The Ape is Quicker than Man

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.

Hide Away Your Seams

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 away.

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.

Hi, Going to Hell, I’m Dad

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.