Sword And Sorcery Politics

Words can be as a sharp sword
grasped by the adept tongue
to cut down many a horde,
yet therein among
are foes defter at the thrust
when they fight you, those skilled
beyond your means, so you must
use truth as your shield
to deflect their subtle lies
and such black magic spells
that can kill heroes, likewise,
when a true tongue fails;
for such warlocks can conjure
phantasms of falsehoods
to overmaster hearts pure,
but lost in the woods.
Such conjurers breathe black smoke
to suffocate swordsmen
till they cannot see, and choke,
lost to dark lords when
they use the truth against you,
their alchemic spellcraft
warping facts until untrue—
a dizzying draught.
All you can do, then, is bow—
bow to truth’s fickle blade
and maybe survive, somehow,
perhaps by the aid
of a good PR wizard
whose power extends
to charisma points, his word
a spell that rescinds
the curse that has unmanned you,
whether from your false foe
or by your own false hand, too,
for he may well know
the coveted counter-curse
to restore your honor
or keep it from getting worse…
Nope, you’re a goner.

Firewater Odyssey

Beware the witch’s hex of corn
that is bane to the Great Spirit—
so dangerous for the Native-born
that they had much cause to fear it.
In rotund bellies of white oak
charred by the cruel kiss of fire
and aged by the neverending spoke
of the seasons, Time’s turning gyre,
the drink doomed them all, by and by,
with its sweet Calypsodic taste—
the firewater spirits fly so high
while Native souls wither and waste.
And how generously it flowed!
Like venom from a spiteful fang
or Lotus nectar from the abode
of the Cyclops, that one-eyed gang
who coveted their fat-flanked sheep
for which hunger ached in each man—
and Natives passed on, as if asleep
beneath both flock and searching hand,
Not all could escape, nor so many
returning to the life they knew,
but were wholly lost, each, when he
drank deep of the forbidden brew.
And what of men driven mad so
to drink that which both drowns and slakes
and leaves parched, a drunken Wendigo
whose walk creates terrible quakes?
Was a cup of Lethe, brimming,
that made shades of the tribes;
their songs forgotten, their minds dimming,
their history gone—all for bribes
which cost them all more than the worth
as the intoxicating pox
of liquor rose in a drowning surf,
like hot blood spilling at peace talks.
All empires have been born of more
than mere bloodshed and death and strife;
to crush a people takes more than war—
kill their culture, their way of life.
Thus, while Odysseus was lost
far from his family and hall,
the Natives paid a heavier cost,
exiled on waves of alcohol.
So whiskey was the siren song
that subsumed the songs of their souls,
calling them to Conquest’s coral throng,
their bones sinking within Time’s shoals.

13 Ways Of Looking At A Hoodie

As embers flaring
amidst midnight shadow,
her baffling freckles flashed
within the black hoodie.

He heard his name called,
his head down, hidden
in his camouflage hoodie—
huddling stubbornly in his
anonymity.

The two figures shouldered their way
through the rain,
black hoods over heads
like monks on pilgrimage
to the drop-off/pick-up point.

The dark depths of the hood
were void of feelings
when hung on the wire hanger
and upon his head.

Their relationship was like a
tight hoodie—
used overmuch, washed overmuch,
and difficult to pull on
for a comfortable fit;
difficult to take off.

For him the hoodie was
his own
hooded headsman—
if worn at night
in a White neighborhood.

His father’s old hoodie
lay upon the floor,
stained and crumpled and empty
of significance.

Homeless and hitchhiking
along the highway
he wondered how life had carried
him so far astray,
like a Greyhound bus
snagging his black hoodie
and dragging him backwards
miles a minute.

How jolly the bulbous belly
beneath the red Santa hoodie—
how menacing the
bearded leer
beneath the hood.

The rainy night hung heavy
upon the clammy earth
like a woolen hoodie
drenched with a cold sweat
as the smoking muzzle
kisses the forehead.

Fall was only half-ready—
a grown man in
swim trunks and beach sandals,
a hoodie reluctantly up top.

The pouch pocket
on the XX-large hoodie
engulfed his small hands
reminding him that the measure
of a man’s size
and size
can be variable.

Ever ironic
and trendy,
the Grim Reaper cloaked his old bones
in a new black hoodie
with understated text that read
“Passing Fad”.

Aphantasia

The mind’s eye asleep
when she is awake,
images hidden deep—
no shapes to make
as she writes stories
in her prolific head;
facts, dialogue, plot trees,
but the visuals dead.
Her mind is a secretary
rummaging among files,
reading them, but nary
letting her sift the piles
to read them for herself
or look down memory lane,
each cabinet and shelf
at the back of her brain,
but under lock and key,
the secretary condescending
and not letting her see
all that is hers, pending;
her memories of faces,
of music, of smells,
of visited places
and vivid details.
She is utterly blind
on the inside,
the forefront of her mind
blank—dark-eyed.
And yet, when sleeping
her mind’s eye wakes,
finally peeping
each dream it makes.
This is alien to me
and the eye in my mind—
I see things so vividly
whatever the kind
of thing I imagine, whether
image or smell or song
or one and all together;
it is not so wrong
as the black screen
inside her head,
the one where each scene
of the reel is misfed
and so fails to show
on the projector,
not even the glow
of a make-see specter,
and yet the reel turns,
every frame intact,
no cigarette burns—
just no connecting tract.
Just the same, she loves books
as much as I do,
even if her internal looks
don’t allow the same view.
While she may not see
the phantasia as well,
she still loves the library
and a well-told tale.

Fire Ritual (For Falon)

Fragrant as fresh cut cedar
in early morning cold
and as waking
with the welcoming spread of your
love,
you baffled yourself with the scents of your
wilderness,
dryad concealed behind civilized
shyness.
You cling to embarrassment like roots
in snowpack-buried soil.
Willfully deceived against your own feral
womanliness,
you flush as flame
when passion flares;
you are a
virgin to the knowledge
that love and shame were never opposed,
but complement in devout trust
like a flame-hearted hearth
redolent of cedar
and made of cold stones
hewn from the icy river.
Fret not for the purple heartwood
as the sacred fire burns between us.
My love, let us
commune in the ashen aftermath,
hot embers alighting upon Winter’s winds.

Five, Five, Five…

A translucent cloud,
only barely there,
neither thick nor proud
floating in night air,
as a frayed grayed dove
in want of sun’s rays
while drifting above,
born of misty haze.
Thin, ghostly stratus,
do you think desire
something your status
might survive, that fire
which burns with a stare
that blinds and dissolves,
an unrivaled glare
round which earth revolves?
Stay true to the moon,
phantom of the night,
or fade all too soon
like ghosts at dawn’s light.

Just Toxic Enough

Sometimes I feel overcrowded
and wish to be more like a
black hickory tree—
the kind of selectively antisocial tree whose
toxins
wither almost everything near it
to give it space
so it can grow its foliage
(without throwing shade)
and grow its roots
(without groping)
and drop its nuts
(without worrying about
the consent of whomever
is actively feeling up its
hardwood
from down below).
It is not “manspreading”
or
“mansplaining”,
and it doesn’t make me a pig
or even a
pignut,
nor is it crass cynicism—
it is just a want of
personal space
and some quiet solitude
and natural boundaries
as I keep to myself
to avoid the eager whine of the chainsaws
and the hungry woodchippers.