Scraps From A Ruined Tableau

Cottontail clouds,
fluffy,
soft,
numerous in breeding season,
but moving with all the gentleness
of a newborn baby’s sighs
drifting in Summer’s idle aether…

A breathless bluff as abrupt
in its sheer brokenness
as God’s bleak, unfeeling brow
while crowned with a child’s wagon
overturned onto its dented side,
the squeaky wheel spinning
black and white as
death and life
along the dizzying edge of a
sleepy ravine…

Gusts of air
suddenly flustered
by the frenzied feathers
of a flabbergasted flock aloft
and awhirl as if in dismay
of a black figure with outspread wings
trying to ascend to the heavens
with his frantic downfall…

A little blonde girl
tenderizing the sockets of her
blue eyes
with knotted fists,
each knuckle annointed
with futile tears
for the failed fledgling
she must not glimpse
or else her
sibling sympathies
shall compel her wings, too, toward
wispy air
and, likewise,
unflinching stone.

Five Poems

Wicked
Her sins shadowed her
like playful dogs yipping and snipping
at her heels,
and she frequently curtsied
so as to pet them,
letting the men in the village
gaze deeply into her
tumult of cleavage,
her swelling bosom;
and whenever those dogs played
they were as hellhounds among marriage beds,
causing many wives to wake in fright,
losing their heads
and their husbands
to a wandering night.

Humiliation
He stripped her bare
like a tree of its bark,
her body pale and slender and smooth
to the touch
like sapwood,
and just as soon dying of exposure.

Orthodoxymoron
He channeled the holy spirit
through the computer screen,
bathed in information brightly lit
like a halo, harsh yet serene.
He learned how to make a big bomb
and clutched his crucifix to his chin,
repeating to himself “Absalom—
science is a most needful sin.”
He scrolled down the profane webpage
and scoffed at the modern zeitgeist.
“They revel in this secular age,
but they’ll see the blinding light of Christ.”

Earworm
Echo chambers deafen
by mantra, by zealous song,
the reverberating bass of
tribalism
booming as the loudspeaker of each
blowhard pundit
overlaps and amplifies exponentially,
the automatic algorithms
reinforcing and overwhelming
with the deadening stagnation
of propaganda. It is
weaponized audio
to concuss the brain into
malleable mush,
obedient putty
while parasites breed and multiply
from one ear canal to the other,
this self-administered
brainwashing
building unto willful frenzy,
until all contrarian thought is unheard,
anathema, a blasphemy
against the word of a jingoistic God;
a discordant chord
struck to clang against the
hymns of dogma
as if to shake loose the choral worms
writhing between the serenaded ears
so as to open the mind
to worms of a different breeding.
They conduct an orchestra
with which to marionette us,
beating our heads into submission
with the conductor’s baton,
and so our heads become echo chambers,
and the emptier they are
the more room for parasites,
the louder they sing their songs
using our own gawping mouths.
The worms writhe so loudly
in the echo chambers
of our ears,
and we cannot hear ourselves think.
Can we think for ourselves?
Hubris
Arrogance and ignorance
are
Siamese twins
connected head to head,
brow to brow,
so that they peer deeply
into each other’s loving eyes
and neglect seeing all else,
goose-stepping to and fro
blindly
with their backs turned dismissively
toward the humbling world.

Articulation: Three Variations

Haiku:
My thoughts are scattered
like toys from a toybox, spilled
by an angry boy.

Rhyme:
Stumbling, at times, over my own thoughts
like a boy whose toybox has been upended,
scattering about army men, dinosaurs, robots,
all scarcely coherent in a clutter, untended.

Vers Libre:
My words became as
action figures with articulated limbs
interlocked together
in a cramped toybox, difficult to
extract
without pulling up a riot of
entwined bodies, fighting to
select the one desired
and losing my peace to a tantrum,
kicking the toybox over, spilling
its convoluted hoard
and stumbling over the mess,
the thoughts
strewn out
like a battlefield of fallen brothers
unwilling to let go of one another,
even in death,
for the fleeting chance
at animated life.

Acquiring Signal

He could tell she was breaking up
on the telephone line:
his terms
of service were not good
enough
and she always cut out on him
when she wasn’t the one talking.
He wished she paid
attention to him like he did to her,
but she didn’t seem to think
downloads
were as good as
uploads.
He walked around the field,
trying to get a better signal
but the distance,
(or the indifference)
was too great.
It was a clear night sky
but everything between them was
unclear, static-eaten; a bad
connection.
He had cut a
crop circle
in that field with his
frantic pacing
and was about to leave
when he saw a strange light overhead.
He was never very good at
picking up ladies,
but this girl picked him up so easily
that he felt like he was
walking on air,
head among the clouds
as she shone the limelight on him,
beaming him up to her flying saucer
as he stood stock-still,
frozen as if with stage fright.
She somehow elevated him
as she looked down upon him
and invited him into her
inner sanctum.
Once there, she picked his brain with
telepathy
and something similar to a
laser scalpel.
He opened his mind to her like a
canned ham,
and though his ex-girlfriend
thought it as unwanted as
Spam, she thought it
caviar.
She cared about what he thought
as she lit up his neurons with
so many deep questions and
so many sharp surgical instruments.
She took great care, too, with his
heart,
tenderly caressing it,
stroking it,
lovingly sealing it away
in a special, protective jar
during the dissection.
And even though she had
large black eyes
and long suction-cup fingers,
and legs that bent the wrong way,
she seemed genuinely interested in
everything about him,
her life now dedicated to him
like an extraterrestrial
Jane Goodall
so attuned to her Great Apes
that nothing else in the world mattered to her
as she brought him home
to meet her parents;
as she bragged about her
Grad school thesis experiment
on hominid males.
Looking out from his jar,
his disembodied brain
considered itself
very lucky
to have such a wonderful, immediate,
and uninterrupted
connection.

He mattered in her life.

Graveyard Shift

Natural deadness
from an unnatural schedule.
These witching hours exhaust
as if carrying the witch’s
midnight-black cauldron
atop the crown, and its sheer
unwieldy weight
nods the head toward surrender.
To see the moon rise and fall,
marking its hurried progression back to bed,
and to see the clouds hang like cool, welcoming sheets
over that dream-teeming orb
is enough to make you envious
of that dead, silent rock.
Sunrise and sunset
were never meant to start a workday backwards.
It is as unnatural as
walking on your hands,
and makes you just as Jester-silly.
And how relative the joys of day’s splendors
when you live in the shawl of night.
Birdsong was once festive and beautifying,
an aubade heralding the coming day—
as bright and happy as a Summer’s sunrise itself,
yet now it is nothing but the inane warbling
of traitorous alarm clocks
splitting restful sleep asunder
like blaring bugles,
sunlight itself a duplicitous wretch
screwing into nightshift eyes
its Medieval instruments of torture,
all applied within the pretenses of enlightenment.
My circadian rhythms are
chaotic jazz fusions
of crashing cymbals,
schizophrenic saxophone solos,
and pounding migraine bass lines.
The rest of the world rises
as we lay down to bed.
The sun
casts out a startling seine net
and drags the floating mind up from
Somnus, the Sea of Sleep,
and brings it upwards, floundering,
hauling it aboard, bleary-eyed
as it is filleted with sharp wakefulness.
Graveyard shift— how much happier
we would be
if, true to that name, they buried us
in the Chthonian shadows
so we could finally sleep
away from the lances of light
ever thrusting downward;
the sun a perfectly spherical
phalanx of haloed cruelty.
The curtains draw,
the eyelids drop,
but with a whiplash of the head
we awake at birdsong
and the sunray’s trident plunge
straight into our
melatonin depths,
seeking the huddled wretches
of our sleep-starved synapses.
We become
vampires seeking crypts
to blot out the enlivening
chandelier radiance.
We become
caffeine-jolted ghouls,
or, perhaps, Frankenstein’s monster
bolted awake only to shamble about
in the semblance of wakeful humanity
as we seek a windmill wherein to rest,
only for our refuge to then
be lit up mercilessly by the legions of daylight’s
flash mob
and their wildfire torches.
Daytime is a holocaust upon the third shifter.
Each photon plummets
like a kamikaze pilot colliding
into scrambling pupils until the
blinking, epileptic explosions
awaken the
minefield brain.
This is war!
A blitzkrieg of brilliance
bombards the senses awake!
Wave the white sheet of surrender
and await the salvo of the luminaries
as you line up for
the synapse-firing squad.
Where, pray tell,
is this graveyard
where the sun never rises?
I should like to nap there, please.