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.”

Strands

A religion clings like fine threads

from spiderwebs about our heads,

and though we fight to free the mind

from fears of spiders, we may find

that we still search with frenzied hands

to clear away remaining strands;

that we flinch, tremble, shake, and pray

long after the webs fall away,

for winds may tickle fearful ears

and spiders haunt our later years.

The Modern Oz

The modern Tin Man is fueled by

snake oil,

having given away freely his

heart

for an Amazon discount

and a podcast peacemaker of

conspiracy theories.

The Scarecrow has lost his brain

in a broken trade deal,

having pawned it off to pay for

tariffs

while he stuffs the breadbasket with

soybeans,

laying down,

at long last, beneath his

thresher

to return to a simpler time.

The Cowardly Lion roars

with hashtags on Twitter,

Instagramming a fierce photo

while, between posts, shuddering

in the dark of his

lock-down apartment.

The Wizard sits on a

golden toilet

behind the puppeteer curtain,

vociferating loudly

like an orange talking head

to distract from the sounds he makes as he

drops another turd in the swampy toilet bowl,

refusing to flush it.

Dorothy, meanwhile, has been picking fights

with the little people,

accusing them of being

illegal immigrants

while she ignores the tornado of

historical currents

that had brought her to this golden city

upon a hill.

And the

Wicked Witch of the West

sips Tea Party tea,

caterwauling as her flying monkeys busily

troll online,

copy/pasting disinformation for

a ruble a post.

And poor Toto is nothing but

roadkill

splattered along the Yellow Brick Road.

(Non bene pro Toto libertas venditur auro).

Sweet Blasphemies

“O, you are the Devil, ”

you always say with a smile

while I lick your navel till

you croon, moan, gyrate.  Meanwhile

I say, ”Babe, you pray more

now, when we are making love,

than you do kneeling on the floor. ”

And with a pull, and a shove,

you are Lilith of old,

in Biblical times, in times gone,

and you straddle me, overbold —

demon riding, on and on.

Possessed, you rock yet more,

the paroxysms not yet done,

and you crash, like waves on a shore

beneath a hot, heaving sun.

Panting, sweating, a gasp

expelled, you rake your sharp claws,

Cleopatra clutching her asp

according to Heathen laws.

Galilee ebbs and flows

while old Babylon crumbles,

but listen to Ishtar —she knows

why a lonely god grumbles.

Passion and respect, both,

find a home in the other,

equal in both, and so Love ’s oath

is to joy in one ’s lover.

The first wrong done by Man

was not letting Woman find

in him equality, Woman

denied in body and mind,

and so, my sweet Lilith,

let us take turns in rhythm

and harmonize in breaths till myth

harmonizes within them.

Whosoever atop,

the rhythm remains, a song

of respect, of desire, nonstop;

passion was never a wrong,

and I would gladly flee

the comforts of Eden’s lies,

with you, to be in harmony

with the passion in your eyes.

Seeing Stone

By the cluster of Honey Fungus

beneath the oaks and by ivy vine

and while the shadows play among us,

the Seeing Stone stands —silent, divine.

Through its circle you can see by eye

beyond the veil of a mortal ’s thoughts,

leaves, trees, a columned hall neath the sky

and the viewpoint whereby truth is sought.

Gaze in to gaze out, eye to the stone,

the self becalmed within rounded frame

to concentrate what is One alone

and know the world by its wordless name.

With one eye closed and one eye opened

we see Life and Death, that grave starkness

known of beginning, betwixt, and end —

the laughing light and deaf-mute darkness.

The Standing Stone was born of the land

in ages long past, before Man rose,

planted in the wombed-tomb by no hand,

knowing the mysteries no one knows.

We may see through this bone of the earth

the living world known as we waken

and, one eye closed, the world before birth

and after death, all such dreams taken.

Dead Dreams

Koi Moon

The lonely Koi in the pond

slowly swam unseen, unsung,

below the new Moon, beyond

all glimpses, alone among

a garden long neglected,

a house lost and forgotten,

and so the Koi reflected

on his little life, caught in

this clandestine little pool,

wishing to be with others,

to be free, or in a school

with his sisters and brothers,

just to swim broader waters,

to follow his own streams

and beget sons and daughters

and what he could of such dreams,

for he felt the subtle song

of the Moon, that coy mistress

and, thus, longed and longed ere long

she caused him much in distress,

for the Moon governs all fish

in pond, lake, river and sea,

and he felt keenly the wish

to be elsewhere—to be free.

Nonetheless, he died alone,

belly up in the small pond,

his deep dreams never his own—

hopeless as each new day dawned.

Fallen Leaves

In the smirksome depths of Saki

I find a handful of dead dreams:

some slips slipping out to mock me,

business cards and their stillborn schemes.

“Marshall Arts,” the little cards read,

with my phone number down beneath,

the cards now only serving need

as cheap bookmarks between each leaf.

I was once an entrepreneur,

both an artist and optimist,

who saw flowers in all manure,

but needed an optometrist.

I told myself I was sober

about my prospects and my “skill”,

but like a man in October

planting seeds when the winds go chill

I hoped an Indian Summer

would save me from the coming Fall,

but that proved me all the dumber

as leaves fell for a fallow haul.

Debt begets debt, lest we forget,

and excuses lose all value

as we spend them, more and more, yet

there is wisdom gained in one’s view,

meanwhile menial labors call

and these cards are but dreams deferred,

throwaway slips of paper, all—

my dreams dying still, word by word.

Catching Fire

The Emperor wears no clothes,

but his pants sure are on fire,

lamenting loudly his woes,

the smokescreen wafting higher,

but each time he flaps his lips

and fans the flames with his lies

the fire catches on new hips

as his yes-men lie likewise

until the flame spreads elsewhere,

burning clothes off in a flash—

a trend that blackens the air

and burns our nation to ash.

Handful Of Poems

Allusion

A Russian nesting doll,

all of literature,

one within one within all—

no books writ were so pure.

Take, for instance, Roland,

a childe of Charlemagne,

oliphant in reluctant hand

blown always in refrain.

To the tower he came

in rhymed verse, or pulp prose,

a changed man, yet also the same

neath that tower’s shadows.

And as an old king leers

and giants gather in range,

the dreamer sheds his close-eyed tears,

for nothing seems to change.

Prayer (Lip) Service

They speak as if to inspire

(or at least to pay lip),

but when closer to true fire

the wax begins to drip,

dribbling each empty prayer

in small puddles and wicks,

smoky, evanescent air

and melting candlesticks.

Moral Compass

When was worth ever worth the knowing

but of sails when the wind is blowing?

What good the ale or good the weather

if stout trust is not shared together?

When was honesty worth its value

but when the crew slanders what is true?

What depths have the seas, crest to abyss,

when plunged with friendship, ever amiss?

What was vigilance from up on high

but the crow’s nest and a watchful eye?

What was a purpose against the odds

but wheel and rudder defying gods?

When was one’s character worth its test

but in the tumult of the tempest?

When was integrity worth its salt

but in the hull, made strong and gestalt?

What fears come forth from the wide ocean

when hearts swell with stronger emotions?

People will speak storms just to wreck ships—

may you never sink by briny lips.

Dragnets

Fling out the dragnets of thought

to draw up what’s forgotten,

corpses bygone and ill-got

with their substance all rotten;

seine through the insanity

to catch clusters of regrets,

envy, lust, and vanity—

the small bait which soon begets

larger hauls, each dragged upward:

pride, wrath, gluttony and greed,

all of which have so suppered

in accordance to the breed.

Drag up!  Drag up! Hoist them high!

Like the sharks of some sea hunt

being raised now, eye to eye—

not a publicity stunt.

They thrash, they growl, they bite,

dead yet their instincts remain

to attack as if they might

bring back all the repressed pain.

So drag the nets, haul them up,

and bring me the bodies now—

wring from them their sour syrup

and shotgun blasts to each brow.

Conceit

They asked me, “What is conceit?”
And I said, “Look to your feet.
See the flowers growing there?
Smell that fragrant, floral air?
Now smell this fresh-laid cow dung
and, before you wag your tongue,
realize how the flowers grow
to perfume the winds that blow.
You may disdain such cow shit,
but flowers may grow from it.
You think humble pie smells bad,
but it’s not the worst I’ve had.
Nothing gags me like conceit,
reeking so I cannot eat.”