Little Erin made her way
down to that idyll isle
in the lake where druids pray;
her head sore all the while.

(Hey nonny, nonny,
nonsense and bonny.)

Her father had been drinking again
and took umbrage at her girlish songs,
so he struck up her chin
with a fist writ with wrongs.

(All sobby hobby,
head knotted and knobby.)

Erin’s mother had been pretty
and had a voice without equal,
both fair and clever and witty,
and Erin hoped to be her sequel.

(Still a silly filly
all wild and willy-nilly.)

She had told Erin many fanciful stories
about knights bold and maidens fair,
crowning her head with these glories
of when magic reigned everywhere.

(Hey jabber-gabber,
you’re a fabulous yabber.)

Erin’s mother had died only a year since
from a cold caught from a chill breeze
and her husband had from then hence
drank himself vicious on various brandies.

(A handy man, he, yet, fie,
randy as a bitter brandy.)

Eager for escape, Erin went to the lake
and docked in the rocks, upon the isle,
tying the boat to an old oak stake,
singing her favorite song all the while.

(Do you dillydally
in my lake-view valley?)

It was a song about the fairy kin
that her mother used to sing,
telling of a magical portal within
the mound in the standing stone ring.

(Will you still be wild,
stolen changeling child?)

A mist breathed up from the water
as the sky darkened in the South
and, singing still, Erin sought her
dreams within that mound’s mouth.

(Winsome with want and whim,
dreams always dim.)

She crawled on her hands and knees
and thought she could hear the sound
of feet within the maze, as if to tease
her to crawl even faster into the mound.

(Fit and flit as a fiddlestick
that bit at a wick not one whit.)

How lovely, she thought, to dance
with the fairy people in their balls,
and how nice it would be, perchance,
to dine with them in their banquet halls.

(Dance and dine, what is mine is thine,
food and drink and song so long and fine.)

But the fairies did not greet her
as she crawled into the central room;
only rats circled to meet her
as her hand grasped something in that gloom.

(Ages old, slick and cold,
unseen, unclean, but of a familiar mold.)

It was long and smooth, like a scepter,
and Erin naturally assumed it to belong
to the queen of the fairies who kept her
followers hidden in the shadowy throng.

(What a lark in the dark—
merrily as unto a park.)

An oculus let in the darkening daylight,
funneling it into the heart of the mound,
and by its rays she took sudden fright
at the thigh bone she had found.

(Once delightful, now quite frightful,
the columnar light full of the spiteful.)

There were bones here and there scattered
in that rat-swarmed, chthonic place,
and Erin’s own bones chattered
as she saw the truth of the fairy race.

(The kin of men, faintly simian,
therein buried from way back when.)

Dropping the bone, Erin wondered
if any of the old stories were true,
thinking, as the storm above her thundered,
that there was nary a darker view.

(Alas O ill lil’ lass,
all this, too, will pass.)

Peddler’s Mall: Fantasy Fiction Prologue

The booth was like many in the Peddler’s Mall. There was an eclectic collection of knickknacks, trinkets, figurines, paintings, souvenirs, dolls, and all of the countless curious things accrued over a lifetime of collecting. The woman sitting at the booth— watching the locals rummage through her things with neither a smile nor a frown, nor a bemused look upon her gypsy face—was, herself, an eclectic collection of things. She had a gypsy face, for it seemed well-traveled and lived-in; worldly and, yet, indecisive of which part of the world it originated from. She had dark-as-leather skin, smooth as silk and neither burnt nor untouched by the sun. Her hair was dark black and was tied back into a ponytail. She could have been Latino, or Asian with her large dark brown eyes, or Native American because of her rounded cheekbones, or perhaps even Hindu or Arabian in her dusky countenance. She was middle aged, yet beggared most women half her age, and to be looked upon by her, with her obsidian gaze, was to be mesmerized for a time, dazzled, as if your wandering eye had unexpectedly happened upon an exotic bird surreally placed in a humdrum setting; the contrast vertiginous, as if a mischief done by some jesting god. It was like seeing a phoenix in a cage, its amber feathers burning softly within the ribbed shadows.
The woman’s dress was a long, sheer gown also misplaced among the rural riffraff frequenting the Peddler’s Mall. Its twilight hues of purple and blue provoked a sleepiness in the onlooker, and the silken softness ran like a waterfall over her alluring curves. There was no strategic seduction in her voluptuousness. She was effortlessly and unintentionally enchanting. It was no more an intention on her part than it was the intention of a flamingo to be beautiful or a crocodile to be frightening. And she was both beautiful and frightening as the herds of humanity shuffled through her booth and glanced, fleetingly, at her items. As if by instinct they knew they did not belong among her baubles.
But there were those chosen few who lingered, their eyes affixed to something that called out to them as if a missing, wayward part of their own souls…

Human History

Some say Time is a river
and some say an Indian giver.
Some say it is a loop
circling around like a hoop,
whereas others attempt to spoil it
as something spiraling within a toilet.
But Time, you see, is a cage
and our history is a coprophage.
Iconographically, it is a sow
born and bred in the Now;
so myopic that it is almost blind,
seeing from the front as it does from behind,
rolling around in its confining cage,
claustrophobic unto a rage,
its nose ring preventing it from digging
to escape the spiral-barbed rigging.
It sees each wall as if for the first time,
and despite the familiar rust, dirt and grime,
and the bloodstains and the tattered skin,
it rams the fanged walls of its prison.
Afterwards, while wounded and bleeding
it comforts itself with frenzied feeding
upon its own free-flowing blood
as it trickles upon the filth and mud.
Perhaps it is disgusting behavior,
but there is no deliverance, no savior
to open that cage and let us out
as we snort and squeal and seek with our snout.
The sow is scarred
and barred,
and swallowing,
we are that sow—
stuck in the Now.
It is no mystery,
our history.
It is a boar,
and nothing more.
Even when birthing a farrow,
we are confined by the narrow.
Even when it eats its own shit
we are the same as it.

Encrypt, Or The Folly Of Erasmus

These dusty, exhumed platitudes
flutter the bleary eyes of the senile monks
sitting at their escritoires, lost in trite attitudes
while copying Biblical pages in meticulous chunks.
Their arthritic hands rigidly grasp quills
in a premature death-grip of pretention
whose tendons never loosen, fearing spills
and living in rigor mortis; embalmed in tension.
How strange to live through the unfeeling nib
as if all other flows were forbidden;
bleeding as Adam did from his missing rib
and thinking Eve birthed you among the midden.
A lifetime spent scribbling in the chill and dark,
squinting at faded letters in crumbling tomes,
fretting every errant ink splatter and drip mark;
becoming like half-blind, crook-backed cave gnomes.
Writing at their dreary desks, from day to day,
they live a dead language, personifying Latin itself,
seeing their life’s works pressed, bound, and put away
alongside countless others on a dank, unsought shelf.
They witness their god by ink strokes and flickering candlelight
deep in the silent monastery’s gloom,
never knowing how he once shined so bright—
a sunrise as he flew from his tomb.
Yet, still these mummies remain thoroughly buried
in their work, scratching the words of other men who are but bones and doubt
to keep them alive, as if ink and paper somehow carried
their souls to the radiance they write about.

Toward Empire

“This road’s always been bumpy,” he was fain to say
as the campaign bus tossed side to side
like a restless beast in want of prey
while the reporters chuckled, or quietly cried.
Bumpy as that old road was, he did not yet yield,
but instead gave them a charming smile.
I looked through the red-stained rear windshield
and saw corpses strewn like speed bumps, mile after mile.

Modern Poetry

The ungainly takeoff,
and the tortured flight
is as smooth as a nib
hacked to splinters out of spite,
the ink blotching the page
much like the poems blotch meaning
into a sprawling mess.
It is superficial
like the narcissists penning it,
taking selfies in
free-fall, clutching at whatever
thesauruses they find on the way down,
hoping to fashion wings out of jumbled
polysyllabic diction,
their word choice unwieldy and
sought for its indulgent plumage
which only encumbers them more
until they plummet like a fat dodo
parading in taped-on peacock feathers.
Each one thinks himself Garuda,
king of the birds,
but they are itty-bitty bantams
crowing loudly, and crudely,
deaf to their hoarse discord
and their own fumbling lyricism.
They attempt to boom with emotion,
like Thunderbirds shaking heaven and earth
with their fulgurous flapping, abreast of the sky,
but they mistake down for up,
thinking the spin a symptom of
euphoric vertigo.
Look here:
poetry is word, image, and meaning all unified
in delicate harmony, like a trinity of vision,
like the three dimensions necessary for
a bird’s flight.
there is no more life in their poetry
than in a stuffed bird.
There is no more emotion in their poetry
than in a shrill bird whistle.
Perhaps they believe
that plunging headlong into
jargon poetry
will be to rebirth themselves, like a
reclaiming beauty and life from the ashes
of syntax and diction and image
which they have so willfully burnt,
but really their poetry is nothing more
than an undeveloped chick
pushed prematurely out of the nest
to splatter and decay
into meaninglessness on the sidewalk.
Such poets think they are seeking to beautify
with their free-fall,
but reality always reasserts itself—
as broad and uncompromising
as the rising horizon.
Perhaps, then,
it would be better
if the chick was never hatched;
better if it was swallowed
by the serpent of doubt,
the egg shell opening
(if at all)
unto the acidic stomach of
my own self-confessed