Some Quick Poems

Rumor
A single soft-whispered word
rising gently as a bird
can destroy all that we love,
its wings blasting from above
like the giant Roc of old,
growing fat with each tale told.
Though born so oft Sparrow-small
and meek as a Robin’s call,
it can perch upon your tongue
and therefrom become far-flung,
though a Halcyon afloat
and so idle in your throat,
it grows bigger, breath to breath,
with nary a single death,
but rises upward once more
like to the phoenix of lore
burning with a ceaseless light,
its tell-tale feathers so bright.

Garroter’s Guitar
With a Garroter’s deft finesse,
he pulled the angel hair taut,
strangling from the chord a scream
that crescendoed as a
guitar solo,
silencing the cut-throat bar where
smoke swelled in suffocating waves
within the morbid gloom of a
killer evening show.

Blood-Red Leaves
The ancient stag
was crowned in years of wisdom
and wariness,
knowing well by instinct
the Death Sentence that came
with dying leaves
crunching underfoot.

Still Life
He whetted the blade
of his sharp palette knife
to start his crimson phase
with the perfect still life.

Medley II

Honesty
As a frog squatting
upon the lily pad
he was comfortable when seated
on the truth,
eating falsehood’s flies as they
buzzed about,
the pests unable to escape the long reach
of his honest tongue.

Recluse
Strewn husks among the cellar
ricked up as exoskeleton refuse
beneath the watching dweller—
that skittish, fiddle-backed recluse.

What Is Rhyme?
What is rhyme
but the happy happenstance
of apt language through chance
and Time?

Bottom’s Up
Spare me the corporate mea culpa
and just go ahead and pin the tail
on the donkey, you
jackass,
because I am tired of hearing you
bray your prewritten lines
of plausible deniability
like Bottom high up in
Titania’s bower
while the whole center stage
revolves around you.
You are
looking for a fall-guy,
even if the body’s already cold,
and you pretend, (as you often do),
as if you did not stage this
magnum opus of
magnum onus
upon the rest of us down below
while you handed out scripts and gave
stage directions.
You want us to bend over
and take one for the
production team,
all the while the
tell-tale tail
is pinned where it belongs:
on your fucking forehead.
Yeah,
it sounds like you are
talking out of your ass again,
but it is the same line you always
pull out from that
tandem-team donkey suit
you’re always wearing while your
brown-noser
is bringing up the rear,
even as you lead the farce
ass-backwards.

Medley

Viewing
Most human thought is
best left unseen, like a closed
casket funeral.

Prayers
Never had he once prayed for rain
to strengthen the crops in any field;
but to mock the tears of the slain
and drown the graves of the men he had killed.

The Sailor’s Curse
“Cranky Christ on a crook’d cross
wi’ a crotch full o’ itchin’ crab!”
he said after tasting her special fish sauce.
She punched him in his belly flab,
at which he was at a complete loss.
She said to him, “Watch ‘er goddamn gab!”

The Biggest Predator
The twin seastacks rose from the salivating surf,
pale, jagged sandstone towering above the earth,
and through the frothy ocean, like a tongue between,
the ghost of the world that was could be seen
in the backwash waves that thrashed up and fell away,
terrible creatures swarmed within the spittle spray—
they tore at one another within a bloody tide,
bickered and bit, fought and fed and died,
all dissolving within those tumultuous waves,
even the largest among them but simple slaves,
for they were the feast and the furor of Mother Nature
who devours all creatures, despite her nomenclature.

Simple-Minded Stories
Rinse and condense—
no space on the
bumper sticker
for nuance or context;
black and white bullet points should proliferate
but reiterate only one thing:
we good, they bad.
Let me tell you a farfetched fairytale
easy enough for a child to follow:
Once upon a time
in a faraway kingdom
we good,
they bad.
The end.
People throughout history have loved such
tribalistic myths,
but I fail to follow the bandwagon.
The stakes are so high,
yet the plot so thin
and the characters dehumanized
beyond any personality.
I cannot suspend disbelief
as the contrivances compound
in the lazy storytelling.
Here’s a truer story
with more substance to it
than the cliche plot
that has been told again and again
throughout history:
Once upon a time
some people thought life would be
easier
if they had to think less—
the end.
Except that last part is fiction
because this story has never ended.

Bible Babble
You
renounce Babylon everyday,
but should it truly displease you
take up hermitage in the
Appalachian Mountains,
comforted by the holy works
you cherish
and never bludgeon the brains
of others with your cherished Book;
do not banish the vices or voices
as if misremembering that
Jesus overthrew Caesar;
no,
rather,
he banished himself, outcast
in ascendance.
So, run to the hills
and in your sacred pilgrimage
keep a vow of silence,
otherwise you profane the Word
with that which you would
condemn Babylon.
For when in
Babylon
you are a Babylonian
even as you preach against its temples,
but worse,
for you are a holier-than-thou
hypocrite.
You have a
stained-glass heart,
and how easily shattered
the panes are—
as easily as any glass house
David might live in
as he readies his stones.
Stop cowering in the skirts of
the Great Whore
and venture out into the
Wilderness
should you be in earnest—
do not return.
Do not preach, at one moment,
against the sins of your Mistress
and at the next moment
sleep in a Babylonian bed.
Become the martyr to your purported
puritanism.
Go now:
go steeled in your faith.

Orange And Black

An October road, orange on black,
like obsidian beneath falling rain,
so slick and gleaming, forward and back
while wet shadows along the winding lane
wash up like alluvial shores,
the lamplights gentle on the front windows
of bricked-up glass, small-town stores
half-dreaming, half waking in rows.
Boughs detailed with orange flecks of light
or else darkly blank as fat thunderclouds
while they line the sidewalks to the right
like chandeliers partly covered with shrouds;
Hollow-eyed houses, empty of life,
with columned porches aglow with light—
each half-glimpsed raindrop a silver knife
that flashes as it slashes through the night.
See the church with its river-rock face,
dark and wet as if the river still runs
over the stones all set into place
long before the town known for its bourbons.
In the graveyard trees sway with the wind
while their weather-withered branches disrobe,
orange leaves tumbling, end over end,
glanced in the sullen light of a lamp’s globe.
The maple tree has an orange crown
and black branches like charred sorceress bones,
the leaves soot-sided embers come down
among the sprawling, stygian headstones.
Orange and black—all orange and black,
the colors of Halloween all around;
spire to cupola, eave to smokestack,
and splashing in the puddles on the ground.
From afar, now, the town is aglow
in the dark, silent sea spread all about;
a bright river boat drifting below
rain and shadow mingling along a route.
Orange and black—as if a pumpkin
left out at night and gone halfway to rot—
a Jack O’ Lantern with its plump skin
half-burned, its grin’s inner flame just too hot.
Neither asleep or awake: a dark dusk,
this town in October’s darkening eves,
flame and shadow consume the wet husk,
light losing the battle as Summer leaves.

Philosophers

How sad that they should
make meaning in life
like a husband who’d,
in a fit, murder his wife,
and now rummaging in
the graveyard site
to exhume her coffin
and put things right—
yet try as he may
he cannot assemble her
in a believable way
that will resemble her
when she was living
and could speak her own—
what is the point of giving
murderers the chance to atone?

Slither

His black snakeskin raincoat slithered
as it dragged along slick, neon streets,
its sibilant song scarcely heard
above the thunderstorm’s manic drumbeats.

Standing in her bathrobe alone,
she smoked a cigarette by the window;
the skyline lit when lightning shone,
her green eyes blinded by the fork-tongued glow.

He passed beneath the storm unseen,
slithering through serpentine streets aflood;
his fanged love was a thing unclean,
a brood of vipers nesting in his blood.

Looking through glass and feeling old
as she counted the purse of silver coins,
his love gleamed so false and so cold—
her robe parted, snakes coiling in her loins.