The White Knight Cavalry

Aloft, sword and shield,
good sirs one and all,
we must thus wield
for yonder clarion call!
Milady needs us,
row by row by row,
mount our steeds thus,
to her fortress, tally ho!
She raises her flag,
that red banner high,
so do not lag,
for our good fortune is nigh.
Round her fort, good men,
be not pale or frail,
but guard her when
a lone beauteous female
is in need of aid,
nor falter when wrongs
are by her made,
but rally in many throngs,
for a female rules,
beauty being truth,
and none but fools
would question her aught, forsooth;
the more she has raised
of her red banners
the more unfazed
we should be in our manners,
for she is a queen
over one and all
and her soul clean,
clear as her ice crystal hall.
So rally hie here!
Protect her pure soul!
And do not fear
her castle’s oubliette hole.
‘Twas not her design,
nor her need, that pit,
so fall in line
to form a wall that is fit
to protect our love,
our lady, devout
as stars above
fixated through years, throughout,
or else as a moat,
a pit of squalor
o’er which no boat
might ford fast to befall her.
A White Knight’s duty
is never done, quite—
Lo! Tis beauty!
Let us gallop! Let us fight!

Duskdreams

I see it clear in my duskdreams,
a small house in a rural field,
gilt in Late Summer’s thinning beams;
atop rolling land, smoothly hilled.
There is no driveway to divide
the flowing billows of that place,
nor a house on any side;
nothing impugns that airy space.
A few trees may stand, here and there,
and creeks may trickle down below,
but that green-crested hill is bare
of all but the soft winds that blow.
A tomb-quiet cottage whereby
a man may retire in life’s Fall,
a refuge of silence where I
may enfold my heart, like a pall
and hear the voice of what may come,
that quiet herald of the dusk:
the shroud-shadows that may benumb
the mind and heart and earthly husk.
All around shall lay hills aflow
like the waves of a golden sea,
the descending hills all I’ll know
before the Winter comes for me.

Dedicated to Robert Frost

Heart-Fire

This meager-bosomed flame has died
upon the midnight mountainside
and all below the valley lay:
shadowful, deep, a darksome bay.
Above me stars flare and shimmer,
but they are far-flung, faint, dimmer
than the fire which erstwhile I fed
with flighty fancies from my head,
and the world has grown darker now
with that looming doubt-beclad brow
of the mountain I once bethought
myself the conqueror, thus brought
by such talents and suchlike skills
as made such mountains not but hills,
in the meantime leading astray
upon a path my pride did stay
as does the Fool in Tarot deck
who walks beside both bluff and beck.
My heart-fire flickered to fade soon
with the new-risen harvest moon
and Autumn’s acorn-bells shall call
while Summer’s splendors wilt and fall
and cold winds sweep them unto piles
that feed no fires except denials,
cold, rustling, leaf-shod winds oft wail
and trace futility’s trail
that I dared to climb for so long;
what a mournful, tenebrous song.
The moon is gone, the stars are dim—
was my journey passion or whim?
The mount is dark, the wind is cold,
doubt is a sickness taking hold.
No light at all, no light to guide
along this ruthless mountainside.
The fire is snuffed, the fire is gone—
should I relent or carry on?
The night sky is but black ashes
within which no heart-fire flashes
and not yet halfway to the peak
nor it half to the height I seek.

How foolish to travel so far,
thinking my fire could be a star.

Calamity

Calamity plunges headlong, a fall
of seraphim wings wreathed with a fireball,
like the burning whirlwind witnessed by
Ezekiel, cloud and fire mounting high,
and where she lands her impact arrays pyres
of hopes and dreams, even petty desires,
all aflame—aflame! Whereso she crashes
like a lightning bolt whose coming flashes
out of the clear blue sky, oft unforeseen;
no trumpets, heralds, or bird signs to glean
foreknowledge of her dizzying fallout
nor time to catch one’s breath as we call out
in despair to the loved ones we have lost
within a New Era wrought at their cost.
Calamity is a spear thrown by God,
and we can do little, shocked and slack-jawed
from the suddenness, the swift ruin wrought
by powers beyond us, and what we thought,
what we presumed previously of life
and its routines, the shrill blow of a fife
discordant with the melody we learned
hitherto, the music sheet henceforth burned
and all other notes now sounding quite wrong
as we march off-rhythm to this new song.
The level ground upon which we once stood
is an impact crater, our neighborhood
in decline, literally, the downtown
concave, the downtown sliding down, down, down
in the aftermath of the Advent come
and its smoldering throne, its ash kingdom
where streets are all dead-ends, alleys are traps,
and home is a bait for countless mishaps,
comfort gone cold, taxidermied, hung high,
out of reach, gaudy, a gleaming glass eye
looking over us in our time of need,
as futile as any rosary bead
or a prayer belted out in despair
to mute, blind, deaf, dumb, illegible air.

Calamity is no city planner,
though she sits in the governor’s manor,
and she is not elected by our choice,
though we can encourage her—not by voice,
but by carelessness, selfishness, ego…
Yes, ego, that parade whereby we go
marching into Calamity’s crater
to serve ourselves flaming soot, to cater
our own Wake, all bedighted in embers
of what had been, that which…who remembers?
Not me. I am distracted by the light
of fresh Calamity in fireball flight
across the vault of heaven, that high vault
that cracks to a fissure along the fault
and rains down as a meteor shower
to flatten every tree, home, tower
until neither king or pauper can find
the false-hope of refuge to hide behind.

Calamity renovates as she likes,
gentrification and ruthless tax hikes,
pushing out the old tenants, the squatters,
and even landlords, all ledger jotters
who think themselves their own masters, the kings
of the domains to which such pretense clings;
none are spared the cataclysm, none spared
sorrows such as sown, reaped and quickly shared.
You do not schedule your life anymore,
but live by the timetable you abhor…
Oh, but Calamity strikes once again
and so, scheduled, must set aside my pen…

Happy Hollow Road (My Old KY Home Parody)

O, the moonshine’s bright
over Happy Hollow Road,
Tis nighttime,
the locals are drunk.
Well, the locals fight
cuz their guts squirm like a toad
while bourbon makes them sick
like a skunk.

Sleep no more, dear neighbor,
oh sleep no more tonight.
We throw down loud
for Happy Hollow Road,
for Happy Hollow Road,
we oft fight.

Well, the drunk folks hurl
all over the outhouse door.
They’re angry, all
squirrelly and crazed.
Bend over for moontide
and fall flopping on the floor,
piss where they all may lay,
drunk and dazed.

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.