Encoiled

Split apart, right down the middle,
between inertia and action,
confused as if by a riddle
and divided like a fraction,
you speak to me with a forked tongue
of your loyalties and the law,
but this is not what truly stung—
it was how you unhinged your jaw
to consume the totalities
and digest the contradictions,
the post-modern modalities
like coils fattened on such fictions,
all the while engulfing your tail
so as to not lose track of it,
the recursive act soon to fail
as you eat yourself, bit by bit.

Tempered Steel

By the pain of flame and hammer fall

thereby forged is Man, so one, so all;

by pain and trial and sacrifice,

Man takes shape when wrought within the vice;

some are beaten so smooth and so fine

they seem perfect casts, and, so, divine,

whereas others are much less imbued

with such work, being quite rough and crude;

some are discarded, and some stillborn —

all are melted down when old…outworn;

some serve as swords, and some hoes or plows,

some as bowls, or rings for marriage vows,

and some have edges as sharp as blades,

though intended for the softer trades,

and so cut the Hands which made such slaves

with Damascus folds of flowing waves,

drawing blood to infuse tempered steel

and remind gods what it means to feel.

The Demiurge

Before the priest can baptize
a beloved son or daughter,
before a child’s startled cries
from the chill of holy water,
we are baptized in ways old
before Christ and the Ancient Flood,
before such myths could take hold—
baptized in piss and shit and blood…
from out of the trembling womb,
just-so, anointed at each birth
and, just-so, unto the tomb:
piss and shit and blood unto earth.

Patterned Chaos

Through my dreams the cat was leaping,

Calico patchwork, like the old quilt

beneath which I laid, silent, sleeping

as childhood memories brimmed and spilt.

Hind-legs thrusting, her forepaws splayed

to catch herself after a bold spring;

gentle in grace, yet deadly made

by the forge of Life, that ruthless thing.

Beautiful motion, artful form,

instinct and cunning made manifest,

yet snuggling, purring, friendly, warm,

her claws retracted, and nose to chest.

To think a killer could be kind

and want to cuddle close to a heart;

to think of all we leave behind

as Life plies its slapdash-patterned art.

The patches jigsawed together,

a creature of chaos and of laws;

temperamental as weather

and yet smoothly playing on her paws.

Leaping!  Sleeping!  Wild as a child

forgone to the needs of ringing clocks,

bound to a moment, reconciled

with its self-apparent paradox.

And so I dreamt of her patterns,

a feline form from out of my past

who, just so, leapt and slept at turns

like childhood joys that pass by too fast.

The Answer

I have the answer,

easy to do, DIY,

How-To Self-Help Guru.

Just trust me with your

life.

Here ’s the answer:

Are you ready?

Are you ready to change your life?

You can.

I believe in you.

I believe you can change

(my bank account).

You have to trust me, though

You have to let me help you

by helping me with

my six-figure per annum.

The answer is so easy, so simple

(minded).

You believe me, don ’t you?  If you

don ’t

then you will never get any better.

You will remain a victim and a

loser

for your entire life.

The answer can change you, though.

It can make things right.

Rectify you and your world,

make you the arbiter of your own life.

And so simple…so easy

(to fool).

For a few dollars more the answer will

become clear.

Look, your life is a

fixer-upper.

It is not condemned.

For a low, low payment you can

renovate it, top to bottom.

I have the blueprints right here.

When I tell you the answer you will

be amazed.  You will say that it is so simple, it must be a fresh coat of paint, and that ’s it.  But it isn ’t.  It is a transformation of the whole neighborhood.  Gentrification of your life.  The floor plan is a godsend.  You only need to pay me a little more and then I will give you the answer.  Yes, that is enough.  For now.  So what ’s the answer?  Well, it is so easy.  So simple.  Did I tell you of all of the people I have helped with my self-help answer?  So many testimonials.  (Not a single refund).  It is so self-evident, too.  So natural, like folk wisdom.  When I tell you, you will say, “How could I not see it before?  It is so obvious now! ” And it is.  Like staring at the sun, the answer is bright and enlightening and blinding.  It illuminates all things with its central role in the universe.  It illuminates the self.  Yourself.  It will help you help yourself.  For a few dollars more I will tell you more.  Just a few dollars. What is a handful of cash compared to a life full of dreams realized?  The answer is like a religion, and yet more practical than a religion.  It is the dais and the temple and the priest and the congregation.  It is God.  It delivers, too.  It is salvation.  It offers sanctuary and hope and love, saving you from despair and fear and loneliness and meaninglessness.  And yet so easy to understand!  Yet so profound!  The layman nods at it in comprehension, appreciating its simplicity.  The philosopher gasps in awe at its profundity.  It is a humble answer, and yet it answers all prides without balking.  There is a poetry in its brevity, yet it enumerates all possibilities with its exponential mathematical applications.  It is recursive, yet self-contained.  Science aspires to its truths while the humanities admire it.  For a few more dollars I can tell you more.  Just a few dollars and your life will transform.  It will enliven your life, and enrich it; imbue it like a celestial song upon profane drudgery.  Supple as melody and uncompromising as arithmetic, it is personal and universal.  As below so above, and it applies its miraculous nature in all things.  Want to become a mechanic?  It can help you.  Want to save your marriage?  It can help you.  All is done easily through it.  You just need to give me a few more dollars and the answer will be yours.  I am so generous with it because it is a gift that gives by the sharing of it, too.  For just a few dollars more.  Just to help me spread its transformative insight and better the world.  It is a paradox and a riddle and an enigma.  It is a method and a process and a natural propensity we all share.  It is the answer.  But you need this answer, and to have this answer I need money.

 Yes, that ’ll do it.

 So, the answer is…very straightforward.  Did I tell you about the time the answer helped a man pull himself up by his bootstraps and become a billionaire?  It is a skill, but it is an instinct before that.  You must hone it, and it will in turn hone you.  Christ knew it, and Buddha, and Churchill, and Roosevelt.  Both Roosevelts.

It is an essence.  It is integral

to the whole cosmos.  And

it can transform you

into your own self-help guru.

You first need to give me

a few dollars, though, and

I will give you the

answer.

It will change

(short-change)

your life..

What They Dare Not Say

How is it that they can say

they believe in God and yet

also claim, “Life is unfair ”?  Nay,

such masochists oft forget

who created this flawed plane

brimming with cruelties so vast

that they dwarf the sins of Cain

and all of Man ’s wicked past.

How do they square the circle

and include the darker points?

Do they grab hold and jerk till

the halo grows and anoints

with its bright geometry

perfected through the numbers —

if so, go see Psalm 0’3

and know the Devil slumbers,

for he never does so much

as he is so often blamed,

nor was it curse, nor so such

why he was thereafter named.

“Life ’s not fair, ” the priest retorts

as if it is an answer

that exonerates in courts

or cures God-given cancer,

but let the twisted sermon

proclaim the truth unspoken,

let us find the whole worm in

the Fruit of Knowledge, woken;

let us speak the perfect truth

and say what fraud refuses

and know it as its own proof:

“Unfair is He who chooses.”

Sibylance

Were I fain to speak,

would be double of tongues,

venom in each cheek,

limbless along my rungs

as I was after

the Garden and the Fall,

sibilant laughter

at having foreseen all,

but before exile

I was a branch above,

watching, waiting while

Adam and Eve made love

and plotting their fates

to defy even God

they left Eden’s gates,

but it was all a fraud

begat beyond me

and before me, a ruse:

the Garden, the Tree,

no choice any could choose;

the Garden, the Tree,

and Adam just-so crowned

in ignorance, free,

paradise sprawling round,

yet alone, lonely,

and so the true deceit:

lovely Eve, only

I could read God’s receipt.

The scales had been made

as had mine on my hide,

the scales had been weighed

with a hand on one side.

A script had been penned

and roles given to each,

the tale had an end

and my sight had such reach

as to see the ploy

God had planned for us all,

I was but a toy

and Man but helpless thrall,

and despite my sight,

I was compelled by fate,

tail in my bite,

an Ouroboros hate

for the trap within,

eating dust, in decline

Original Sin

inborn by God’s design.

Imprisoned Dreamer

Enamored of flesh, ensorceled, bound,

yet thinking ourselves as kings crowned

in brain matter, nerves, the flow of blood

wallowing like pigs in filth and mud.

Lo! So intoxicated by youth!

That fat flask of wine, its foolish proof

belying hangovers yet to come

while we age, and so, too, each kingdom

as it falls to ruin round the throne

mistaken as ageless and our own,

for Time lays the claim ever he held,

we but stewards for what we beheld.

And so we aspire beyond such waste

of the flesh-bound world as we are faced

with rot, with ruin, with the decline

inherent in our mortal design,

seeking stairways above fickle spheres,

unbound to flesh and untouched by years

futile reaching!  Strapped down, on the back

like the condemned stretched upon the rack,

for it is the bed on which we dream

while watching stars afar, as they gleam,

seeking always the constellations

to console both men and their nations;

seeking myths to comfort fleeting meat

as it dies around us, beat by beat.

We are all Gnostic in such belief,

the temple of flesh fickle and brief.

Deicidal Laughter

It is not that great a wonder

that so many preachers should fear

sheep not fearing their god ’s thunder,

so they whip at them, year to year,

to bleed their sense of good humor

out of them with barbed briar tongues,

to cut it out, like a tumor,

and remove laughter from the lungs.

For nothing kills gods so easy

as laughter in an idol ’s face,

whether full-throated or wheezy,

razing all gods from time and space.

Do not look to philosophy

or science to achieve the kill;

to earn you your hunter ’s trophy

humor is god ’s Achilles heel.