February 13-19, 2006: Skip Renkera and Tom SternerHowe

week of February 13-19, 2006



Skip Renkera and Tom SternerHowe


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Skip Renker
fwrenker@delta.edu

Bio (auto)

Skip Renker’s poems have recently appeared in The Ledge, Paradidomi, Controlled Burn, and The Blue Collar Review, and in two chapbooks, Birds of Passage and Sifting the Visible (Mayapple Press) He teaches writing and literature at Delta College in central Michigan.

The following work is Copyright © 2006, and owned by Skip Renker and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Aunt Gertrude’s First Wedding

Gert fell for the acrobat’s torso,
puffed up like a bright adder
under the lights of the Big Top She watched him perform handstands
in a black swimsuit on the seat
of his chrome-plated motorcycle,
somersault in and out of the sidecar On the morning of the wedding,
looking at her long white train
in the full-length mirror,
Gert wobbled like a tentpole
in a high wind “Mother,
he’ll tattoo me on his forearm He’ll grind me in his gears I’ll ooze out like the oil
he smears to make his chest shine “
Gert’s mother flicked a thread
off the dress, bit down hard
on two pins “You made your bed Now lie in it ” When the minister
cleared his throat for the question,
Gert almost said “Tattoo,”
then twined her arms around,
kissed him hard


Gin Gin’s Table

When something’s eating you,
Aunt Gin Gin used to say,
cleaver in one hand,
a shank in the other,
it’s time to eat. 

“Sit down Be quiet “
She’d gutted the animal You grew meek, pulling up
a chair, your whining

ridiculous even to you You gazed out on the barnyard,
touched the familiar
greasy wallpaper You always
knew where you were with her
Fork, plate, knife, spoon,
cloth napkin smelling of soap,
thoughts at last arrayed, you
listened for humming, the tap
of her fingers, her grace.


Trude’s Kitchen
            
On a shelf above the stove,
next to the vinegar
and her yard sale statue
of the Black Madonna,
was a jukebox she’d
lifted from a diner–
a chrome tableside model–
playing Bessie Smith’s
“Gimme a Pigfoot
and a Bottle of Beer”
or something by Leadbelly If you didn’t watch out,
she threw a cat across
your lap, salted            
your rhubarb pie,
dropped a kiwi peel
in your milk If
she caught you stealing
a molasses cookie
or poking a finger
in the cherry tarts,
you wanted like mad
to be bigger and faster,
and you cursed her
third husband under
your breath, the wrestler
who’d taught her
the hammerlock, the elbow jab,
and the two-fisted knuckle rub.


Uncle’s Eyes

Never burned. 
His look held you

In a block of ice Not hateful–more

A force of nature Arctic night coming on,

He got quiet, closed
The door, left you

Out there.


Tom SternerHowe
wordwulf@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Tom {WordWulf} SternerHowe, lives in Lafayette, Colorado with wife Karen, her son, Ray and his youngest son, Zedidiah He has been extensively published in independent literary magazines and on the internet These include Howling Dog Press/Omega, Skyline Literary Review and Flashquake He is winner of the Marija Cerjak Award for Avant-Garde/Experimental Writing 2001, 2002, 2003 & 2005 His novel, ‘Madman Chronicles: The Warrior’, is available at his website: http://pages.prodigy.net/sterner-howe or   www.PublishAmerica.com Download music from the novel at: http://truefire.com/list.html?store=original_music&viewauthor=3554 His second novel, ‘Momma’s Rain: American Camp: Frail Monsters/Wounded Souls‘, has been released in e-publish format and on CD with music by Gatto Publishingwww.gattopublishing.com .

The following work is Copyright © 2006, and owned by Tom SternerHowe and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Reptiles & Dust

Such is life
there are places to go
streets to avoid
the latter teeming
a blood and guts scenario
Who are we wonder
these denizens, forest under

Writing turns his toes green
He wiggles his brain
moss grows and no one knows
A leaning toward the bends
controversial, intentionally misspoken
perhaps no one will notice
another worm tripping

Having torn the ends out of her socks
wears them on elbows instead
Ride this river tube painless
each curve an adventure
Smile symmetry is the woman
Love is her rapid desire
a wing under water

Does the way home
find you, know your face
Charmed by wisdom
the crooning of crones
the boy ran off with gypsies
Nah, there was a girl
worth every pound as bait

A life spent gnawing bones
growling the occasional song
having never heard the call to retreat
youth spent in senseless engagement
a perilous journey at best
chances are odds on, chances aren’t
the ring golden dissolves

She wanted to be a poster Child
March of Dimes or some thing less
a courageous miracle survivor
she knew she had it in her
the disease, power to overcome
like Anne Frank, Child Diarist
Ah life ended up on a milk carton

Do faces in the news
have lesser dreams
Are they diluted by ink
Who will teach them to die
whose soul faded face
He threw the paper in the trash
with utter disdain

His cow pinned him to the wall
He gasped and like a huge snake
she stole his breath of space
Her bounty of milk lay
in a puddle around his feet
His ears heard last the bell
round her neck she shook her head

In some pastures alfalfa
sweet scent of first love
and the death of reason
weight of passion flower scent
rolling in the haymow
old men on car trips
roll down the window and dream

“I am not sure I possess,” he says
“the energy to be bad
but, for you sweet lady, I will try”
“In the name of sanity, why,” she cries
“do I call a wolf to my bed
deny the gentleman
entertain a monster”

She is hiding under the bed
doesn’t have the courage to slay him
but will in the end
A series of tiny viscous bites
in the manner of all sticks
will he be whittled down
by the knife of her charms

These edge of teeth
and time hard-bitten
grinding shriek, a metal wound
we do tend to talk big
and suffer low
make way for travelers
simply hold our ground

Last night and a pillow down
but how could we know
a realm of darker angels
might appear and hold us blest
stretch us into a single skin
drawn tight as night and then
tender us to the dawn

Watching her wash him
completely off herself
even her teeth
so easy to smile
we are each only a part
hopelessly adrift and
slipping into darkness

Love most times seems
defined, decided by defeat
a definite predisposition
toward magick and madness
no line of sight established
It is warts on the ass of wisdom
and pretty good stuff at that

Excuse my simplistic device
that we may feel
explore spaces at once sacrosanct
wounds between lovers unknown
give thanks for touches
deeper much than touch can be
only before strangers found

Seeking then flesh indigo
a blue ring penumbra
shadow of the darkest hole
a meeting of fingertips
hallow flirtation of wind
whose kisses reach depths
best (though not we choose) left alone

What price would pay the poet
a fair pound bounty of muse
No coin of realm exists
to calm such hearts
yet a slim ankle poised
precise arch of foot
come claim and own him of moment

Trouble with politicians
when their women demand new shoes
they are apt to ask what color
choose a nation, a people
name them enemy, steal their skin
walk first on, then in them
to hell with penny loafers

With a toss of the bones
she begins her song
body swaying, head nodding
This is not how she saw it
the dust mantle of her life
so far away inside
singing over the dead

I have a problem with spiritual advisors
preachers, gurus, and love postmen
Statistics and genital intelligence aside
God is not in their pocket
She is pondering infinite possibility
the quantum inclusive energies of horseflies and such
Human sexuality bores Her

Life is a circle
Triangles create missed opportunity
a confusion of ends
Children have sex
Transcendental beasts devour one another
Mysticism is not created of purpose
Gods do not attend meetings

Interview is a relatively new art form
raising us up to the level
of soap opera cartoon characters
Excuse me while I depersonalize
He reawoke in 1971
put that thing back in his pants
shot the television set

Police cars pulling away
man Children in the back seat
tied in, handcuffed and caught
with dangerous bits of contraband
rubber bands, paper clips, and pot
The cops look bored
yet properly grim and intent

We don’t seek truth
when a proof of lies
better serves us
Language is a hanging of words
bleached and out to dry
what man sees sets him apart
is fool enough not to be embarrassed

To know a person
one requires only a catalog of fears
From these chosen are we made
our lives set on specific path
that we might learn this and
refuse to manufacture chaos
is highly unlikely

Some days dawn occurs
certainly outside our knowing
When this happens to her
coffee cup in hand
tender-lights squeeze themselves
a caress of star shine
to verify the safe passage of night

Whom seeks ends
will necessarily be caught in the middle
Those who reach
will of necessity outreach themselves
There may never have been more
than needs to acquire
yet fraught with human desire

This hyacinth root appears
tangle of Earth and worm
as some grave reminder
safe from my spade
and returned yet
that I might savor its scent
enjoy its death of flower

Guilt is the ultimate fool’s game
dignity of purpose
loyalty to self
an inner sense of spiritual fidelity
When divorced from the physical
there are no rules
and vision awaits

There are angry men underneath us
hideous threatening masques
fathers and mentors
seducers who stole our women
Mother before us all, after, until
the masque removed are we
faces and soon to become

The danger in seeing
lies in being seen
one’s detractors and protectors
capable of accidental ambush
all in all a prison mentality
neighborhood and nation
sins of the dry snitch

They pervert our sensibilities
media and politicians
diddle themselves and each other, TV
There is a black hole in my life
altar of utter imperfection
This platform of their device
is been turned and forever OFF

We don’t play with stick men
poke us in the eye
throw stones through our window
Born and satisfied to move
away, cornered and treed
whose hounds are slain
this doorstep of hell

Tongue of serpent
a grotto mouth
iniquitous in all ways
come to burn David’s Children
She stands as proof of the day
power corrupts
no favor of gender

Alone violin
centuries know my name
the woman who came
to couple my heat with desire
‘Tween the cheek of her skin
her breasts breathing in
we made music and set it afire

There is ground above us
a river stronger than blood
These we feel and certainly know
we are inadequate by comparison
We may drown in the Earth
bury ourselves in the river
continents divide us knot

By which voice will we be known
which skin shed outgrown
She chooses a delicacy of sentiment
gathers dust from a fallen leaf
raises it to her eyes
kisses it away to fall once more
and names it happiness

Application of glitter
will not hide a tear
nor death a stone
With a predilection to gild
are faces painted and waxed
platitudes kept in towering stacks
a sprinkling for appearance sake

Only man would pursue wisdom
solely to pursue wisdom
Only would he name it
perfidy, destroy what was made
invent Gods in his likeness
call to arms, angels in the ground
All animals argue with themselves

These Children came up wild
for their father refused to teach them
He joined them instead
protected them from those who would
that Children might show him the way
So they did and a merry band
of singers and players awake

Dynamics of performance
these may be plied
never fully understood
There is no constant law of variables
yet that is all there is
The secrets of all actors
are what they don’t know

Manifest destiny
so obviously hidden
‘neath the folds, society’s apron
religion and government abiding
ready as a sleepy cat
to pounce and devour
whom might take a bit of cheese

Candles die a guttering death
Is dawn a death of night
cycles specific to rebirth
the riddle of space and time
black hole and the nether ridge
Name them days
and watch them disappear

We must learn to laugh at ourselves
or no one will
recognize our baser selves
or everyone will
the less we are and more as well
embody every truth and equal lie
what is one dissolve the other

Marriage is no convenience
or taming of tides
These must have gone before
Convenience and tides do not abide
Hopeful, our passions give birth
a bounty of virtue
Children, death, and peace

In gangs of boys I see
myself, murderers and lovers
warriors and slaves
beggars and thieves
These all have I been in a sitting
In gangs of girls I see
myself and more of the same

Don’t be too proud, Jew
Jesus is your doorstep
who suffered more
these millions and few
Christian by name and Jew by defeat
Whom will not be conquered
is slain just the same

You American woman
only in shooting you down to size
do they realize
their goal of proselytizing you
these pimps and whore mongers
hungry dogs at your door
begging for your feast

Embracing outside
the bail bondsman’s office
waiting for your prisoner
who arrives peacefully enough
squinting his eyes
shuffling in his chains
innocent until proven

I am almost Africa
rife with insidious disease
colonized and raped of century
set upon by lions
and my lions are all died
carried away on stiff trunk ivory
torn from the jaws of my giants

Robbed by millionaires
these poor continue to invest
unaffected by example
damned and damned to remain
set upon by jackals
architects of anarchy
the American way

All great civilizations
have rendered themselves useless
upon the face of eternity
sacrificed their principles
to corrupt genius
a false sense of superiority
insatiable desire to conquer

Children play with matches
assault rifles and pipe bombs
use each other for targets
mimic the society fathers
What happened; nobody knows
The giant rots from the inside
stone of youth; Goliath

The lady waiting next
is preoccupied and sullen
jabbers into her cellular phone
stamps a foot, bites a nail
Finally at the head of the queue
this herd animal loses her pen
and slaughters my patience

We were once stupid
having tied our cerebral hands
with gadgets
depleted our emotional worth
traded windows for television sets
satellite links and voyeuristic war games
we are thrice stupid

In the dim light of our caves
we scrabble against the walls
eat spiders, make a wad of web
to press into the wound
whose eggs hatch and release
tiny beggars into our blood
a feast of innocents

Guilt and blame are endemic
nation dependent upon willing prisoners
churches full of eager sinners
fearful of retribution
Children wearing crosses
as if they are aware
the standard of crucifix

Asked if drugged or drunk
when he penned this or that piece
soaring heights and bleeding low
the word man shakes his weary head
“What then?” insists his inquisitor
“Were you angry and in love?”
“No,” he sighs, “I was attempting to sleep”

You citizen committee entangled
in the business of assigning office
posing possibilities
I would gladly set forth and extinguish
those flames consuming you
It is no disgrace to the bucket
to put out the fire

When we miss the dawn
through busyness, we feel cheated
as if some thing has been denied
Truly it has; by priority
we may choose to sleep in
or simply ignore such things
Are they any less real

Some choose to lay with the maiden
in soft luxuriant folds
others the warrior princess
her bloodied sword aside
These and all between
there are yet tender wicked Moons
I would sleep with the priestess

This beast is breathing
the insignificance of mere flesh
an armor plate dissolve
It speaks in lower scales
a coil voice of chain
tears me down in layers
spits blood between my teeth

Having drawn a conclusion to Gods
they began to draw him
Painted with their spirit, he walked
unable on any straight line
to hold himself erect
drawing conclusions indeed
a howling lament and Heaven bound

Having never been to an ocean
yet do words bring tide to his skin
and certainly a Moon
whose dark eye witness
gives back fair measure what she sees
incites a fever in his blood
and the cries of whales

One must do what one must do
Charity lies in every heart
varies in order of giving and receiving
both are spared shame of deed
if it is done anonymously
If not, should the giver bear the onus
of making it appear so

The best experiences are those
which occur outside our awareness
Also do they bring significance to memory
a joy of discovery, sweet nougat of truth
to everyman everyday
All that lies within am I
yet a stone cast amongst stones

It is not unusual
for those seeking seclusion
to achieve it through exclusion
though hardly what they had in mind
Choosing to opt out
is just not the same
as not being allowed in

Most important that
her true love be inclined to
rush into her slow
Poor timing is excusable
unless he spends himself
upon an extravagance of flesh
other than her own

When a poor man prays
might be for a slice of bread
maybe for a place
to lay his weary head
got to keep the babies fed
When a poor man prays
someone set a price on his head

When he was born, he had form
he had substance, silhouette
a baby suckin’ thumb
There were ladies in the room
a certain shadow man who said
“This boy don’t stand a chance”
and proceeded to tear him on down

A breath of Autumn
snow esses on ice
Sun glow horizon winking
and lavender skies
she answers his need
with a need of her own
They are gone hollow to the bone

The city rests in a billowing mist
at the feet of giants silent
They are possessed of serene majesty
the magick of lovers and liars
Her foot steps between the parts of me
my blood boils; I growl in voices
My heart yearns to invent new sin

“Come on, Jimmy; tell me ’bout her
is she the stallion’s walk, a trinket to wear ’round my throat
a fathom of lust in the loins of eunuchs
what depth must she convey
heat breathed into the mouths
of spent lovers, victims, prey
mime participants in her foul play”

It only takes a moment
to tender your eyes
cash in on blackbirds
pinning up the sky
“I wanna know what’s in your head”
he said, “I’m comin’ in
uh, get a night view, six a m “

They are a fast running downhill
tumble of madness, they are
Youth and ages gone dying still, they are
physical manifestation of money spent
faces lost; they are the drawer of love
found empty; a quick parking lot hump; they are
genital intelligence, they are

I’m a little bit Pagan
I’m a Christian, a Jew
I’m Mohammed on horseback
I-I’m a little bit you
I’m a cloud in the morning
I’m the Sun peeking through
I am them; we are them; they are us; we are you

Look at me, I’m guilty
yes, I’m guilty as sin
I’m the door to forgiveness
I’m the only way in
You have to look forward
to understand where you’ve been
pillar of wanting and lackluster lust, a win

Sure upon the death of love
mouth agape, wide-open eyes undone
sewer tank lawyers can divide fate
Honorable profession that; doors closing
father lies and idle fixation
buried in a cloud of silver box drifting
lies canon, truth, pale blood of survivors

Dirty stockings, under-bed clothing
stripped back, unwashed, feed upon
stranger’s company defining
gut wrenching speed of hate
love gone to seed, free thought
What victims of warriors down crying
reassembling pieces of pain put to rest

Prophet, divine victim
of fresh mowing ahead, apart
weightless and sailing away
Singing messenger caught out
bringing smooth phallic shape things
an after-dark prison wherein lies
a reasonable twisting whoever cries

Upon receiving dead truth
careless mantle, sleeping alone
fresh bed of straw burning
lies like forbidden fruit
word packed in tight, condensed
to scream us and steal us away
to that place, to that filthy assed place

The wind in the bottoms
seems like it just scoops me out
We are not a sum total of our losses
We are the beauty of what’s left
Welcome to the House of Word
Strip your skin naked brain
for a slither of serpents through

Ask me a question
Ask it a thousand times
I will answer you and the answer
will never be the same
I would not lie to you
I would not encumber you
It matters not to me who you are

Have you read yourself
and between the lines of age
found any conclusive evidence
of a drifting toward sparrow
Does your skin sift feather wind
Only do scales fall away
when it is time to grow or die

They teach as if thinking wrong thoughts
what they consider wrong thoughts
is sin; some religions fail
because no one gets it right
become so damned tired being wrong
seek communion elsewhere
whiskey bars and flesh parlors

She is younger than the night
plans to spend it sleeping with the
dragon slayer beware
She has traded her heart
and stolen your armor
that the dragon might safely
devour her naked flesh

I’m going down to spend my holy days
become a rent-a-man
Long behind me is the state of pride
I want to live in a city of peace
Give me silence of a morning
the power to simply disengage
carefully walk away

The sea clearly clamors for acceptance
each tiny lit whitecap wave
expectant patient, audience rapt
in a breathless moment of waiting
A restless rise of rainbow mist
dissolves the horizontal circle
Morning explodes the horizon

Only does he have her for himself
in a down pocket of secrets
is she kept within the blood of him
There she grows, hindered not
by the day to day pathos of living
Her place is secure passion undivided
and kissed, a moment of sighs

He asks her, ‘What do you see?’
‘I see a vast lake on fire
from the shore on which I am
standing, reaching far and far past
the limits of my vision
what I discover to be finite
dimensions of my imagination’

There were shrieking herds
magnificent horse beasts plunging
headlong through the blue-yellow heat
waves, white nostrils flaring
hard muscles straining behind
tight bleeding skins, eyes wild
and searching; desperate marauders

Hooves pounding before and into
the inferno, some fallen
and quickly devoured until they are no more
smooth and gone into distant phantom vapors
rising up, changing shape and substance
flying, flying effortlessly away
The blind lady smiles at her vision

Only when we cease to live
on the flat planets of our skin
do we begin to live at all
Great winds of life begin to blow
through and do they charge to lift
our spirits first to brother creature wolf
then to the primordial beyond

Our empirical aspirations
and where might they lead
as if those gone before
haven’t shown by example
dirty deeds, ends justified means
The Child must fix the parent
There is no other way

All poets should live on death row
that they might suffer the lie
to which reason and freedom are bound
to fall next, ladies who love them
would suckle a murderer
to tickle their fancy
’cause nobody understands

It’s as simple as counting money
government and the war machine
Guns might as well be pointed in
armies our Children make
legacy, nation, conqueror
land of dead heroes
where phat cats reside

Mother promises immunity
then pillow-talks to father
It dies on her tongue
Father plans a slow vengeance
against the conspirators
Woman refuses to lay with him
in the name of religion

When a man weeping
finally at the grave of his Child
His hand caresses her face
where fall his tears running
remembers when they were hers
All is lost, too late found
He simply crawls away

“Hallelujah!” intones the priest
his singsong voice chanting
Word tricks tumble from his tongue
and riding wisps of incense
pleasure the ears of the sorrowed
He is death’s friend, God
a kind messenger scent

These fruit of the vine
Children, call them home
faces on your shoulder meant
and spoken unto your heart
You may wander, wonder of bliss
seek in the bones of lovers
that which only Children make

Old music unites us with the dead
Charmed by corpse lips
are we confirmed static
wings pinned to the bored
Creation, cocoon, civilization, no room
near the top; mendicant
read The Book; learn to pray

The traffic of slow wisdom
slams through an empty room
and damned tired of retreads
Sleep offers prisoners certain respite
but, ah hell, sleep won’t come
Never forgive a friend who harms you
for hurting himself

She keeps them locked in letters
her secrets and pale Moons
dead excuses, a lover’s eyes
whose allies, tomorrow’s lies
A single match ignites the flame
destroyer, drunkard
Come on, let’s burn ‘er on down

Weakness, pity, justice, weakness
Some days I’m older than never
My skin and face are a dragon
They have come and worn me
to stay away from my Children
lest the claws of my words
find purchase, flesh that I love

Depending on sin eaters
and the blood of martyrs
does the initiate proceed
to fall upon herself
With no sense of culpability
she imagines herself all ways innocent
repossessed of demon

On spiritual ground they danse
A ceremonial drum excites
invites a rhythm of riotous blood
exhaled in bestial shout
These are generals and warriors
a ritual clatter of arms
precursors of death

Moving through the slow city
protected from wind and mountain
in the confines of our cage
climate controlled universe
accepting, choosing of prison
pretending inventing of happiness
hiding out in the open

So are such persons as we
born dead in our poverty
alive in our hunger
shameless in our wanting
lustful and vengeful in our youth
If we survive these beast
aspire to become successful beggars

Will we find a darling lament
hide our grief under pillow
sing dirges and rock ourselves
into falls of merciful sleep
Weep, you silly assed fool
Weep your empathy into the wall
Shriek against a blood of stone

The internet has not conquered
time and space, but confirmed them
as masters of this tiny universe
Across tens of thousands of miles
do we communicate; it seems
we are touched by ancient breath
influenced by the mystique of distance

These come into our hand
tiny and wonderful, they hold us
become a light that defines
aura, our essence of being
and some times they go away
Sorrow steals into our bones
and the sky wears a Winter face

The roads of our days
are imprinted on our bodies
bus rides and the soles of our feet
may know and understand the land
bits of cattail; a breeze
whistles and whispers through trees
voices; it is okay to be alone

We thirst for fiction
A reality of drunk landlords
forces us to look away, create all ways
some thing worse and better
but never so terrifying
as the face in the water glass
the thin ice of its breaking

Ah what liminal delight
far reaches, sensory overload
back down alfalfa fields
a crush of lavender delight
Sun streaks and giant bumble bees
furry bodies tickling the fine hairs
drawn to a wonderful musk-scent of life

Where old nests hide their heads
these warts in the stiff hair
of Winter trees standing
Spring green bud surround
A gentle movement, shift
those thread hanging, fall and die
lay where once begun and rise

Fornicating Under Consent of the King
unless, of course, application denied
then are we mice running
ashamed of the occasional hump
caught out and condemned; religion
politics and sex breed rebellion
Fornicating Until Conquest of the King

The innocence of lust
vouchsafed within the walls of conscience
desire on a tender-leash
are the lines of fidelity
nerve endings, reach of flesh
imagination defined by capacity
a realm of nether beyond

I been thinkin’ ’bout his Lincoln
how good it would look on me
He don’t know how to wear that car
It was late in the afternoon when the boy
shot the man who wouldn’t give up his
wheels; some times we live
for what we have, some times we don’t

May be Gods are lazy
who don’t sweep up this mess
or indifferent to this man thing
which feeds upon itself
and its fellows with utter disregard
and disdain for the morrow
may be they are shy and embarrassed

Cynical and misanthropic
he backs away snarling
having known only chains and whips
does he seek his next abuser
to confirm his existence
as an miscreation absolute
textbook case of anti-identity

Gone seeking the maven
confusing the mystic
fooled by the magician
and the pseudo-magick of fools
finally embracing the mystique direct
communion of ultimate reality; mysticism
true spiritual knowledge of Gods

Longing for narcosis
altered states of consciousness
a dismantling of reality
what lies underneath
yet cannot be reassembled
to represent what stood before
thus lies erected, truth undone

The octal factor
eighth degree infinity
we exist in parallel layers
never more than seven removed
apex inclined toward the nethermost
sliding toward obscurity
a single dimensional reference

They are named forlorn hope, those
sent to bring the form of Gods to men
find them in the shadows of crosses
arguing religiosity 
the glamour of their profession
ignoring the truth of the day
by sifting through yesterday’s lies

Searching for that bootleg white
she ends up with a blind tiger
then, drunk rather than high
visits the same places
Her night is bound to take her
down instead of up
and nowhere left to fall

Warriors share the blood-guilt
in the aftermath of battle
they may salt their wounds
regale each other with tales of conquest
Still are they stained
and, some where deeper, the sins
of murderers reside

Driving down a side street
eyes trapped between the walker’s legs
other crisscross X’s I have known
to be a fear of falling
certainty of what happens next
The walker stumbles and falls
and I plow through the crossroads

Ice grows on the windscreen
insinuates hoary fingers
upon my line of vision
Its stiff fingers own the air surround
a tickle of pneumonia lung
aching back and stoop to stand
It is as if I am aging

When you finally catch them
the slo-mo birds of traffic
fly into their inverted ‘V’
realize, too late, it’s a trap
striving for independence, the one
is eaten alive by the many
weeping and finally the all

The old man is worried
his detractors all so the younger
yipping and nipping his heels
He buys a small hideout gun
It feels good between the legs of his wheels
“They’ll never get me now,” he grins
then shoots himself in the face

The amazing of pasta and a twist
of civilization, all made of the same stuff
Surround them with meatballs
saucy environment
they speak with new voices
Still the same basic ingredients
and they all taste so different

Her face is older than life
I wonder do spiders live there
breed in that web of hair
plant eggs in her flesh
Does her cowboy wear spurs
ride her black widow ass
shoot craps on her belly

This car says read the bible; promote
morality to prepare for the end
Drives like he’s already dead
I’d like to punch him in his religion
maybe shoot his foam aerial dingle-ball
make bumper stickers out of his skin
kiss my immoral ass

Whom walks in Sun and shadow
alone in the company of others
learns to be a Friend
more importantly learns to have a Friend
to be a Friend within and without
accepts a decision to loneliness
for what is and can never be

That same Sun sneaking our window
has kissed half our world good-bye
like an errant lover appears
wrapped in a sheet we call morning
None of us, her creatures found
can anger at her passing
wrapped in a shroud we call night

We speak of lesser evils
and the mores of kindness
Are they indeed lesser the more
or simply deeds done and attributes
designed human and assigned
value and worth by name makers
born with an insane sense of entitlement

She seize the shoreline reach
with a tense sense of beginning
walks its glimmering naked edge
small cuts, sand-glass, stone
She laughs at the purging afoot
and in a dazzling pirouette
bids hail and good tiding to the seize

Her hands betray a tear
in its downward track of climb
They touch kisses from her eyes
onto the faces of her Children
Her hands flutter like wings
trace rainbow arcs across
the lover’s skin of her dreams

Do you hear their boots
the tread of war men and angels
their wings of divine intent
a livery clatter of arms
where slayer and slain are the same
face worn into a mad brawl
closed to the voice of reason

Those ears of naked feet
do hear a complaint of sorrow
a tired victim who holds them blameless
those spear-chuckers and diggers
who tear the roots of her tree hair
She bears them no malice their suckle
dies slowly as a good mother must

I am only as good as your smile
you Children who reach me
sad in the face of your contempt
lost in the garden of your discontent
unreasonable celebrant of your happiness
that you might just learn to be
and kind and warm to one another

This business of aging
the sleep won’t stay from our eyes
We long to lay and be cuddled
forgetfulness and slipping back
night dreams reaching for father, mother
startling realization, light of day
they are gone; they are gone

A waxy substance, her skin
glows and appears transparent
He sees her painted lips and eyes
remembers the under-face of stones
lifted and tube worms found, cringes
when they touch him, her hands, wishes
she were twice dead though she seems

Who thinks of us in whispers
lovers and naughty Children
enemies and certain pretenders
those who wish to surprise us
with candles and wishes undone
The stockinged feet of tyranny
may whisper silver the night

When considering employment
the opportunity to better oneself
beware promises unwritten
especially those which fall from your own lips
Don’t trust paper and ink
Newspapers are a liar
and the blood of tomatoes

When you volunteer your services
and from the bottom of your heart
you have defined your worth
Better to charge a penny and give no thing
a bit less all ways than was paid for
This do the takers understand
It is as law unto themselves

A baldheaded man and his baldheaded son
crossing the boulevard
clouds pass through them and sister in their wake
Children, our only true blessing
upon which we prove and shame ourselves
Given the chance to rise above
do we set ourselves below the fire

And speaking of old flames
as if the stiff reason of a new day
might inject passion where lust and folly
have made mud, a piddling pie
thunder, thunder, and lightning resides
in the bellies of cloud horses
swift, crackling breath of moment

He dips his beak into the pond
A fish swims into his mouth
The poet makes no attempt to swallow
rather tumbles into the deeps
forgetting to breathe, imagines
his fish brother, tongue wriggling
past death, his lips to drown

Guilt and problematic situation associated with
standing in line at gang bangs
church functions, sporting events
it is women and money
It is organized religion and time
It is professional big time sports
No, no, no; it is the line

Giants appear to fall slowly
especially since anticipation exists
from when they are first noticed
If kind, they seem kinder
if not, then evil incarnate
We human, in our morbid fascination
build them up, glory in their fall

Yeah, sometimes you love too much
seems like you can’t get enough
You pushin’ at the edge
you push too hard
Don’t know where you’re goin’
but you’re goin’ too far
tryin’ to make the ends

The poor boy wants to sing
but he wants it too bad
After too damned long he takes notice
of the words in his song
then he starts to feel the shame
begins to die in little pieces
a poet on the outside of the good society

Firstlings are all ways sacrificed
Those who are aware of this
come over as they are overcome
and wait for the others whom must follow
These are as lines drawn in the sand
whose pebbles know better than man
the first, at once, exists an end

The Moon, she speaks to our blood
The future is tides arriving
rings around our ankles
finally a breathless wasting of dawn
are we drawn away, awareness defined
of moment, passengers jettisoned
and free in the bargain

Which sea is a mountain I come to speak
dinosaurs and the ocean that was
these great backs rising, Rocky Mountains
yes, and the oceans of their blood
shed in a dawn of leather wing
the twisting ball of time bounce
what continents divide

Just there, the grave of diggers
vultures attending the carrion feast
pallbearers ain’t no angels
They certainly look away
who say the eye of universe is dead
with stone under their tongue
and fists full of empty

I watched my son’s eyes when I told him
the one to the East is alive
Then he saw its armor plate
ridges of scales and stone head down
Where do they go to rest, these phantom beasts whose bones
and bits, mined and defined
by mankind; no he ain’t

The other way, she turns her head
The Sun makes her shine sadly
in her folds of valley
and the lesser creatures of her skin
where only true answers begin
climb to the top of her if you must
shallow passenger, your silly assed best

The Children just ran away
frolicking with butterflies
laughing and hiding in plain sight
with hands over their eyes
and giggles in their bellies experience and see
what will never be and always was
The builders tear them down

Which sea is a mountain I come to seek
under tender-bits of night sky
a twinkling dust descending mist
this wonderful sense of falling
Yes, it was in his eyes
I saw the tears of the mountain
Only then was she gone