a turned-over hourglass

oh spider giant, oh hourglass
she, bearing herself, spits the sweat of her back
over her surroundings
like some cloudy, even plateglass

her hieroglyph back arched
her great woven skin
full of moving herselves
blows open and they, exploding out
expand her
like providence from God

and the little not-god
has her sliver legs
destroyed
by some vast volume of thumb
as if God
left only providence behind

leaves ordered dark to bright

would that i were
some brocade pattern sea of leaves
to be swept in a line from
orange to dead brown

for though the dark and mottled
would spin in great number
and blot the screaming lines of sun
i would see once and for all

what mass of me
could catch fire

and come winter
myself would spiral
on the swaths of white
and looking black against it
be nice to see

but for my part
i will try my spark
on my death hoping
God is there
to keep me from orange

Sinew in Wind

White-tail rambler, take flight
Soaring in the shadows
Brush stroke pattern on your hide
Shaking as the wind blows

Nose wide, scents upon your mind
Ears a-twitch with buzzing
Panic, creeping like the flies
Bright spots grey and fuzzy

Slow thing, terrible and tight
Trace the forest sprawling
White-tail, what is at your side?
Dusk eyes see him crawling

Leap in quiet, somber dawn
Gold-scape glazing sweetly
Predator has jumped the fawn,
Marked her back for eating

Run, you sinew drifter, run!
Free as falling feathers
Chase the antlers to the sun
Prance the field untethered

Sparrow

She composed her life where
she could only lie there
counting on the cold air
to cobweb her resolve.

She produced a bird sound
pulling at her night gown
dripping on the warm down
her bloody siren’s call.

I handwashed in cold soap
watching pinkish suds go
overwriting striped holes
a palate soft as silk.

Her young eyes were bright white
lightning veins and lids tight
face uncut by smile lines
and pale as mother’s milk.

Nights of pacing, breath spent
oh her little teeth went
nails impaling, harsh bit
to draw my eyes away.

Oh my sparrow, I’d sigh
why do I even try
hydrogen peroxide
baptized forearms swayed.

I am sorry, sparrow
winter trapped us in snow
winter kept the coals cold

You were already gone.

you were already gone

Small Death in Rain

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 water flows around
where dirt and pavement alternate.

My fathers’ hands were buried stumps,
the dirt imprinted onto them.
I stepped along the newest lump.
Like glass, I saw the form of him.

Like bone, his dripping headstone shined,
like doom, he hung about my head.
Like planet earth, he churned my mind,
and lo my mother, too, was dead.

Her frailty affixed to me,
and mingled with the smell of death.
The lips that could not comfort me
moved with maggots, not with breath.

I pull my glasses from my face
To wipe the errant paths away.
Oh, Mother Mary, full of grace,
please stay until my dying day.

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.

I Float in the Midst, The Archangel Guideth Me

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 in the coals.

Heard the heat popping chestnuts and swung the cast iron

right 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.

The 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 banister,

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,

 to 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 visions 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 shined, joyous and kind.

And I saw that the blatant and malice of evil

was purged from the hearts that his highness would find!