Uncle Samaya Wants You!

Rally, men! Uncle Samaya wants you
to defend our home, the red, white and blue
against our foes abroad, both far and wide,
in foreign lands…or those within, stateside.
Do not question our leader or his plan,
he needs us united, unto a man,
lest the enemy beat us, or we stray
from the warpath, the American Way.
Come away with him for basic training,
follow orders, obey, Freedom reigning
over your lives like a strange paradox:
repeat the lies the way a parrot talks
and know yourself to be free at long last,
free from choice, uncertainty, and the past,
living day to day, order to order,
all things arranged, like a hostel boarder,
never thinking about what could have been,
but accepting the bloodlust with true Zen;
never questioning the Neocon wars,
nor the zero-sum games, the either-or’s.
Come, men, become a devotee of Sam,
learn the tenets of both lion and lamb,
led about by the pride, but in a flock,
fang and fleece, claw within a clove-hoofed walk,
and from this oxymoronic conceit
realize your potential: butcher and meat.
For he is a tengu abducting boys
to teach them combat before he deploys
them against his foes, against those opposed
to his eagle-winged rule, those as hard-nosed
as the tengu himself, that red-faced elf
whose eyes are affixed on power and wealth.
A guru of blind faith, a tribal force—
Rally men! Heed his warcry! “Stay the course!”

Dead Hand Butter

“Round and round, dead hand go,
churn the milk to creamy butter.
round and round, to and fro,
to a thickness like no other!”

‘Twas a dead hand for a black rite,
pickled with a virgin’s blood draught
and churned round in the dead of night
to waxen, corpse-like dairy craft.

The hand had belonged to a lass
affable to those who knew her
and of a soul as clear as glass;
a wise butterer and brewer.

Her latter talents earned the wrath
of the resentful preacher’s wife,
who claimed the maid on a dark path
and, so, exiled her from church life.

Nor did this sate the preacher’s wife,
for her jealousy could not cloy
and like a pagan god of strife
she sought to torment and destroy.

The preacher’s wife convinced the flock
that the maid’s crafts were blasphemy
and, given time and serpent talk,
a noose was dangled from a tree.

They confined the maid in the jail
in the cold month of December,
and soon she expired in her cell
without wamth of cloak or ember.

The trial was forfeit, hereby,
and the village claimed God’s will done,
for guilt, they said, had made her die,
whereas virtue warms like the sun.

They buried the maid on the side
of the graveyard reserved for those
unbaptized, heathen, all whom died
destined for purgatory’s woes.

And the preacher’s wife, like a fox,
crept to the graveyard where there laid
her victim, exhuming the box
to cut hand from wrist of the maid.

For the preacher’s wife was the witch
that churned butter with a dead hand
a hand that would tremble and twitch
at the hag’s covetous command.

The Witch Jar

Glass jar, your belly clattering
with rusty nails, urine, and hair;
glass jar, cease the crone’s chattering
in the witching hours, cease her ere
she drives me mad with her flights,
riding me beneath the moon
like a steed through dark nights
all whilst laughing like a loon;
trap her soul in your glass pit
and keep her, warden, while I
recover from this Fae fit;
lift it from me ere I die.
Through hearth she sought me betime,
yet ’twas my heat she desired,
clinging like gooey birdlime
as I struggled ‘fore I tired
and was confined to my bed,
growing ill with chills and sweats,
soaken, clammy in the head,
my forehead wrinkled with frets.
Dreams oft come astride fever,
staying in wakeful daylight
like thoughts from the Deceiver
which tempt and torture and bite
until we surrender, thus,
and He claims a bit of soul
from evils compelled in us
and, bit by bit, takes us whole.
So was she set in her toil
like a raven in the eye
of a dead man half in soil,
her chattering ever nigh
her raspy song of old trees
during Autumn, when the wind
twirls the leaves, before the freeze
that brings Summer to its end.
So, please jar, capture this witch—
Bellarmine, confine her now!
By St. Andrew’s cross, the bitch
must be imprisoned somehow!

A Bit O’ This, Bit O’ Thine

Down by the frothy-fingered reach
of the greedy tides on the beach
lingering, lounging on the sand—
slimy, salty, seeking with hand
for what the sea has yet to take
with each moon-glossed, waking wave’s break…

Down, down, down where the waves all crash,
and beneath stars that glint and flash,
a shell breaches the sudsy surf,
dragged by a long arm on the turf,
an arm black like a seasnail’s skin
and slimy as a salesman’s grin.

The voice within the shell beckons
soft as the shoreline that reckons
the flotsam of the ships aground
on the reef and its heartbeat sound—
the desires that have been denied
by Life, by Love, by tempting tide.

And the voice laps oft at the edge
of the Otherworld, at that ledge
between the waking and the dream,
between daylight and how things seem
to the eye that sleeps otherwise
below the waves and moonlit skies.

The local pastor passes by
and gemstones ensorcel his eye…
The mayor glimpses shiny gold
and nascent greed grows overbold…
The wanton sees a dress to wear
like a jellyfish floating fair…
The widow hears the long-lost tune
of her husband who drowned last June…

Hear you that voice that calls to thee?
Hear you that sweet-tongued usury?
It is his claim he offers much
if you do not shrink from his touch
and give what he asks by his whim—
toe or tongue or a lithesome limb.
The cost is sunk, gone, like a hook
and the bait gone, too, oft mistook
as a thing fishermen can lose
without seeing the gain they choose.

“Tell me your wish, O friend of mine,
and I’ll retrieve from bitter brine,
whether gold bauble or glinting jewel
I shall bring up a gift of Yule.
All I ask, dearest friend of mine,
is a bit o’ this…bit o’ thine,
and that you see how fine a friend
I am to you unto the end.”

Refrain
Come! Follow my nautilus shell,
spiraling round and down and down,
and forfeit all you have to sell
for riches, rank, revenge, renown!
Come! Do not waste the tidal hour,
but bring forth what things you may trade
to sweeten a life grown so sour
within wreckage the tides have made!

Dancing With The Devil

Jesse James liked to dance with the Devil
many a time for many a revel,
and folks thought him a hero who earned praise
as he danced with the Devil and Hell’s blaze.
Jesse took pride in his wild cowboy dance,
but could not see the flames snagging his pants
till it was too late, and no Bible quote
could snuff the flame rising up his long coat.
Still, folks fanned their hearth with tales of his crimes,
casting his shadow wide in bygone times,
but as a candle burning on each end
he lived fast, died fast, now smoke on the wind
that blackens the air for a moment more
before fading into Southern folklore.

Kappa Song

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Beware, my friend, beware!
If you care, if you dare,
to go make some night soil
when in nights black as oil
near lakes both dark and still
and you feel a slight chill,
if you squat, drop, or stoop,
Kappa will have his soup!
He likes it fresh, of course,
likes it fresh from the source,
so you mind from behind
or he will not be kind,
taking the best of you
for his witching hour stew—
reaching for an hors d’oeurve,
up your butt, like a perv.

By Maui’s Hook

By Maui’s hook, dragged up from a bubbling sea,
the myriad truths come, writhing, heavy,
nightmarish as Life itself, the gnashing teeth
aswarm with froth, quick to bite as a reef.
He hauls them up, grunting, his Time-furrowed brow
weathered, grim, like a sweat-salty ship prow
slicing through the hostile oceans wherefrom float
the alien beings round his small boat.
He hooks and drags, hooks and drags, wrestling upwards
the monsters of the sea, lone or in herds
such would make a god shudder and loathe the world
of his birth where such monstrosities swirled,
and to lose all his sense and reason and heart
like milk from a coconut, cracked apart,
for to travel either East, West, North or South
is to chart the horrors of that womb-mouth
from which Life has sprung in forms as myriad
as waves from the Cambrian period.
By Maui’s hook he snared the elusive sun
and brought light to divide the horizon
from the night above, and the abyss below
where nightmares still lurk where he dare not go—
where luminous eyes glint like stars burning bright
above the palm trees, the moon, at a height
that not even Maui’s hook may ever reach
from the shrinking shore of his island beach—
shrinking shore, sinking land, the tide-eaten isle
soon running out of time, the maws meanwhile
crowding upward from the teeming depths beneath
to devour mankind and the trickster thief
who raised the islands and stole from gods the fire
to illumine a world soon to expire.
By Maui’s hook he dragged up a brief refuge
before the bloody tide and the deluge.