FROM THE CYCLE OF CHAPBOOKS #3
SOME SCENES FROM THE PURELAND OF THE VOLCANOES
A CHAPBOOK OF SOME SAMPLE POEMS
from the Poetry Cycle The Iron Light
THE DAY I BURIED THEM
I see my father brought
to his square hole
by the gatekeeper
of the cemetery.
The gatekeeper reaches up
from his golf cart
and passes a cardboard box
the shape and size
of a ream of paper to me.
The Pastor clears
his throat as I,
kneeling, put the box
into that hole.
He reads his bit.
I take out his envelope,
the Pastor pats
my shoulder and walks
back down to his car
to look into it.
The gardener comes up
to replace the dirt
and a patch of grass.
He bolts the brass
I see my mother like a sodden towel
slumped into her expensive chair.
The oval surface of the vodka shivers
in her tumbler like a mirror,
on the wall after
a trembler, rheumy eyes
wet as a fish, hissing at shadows,
unaware she has taken a piss.
I think “these were my monsters?”
looking at this.
A grimoire of emotion glows
in the wet waning crescent
of his teeth as he bites a lip,
takes a glance over a shoulder,
his door-framed silhouette leaning
in from the piss yellow light
of the hall into the bedroom.
A tumbler of Seagrams and
ice cubes rattles in his shaking hand.
The toddler in the cradle is like
a small loaf in a large baking pan.
Inked in by the black ink of a pen,
cartooned into one black wash
of ignorance, of being helpless, of a
future being scripted there and then,
the shadow stands back-lit in an upright
rectangle of tainted illumination,
all the evil of a life lived
being dealt, (in turn), lies and dismay,
concentrated like evaporated milk
in him. Like some sad Stockholm
Syndrome victim, this boy became a man
willing to do the Devil’s work for him
and pass adolescent daydreams of
sexual conquest, domination and
psychic mutilation onto
the next generation like an
Gender don’t matter to them.
Eroticised by helplessness
and given an opportunity
when nobody happened
to be looking down from Heaven,
such are not mere Sociopaths.
They crawl out of a well found
at the back of a cave
in which eyeless chameleons
shift through all the shades
of darkness and Neanderthal bones
embrace the bones of mountain lions
which, in turn, embrace them,
like Esmeralda and Quasimodo
in a shallow grave,
predator and prey both eaten
by a thing more ancient
than life on Earth
and destined to outlive all
the Gods and all the races of men
that made them.
Gold does not put gold
in their eyes
like a candle into a lamp
They need not Praise, nor
fear the fame of Blame.
This is a thing that entered Man
as they walked out of Africa, a thing
that spread like a plague slow
to waken with them. After a Nuclear
Conflagration they will stand
covered with grey ash
visible at last - alas
with no on left to know them.
Framed in a door frame, the
silhouette takes a long pull
on his glass, the sperm
of darkness rising in his spit.
Like a mirror that reflects
his own image in a distant Past,
he sees his own darkness
in that darkness, and
he gives his lips a lick. He
exhales with a hiss -
a snake that sees a softness
that it longs so much to kiss.
Hidden in plain sight like the mirror on the wall
at the end of the bed, I walk away from the
shoes with the sox, toes tucked in, pants and underpants
collapsed like an accordion onto the shoes, pant legs hooked
over the heels just the way I unbuckled my belt
and dropped them.
With my T-shirt bunched around the forearm
that I hold a tumbler of vodka in,
I walk barefoot into the yellow glare of the bathroom
and set my glass on the toilet lid and flick
my T-shirt into the hamper.
As I stand in the shower, steam making pearly billows
that, (as pretty as a pretty girl pushing
a pram in an ugly playground),
roll into the dark bedroom,
I finish my vodka. Using the bath towel
to stand on, strangely afraid of electrocution,
I use my T-shirt from the hamper to dry on.
Today is as separate from yesterday and tomorrow
as three railroad cars connected by iron handshakes.
I feel momentum but have no choice in direction.
I will come to an end that is not a destination.
I hear some fucking. Some conversation.
This Hotel rents to both Men and Women.
FARMHAND SHUCKING MAN
the roads go on section lines.
The country's flat
like a map,
640 acres in a glance!
lighting a smoke, hand cupped
to shield the match flare
- so you know
there’s sulfur in that pop,
and the drag
filling your lungs,
with the taste of
dirt in your spit, and the sun
makes you squint
like a Priest smelling sin...
what you got -
the beginning and end of all things
in a single snapshot.
Riding the “walking plow”,
the middle horse is in the furrow,
good and evil
walking on each side
like guards walking a guy
back from Court to his cell.
160 acres is what your dad had,
what you have is what
you have laying on your thigh
until, squatting, you
straighten in a row
and walk out to hit the road,
thumb up like a smiling Nero
letting the loser walk out of the arena
just like the Hero,
but you when you look in the mirror
in the Chevron “Men’s”
and know what you know
- it’s either Greyhound out
to San Francisco
to work the docks
or hitch to Oregon to plant by hand. Man,
you were born to be buried never married.
And you’ll die in some Hotel somewhere.
After 30 years of this -
its the thumb hook
or the palm hook,
the Devil wearing mittens, and
either one of them
will shuck you like a corn cob
and grab you up out of your shoes
and toss you into the box, Bob!
You won't feel the bang board.
You won't feel the
You'll go into the infinite bin
of harvested men.
Corn for the cow. Slop for the pen.
Roy? Roy was born in the coal town
of Rock Forge, 3 miles outside a
Morgantown West Virginia,
1939, June 17.
He went to school for a while
and then joined the Marines.
His wasn’t a happy home, I suppose.
Mom had 13 kids
all day long
cooking and cleaning.
All day long the trains
would run on the tracks
that cut the town in half.
They carried nothing but coal.
His dad worked in the mine
on his knees, with a shovel.
Roy likes to drink coffee.
He worked all his life
as a trucker, driving
a Peterbilt truck.
Never got married.
Never had a kid.
Roy died Spring 2015. It
was the last thing he did.
THE LUMINOUS ARC OF BONDING LIGHT Part Two
what I see
GAIL IN THE GARDEN
I step out on my porch, holding the front door
as if a tornado might whip around a quiet corner
to tear me up into the sky
and yank me back and forth like a kite!
I look out and the house across the street from my feet
seems the same I saw the day before.
My tea kettle whistles for me to go back in. So I do.
My lodger, Gail, all but never seems to leave her room.
But, I am an old widower, knows the Bride as does the Groom
and knows the Pantry and the Kitchen, knife and spoon.
A tray covered by a towel is left for her at 8 and 5,
and at 9 and 7 I return for them.
She doesn't recall me, but knows a Friend.
On a lunar calendar, on significant days
after midnight she goes out into the garden
behind our house, a girl in a nightgown
one might see on a visit to a sanitarium.
She steps, head down, by each flower, lips pursed
as if a mother beholding a muddy child.
My eye watches from a divide in my bedroom drapes
as my robe falls open and the cold from the window glass
raises goose-bumps on my thighs.
She looks up and blinks for rain is starting to fall
from a star-filled, cloudless sky.
Her shift melts to her torso wetted and see through
before she spits out some water, and AMAZED,
comes back inside.
I huddle under my blankets and tremble
like an excited child!
What will she think? Will she laugh
to walk by the bathroom to see a hot drawn bath?
Oh this imp, this impudent mite of a world, a secret place
hidden like a particle in the important and infinite
avalanche of space.
For all the bossy things you say and famous things you do...
When someone you love slips and slips away from you,
love curls its hidden width and breadth.
Love, that is the bright force of the Light,
is also Love, a dark force
more strong than Death and Night.