A gentle rain, a cavalcade has split my thoughts along their seams. An arcing path of barricades Was layered strangely in my dreams. Patterning the open ground, the droplets reassure the space. The floor of… More
The ape is quicker than man and sure-footed.
Pattern-feet in basins of land and washed in soot,
And his feet do hold on the sand and don’t fold,
At the ankle brushed with rivers of fur, for the cold.
The belly of the orient’s sovereign is quite filled
With the skin of ripe fruits and little creatures he’s killed.
And the turn of his brain is a mysterious thing,
As he wades in snow oceans on the footprinted plain.
Waiting patient for the passing of slink-shape things,
The ape is witness to daydreams of glorious wings.
And his envy has grown to the roots of his home
For the birds in command of a different throne.
He stands on his hands with a struck-stone blade,
Swayed swift to the violence he was keeping at bay.
And he hefts the great point to the sky with his might
And engages the vibrant sky thing in a fight, and-
The bird’s cleaved down the chest by the heave,
And it crashes out past where the ape can see
In the bleach-place, white like bones is the scorched face,
Miles-long craters where the water once laid.
The old ape pauses there, sways on his hands
On the precipice of stepping on the sand of the dead lands.
The cracked earth glows white in the sunlight,
And sweat beads down into pools in the ape’s eyes.
The ape takes another step in the rock shapes,
his foot-flesh spreads on the face of the landscape.
He has travelled some infinite lands
Grunting echoing calls of his kingly commands.
But something else is creeping in the view of his mind’s eye,
Panic spreading fast as he wanders in the hot-dry.
Some siren-call sings in his head,
And draws him to the shallow-cut path of the riverbed.
Over miles every muscle will quiver,
But still he will cling to the path of the river and
Two days, in the night and the sun,
The ape won’t walk but for some strange compulsion.
The river sides grow to a cavernous height,
Weak plant-things withered by the blight of the sunlight.
Some strange cold visions and illusory things
He sees the desert path washed by a false rain.
The ape, struck dumb, keeps his parched mouth hung
To capture the drops of the mind on his cracked tongue.
But after waterless miles of sick shivering,
And seeing false hope mirage pool shapes glimmering,
He sinks to the ground with a short croak.
And closes his eyes with the loss of his last hope.
But that compulsion, that pull he can’t see,
Once again brings him up, fatigued, to his knees.
A great vegetable lays before the ape lord,
With his last strength, he desperately rips at the gourd.
Green juice cascades on his face,
And catches in the thick black fur that it traces.
He drinks heavily, and eats of the gourd meat
And soon he is flooded with the strength to stand on his feet.
Looking ‘round, in the cavern he’s found
There’s a glittering color patch there on the ground.
Still weak, with a hunk of gourd meat,
He stumbles up and prods the cold thing with his feet.
There it lies, in the heat as it dries,
The bird in the cracked pool of blood it has died in.
And the life of it’s eyes is a vapor-shape
Going on the clouds in a final escape.
Something there that wasn’t is moved greatly,
Some change in the ape’s brain chemistry.
Death’s arm grabs the only live being he can find
To grant understanding to the depths of his mind.
The ape pushes up with his back to the wall,
As a glittering movement of smoke goes crawling.
And a cracked-dry corn husk skin thing,
Appears, prostrate, with the sound of a bell’s ring.
The great being, draped in a blood-red cape,
Is as tall as a twenty-high tower of apes.
The husk-corpse looks up with its hollow eyes,
In the center of its forehead a great, dark ruby shines.
The wind draws to its cavernous throat,
To speak from its void the old words it invokes.
“Ye childe of the wilderness, bound
In the Id’s dark clutches and the path you have found.
I am the figure of humanity’s death,
And the boil of sheol doth turn in my breast.
There are no souls left here to feed me,
No ghosts in the plains walk, far as I see.
Lo, my body, and shriveled up skin,
My teeth and my lips hunger endlessly for them.
I, a shadow creeping, am trapped in the rock bowl,
Shaking for the long-lost flesh of a human soul.
The tenderness of it doth cause my wretched mouth to drip
And blubber for the spiritous texture as it slips in.
I have grown tired of the pain that I feel,
And the hate that congeals in my want for a lost meal.”
Death pushes himself from the dirt
And the voids of his eyes glow with power, inert.
His form quivers as he raises on his thin bones,
The red cloak falling o’er his body as he moans.
The ape breathes heavy and deep, but is silent,
Kept in his place by the power of the giant.
His fuzzy head tips back into the wall,
As the flooding of consciousness begins from the husk maw.
“I am spent as the vessel of death,
And I will give you a power with my final breath.
You will roam through the lands of the others
To devour the nectar-tasting souls of your brothers.
I will give you the power of thought,
To be cunning, to know of the death you have wrought.”
And the ape is flooded with the thinking of a man
And beyond, he is brought to his knees on the cold sand.
The giant raises his hands to the light
And the shining of the ruby shifts strait to the ape’s eyes.
The new death’s black forehead is split,
And from out of it’s depths, another stone pierces it.
Another ruby, as deep as a blood pool,
Draws the stale air from the corners of the room.
Death falls to the ground in a pile,
And the haggard old leather lips hint at a smile.
“I am released from the power I have wielded.
You, now, determine to curse or to heal.”
And he fades with a flash, to the winds of the earth.
And the ape is left panting, the ruby’s wound hurting.
The old wanderer, silverback king
Goes walking from deadlands, dark ears ringing.
Something in the air is sweet, calling him towards
Another body dying in the distance of the world,
A soul to take away, to claim, devour to the astral plain.
The great expanse lies open, and the ape is gone again.
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.