May 2018

poem28 May 2018 09:56 am

After the prince satisfied his quest
installing my dainty foot
in the mink shoe he married
me added to his collection

Those long lonely days
as my transformation took place
mice and lizards my fey staff
a pumpkin transmuted into a coach
and pair, rags to glamour

After all, we met on looks alone
my bedazzlement with influence
more than I could use dissipated
once I had a chance to think
to take a breath, loosen my corset

The prince moved away
on kingdom needs, another quest
or a dragon lady to bind
I had been a machine dumping ashes
sifting cinders, baking, scouring
a perfect world for the privileged

I itched to bring order
to a palace already in its place
every servant jealously guarding
their realm of right and duty

In boredom I contacted my enchanted guardian
but not for gowns nor enthralling
trysts with dashing rulers
this time I wished to change again, take flight
learn the skills of riding out of reach

Another gourd became my sedan
a race into the country
against the dragging time
to save my life for a day
with russet foxes and dormice
my new and feral attendants
always maintaining an uncultivated glint
in the depths of their eyes
my heart

I raced the trees through the passage
of endless repetition to find
a space where I could be
I lost the track of appointments
and trails until I ran wild
in a field of rodents and vixens
kicking along a great orange pumpkin

Women often seem to run afoul
of curses, witches and evil stepmothers
living under the demands of one
or the other until virtue wins
a place in a man’s world

I ran through meadows
punting the gourd with my petite
yet sturdy peasant feet
until a man named Peter
found me in his field
He understands the land
the grains, the woodland mede
the need to touch the earth
feel the fecund thrills of growth

When he noticed my feet
it was not because of rare furs
that encased them nor of a size
that denoted something to protect
a delicate keepsake for within castle walls

But how my toes gripped the soil
that I outran his greyhound
We laughed in the crescent moonlight
shadows danced as we chased the pumpkin
skittering helter skelter
until a tree delivered its demise

It took the rupturing fruit
its scent infused us with a need
to dig into the deep dark loam
burrow like feasting worms
crawl beneath the leaves

I left behind a perfect life
to live with a farmer
but when they say he kept me
very well it means he won’t take
the king’s rubies nor sacks of gold
knows I own my self, free to leave
whenever my feet demand

poem21 May 2018 08:00 am

A language fugue in plague major.
A fever that elates the imagination.
An alien utterance in our midst.
Tongues transformed to babbling towers
that swell from between the teeth
to trumpet nonsense sibilant and dense.

While neighbors drone fluently
in dialects that stretch their lips
and distort the lines of their features,
those uninfected stare in speechlessness.

Unsettling as the jaundiced auburn sky
where reflected images of our cities
appear to blur elongate and dissolve,
it begins in the open marketplace
as Tarval the tailor rushes to his shop
to cut and stitch great pleated coats
with sleeves for which we have no limbs.

A generation past we wrought the hecatomb
that emptied this world for our exploitation.
Unknown to us its slaughtered populace
sought vengeance in our veins: nanoscopic
viral snakes, coded to coil the DNA,
corrupting our cells in a planned mutation.

Alien values reverberate within our skulls.
We crave foods that burn our bellies,
that provide no sustenance or taste.
We caress the lumps beneath our flesh
and accept the sights of our altered vision.

Those indecipherable glyphs now make sense.
We understand we have sinned against ourselves
and travel by caravan to their desolate hives
to don abandoned lives as a kind of reparation.

On the solidified gel of fallen panes,
where decades of dust have mold-congealed,
we sketch the figures of thwarted deities
with our gnarled and native walking sticks
as the auburn winds begin to wail.

illustration is Last Judgement by Wassily Kandinsky
poem07 May 2018 08:00 am

There is only so long that a thing can be buried
before it starts dragging the rest of creation down with it.

‘We’re greedy little things,’ she tells me, ‘thirsty as diabetics,
from the moment consciousness baits us into these husks of ours

’til we’re dragged kicking and screaming into the dark hereafter.’
‘I’ve known plenty who’ve gone in their sleep,’ I insist.

‘Not enough,’ she wheezes. Angry roots varicose up the wrought iron gates
like the veins purpling the tops of her hands.

‘You ask me, it’s a minefield,’ she says, tilling the soil with a spade,
‘step in any direction and you chance hell opening up underfoot.’

She buries her spade in a jaundiced wrist that shoots from the loam
like a rabid mandrake root; the errant limb snaps like a celery stalk.

‘I feel a twinge of guilt now and then,’ she confesses, ‘wondering
if they’re just reaching out, in want of a helping hand.’

‘Why bother, then?’ I ask her. She shoots me a stink eye like I’ve just asked
the dumbest question in the world. Maybe I have. ‘Give them the run of the place,’

she spits, ‘and the roses’ll go straight to hell with them.’
She cracks me on the head with the flat of the spade.

‘Now you gonna get to work or you just gonna wait
’til it comes to you?’

illustration is Danse Macabre by Maitre des Heures de Françoise de Dinan