Wreckord And Rage

The bear still chases me
in my dreams
following me from the car wreck
more than a year later,
roaring loudly
with my own voice
as I get cut-off in traffic,
or grinding my teeth
when I have to
work overtime on my days off,
and rampaging
as another submission is rejected
by another publisher.
They say a bear chasing you
in dreams
signifies uncontrollable rage,
and I know this to be true
because I took a hard knock
to the head
and it woke that grizzly bear
from its primordial hibernation in the cave
of my skull,
and I try to tame him,
but every time I try
Zen meditation
or yoga vinyasas
the bear still stirs
and goes chasing me around,
denting doors with my knuckles
and hurling furniture with my
impatient paws
or threatening to maul
a flippant punk in a store.
How many times, I wonder,
have I attempted to lull the beast
with koto melodies
only to growl at the piping of a hichiriki,
or calm him with smooth Jazz
only to snarl at the intrusion
of a noodling saxophone
upon the pitter-patter of the piano?
I must hate wind instruments
and sometimes wish to slash
windpipes,
especially when someone prattles on and on
with self-important conceit.
No lullaby can soothe
the savage beast
of head trauma.
My insomnia, too,
is the bear’s insomnia,
and melatonin pills don’t mellow him out
enough for a long hibernation.
Meanwhile he follows me
from my dreams
into the waking world,
snapping in rage
at friend and foe alike
as the circus of Life twirls on,
the bear handler mauled
by his own mismanaged anger.

4 Poems

Mirage Magnate
He leads them through the desert
with a mirage of water,
promising an oasis
toward which they scramble
on hands and knees as if supplicants
only to find the shattered statue
of Ozymandias
strewn among the blank desolation
of the American Dream.
Their thirst goes unslaked,
yet they praise him with hoarse voices.

The Moon’s Glow
He was as jolly as the Summer sun
in a clear sky above golden fields
and so she seemed, too,
beaming with the light he gave
in unconditional generosity,
but however bright she glowed
with borrowed light
she herself remained a cold place
hard to inhabit.

Sylvian Psychoplath
A clutter of stemming words
in search of fruitful meaning;
clusters of inchoate imagery
without the thinnest shade of
sense,
like a drug-addled hypochondriac
thinking herself a dryad
at the mercy of a logging company,
lost in her own fussy blooms
as she traces the trifurcating twigs
during a whirling tornado
without an eye of calm.
The heartwood bleeds sap,
obviously,
yet one wonders if the
axe
taken to the trunk
was merely trying to cut straight to the
point.
The burl-knotted bosom
unburdens itself
in warty bunches,
and even when chopped up
and stacked in ricks
the woody worth of it is
dubious,
the dryad’s blustering smoke
a deliberate obfuscation
on whatever illuminations might reel
from the hearth
such tangled brush feeds.
And yet
there are mushrooms growing
along her thoughts
which I think quite fine,
even if poisonous as a
gas oven,
every single one.

Stone Dreams
Cleaved shelf of stone
jutting out from hills heavy-headed
with shaggy pine;
cleaved shelf of stone
rugged with old thoughts
like a giant’s brow troubled
by dreams that trickle in icemelt
as the sun rises unseen
behind a pale sheet of snowfall.
I have known dreams as steadfast
and bare
as such stone,
dreams blasted long ago by dynamite,
yet have not worn away
in skirling winds
and seasons of thunder
and tantrums of quakes.
Time wears on
and the stone dreams remain,
more silent than beds of snowfall;
more lasting than the roads
that divided them.

The Slow Suicide

I have oft slain myself
with many leisure hours
spent idle on a shelf
while my dear dream sours—
squandered much in repose
when I might have else gained
much more, or so it goes,
had I not thus refrained,
and in wasting the hours
wasted myself in course
and whatever powers
of mine might provide force
to propel with the stream
of my goals and desires,
profligate unto dream
while my dull life expires.
So many my phases
spent sawing my own thread—
sawing my thread with wear
as Atropos raises
her scissors as fated
to spur strident regret
as I see the frayed seams
and how I also whet
Death with layabout schemes,
for languid was my mode
when ample time blessed me,
but now that I grow old
I am no longer free
to seek diversion for
lounging as I so please,
but must face Death’s black door
and the chill in Fall’s breeze.
I who have taken day
and made a dull, dim thing
of every sunray
that could crown me a king
with the riches of Time,
(a precious rare tender)
rather than this crime
as my own self-lender
indebted evermore
and never to be repaid
as the mortgage grows more
with debt indolence made,
for I am a turncoat
against my own season,
a suicide whose note
was slow in its treason.
Hark! The clock strikes again
as day drains to the lees—
it is a mortal sin:
suicide by degrees.

Night Terrors

I have always been beholden to terrors
in the dark of night—fancies, demons, errors
of my own unbridled mind, a lunatic
while there burns the moon, a wick
which casts shadows inside my skull
in between waking and sleeping, the lull
where Reason is dethroned and exiled
and the demons all clamor, going wild,
and more often than not, these nightmares
are conjured forth when daylight glares
to shine on those whom I most cherish—
my family, my wife, all whom perish
when in the fit of these frightful dreams
wherein I can only listen to their screams,
unable to save anyone from the boogeymen
that come for them, time and time again.
When I was but a boy I saw many rings
of demons in my room, flying with bat-wings,
and even now the Hat Man visits me
along with Shadow People who stare darkly.
And yet, however fearful such things are
they are not the most fearful, (not by far),
than when I wake up right afterward
in the witching hours, when nought is heard,
because I have mourned a thousand times
during such nights, as the moon climbs,
and even with my love beside me in bed,
she lays still, silent, eyes closed as if dead,
and I fear for her in this parody of Death
even though she always yet draws breath,
for there will come a day against which I
can do nothing, no matter how hard I try,
and so I know a future will arrive when
one or both of us will never wake again,
Death having the final laugh, at long last,
for every night we mocked him in the past.

Riddle Root

greenmanink

What an upstart little sapling you seemed to be
with riddles running wild in its riotous roots,
growing on hopes and pride into a tall tree
as you splayed your spread-fingered shoots.

How fast you grew toward the fanciful sky,
holding your ambitions like a glorious crown
stuck in the clouds— ever so deliriously high
that your spindly trunk snapped and fell down.

What a stark collapse that shook the earth!
And you, yourself, too, splintered all apart
so that you looked down at the upturned turf
and saw therein your dry-rotted heart.

You trifled with riddles and poems and wit,
thinking yourself wiser than the way of things,
but then you came aground, bit by broken bit,
and found but kindling in your recording rings.

The Green Man could not save you, oh no, no, no,
nor the rains of plenitude that always came,
and, so imbalanced, you were doomed to go
and now no one knows your secret name.

crisscrosstangle

Beggarly Kingdom

Sometimes I feel as if
I can conjure whole worlds
with the merest of words,
like a wizard with illimitable power,
or a king at whose summons
his subjects hastily gather
to serve,
and at other times I grope
ineptly
like a blind vagrant
for coins spilled from his
beggar’s bowl.
Even now
the words roll away from me,
impoverished as I am
of the rich tributaries of poetry.
Yet,
even when the floodgates open
and alms are offered in
abundance
with gratitude’s cornucopia,
whatever wonders
I manage to conjure
cannot muster the worth of a
hovel
with words alone
and, so, I return to the
mill
to grind my own bread
from a wealth of wispy, unwelcome
dreams.

The Dream Seekers

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Only the old, wide-eyed owl dared ask “Who? Who?
Who dares trespass upon the flint-black plain
when the stars shimmer brightly, as if born anew
and crowned in radiance; their stelliferous reign?”

Coyotes caterwauled just beyond the horizon
and the hare in his burrow, like the sun, sheltered,
while twins crouched beneath the hides of bison,
stalking the thousand-headed herd.

The herd had thundered by the light of day
and now knelt before the ivory-horned moon,
the crown that empowered with each Dreamful ray
the White Buffalo that was named Fortune.

The twins watched from beneath borrowed skins
as that celestial beast touched hoof to earth
and Tawiskaron raised a spear to add to his sins
while Glaskoop shouted to stop such wicked mirth.

The herd scattered as if bitten by snakes,
but the White Buffalo faced his foe with his eyes afire,
his charge concussing the ground with earthquakes—
yet the hunter did not falter in his aim or desire.

The spear struck the brow of that Dreaming beast;
it moaned, swayed, and then collapsed in a heap,
and the wicked twin cut out its heart, thereupon to feast,
saying “I will now Dream of all beasts untouched in Sleep.”

“This is not good,” Glooskap said. “You have slain a Dream.”
“And more will I slay,” his wicked brother said.
He grinned then, as a skull, and gave forth a war scream,
vowing he would take every Dream Beast’s head.

But with the dawn came their ancient grandmother
and she went to speak to her wicked grandson,
asking Tawiskaron, “Where is your brother?
We must speak, for I fear evil has been done.”

“I know what has been done,” Tawiskaron lied.
“Glooskap hunted last night and has wickedly slain
the White Buffalo, skinning that Dream of its hide
and has vowed to hunt all Dreams until none remain.”

Grandmother Spider was fooled, or so it seemed,
and she banished Glooskap from her home henceforth,
so he ventured into exile while Tawiskaron Dreamed,
and soon the giant, Winter, rose from the North.

But Glooskap stole the White Buffalo’s hide
and used it to conceal himself in the coming snow,
hoping to hunt his wicked brother at Wintertide
to avenge himself and the White Buffalo.

Tawiksaron hid in Dreams, where none could follow
and so Glooskap roamed for many eons, all alone,
surviving on his own, but feeling lonely and hollow
for the selfish betrayal his twin brother had shown.

Glooskap traveled Westward, in search of power
to fend off the Winter, who raged over the lands,
and found himself witness to a meteor shower
that dropped many small eggs into his upturned hands.

The eggs nearly froze in the blizzard’s air,
so he took them to a mountain cave and built a fire,
then bundled them up next to the blaze, with care,
and hugged them to his chest so they would not expire.

For three years he warmed them in that drafty hole,
never releasing them while the Winter warred on,
and, in time, he felt them burning, each a hot coal
which he had endowed his own soul’s heat upon.

And then he Dreamed of his Grandmother one night
and she said she knew he was not guilty of any crimes,
but he had a destiny that would eventually come to light
as he struggled in exile and the coming End-Times.

When he awoke, the eggs hatched in a flash of light
and scintillating colors, the rolling boom-boom-boom
of electric-winged Thunderbirds taking to flight
like lightning, epileptic in that underground gloom.

They zig-zagged out of the cave, and out into the storm,
and grew larger as they crackled into the cold sky;
their lightning struck across the vaults of heaven, so warm
that it wounded Winter, and thereupon he did die.

Glooskap then awaited the end of the world
as the snows, which had fallen so deep and so heavy,
all at once melted, the profuse floods unfurled,
breaking loose over every dam, watershed, and levee.

And as Winter’s blood became a worldwide deluge
he saw serpents rising from the single, great ocean;
venomous snakes hungry and hateful and huge,
and swirling with a triumphant commotion.

The Bridge of Snakes rose, and Glooskap prayed for aid
to help him defeat such monsters therein encoiled,
and Grandmother Spider sent to him a tribe thus made
of survivors who traveled together as the ocean roiled.

Beneath the shadow of a Raven-winged magician
they invoked the Sun, that radiant daughter
whom was for every tribe, creed, and tradition
a nurturing light against the darksome water.

And it is said that they invoked the powers of Dreams
to defeat the serpents of the depths, ensnaring them all
in a great net of Dream Weavers, whose very seams
were threaded from Life and spirits that answer its call.

 

Recently a very generous reader gave my book “The Dark Dreamer” a kind review on Amazon, just when I needed it the most.  Lately I have wondered if the book series was even worth the time and effort in pursuing as a trilogy, since so few people seemed interested in it (beyond the handful of people who have read it and expressed their pleasure).  Anyway, lo and behold I had a poem in my head forecasting the rest of the trilogy and decided to write it down just before I read said generous review.  I suppose I must finish the series now, if only out of obligation to such charitable people.  It never ceases to gratify me to know someone spent time (a portion of their mortal life, no less) on something I have written.  It is a sacrifice, in my opinion, and it embarrasses me to charge money for access to my work. —S.C. Foster