my thoughts at the close of every one. He told them at night as bedtime stories. I never could sleep well in the time he was with us.
Still, it interested me beyond belief. I’d heard from mom and my various extended family that he had gone to school for it, for storytelling I mean. He did so love the written word, reading was all I saw him do when he was inside, which was irregular for him. He preferred the universe of his head and he entered it past the tree line.
Those were dark times, don’t let them tell you they were lighter than these. I play-acted like I’d not heard the rumors, that the earth was going to open again. Everyone’d learned about those slick, amber things, the elders which had opened the hairline cracks in the earth to chasms. Had swallowed up our oil, our magma, left the earth as cold and dead as it was. My pop believed in it like nobody did, he even said he’d had his heart taken out by them and had the scar to prove it.
There had been machines before, that ran on oil. Not like in sardines, the oil we’ve got left, it was a black sort of oil. The amber fathers had come for it, they drank it, and it bubbled up in their olden guts. So my pop said in his stories. He told me that their powers lied in their ability to find the seams in things. In a person, you couldn’t see them, but they could. They knew how to touch you with no implements of war, with their hands, to break you apart.
They broke apart the earth. They pried apart the atoms with their fingernails. They were so, so loud, it made the ears of the children run with blood. So he always told me. He said, if you feel that pain and the rushing down your cheeks, pray to God to take you. Find any way you can to cover your seams. Run in circles, they can’t find seams in a blur. For years, I ran back and forth in the house when thunder sounded outside.
Well, they came, as you know. They slipped between the seams of the border, great blobs they were. In school, we’d learned that they were shapeshifters in their place, that what we saw was an infinitely thin bit of them poking through, that they could make into something like the form of a man.
We were in the woods when they came. I felt that deep pain, the screaming needles pushed into my ears, the sides of my face painted like the doorways of the Passover. The compass went wild, pointing at the wall of erupting sound. My pop pushed his hat back to tug at his hair with one hand and grabbed my shoulder with the other. His bulbous eyes skipped off the trees and back to me.
Mallo, get back, he told me. Run in circles, like I said. I did, I waved my arms. No seams, I kept thinking. My pop yelled, I couldn’t hear it now, he tossed his rucksack and I caught it awkwardly. The compass was swirling around, I could feel the vibrations of the sound in my bones but I could not hear it. Then, they were all around. Breaking apart the trees into mist along their seams. My pop was tugging his hair, face wretched, he hadn’t tugged it so since mom had gone. He screamed, mouthed my name, stopped his stamping to push me away as they came to him.
Their fingers came up like cracks in the wall, broken, twisted fingers with many joints. They touched all over him. It looked gentle, almost, like a loving caress. I ran, as he bid me to do, and when I turned they had found the hairlines. His body was torn to reddish mist. It’s very-most basic pieces. His seams spilled open, I could see the heartless, wet chasm of his chest yawn as they tore him away. Insides flopping on the dirt and misting to nothing.
They were here for eleven minutes, so they say. Taking some, and leaving others at random. They took our wood away as they had taken our oil, to power themselves up I suppose. I miss the wood. God, I miss the wooden handles of axes and the paper dolls. I miss the books, I miss the trees, I hate the grass-grown abyssal plains where there is no shade from the boiling sun. I do as my pop said. I pray to God to take me.
Me boy’s feet slipped on the rock in the third circle, bless’em. Not as far as the ancestor. The ancestor came to him with great, fleshly, extended hand. Did beg him to take a-hold. And laughed when me boy’s embrace passed straight through. Sinner in the hams of a lanky cod, som’ like that.
Dead grinner, big spender he was, my boy. ‘Is mouth was always open. He said to me, he says, pop, I’m concerned with TRUTH. I said, says, hey kid, ye oughta should be concerned with reality. This is kid stuff, to dream. To dream is to be taken off Lord knows where, one o’ th’ circles. And ‘e says “aye”.
When a boy says “aye” y’ shouldn’t take it as th’ god’s honest. And he said it as much as he drank. He said, too, he said that the ancestor t’was an old broken lantern no’ so fit to show th’ way. Tha’s the way, exactly, swear it. I says to him, I said, I said he needed to get a bit of clarity. See Th’ Ring, live in Kerry a’bit. He wouldn’t hear of it, never would, an’ he ended up in that third circle.
So the ancestor comes to ‘im, in the night, wingspan out an’ bellowing an’ all that, an’ this lad believes him to be me, dressed so!
Aye, aye, wha-ah waste! Wha-ah matriarchal pattern-cut! Aye, aye. Landed ‘im in the fires, it did, jus like I’m been sayin’. But my boy, shore as ‘e keeps a length o’ rope ’round his gut-hangin’ waist, ‘e ‘ad a merry ol’ thinking in the pit.
He say-said to the ancestor, he said “Say, mac, say me elder pop, I’m pleased by your eminence and such. Much so. Maybe, say, maybe, we depart ta’ th’ wilderland ‘tween hev’n and ‘ell and gulp the beasties which roam such.”
I cannae’ get this point ‘cross well enough. My Boy Bespoke Wisdom. Bold as the sun goes slippin’. He loves meat, does the ancestor, mor’n he loves th’ all-father. An’ he slipped away with th’ boy, me boy, t’was the last straw y’ see, thinkin’ of that juice gone running.
They sit there now, love, me love, are y’ listenin’ t’ me? Aye, love, they’re sippin’ the saltless streams an’ growin’ heavy with elk. Don’ cry, ‘is body’s th’ only bit o’ him what’s left here. All-father, lord, we love ya, we do, please leave ‘im in his wilder places. God, lord, don’ cry so, love. Lord God does it break me t’ see ya.
I’ve seen ’em in the pit of me dreamin’, love, congregation. Aye, aye. Ye all must believe it, plain as ye believe me to be standing here.
Christmas’s calm places captured and pasted on shop posters, post-haste, did properly satiate
Shop-goers browsing the show-stopping light spaces, making the rounds in the blown snowy day.
Marking the minutes in God-holding minuets made us the Maker’s fine marionettes, we did
Wonder on sheepherders wandering wistfully, wishing on stars to the Christ Child’s hay bed.
Knit scarves a-blowing and carving their places in space as the leaves did wheel down like His grace,
And the cherry-faced babies so chapped by the cold but in wonder of all in the star-studded place.
Reeling with wonderstruck, caught in the merriment, silver bells rolling in the songs gone afloat
And the people did crowd in their bits of laced crimson, gowns green and hats chestnut like photos of old.
Sweet, calm and sepia tones of nostalgia for times I was absent from swept from the coals,
Heard the heat popping chestnuts and swung the cast iron out quick from the flames, whitehot flurries did go,
Cascading radiant shines on the table like rose petals molten, the red forms did glow.
Flurries went raining and rustled like paper of parcels, department-store courtesy bound
In a neat bow of wax twine and rag timing wood cuts crisp-printed, we kept the best ones that we found.
Eve of the loving day, sunlight did fade away, giving its space to the stars and the moon,
I put out my head to the cold for a smoke, shivered cold, for the sill was all frozen and smooth.
Aye, gentle wind of the night and the smoke of the pipe did go billowing up ‘round the eaves,
I was caught in the moment, by way of my watching, the black-clad old figure downstairs as she grieved.
Sharply, the shiver did wash o’er my body, from cold and epiphany, wonderless strife.
So easily did I forget the great season and fade to the trappings of treacherous life.
I felt the urge pull at me, beg me to drift, and I took up my coat and my hat to oblige,
As I walked down the stairway I scratched at the ruts in the bannister, chipping the paint at the sides.
I heeded the look from the landlord who sat in his proud little wicker seat, leaned on the brick,
And was cognizant suddenly that waves of depression were rising and bubbling and making me sick.
I walked past the district and out to the darkness beyond, in the slum yards and poor children’s calm,
Visage greeted me, rough sleeping beggar with busted-up face, wrapped in wool, and a cross in his palm.
Wispy and woven in star-shining tapestries, smoke of my lips was a black drifting dancer-shape,
Crawling in wind like a lecherous plague rat o’er floor of the alleys and up ‘round the fire escapes.
An alley just off from the road did I lay in, and choose as my forum to rant on atrocities,
Belly was screaming and aches not receding, I laid down my head, weeping, gnashing my teeth,
And I gazed at the moonlight that burned in my eyes, on the floor of the cobblestones, scales of leviathans,
Tossing my haggard speech out to the heavens, reliving the room that my mother had died in.
I closed my eyes, fading, to sleep of the angels, I whispered my prayers to the Lord as I went,
And I slipped away gently to sleep on the floor of that place, tired heart, and my energy spent.
I was greeted with visons which blazed of the Father, who went to my form in the shape of a man,
And he bid me to follow him out to the wildlands abandoned, to see where the white winter ran.
By the cold of a creek, he did show me the whole of the world, cast my mind out, away and beyond,
To the peoples set weeping in wake of atrocities, and others who gazed at the graves of those gone.
And the children, the lanky and running in fields in the sunlight, the joy of the rich and the poor,
God-sent celebrations and joyous occasions, the reading of bibles in house-church and moor.
I saw the harsh battery brought, and the tragedy cut with the smiles of the saints and their ways,
And I saw the twin places I kept in society, of terrible evil beset with his grace.
I awoke, and went walking, the sun giving light to my step, and the people gone joyous and kind.
And I saw that the blatant and malice of evil was purged from the hearts that his highness would find.
The dark hungered and the smoke cloud thundered,
My form nude-lit where it leaned to the shudder.
Eye-shake, vision blur, blacker than soot,
I laid in love with the elephant’s foot.
The eruption caught me perusing the long halls,
Washed-white windowless sarcophagus power maw.
I had a need to exceed what a man sees,
And that lump thing, pristine, on the concrete
Casted the visionlike threads in my head,
And wrapped me in love as the boils spread.
Black as I shed my pack and my clothes,
And the rock-glass-corium mass spread low
Did kiss my bones with its ion caress,
And it smoldered at the shape of my undress.
I wanted to be under the control rods,
Concrete skin of my nuclear war god.
I wanted to be back-lit,
By the rock-mass bathing the place where I sat.
The wall-clouds crowding the facility bid me,
Hurry to the pit of the wrinkled menagerie.
I gazed at the thing, feeling nothing except
Strange awe at the form of the black ashen foot-step.
Motherland, understand that the demand had risen,
Seeing the disaster that had freed it from its prison.
There is no mistake, I will take my love away.
Eyes shake, half-awake, as my insides bake.
And my eyes close, smoke in my nose.
All I feel and perceive is it’s warm prose.
It is whispering words in my ears,
Radiation thoughts that it wants me to hear.
Goodnight, great failure-born beast.
I will love you as long as I sleep.
Back broke, she is curled in the trunk,
Bruised blue on the edge of the pustule ooze.
In the midst of the tire-scuffed junk,
There are burns on her lips and a cigarette stump.
The desert is wailing like death,
Coyote banshees like screaming Comanches.
But her face gives no mention of sweat,
She’s a perfect madonna the lord has begat.
Over and under the silhouettes wander,
The face of black shadows has torn me asunder,
The lipstick an apple-red spell I am under,
My fortune is told on the rumblings of thunder.
And I find that I can’t help but stare,
As the officer kicks at some tracks in the sand.
The wind moves curled strands of her hair,
Towards the purse scattered out in the prickly pear.
There’s polish in small bits of glass,
But the sand is a jagged and tortuous thing.
A cold rigor-mortis curled mass,
Has cut to the depths of my eyes in a flash.
Sing-songing choruses cut from the currents and
Whistled no more on the lips in assurance,
The woman does laugh at my spirit’s procurance
Her body, and others, a simple disturbance.
Here, you are pitiless, loath to become,
And still you remain until reckoning comes.
She is carried away like as drawn by a breeze,
Her eyes bid me ponder what justice could mean.
What am I now to the cold of the ocean
The pull of its currents, the dark and the motion.
Where is my purchase on sand or my feet,
In the wake of the things I am destined to meet.
Please, oh my God, for my sake, for theirs,
For anyone’s sway that would cause you to spare,
Let me be near them, begetter, don’t condemn,
Don’t take my anguish or make me forget them.
I love you too much for the vacuum to draw you away.
I love every facet and shape that composes your face.
Remember, my love, that the the void is abrupt and
My hands are not enough.