FROM THE CYCLE OF CHAPBOOKS #4
SOME SCENES FROM THE PURELAND OF THE VOLCANOES
A CHAPBOOK OF SOME SAMPLE POEMS
from the Poetry Cycle The War on Wonder Woman
A melancholy memory of mad Maggie. People thought she was crazy.
Born mad, Maggie looked out from infinite inward spaces,
mind unfolded into an unseen origami
of wide leaping wings.
Her gorgeous mad eyes were that bird’s laughing wings!
Her nubile red raspberry lips pursed to kiss
the wonders of our blue sky world
as they pass like Eden-tame beasts
before her naked baby wriggling.
Born with Venus at her Mid-Heaven
Maggie burst out with a shout,
naked as the round rocks one sees under fast springs
in rain forests
where huge painted spiders,
(each with the face of a robotic Arachnid),
spin webs of black-widow tinsel
across boa-draped limbs whose warp and woof
cast shadows that paint the inside of her eye-lids
with prehistoric chameleon miniatures,
monster butterfly monsters,
and birds of living origami all together
as appliqué onto a Toltec tapestry
of an Amazon deep
back county home to many of the herbs used by Maggie's Mom
for m'lady's fevers, chills,
and make-baby pills.
Yes, Maggie's mom was a witch as well as a whore.
And Maggie's "uncles" at the Barber's all swore
"She's making menstrual tea back at her double-wide
to paint curses on cat-skins" and "she may be white, Mike,
but she was born in the Delta where all colors flow
like tributaries into
two centuries of more
of White Trash and Creole alike."
"Both those girls bleed Mumbo-Jumbo Gumbo, you know!"
Maybe and Maybe and Maybe, and yes Momma Maggie would be
open for business, an inflatable rubber pool, empty,
set out on the driveway as daycare for her baby.
Maggie grew up in the driveway with her eyes on the street.
"Poor folks have poor ways!", or so the Christians say.
But I think it's sad.
Maggie was born to make men mad,
make men paint dream scenes,
write long poems and fall down drunk to sleep.
Maggie stepped out
of a school-boy's dream, or an old goat's reverie
or a lecher's wildest scenario,
all bare skin and infinite deep.
Women stop talking when
Maggie crosses the street
like a deer a glade full of whispering rays.
Women turn from gaggles of gossiping geese
to mean eyed mommas
with no kind word to say, eye-fucking Maggie.
Christian Charity? Excuse me? No way!
Maggie was as careless and changeable as a cloud
on a blustery day
dark at dawn, sunny and sending down showers in turns,
until Night comes like a black beauty to carry her away.
“Maggie is crazy”
one voice says.
“Maggie had a baby”
another voice says.
I say those who have lain with Maggie
are changed from that day. They do all the same things
in all the same ways,
but their hearts and brains have been carried away.
Maggie was a painter. She painted in oils.
Her art was full of tumult and wild magnetic fields
that leapt from her palette to wrestle
like wild women in the weeds
driven by the thunder-claps
of a lightening wracked storm.
She was arrested, ranting, clothes torn,
breasts embarrassing the officers,
her bewildered tears delighting
Now everybody purses their lips.
Now everybody nods.
Maggie was put someplace.
Mad Maggie is gone.
LAEL / 1973
You are a mouse-faced monkey,
a girl of 14 can be.
Eyes wide as a kitten’s
at five weeks, whiskers
drinking the vibes off of everything,
arms wrapping legs
folded so as to make your knees
fit to your chin.
Like a lily in a vase
set on that stool
nibbling a piece of toast,
mirth in your pursed lips.
Your eyes are eyes that know
that someday they will Know
all the things that
Grownups carry on their backs
and stuff in their pockets
as they put on their coats
Lael comes with the other girls
to sit round the table like
cute stone gargoyles posted
on the lintels of
a gothic inner court, each cat mask
a door to some inward deep.
Roxanne paints her toe-nails.
then slips out to pee.
Kathy peers at her reflection
in a spoon. Lael
sips tea, face bathed in steam.
Kerry scowls at me,
then goes back to sleep.
Lael and Keri and Kathy are teens,
legs folded like folding knives,
knees under their chins,
bare feet tucked under their butts
on their chairs as they speak
in snippets, (as if each
were clipping adverts out of a newspaper
to design an expedition to the Mall
as complex as one would take to The Pole),
placing a piece of toast at the end
of a butter-knife with jam.
They eye it with suspicion - then put it in.
Silence at breakfast is not the daily thing.
Today is late in the Day of the Year
and I have rented a room in their house
long enough to hold no Mystery.
Their momma trusts me. I help make ends meet,
and I don’t make noises
from either end, (it would make them angry).
So, this is as close as we are likely to get
to World Peace.
I go to the door
and know Lael is watching me.
I would give the World to see
the Man and the World
That Lael sees.
A WARRIOR DAUGHTER (OF THE C.I.A.)
The beltway like a cyclotron
degaussed her moral compass
and within, the worlds in collision
beat her lambskin
into an Empress Wu
of porcelain perfection
and clockwork calculation.
She could have gone to Boston
and edited trade paperback editions
of Newbury and Pulitzer Prize winners
- glib and semi-shaven.
She could have gone to Los Angeles
and scripted PBS documentaries
detailing Inuit teenage drug-use or Brazilian
super-slums. But no.
She, being the over-achieving best-of-breed
daughter of one of the Sons of Men given
to Military Careers, born in
the Seventh Generation and the First Female
she chose the Army and Intelligence.
It was her decision
to disappear into the Nameless
of an Acronym
and learn Arabic and Chinese
and the Kung Fu of passing through
the firestorms of Politics in Washington
like a neutrino through the sun.
She is impeccably invisible.
She is zero divided by one.
You looked right at her. So.
What was the color of her hair?
She was the color of empty air.
BLACK MOUNTAIN GIRL
I wrote this to a Turkish-banjo raga written by the gee-tar man Michael Brennan
Mary was a crazy child
dancing from her dead momma's womb
by the time her daddy hung for his sins.
Mary danced her way to madness
and never came back to take refuge
with Jesus or surviving kin.
We just had to let that wild girl go.
She's up on the mountain now.
She's wearing rags and talking nonsense
about the Blue Black Lady Goddess of Death
that danced across the deadly ocean
just to make our poor lost dancing Mary
Now she's up there and talking crazy.
Now she calls herself Kali
Now she's up there
dancing all alone!
(the sung verses)
Kali is a Mountain girl
when her fingers snap 'n
storm clouds follow where're she goes!
dancing on the break neck pass
where hailstones clap
where black birds crow
Kali is a mountain girl
her bare feet stepping high
her hips swinging like a bow
the stand up bass
her belly roll!
boys step back - don't come closer
though her sweat is salty sugar
she who dances naked with a cleaver
is the one who taught her all she knows!
Kali is a Mountain Girl.
And she who dances naked with a cleaver
is the one who taught her
all she knows!
[repeat these verses in different orders
until folks wax weary of dancing]
Thanks to MB for the music with which I waxed GREEN!
A straw bonnet, yellow as grain, so plain
it's an Easter bonnet for a Puritan just
come in from a Garden
with blackberry thorns like teeth
able to bite like a dog on the end of its chain,
able to bite through gloves worn by a workman
teaching an electric meter-reader a mean dog lesson.
Sleek as a seal, she sets the gloves down
one on another,
like hands in prayer.
And with cowry shell blue eyes
looks right back at the world.
She is solid as a well made wall.
She goes back and returns
to sit with a tall lemonade
with sweat on the glass. Salt sweat
pleating blonde commas across her brow.
She goes up in the house
humming a song I cannot follow.
There is a moon on a rock,
a rock in the sea,
a boat with the body
of a small Valkyrie.
Choir of Clouds.
Bird song on the breeze.
Her lieder is done.
Come Winter to me.
MY SISTER IN RED
I take issue with that thing people say
"Genius lives next door to madness"
as if a girl could fly
over the sun
grab some apples
and land again without singeing her dress
as if her Lucifer was but the lucky sister
not the Belle of the Ball held in
a Sheol of groans and sadness
as if incest, cigarettes and drunkenness
were fashion statements like
the length of milady's dress
as if endangering your babies
and turning on the gas
were a matter of Movie Star
popularity or Opera tears and
I think it is a car accident and Cancer
this Crazy business
and no teen full of dreams
ought ever seek to lay
beside her on the bedspread.
And I for one am tired of all this
precious chatter and taking Selfies
by the throbbing Rock of Gibraltar
and the toenail on her bed.
For She is not famous in her own mind.
She is Dead.
THREE YOUNG GIRLS LOST ON THE GALACTIC EDGE
1 - INCIDENT AT THE BOOKSTORE COUNTER
before my shop counter
a credit-card proffered
- someone's Platonic Form
of a daughter,
milky lilty voice her
of doll face
and down cast eyes
"thank you sir" -
something off kilter
I looked up for real at her...
her ash and perfect
ironed hair she was all
porcelain doll and a silence in motion
since that mean old Queen
ruled a British Empire
and hovered over her Throne
like a dirigible
over a field of bones.
a Girl Scout of some
high Masonic Degree
she wore a tartan skirt
strictly to a perfect knee
and a chestnut vest
covered with every
and bronze award
ever awarded in Girl Scout history!
every measured inch
a perfect Lady
in miniature -
and groomed to
some Bonsai Garden level
of paranoid order
and her smiling
so frightened me. you see
her eyes were of some wretch
clinging to the bars
of a caged window
in an institution
of incurable insanity.
never free never free never
free please have mercy
please please please
free me mister "no
honey I am so sorry"
your raptor faced momma
in her $2000 power suit
with matching beige everything
is looking at me
like a mouse in the grass, so please
I'll just put this book in a bag for you
( I am so sorry)
"I hear the tour is interesting
Indian lore, stuffed beavers, dioramas
of panthers meeting lions
in the jungle
samples of gems found
cowry shell necklaces
necklaces of animal bones" - then
they're gone with a raisin eyed
smile from momma
that could turn birthday cake
air dead as the ugly calm
before the cyclone.
there is no god - no sir!
if there were a god
he'd save her.
Note: I worked as museum shop cashier as part of being a Camp Host at Fort Stevens near Astoria Oregon. I was actually shaken by this encounter. The girl was a human doll of perfection, her mother an argument that psychic vampires walk amongst us.
2 - BEHIND EVERY CONVENIENCE STANDS A SLAVE/THE THAI BAR GIRL
from the warm equator at her waist
to her perfect row of ten painted toes
her hips and stem like limbs
are laced as if a slave black widow
her shaved pudenda a moist pout
- a whisper in your inner ear, her
torso a grecian porcelain
with lacquered breasts
ripe as a girl of sixteen, her
black hair heaped in loops and spills
as effortless as they are
eyes painted by an other bar girl
to suggest that an Egyptian immortality
lubricate your cock if you
pay to fuck her
it is the terror of a child's eyes being
led by her Mother
into class on the first day of school
that makes me unable
to forget her.
3 - THE WHEEL BARROW MAN OF BERGEN-BELSEN / 1945
How small in the little ocean
of a thousand rag dressed
men and women
is the girl curled, sucking her thumb
shaken by fevers and chills
on frozen ground, (unseen in plain sight
like a dog knocked to the side of the road),
Hungry ghost faces - skeletons
all of them
looking up at the machine gun towers
as if the corners of the camp
and they were their children.
Earth is a pox covered woman
and this scene is a little red flower
- one of a thousand. Ten thousand.
No, one thousand times
one hundred and
She holds a crust
like a doll to her cheek
as she sucks her tongue, as she sleeps.
A woman sees this, snatches down
then stumbles off chewing
and is gone.
A man shits, a man shits his pants
as he stands
looking from side to side
as this were a train station
and he had come to collect
a mail order bride.
He finishes his shit
the man with the wheel barrow comes!
the man with the wheel barrow comes!
The man with shit covered feet goes, he goes
afraid, afraid of the wheel barrow.
Eyes open. Eyes closed.
It don't make no matter
to the wheel barrow. No.
Note: this is a small coda on a book many of you wrote a book report on in High School, The Diary of Anne Frank. In October 28th of 1944 this "Jewess" was transferred from a Vernichtungslager "extermination camp", (a place where modern industrial methods were used to create factories designed to exterminate people), called Konzentrationslager Auschwitz to an Aufenthaltslager, "holding camp" called Bergen-Belsen, (a place where it was outstandingly disease and starvation and exposure that killed people), and where Margot Frank and her iconic fifteen year old sister Anne died in early March of 1945, likely of typhus. The camp was 'liberated' one month later. 35,000 people died in the first three months of 1945. Of these 18,168 died in March alone. Remember, Bergen-Belsen was NOT a camp for industrial assassination. This, you might say, was murder by poor hospitality.
THE LUMINOUS ARC OF BONDING LIGHT Part One
what Gail sees...
AND THE CLOUDS BEYOND THEM
When Gail lays on her bed she looks out the window
and sees apple tree branches
and sees apple tree branches
bearing apple tree blossoms
and the apple tree blossoms
wear bees buzzing on them
and the bees buzzing and walking
on apple tree blossoms
sing stories to Gail
looking up at them
for Gail it is Winter
stepping out of late Autumn
a Girl no longer young
on seeing the bees
she smiles blessings upon them
for bees on the blossoms
of apple tree branches
bees falling upon them
branches reaching for Heaven
above an old woman
they fly up to Heaven
for her thoughts and her eyes
are wide open
like these apple tree blossoms.