The White Knight Cavalry

Aloft, sword and shield,
good sirs one and all,
we must thus wield
for yonder clarion call!
Milady needs us,
row by row by row,
mount our steeds thus,
to her fortress, tally ho!
She raises her flag,
that red banner high,
so do not lag,
for our good fortune is nigh.
Round her fort, good men,
be not pale or frail,
but guard her when
a lone beauteous female
is in need of aid,
nor falter when wrongs
are by her made,
but rally in many throngs,
for a female rules,
beauty being truth,
and none but fools
would question her aught, forsooth;
the more she has raised
of her red banners
the more unfazed
we should be in our manners,
for she is a queen
over one and all
and her soul clean,
clear as her ice crystal hall.
So rally hie here!
Protect her pure soul!
And do not fear
her castle’s oubliette hole.
‘Twas not her design,
nor her need, that pit,
so fall in line
to form a wall that is fit
to protect our love,
our lady, devout
as stars above
fixated through years, throughout,
or else as a moat,
a pit of squalor
o’er which no boat
might ford fast to befall her.
A White Knight’s duty
is never done, quite—
Lo! Tis beauty!
Let us gallop! Let us fight!

Duskdreams

I see it clear in my duskdreams,
a small house in a rural field,
gilt in Late Summer’s thinning beams;
atop rolling land, smoothly hilled.
There is no driveway to divide
the flowing billows of that place,
nor a house on any side;
nothing impugns that airy space.
A few trees may stand, here and there,
and creeks may trickle down below,
but that green-crested hill is bare
of all but the soft winds that blow.
A tomb-quiet cottage whereby
a man may retire in life’s Fall,
a refuge of silence where I
may enfold my heart, like a pall
and hear the voice of what may come,
that quiet herald of the dusk:
the shroud-shadows that may benumb
the mind and heart and earthly husk.
All around shall lay hills aflow
like the waves of a golden sea,
the descending hills all I’ll know
before the Winter comes for me.

Dedicated to Robert Frost

Heart-Fire

This meager-bosomed flame has died
upon the midnight mountainside
and all below the valley lay:
shadowful, deep, a darksome bay.
Above me stars flare and shimmer,
but they are far-flung, faint, dimmer
than the fire which erstwhile I fed
with flighty fancies from my head,
and the world has grown darker now
with that looming doubt-beclad brow
of the mountain I once bethought
myself the conqueror, thus brought
by such talents and suchlike skills
as made such mountains not but hills,
in the meantime leading astray
upon a path my pride did stay
as does the Fool in Tarot deck
who walks beside both bluff and beck.
My heart-fire flickered to fade soon
with the new-risen harvest moon
and Autumn’s acorn-bells shall call
while Summer’s splendors wilt and fall
and cold winds sweep them unto piles
that feed no fires except denials,
cold, rustling, leaf-shod winds oft wail
and trace futility’s trail
that I dared to climb for so long;
what a mournful, tenebrous song.
The moon is gone, the stars are dim—
was my journey passion or whim?
The mount is dark, the wind is cold,
doubt is a sickness taking hold.
No light at all, no light to guide
along this ruthless mountainside.
The fire is snuffed, the fire is gone—
should I relent or carry on?
The night sky is but black ashes
within which no heart-fire flashes
and not yet halfway to the peak
nor it half to the height I seek.

How foolish to travel so far,
thinking my fire could be a star.

Calamity

Calamity plunges headlong, a fall
of seraphim wings wreathed with a fireball,
like the burning whirlwind witnessed by
Ezekiel, cloud and fire mounting high,
and where she lands her impact arrays pyres
of hopes and dreams, even petty desires,
all aflame—aflame! Whereso she crashes
like a lightning bolt whose coming flashes
out of the clear blue sky, oft unforeseen;
no trumpets, heralds, or bird signs to glean
foreknowledge of her dizzying fallout
nor time to catch one’s breath as we call out
in despair to the loved ones we have lost
within a New Era wrought at their cost.
Calamity is a spear thrown by God,
and we can do little, shocked and slack-jawed
from the suddenness, the swift ruin wrought
by powers beyond us, and what we thought,
what we presumed previously of life
and its routines, the shrill blow of a fife
discordant with the melody we learned
hitherto, the music sheet henceforth burned
and all other notes now sounding quite wrong
as we march off-rhythm to this new song.
The level ground upon which we once stood
is an impact crater, our neighborhood
in decline, literally, the downtown
concave, the downtown sliding down, down, down
in the aftermath of the Advent come
and its smoldering throne, its ash kingdom
where streets are all dead-ends, alleys are traps,
and home is a bait for countless mishaps,
comfort gone cold, taxidermied, hung high,
out of reach, gaudy, a gleaming glass eye
looking over us in our time of need,
as futile as any rosary bead
or a prayer belted out in despair
to mute, blind, deaf, dumb, illegible air.

Calamity is no city planner,
though she sits in the governor’s manor,
and she is not elected by our choice,
though we can encourage her—not by voice,
but by carelessness, selfishness, ego…
Yes, ego, that parade whereby we go
marching into Calamity’s crater
to serve ourselves flaming soot, to cater
our own Wake, all bedighted in embers
of what had been, that which…who remembers?
Not me. I am distracted by the light
of fresh Calamity in fireball flight
across the vault of heaven, that high vault
that cracks to a fissure along the fault
and rains down as a meteor shower
to flatten every tree, home, tower
until neither king or pauper can find
the false-hope of refuge to hide behind.

Calamity renovates as she likes,
gentrification and ruthless tax hikes,
pushing out the old tenants, the squatters,
and even landlords, all ledger jotters
who think themselves their own masters, the kings
of the domains to which such pretense clings;
none are spared the cataclysm, none spared
sorrows such as sown, reaped and quickly shared.
You do not schedule your life anymore,
but live by the timetable you abhor…
Oh, but Calamity strikes once again
and so, scheduled, must set aside my pen…

Happy Hollow Road (My Old KY Home Parody)

O, the moonshine’s bright
over Happy Hollow Road,
Tis nighttime,
the locals are drunk.
Well, the locals fight
cuz their guts squirm like a toad
while bourbon makes them sick
like a skunk.

Sleep no more, dear neighbor,
oh sleep no more tonight.
We throw down loud
for Happy Hollow Road,
for Happy Hollow Road,
we oft fight.

Well, the drunk folks hurl
all over the outhouse door.
They’re angry, all
squirrelly and crazed.
Bend over for moontide
and fall flopping on the floor,
piss where they all may lay,
drunk and dazed.