Some Poems

Mourning

For weeks the widower next door
has been blowing piles of leaves,
fresh-fallen leaves heavy with last night’s rains,
his leafblower like the dull bellow of an
imbecile giant
echoing through the woods that surround his house.
Before Autumn he was cutting down dead ash trees
with a high-pitched, bewailing chainsaw
all day, every day,
and using a hydraulic splitter
to create pagan mounds of split wood
for a fireplace he did not have.
At night I can see
a flashlight spearing the darkness
as he leads his yappy little dog
out for midnight potty,
the widower following the dog stiffly
as if half-embalmed in his old age;
or I hear his grunts and groans
as he climbs a ladder
in the blind, moonless night
to pull leaves out of his gutters
and toss them into the shadows.
Every day.
Every night.
The woods resound with his tearless sorrow.

Grow Up

My grandfather once told me
that I needed to “grow up”;
an old man obsessed with money,
obsessed with little slips of green-colored paper,
with numbers in a computer on a flickering screen
at the bank,
obsessed with stock market reports scrolling across
the bottom of a television feed
while chattering heads speak of
market volatility,
capital infusion,
inflation,
recession;
he said I needed to “grow up”
because make-believe slips of paper
were more important than anything else.
Humans do not shed delusions
as we get older,
we only prioritize them,
organize them into concerted conceits
to make us seem “grown up”,
to make ourselves believe that the numbers
are as substantial
as a brick to the face;
and not only does the emperor wear no clothes,
but he is not really an emperor,
no more than the little germ is
that he inhales into his lungs
to grow sick and die
while shamans from all over the country
sing prayers and dance and wail
and the decimal point moves left or right
like a marble between two children
who make-believe the marble to be
the earth rolling between the stars.

Transformation

Change is always so difficult
it is a husk you peel and molt,
killing the old self in due course,
removing old habits by force,
revealing the sore skin beneath,
aching exoskeletal grief,
and then weaving a raw cocoon
from the scarred ruin you have hewn
as a fresh scab congealing, hard,
itchy, burning, till you discard
what was bled to render its flesh,
a stygian-carapace mesh,
and, by picking it, contemplate
the old, scar-borne truths which you hate
and then you confront what you hide,
tucking yourself away, inside
all that you rue, resent, and loathe
about yourself, that husk you wove
to become a pupa of change,
awakening to find—so strange—
a stranger unfurling your wings
to fly free from the former things
that defined your self, saving face
by discarding face, to erase
what had been for what would now be:
a murder of myself by me.

Autumn Sacrament

A circle of black buzzards
in a yellow roadside field,
a coven speaking no words
round a rabbit that was killed
by the combine’s heedless path
when the farmer reaped his corn;
behold the bleak aftermath:
a stark contrast in the morn.
Black-winged priests bow wrinkled heads
in a sallow field of waste,
the leaves fall—browns, silvers, reds;
death-borne colors that they taste
in the sacrament enjoined
in this season hued with death,
in the innocence purloined,
and the wind’s husk-rustling breath.

Malenia, The Red Queen

Valkyrie fertile with decay
on the war-march from day to day
to stay the Rot at limb and head
while it writhed alike life to spread
its fungal roots beyond the skin
so then Without was as Within,
for war brings rot, as does such death
long denied by the shibboleth
of an Order conceited by
the power of a Golden lie.
O Red Queen, you were but a pawn
to a god and the crimson dawn
which dwelled within your pallid breast,
aswarm with each unwanted pest,
the bastard children of an age
unwelcome by Queen, Lord, or sage,
nor the mother from whom they bloomed
as from a corpse a time entombed.
O Red Queen, you were blind before
the fairy of the river bore
your changeling vision of a dream
of a swordsman blue in the seam
and flowing with the dancing blade
whereby the Rot could be forbade.

But what good was this fairy light
when blue wisps bleed themselves to fight
those that trespass along the flow
of the underworld and its glow?
A standstill was all the accord
your vampiric sword could afford,
nor could unalloyed gold buy aught
when its slash also fed the Rot.
Blind to Fate and its witless path,
blind to the blooming aftermath,
your pride full-fraught with self-defeat
and the fear to flee or retreat;
a fear of loss, a fear of shame,
losing all to retain your name:
“The blade of Miquella,” you say
though from him you were led astray.
Fate is a sky of fickle stars
held in place, and their pockmark scars
are not so deadly as the blood
spilled by a family aflood
with the great anger that shatters
all the lands, and runic matters.
Is that why you bore so much scorn
for a brother whose strength inborn
was as gigantic as his size
as he stayed the falling skies?
Or was it his hair that was red
like your hair, flowing, as if bled
from a fell wound not yet healed
from amidst an old, snowy field
whereat the curse of thrones arose
within the thorns and hammer blows?
He stayed the stars all alone,
though festering in blood and bone,
nor needed help, even when cursed:
he had wished to be like the First.
Now he devours those left behind
along the dunes, his blighted mind
riddled like Caelid’s countryside
while horrors grow from putrid pride.

Nothing stymies the spreading pox,
nothing uproots the bloody stalks,
nothing removes the fungal blooms,
nothing seals the spore-spewing plumes
nothing staunches the brimming pools,
nothing helps but Miquella’s tools.
And now your twin has gone afar,
awaiting the foretold Blood Star
while cocooned like a butterfly
soon to wake, a dream god whereby
nightmares may take shape at long last
in a bloody gold alloy cast.
Or so some may guess. But who knows?
Rykard is dead, yet he regrows.
The sky overhead…is it real?
Or is it false, the Greater Will
trapping this realm in a rock case
like a keepsake stowed in its place?
Is firmanent an onyx roof
and each star a stalactite tooth
of alabaster, or glintstone,
glimmering in the vast unknown?
No, it is an egg that once broke,
the One Great but a gilded yoke
of runic life now gone awry
as Tarnished wage war, kill and die.
What does it mean? It matters not.
This new age belongs to the Rot.
It will set things right once again:
Erdtree, Marika, gods and men.

That Hound, Consequence

Consequence is a hound that follows—
a shadow-shackled beast at the heel,
and the hound will gnaw and maul all those
living, thoughtless, their daily lives till
we are maimed, gutted, we are bled out
by its rabid bite, its prey instinct,
and while it chases us all about
it is a hound unbreakably linked.
Domini Canis, true hound of God,
stalking each choice we make, right or wrong,
cause and effect but a chain which gnawed
cannot be broken, and ever-long
reaches adown the years without fail—
not a stray, but linked as inborn truth
and always astride the hunting trail
to bring gift of calamitous tooth.
A fanged cornucopia that reaps
the planter of its dragon-tooth seeds
whether one is awake, or one sleeps;
slights, mistakes, happenstance, or misdeeds.
There are those who find a scapegoat, though,
to bear the bitemarks upon their flesh,
thousands, even, lined up in a row
to receive the wrathful teeth afresh,
and some share the hounds of Consequence,
as more hounds are bidden with a howl,
the bloodlust growing at crimson scents
while chains entwine, and the hounds gnash and growl.

A hound gnaws at my ankle as yet,
a beast beset with bellicose ire
after a wreck I cannot forget
when a fool sped on a thin, worn tire.
The hound tore his tire and made him slide
into oncoming traffic, headlong,
head-on into me, though I had tried
to brake, to shake loose fangs too headstrong.
The hound leapt at once into his lap
as an engine block, crushing his thighs
and it clamped my foot, like a bear-trap,
twisting it neatly contrariwise.
And though doctors righted my ankle
with haloes, scalpels, metal, and screws
the hound clamps even now to rankle
with each step, although I did not choose
to court the hound, that beast, Consequence,
nor did I wrong anyone that day;
the beast cares not, for he has his sense
and is loyal—never far away.

The Unicorn Curse

O friend, have you yet to meet
the unicorns in their froth-maned flock?
Hooves of onyx, fierce and fleet
and their hides pale white like marble block.
Fear them, O friend, and their gaze,
their eyes like pure-polished porcelain
that flinch not from brightest rays
or from any malign course of sin.
They look like frolicking steeds
galloping across the Springtime plains
alike to many horse breeds,
but they will suffer no mount or reins.
Suffer! To suffer, indeed!
For they bridle a man’s life instead,
as they did me, and mislead,
like a mug of witch brew to the head.
Their aspect is not equine,
but headed like babes but a year old,
and their hearts are not divine,
but unfeeling, cruel, deathly cold.
But what favor they show oft
to virgins who dare to travel far
to touch such a mane…pure…soft…
following Virgo, from star to star!
But what of virgins oft said
to be honored among these pure things?
Come, if you dare; lay your head
in their laps and see how their touch brings
a curse such as no man wants,
such a curse of loveless wanderlust
until ones memory haunts
the lonely years, one’s youth gone to rust.