Philosophical Infant

Nourishment is like to like,
children of goats & wolves
& the world can feed the mewling
babe, subsisting together in one
form, temperate in motion
& in drink; one comes from the east
& the other the west, the heat
from the bowls of the mother.
The juice of Earth shall predispose
the suckling to war or worse;
astride the continents; two cities
will fight.  Two souls made one
on the outskirts of town.  Synthesis
of sun & moon produces
the hermaphroditic angels
& the feral philosophical infant.
To one curmudgeon, a set
of sons, & to the other, a daughter
soon to be met.  See how we cling
to continents closest to the middle.
We'll never see the dawn because
the dusk will kill us yet.




Long Day's Journey


Finally I have patched 
the sky.  I have pushed through the sheets
of black confetti raining
down despite our prayers to stave it off.
The big wheel keeps on turning 
& I find myself blistered by the sleet
of the Beyond.  Roads here made of silver
instead of clay, haven't been home
in a year or more & yet I wonder 
who among you sees this 
city slivered into strata of light
like a giant parfait.  A procession
of suns swerve & dip 
into the meringuey rings of clouds.
Let the stinking cities of home
fall to dust; I am going away 
into the Shambhala of my art.
Keep my crook & my cloak
in case I may return some day
to settle the score.



Planetary Souls


The head & tail of the dragon
exit the moon.

Agiel tells nine truths
& Jophiel the one lie.

The air defers to the
river of light.

The atmosphere
ignites with Luna's love.

The clouds assume the shape
of the heavenly intestine.

Cassiel averts eye
from the worm's exultations.

Zuriel invigors
the good right arm.

What was once barren
is now found fruitful.

Tiriel, make us grateful,
help us

remember, make the speech
of my dreams

most plain.  Drive away
our enemies

while we rotate & show me
no other evil things.


Spirit, Breath, Body


When it rains, 
it pours a sickly sweet 

ichor
upon us, our 
chins 

so close to contact but not bothering
to quite connect.  My back 
aches from all this
bending, an attempt to stoop that never works
when we both give up 
& give in. 

Where once 
we coupled, now we shake chastely.  We have come
this far & yet not come at all, & the monk
hangs upside

down to better puke his disapproval.  The beasts
have expired & now hang
like parentheses around our sentence.

The weather is actually a subject
of considerable complexity, but the sun
has plugged his ears
with the upended diadem
of the moon.  Together at last.

The rays of heaven
exfoliate the air, a tiny black frog
administrates our despair.

Fissure

Six days after,
seven stars grew
huge & brutal
in the sky; the raven
appeared, gargling
something in
English I do not
understand. The limbless
cherubim began
to swarm & attack
my face.
The heavens belched
forked lighting
& I hid in the crook
of a hill blasted
by their wrath.
Forgive me I have
asked too many questions,
planned for futures
that will never be.
I must walk more
softly.  I must shred
my many lists.  I must
learn to be affirming
to gods even
as they savor my frost
bite & windburn.  I must pray
to them to end my torments,
close up this fissure &
finish the crush they've begun.

Madrigal


Let the man in bunny ears feel wind upon his rear.
Curtsy & smirk & accepts this lesser torture as your fate.
Let nobody among us succumb to deepest fear.

Hear cherubs give a hearty cheer
as strangers prance along the shore in search of a willing mate.
Let the man in bunny ears feel wind upon his rear.

See the deposed king shed his crocodile tear
& float in salt baths until the day grows late.
Let nobody among us succumb to deepest fear. 

The gusts of April shall blow in your ear;
so doff your caps blue & yellow from your pinkish pate.
Let the man in bunny ears feel wind upon his rear.

The green waters of spring renew the year
& seedlings sally forth while the hungry rabbit waits.
Let nobody among us succumb to deepest fear.

Take a breather, brother, we're all friends here.
Take off your tunic, have a seat or pull up a crate. 
Let the man in bunny ears feel wind upon his rear.
Let nobody among us succumb to deepest fear.

Bella Luna

My lady in the moon
peel back the lips
of your breast & prick
me with the dagger
of your heart, all wrapped
in garden snake
like a slithering fist.
Lit up with tongues
of writhing, put each
proud foot on the waning
bubble of my face.
Furl your wings & carry
me like a hawk-snatched
rabbit to your lair.  Where
I once waxed, I am
exactly the size of the
devil's bite.  He gave me
gin, said he was
my only friend, & then
everything went the
pink opaque.  I wake
stained with grapefruit
juice & the taint of another
brunchless Sunday.  Say
that I can stay.  Help me
up, dear nemesis,
& point me toward
the penicillin, the quart
of Clorox you've been
chilling in the fridge.



Eyes Wide Shut


Here we are, at the center
of it all, & somebody
brought the trident
despite what the invitation
said.  She's riding atop
the shoulders of this guy
in a bathrobe, her eyes
not quite averted
from the exhibitionist 
crawling on all fours. 
It's that kind of party 
& here I am, waving my
styrofoam sword 
at strangers, pulling 
my visor lower so I can
peep the purple fez 
of the man opposite. 
There's always a guy 
with a scythe who 
won't leave the princess
& her sun alone. When the song ends
& the angel gives 
another crank, he'll
have found his way 
to the nudist & will 
tell her she has a lovely moon
while everyone else 
makes for the guy 
with the caduceus
because they heard 
he brought his leeches along.



Clockwise

1.

Imagine the phoenix
as it newly arisen comes
to find it is tethered
to a toad.  The toad
is you; Melchior will read
from the Book of Terrible
Secrets as she flies
straight into the sun.
Enjoy the ride;
from up here you can see
all the cities
as they burn.

2.

Little three-headed worm,
Mother's gonna buy you
an ibis bird

& if that ibis bird don't speak
your other mother's gonna
bring you the King of Thieves

& if the King don't sing
Other Mother's gonna
bring you the proud peacock

& if you pluck all seven
colored feathers, Echidna's
gonna show you the rook all black,

you're flying to the moon
& never coming back.

3.

Fair maiden, the clock
has its ways, as do
the two suitors
catcalling

your from across
the waters.  Now here
they are, about to block
your path,

one pointing to his fiery
beard, the other offering
to share his latest
playlist.

Even the wind sees through
this bullshit.  You'll note
how neither wears
wings.

4.

That's my last dryad hung upon the wall,
looking as if even in death she's too
shy.  How I tried, building her this cabin
inside the drywall, stuffing it with moss
from her native forest.  Above her, the
heads of two majestic automatons
crafted by the master Daedalus him-
self.  On the higher shelf, the sentient snake
once used as a whip by the ancient Am-
azons, now stretched at my leisure after
too many truths revealed under his lash.



Two Thumbs & The Book of Life


See here, children,
the goose who ate the paper plate.
Listen to the tale of a sixth sun
& those of us who've spun around
in tortured orbit.

Pencils down.  Gather
'round & bring it in: when all eyes
are on me, we can do nothing 
before the darts of reasonable 
fortune.

You get a halo or a lightbulb,
nothing in between.  Stewing
while the others dance. 
Ouroboros can only be performed
alone, buster.

Two high windows,
the shadows are sobering.
No crown of thorns 
or laurels either, but vectors.
Lay down your sword

so you can pick up a gun instead.
Little books have strange lives,
big books have more fun.
Judge not, lest ye be asked to
judge often & sometimes on weekends.



Spiritus Mercurius

I can't quite wrap my tail
around my vesigial
heads.  These wings
are not so much for flying
as they are surrendering.
A beak, lobster claws,
an inverted cross to festoon
what must be a kind of appendix
for the brain.

Where my heart should be
just peers out
my stupid face; time
has not been kind, but sees
fit to preserve my winged
shoes as if I could
do a dance with this bestiary
dumped on top like
an object correlative
for everything I've ever
suffered at the hands of those
kinder, gentler gods.  Please
tell me my knees at least
are pleasing.  My chin
recedes but my beard, long
& lush, is woven of tendrils
I've carefully tended.  We are all
spared the sight of my distended,
syphilitic genitals because
they don't exist: a joke
that can last only a single
generation, I'm a hideous beast
who can't go fuck himself
no matter how many times
you've demanded it.

Imbibition of the Stone


One must imbibe if only
to be polite, so
imbibe I shall, casting off
my inhibitions
& slathering my soft,
pale chest with
the gelatinous proteins
of mine allies.  O
how my shriveled wings
smolder.  Flesh of
my flesh of sulphur,
five parts of my body,
my blood of mercury,
revolved in the heat
of the wheel of nature
for a month, passing over
putrefaction, mouthing
the ruling words
to the silence
of the empty room lit
only by the embers
of cherubim.


One dove, two crowns.

When the lonesome dove flies
above the labyrinth, she will come
to bring you the crown
of fire, brother I will
weep for you when she comes
to give me the crown
of air.  The key that dangles
from her wrist will unseal
the books wherein are writ
the notes to play upon
the library organ to call
up the water & the earth.

Red & white hommunculi
will waltz the in the vessel
when the apples are red
& ripe & still the labyrinth
will twist farther into
the distance.  Your
dopplegänger will
weep, forgotten on his shelf,
blowing his nose in the
monogrammed kerchief
she left when last she visited,
cursing him to live his last days
so hunched & wizened,
& him cursing you in turn
for failing to learn
the lessons he's put forth
before you.  She shall
play the chord no longer
secret & it shall be displeasing
to the many lords
& ladies who will be assembled,
& yet you will sit
condemned to this schoolboys'
tiny red stool & you shall not
move to intervene.  Still
she is redolent of heady perfumes,
eucalyptus & peppermint
& just a hint of an ex-girlfriend's
patchouli.  From the secret folds
of her robe, she feeds you
a single salted caramel.
Later she might read to you mockingly
from your well-hidden copy
of Fanny Hill that she's
just discovered behind
the elemental runes you hired
an army of Wiccans to carve
into your mantel.  & then the dam
will break, floodwaters washing away
the farmlands, uprooting even the labyrinth
until the earth finally pushes forth
its burdens for her, a fool's gold
you've birthed in the summers
of your boredom.

Trumpeter


Our sharp bitter vitriol
smells a bit like
tinkle after

eating asparagus.
Our bromides
distill in

due time : until then,
there's cleaning
out the bed-

pan, gaggles of blackish
birds dancing
amid

scattered breadcrumbs (not
swans, probably
geese

dyed after having fattened
on the leavings
from

the gaping blue blooms
upon which perch
grackles).

A bad idea whose time
is figured by the
hourglass

hovering above head;
rooks swarm
the alembic

holding bitter tears,
while the sun's fun
percolates,

ignored but for the
pyrrhic reaching of the green
trees.





Saturn Returns

Look, my child
as Saturn returns
to the skies, flanked
by five stars
& the jagged lightning
points to where the fauns abscond
with the neighborhood
dogs.  The hills erupt
for the pleasure
of reposed Neptune
as he salinates the fertile
plains.  Mark the serpents
as they make for
the snaky river where
your pet elephant hoses
no one.  He will go
under & we will hope
to go on.  When
I told you the gods
were dead, I never expected
that boulder to be rolled
back, never thought
anyone would ever bother
to read those
old scrolls again.  See
how even the clouds are angry,
faces of petulant children
where once they were comforting
fluff.  Why does Farmer John
bother bringing in
this season's crops?  Why
try mapping the stars
when all is again the shifting
chaos of yesteryear,
all progress lost
to the followers of cargo
cults who fan themselves
with palm fronds?

Basement Days


It puts the loaves
in the oven.  It puts
the iron in the fire.  It
sets the timer for high
noon.  It divides the nickel
from the lead.  It leads
the way into the basement
where whispers take
root & something
slithers behind the shelves.
It tilts the scales
of justice & sows
the lichen & the flames
of the furnace, red
wagging tongues.
One in the oven
is worth two legs
of a stool.  Tonsured,
hosed, ready for a
night in forever
etched in wood, whose
portrait will fill the empty
frame.

Feel How It Trembles Inside

A dragon, a lion & a lobster
walk into a teardrop
& the dove breathes rain
under the breathless
sun but a sad mote
on whose cheek these
mates congeal & do
their violence. What lives
in a tear?  Perhaps a thousand
swimming angels, golden
cilia like whips of hair,
an illness to be baked out
by the grim star.  Up close
the sun is not so friendly,
our old pal bottled
along with the rest, & he's
been dressed
in the costume of a kids'
show mascot.  Where
he appears cuddly, he scathes.
Lacking any cloud,
he is nothing but a ball
of bubbling plasma & the
hate that's energized by his
billion secret shames.  Who
cast him as this tubby,
benevolent sky-god
smiling down on so many
seasons of this dove's
adventures?  Who gave him voice
as either asshat cackling babe
or dipshit dancer babbling
Laa-Laa-Laa?



Moony Thursday


When Chronos holds you
in his gaze, maybe 
it's time to take 
a step backwards across
the hot coals & ease
your way onto 
the futon long indented
by your lumpen,
slumping form.  Mourning takes
in its own cool way 
& we come to a place
where you're so far
down that even the infernal 
salamanders won't come
when you call.  Looking 
out through a moon-shaped hole
in you is psychosis, a bad 
penny like an extinct pigeon
come to share the good 
news: thou art about 
to rise up from your chains
like a snail from its shell;
I've actually had better
Fridays; the mind is 
its own place & needs 
vacuumed & smudged---milord
only an idiot returns 
to the scene of the crime.


Wingéd Words


When the crow alights
upon the sinister hand,
a true thing & a lie will fly
to the circumference
of the sphere wherein the speaker
is interred.  The demagogue
blows smoke at the sun
as the planets arch above.
Fix gaze on the black star, bilious
swinger.  Let the words
on wings roll you mercurial to
the bearded flame of a jukebox's
torch song, an angel on
your shoulder & its twin
tethered to you by the invisible
string of long-resented obligation.
In deprivation, ponder the rune
on the dark side of the moon.
There's no coin
left in your loincloth because
the loincloth itself is long
gone -- it rotted away, disintegrated,
leaving you chafed from the
unforgiving rub of plexiglass --
yet you have faith the songs'll continue
unbidden.  Hear another from
the diva who called you here in search
of splendors, her promised favors
nothing but another cruel hoax played
on another foolish traveler who
felt so far from home.


 

Mistakes Were Made



It's all gone wrong
again, a little slap &
tickle between friends
turned into a draining of the
lizard's brainpan, a venting
of his spleen into a saucepan
that we left on to simmer.
He might've even
writhed in agony before we
plucked a bouquet
of nosegay & used it
to smudge the crucible
of dried eyes
until there was no dry eye
in the room.  A demon
without wings is just
a bad idea & a skeleton
is just the crux
of the matter, hung out
dry for the end of time.



Son of Saturn

When moonlight supersedes
the sun in the slanted rain
the crippled stag will come
to the black garden & Saturn's
son shall preside over all.

When blue tears fall
in the river, I will remember
me, erstwhile spelunker
with a captive magnet.
Breathless & stork-hunted,

shambling to repose
beneath the laurel tree,
stranger in a land
of stronger currents,
I will bathe myself

in the shadow of this
most majestic fountain.
Even the emu
waits at water’s edge.
Let him.  When

the time is
nigh, I shall take my place
before my father’s altar,
make a great display
of hacking off my long

black mane, knotting
my locks along his long black
blade, biting the ripest
of apples between
my teeth &

biting down even
harder until all I see are fields
filled with poppies,
all I hear is the whistling
of wind along the waters.

Three Days



Two minds, one
soul stuck

in a husk & entombed
with its own

filth in which to
float.  Exposed

to the elements, this
shriveled skin.  Here

comes the new friend
to wash us:

she'll feign interest in our
bedazzled crown

as she cleanses our weeping
wounds, leave us

at the dawning of the third
day's request to transverse

the right holy
angle.  From the clouds

in dreams, with the gift
of glyphs

to festoon the plinth:
"HERE LIES ONE WHO NEVER TOLD THE TRUTH."

In Wandering

In Wandering

They went, like that which is not
in what is the way to go.
They took blue dolor in a bauble.
They burned it down.
They found yellow steam
in an alembic & smashed it
up with a pyrrhic victory.  In this vat they put
the pleasures you knew
when you were young, held above
steady flame, collects on a black
globe & shatters into a green
effluvia; they made it so.
They took from you
your lunch money, knocked the scholar's
cap from your head, burned off
your baby fat & handed you a candle
made from its tallow.  They
made honey from your mud: their
floor is a checkerboard & your
scooped-clean skull the
crucible for so much sticking.
Their giant brown bellows strapped
to your back, you stumble after
their caravan from one
generation to the next.

Rebis


Rebis

Take this crown
no bigger than a bread
bowl.  Take this sword 
forged deep in the bowels
of negative space. Turn 

your business
inward.  Reflect on your 
better half, the bruises 
of your bitter wings, the simple 
fact that you're not the same

nobody you used to be.  Unwrap
the bandages & see the woman
inside the man in the lapis breast-
plate as the ladyfaced snakes
coil still closer to the heart

of precious stone.  Tadasana
astride the demon's back,
a foot on each black throat.
Asunder & ununderstood
two halves make a whole 
lot of noise.
 


Spirit Ghost



Ghostfeathers hung in the air
after the pair of them were
pentacled to the unruly
tree; nowhere to go but up
jump the devil & the joucular
imp.  Enter the worm
like you’re walking into
the maw of the sun licking
the tip for to scrawl
the names of the kings
in mauve on the new walls
of the old kingdom in the
days of spirits
in the sky which had yet
to fall & the skalds who
had yet to be
tossed from their towers.
The moment hangs there
forever, precarious
on its lone stone pillar,
& then it's exit through
the celestial
elevator, its sudden
plunge a punch
in the gut for those of us
who thought we were
staying for dinner. 

a lash & alas


a lash & alas

I'll scourge your
back if you'll
scourge mine.  When we
get to the point, it means
pointing toes in opposite 
awkward directions 
with no destination
in mind.  We leave
no stone unturned
once we're more 
than a stone's throw
from the 
nearest city 
center. We're here
even when 
we're nothing but
blistering soles,
in the ink of plants--
a lash & alas
a letting of flesh 
& rending of mind.
If you want this thing
done right, don't do it
at all.  Continue 
until the wrist give
way, take a knee 
& pray to something 
new, something 
you didn't see coming.    

O What a Shame



5 tears in the 5
keyholes of the heart.
Wheat that grew
from the crown
of thorns.  This is
the blood of my
brow, for that of
my heart is poison;
arrows from crenellations;
the eels that swim up the spine
of the caduceus.
Black cloud white cloud
rain down rays on
merchant & clergyman alike.
To each ordained
estate, the sacred duty
of struggling toward the
dungheap's top. A sheaf of wheat
becomes an arrow.  The soil
more fertile, its flowering
most foul.

A Scepter, a Sword, a Scourge


A Scepter. A Sword. A Scourge.

With an open
eye, scope the beasts that 
fly.  With a closed fist, greet
the creeping

things.  A crown
is a sort of horns when worn
by your sworn enemy.  Take
up sword, 

shape the clay, walk the burning
embers to prove your worth.
A serpent is a form
of scepter when gripped by your 

sworn enemy.  Asleep it is a 
scourge that sways 
in the bitter wind.  Spied 
by a flying thing, 

your foot held fast to clay
a name amasses in the waters
of the mind & your enemies
a flame.

A right line, crooked 
& reflexed spells the simple 
figure of your enemy:
the sacred covenant.  
This is how it shall be discovered.    

 

Azoth



1.

Black ray of calcination
splits in two.
Dire crow of thought
squeezed through
the fontanel.
Mud sprouts
from your eyes.

2.

Kissing the ear
of the ground.
The flame begs
the sun.  The shadow
casts the man.
Rise up full
of hot air.

3.

One then two,
laughing at
the crow in the ground.
Bright coals
for eyes all I see
does not please
go.

4.

Wingéd crown,
stand tall.  Wasted
stand down, gaze up
at angels
or aliens.  Strike
the balance,
hold tight to borrowed robes.

5.

Begins
as juice, then rots
into essence.
Out of
this darkness, a filmy
residue, a
firmness of resolve.

6.

An alembic boiled from a father's
blood.  A tail
chased, then fed to the
flame.  Sublimate our planet
gradually.  Point
forward, await the next
phase.

7.

Golden
sunbeam, cold
as a stone.  Clockwise
we might
plant seeds we'll never live
to see through to harvest. Now we've a second
body.  A higher light.


Moratorium


Hail & well
met, my fellow 
traveller, after so long 
on this winding 
road so far from
home. When last we
parted, we proclaimed 
the sky could not
possibly grow
darker, yet here we 
sit, struggling
along the same old 
ruts in different
seasons, new
scourge risen to 
menace our
lands.  Look 
to the dead 
for some solace:
they & their one 
long sentence, begun
at the paps
of the world & 
stretching umbilically
to the final contraction.
Don't think of life
as a test, but instead 
a distraction from 
that final weird of 
knitting beginning 
to end, when death yes
will die & so will
the sky & what remains
is just a longing for
anything at all.        



Philosophical Infant

Nourishment is like to like, children of goats & wolves & the world can feed the mewling babe, subsisting together in one form...