Do poets have a responsibility in the age of rage?
Welcome to Outburst Seventeen. Though it’s been a while since Sixteen appeared on your screens our aims and hopes for the magazine remain broadly as before i.e. to publish quality, innovative and daring works. It’s important that we stress again a few of our guiding principles. In Outburst we value our integrity, to compromise would be to betray. Our board makes its decisions on the quality of the work, not on the name of the author. For sure this will cause disappointment to friends – welcome to the club; what doesn’t kill makes stronger. Nor will we reject work from those who may not be our very best friends – as other, state-financed journals and media outlets appear to do – if the work is deemed suitable for us. So what kind of poetry does Outburst favour? Good poetry will be marked by a newness in language and approaches that will excite the reader, it will raise questions hitherto unasked. For example, how should the poet respond to the trend to rage that is sweeping across the world? Should poets become ‘activists’ in the various self-styled liberation movements, populist, and ideological, or even in those to which these movements are opposed? Poets will be aware that, in Keats’ words, ‘the only means of strengthening one’s intellect is to make up one’s mind about nothing, to let the mind be a thoroughfare for all thoughts’. Poets have a proud tradition of speaking out against oppression, from Homer and the Greeks through Chaucer and Shakespeare, Shelley, Mandelstam and Elizabeth Bishop, to mention a few in support of a point that applies to all worthy to bear the name POET. Poets make poetry, as Yeats remarked, through quarrelling with themselves. Political ideologues, even the most idealistic ones, make rhetoric, make-up half-truths, distort language for their own purposes, and denounce others. True poets will question the ideology of the moment, whether that come from left, right, religion or political correctness and ask, will this ideology challenge my liberties? And they will, as Dylan Thomas counselled, ‘love the words’.
That tree, florescent against red brick, seemed younger than I,
And I was three.
One day, at the shudder of noon, I dared to pluck,
Unsuspecting the dread, and the hairy furrowed look
Of a wriggling grey salmon on his porch.
What are you doing? I choked, and the lemon grew,
Like a giant, abominable and wrinkled.
It squealed between my fingers,
Bulges of yellow skin, escaping, together.
I tripped as I reached the canal,
And the lemon toppled into that mossy realm of dead people,
Like my mother’s earrings.
The sin stuck to my eyebrows, an encrusted caterpillar.
It bit me when she kissed me,
Until there were too many holes in my face
And I began to see the purple pus of my nightmares seeping through.
I killed a lemon.
Don’t tell me it’s not so,
Because lemon trees don’t grow in Ireland.
Play with Me
Baby Bear sits in my pupil,
Threading a small needle,
As the ghost in my playhouse
Shreds the blankets,
And saws the bed in two.
The dust rests below,
In the basement,
Where he’s hidden them.
The sex toys,
Those vibrators of reality
Within the seven year old brain.
Barbie’s have breasts.
They wear miniskirts too.
So my vagina opens to you.
This bloody fish tank
Reflects your watermelon smile,
And kills all your colours with a smell.
Rotting, building, moulding
Into a cloudy kiss
With a stranger.
His lips hit the glass
And for a moment I feel…
Water spills down my back
And trickles off my tail,
Bent, bellowing at the sound
Of his muffled moans.
Those mermaids lurking in the corners
Of this willowing box
Swell like parachutes beneath the sea.
Blue fire expels like ink
Into the red concoction of my life
And their teeth come gnashing towards me.
I feel a destructive vibration,
A smashing of all,
And I see that watermelon smile again,
In the bite of this stranger
As his canines pierce the glass
And my bloody pool ousts.
Grass in the West wind
The bent grass stalks flee the wind.
elbow each other. Some collide,
quiver at the buzzard’s missile cries.
Different heads, feathery, whiskery,
turban tight, all deathly thin, bow
east. But for all the running,
the roots grip the soil where the seeds
were sown. I mourn the endless struggle
of grass, pray for the wind to choke.
At the Flash the Day Before I Went
Slimy waves sniffed the buttocks of shore
The swan necks questioned the water.
A princess in Barbie sandals saw her cornet
Spew over bird shit and nail bitten grass.
Tyres stubbed out the hot silence.
The burger van snarled. I watched yachts
Strung like toothy bunting over the grey.
Clutching the distance made things easier.
You picked rust flakes off the bench arms,
Fixed on a duck gagging on white crusts,
not wanting my blubber to split me from us,
from this exquisite slagscape that reflected
what you thought love was in its tough
unending seams, its secret curves, its song.
I still see your face in the moon
I didn’t see your face, only heard the barking,
as the dark in the window was broken
by blue moon rays.
But I have a memory
of you in the back of the Garda car,
the spinning flash of neon light.
Your moon face,
the stream of your tears
Where’d this come from?
This is not my memory,
they would not let me see you.
There was only the spin of blue light
breaking through my window.
The black hole still exists as you left it, darling.
I ripped down curtains to let in the light,
never got around to fixing it, or wanting to,
let the outside come in, let me creep into out.
But the dark came just as easily.
The mirror shimmer of myself as I undressed.
Imperfection and shadow and flesh,
blackness not empty as it held me.
Did you know what your eyes could do?
Windows hold reflections on both sides.
Though when you looked through,
the dark swallowed you,
I could not see you, and maybe
you could not see yourself, darling.
I know what you’re thinking,
reflections can’t exist in the dark.
You could not create my image
on the glass like a photograph
because all you did was look.
The light came from me.
I tore down the curtains
I lit the candles and I met
your dark with the crashing of light.
But don’t you know, darling?
The light only creates the picture
if there is an eye off which it can reflect.
Because it was short notice,
as funerals tend to be
I could not seem to find
anything to wear.
Leafed through files of old dresses
leftover from teenage years
lying behind from weddings, birthdays,
retired in my mother’s wardrobe.
Not one fit this occasion,
they all had stories already.
I chose one with forgotten origin
the black dress with the white
Not black enough, the light
always forces its way in.
During the service I fingered the petal
images, praying in my mind to a god
I don’t believe in, just to find somewhere,
for my words to go.
I brought the dress home to hang
in my own wardrobe where I kept
it in my eye line every morning;
The funeral dress, a reminder.
This year, because I could find nothing to wear,
I wore it on Valentine’s Day.
The Death of Seamus Ruddy
I saw the images pan the screen
as the women begged for a body to bury.
A summer day of long ago
panned my own memory;
he was standing in his newly painted kitchen,
eating batch and drinking tea.
A short, rather taciturn fellow
but give him the floor at a meeting
and he’d find his tongue, using it to effect.
His woman, a silversmith by trade,
shapes her molten metal now
around the hard fact
that fellow ‘comrades’
tied her Shamie to a tree in far off France
and beat his head in with a hammer.
controlling her sway
she pours it on
the tip of
the small of her back
all over his mind
the rose garden
he liked it like that
unbuttoning her blouse
the peek a boo
your love inside me
his eyes devour me
it seems like the ocean knows
the sway of our hips
and if you touch me
a melting candle in June
wouldn’t burn as fast
he left her garden
but not before his warm breath
moistened the soil
his cheek on my cheek
as he unravels my hair
the rain pours harder
white roses and jasmine
on the cusp
of his lips
comparing palm size
their love lines
he found another reason
to kiss her
the grains of beach all over
her string bikini
the summer we picked
under the moonlight
the summits covered
snow colored cashmere melting
she lifts her sweater
In Praise of Khalida Jarrar
“Here is my life, here is my home”, Kalida Jarrar in Palestine
Because you open your mouth to criticise the Israeli Occupation, you must be silenced.
Because you are an elected Palestinian legislator, you must be silenced.
Because you will not move to Jericho, you must be silenced.
Because you challenge the Hebrew place names replacing those of destroyed Palestinian villages, you must be silenced.
Because you will not sign a form, you must be arrested by fifty soldiers.
Because you speak for the seven million Palestinian refugees, you must be silenced.
Because the contents of your myth kitty do not accord with the contents of the Zionist and Christian myth kitties, you must be silenced.
Because you are an affront to the complacence cocooning the Chosen People concept round the globe, you must be silenced.
Because you condemn the on-going Israeli land grab, you must be silenced.
Because you condemn the rape and murder of Palestinian children and the murder of Palestinian teenagers left to bleed to death by the Israeli military, you must be silenced.
Because you speak up for basic human rights, you must be silenced.
Because you are a secularist, leftist Palestinian legislator, you must be silenced.
Because you are a champion of women’s rights, you must be silenced.
Because the Christian west or east, north or south see no interest in you, you will be silenced.
For the way they die each day
there’s not much to be said
a new sun at dawn dances delusions
on old-town walls
where the moss still fulgent
in silent hues of hubris
they offer bread and olives
and lick your palate
with flavor of reminiscence
hands add ointment to your sores
as eyes count the steps to your throne
in a thousand rooms
curiosity, pulling on a leash
curls restless not far from window sills
and she, an immigrant in your streets
trust ambers under one heel scuffing marble
don’t lead her, don’t dream her…
you merged once on a night’s sharp turn
she lost sight in one eye
you met twice and again on a steep slope
she pick- pocketed irony from your scarred mouth
it fed her
and aged her into textured layers of strong
here she dies and here she lives
a little at a time
more than once on the same road
never at foot of stone statues
disparaged, undressed grandeur
The night’s a barren woman here
prey to cul-de sacs
subdued to hierarchical green
undressing summer to its darkest shade
no river flows between her knees
and a lethargic moon has long forgotten
flattery of its cleavage on sidewalks
those wide boulevards
where you tripped on my eyes
wet with a thousand lies
and I sank to your playground
between the litter and quiescent shame
buoy on distorted shimmer
through Oleander blossoms
in squint of an owl’s dream
Seine…a prayer once
when fingertips dipped in a dare
mastered vowels to your doorsteps
a time I wore my face revised
eyes oscillating between your many tongues
now a mere reflection in blue heron’s iris
a twisting shadow cast on rolled grass
adding curb appeal to pretense
nostalgia sticks to my skin
like a skirt riding up in sweat of suburbs
and blame settles next to apologies
sediments in a passé song
reducing summer to between the lines
and you, an ineffable relapse.
I once killed a fox
or believed I did, which was enough.
The cuddly thud
under the wheels on a night road
May have been anything
had I not glimpsed him in the headlights
But I could not find him
searching black asphalt and a black hedge
Was he myth, my personal totem, or
less dead because he could not be found?
Or had I conjured him
out of mindlessness and dreaming
That he emerged fully-formed
for the half-second under the wheels
And was now dust on the wet leaves
or smoke, like breath on the ice-starred air?
I plundered about in a cold silence
until it invaded me. Then
The warm consolation of the car again
the power of its killing, or its ghost
The need to move off quickly
into familiar things, the lights
Of a small town, slow guilt a tumour
swelling in the belly and the heart
I geared the weapon of his death
out of the body of the dark
And drove like a murderer
malignant in my own skin, my fox-face
Assuming the appropriate shape
his bone in my bone.
THE PUBLIC SCRIBES
The public scribes sat at antique school desks in a line
like a fair-ground train outside the Post Office in Algiers
writing personal letters, postcards, official pleas and
arguments for those who queued and could neither read
nor write. In apocalyptic heat they earned each dinar
palmed to them in the greatest respect and in no hurry
plain tongues undumbed in speech made visible
learning the personal, the pettily private sins and pieties
of those who could not decipher a ‘bus destination or find
their way through a city that flowed like a burst dam –
until the muezzin stamped his full-stop in the air. If you
had seen the faces of the disappointed ones tottering
back into the torrent with their dreams and terrors
clamouring in the skull, still unpenned and consequently
without form, you might have wondered, as I did then,
how well the gears of the world would mesh and turn
without the public scribes, their inks and pens put up
for the sake of prayer; and the silence they left behind
rising out of their school-room roosts with the solemnity
of holy men or magi, all sleight-of-hand and mute contempt.
beak over claw
just a show off
the rush to the brain
make a pass at…..
somersault oh the
hot line hen
court me now
I’m learning the art of wabi-sabi
searching for beauty in my broken beliefs
beauty in the oldness of me
like all wounded healers we travel
to find the Golden Fleece to repair
the chinks in our hearts
I’m learning how to illuminate
all my hair-line cracks the negative
thoughts that hold me in the mire
cracked spaces within each
skeleton are scars unfilled
silver nose ring
my halos a
I live to tantrum
little miss awkward
no more goody shoes
my metronome now
I give out hell
my inner devil’s
been here for years
It’s palpable under this smooth sea,
well, over the horizon it is.
There’s a storm on the way,
it’s recognizable over my skin
in this sultry heat it prickles as
flesh waits for a downpour.
The pied wagtail knows it’s coming
frantic on the shoreline the
where are the hooligans
black backed or herring
the fishers the fishers?
Frontal lobes, cerebrum, grey matter
knows it’s coming,
blue to grey to black the sky
inside hearts everyone searches
tentative slow cautious
nothing’s going to shift fast today
only together with this wished for thunder
will we will we we will forget
forget the land of milk and honey
does Shangri-La exist?
now I’m feeling it
the cool ice cool breeze
Thoughts on Sylvia
You liked snowflakes
soft grass smell of children
the essence of you.
Not the other.
People like the tortured soul,
hunt it out from prose and poems
kiss it like death
revere its fame.
Snow in Laois
stuck out bum,
crowned with dreadlocks
cocked to one side.
for the return of colour,
Rise out of the soft,
beat your chest,
in your new coat
“Here I AM”
3D in snow
squat flat hills,
Ann Marie Foley
First they rip variegated ivy
off the raised-bed wall dismantling
wren’s nest, evicting spiders, bees
next they chop down border shrubs
blue and lace-petal hydrangeas
forsythia, wild rose hips and haws
but when they take the axe
to the myrtle tree of Myrtle Cottage
dusty orange bark, purple berries
build a bonfire of branches, flowers
I know it’s time to walk away, never
revisit our home of many years.
It’s not that I don’t want you
to publish my poems.
It’s just that having harped on
about the establishment for so long,
played the maverick, the creative genius
who doesn’t give a shit for public affirmation,
I’m finding it hard to express
my neediness in a cover letter
that begs you to consider my work,
affirms your gatekeeper status
and exposes my bloodied knuckles.
Yours in anticipation etc.
P.S Please find attached, page after page of blank white flags.
I reached out
To find the cloth of his coat in the hall
And took him with me
Into the dead of night
To this place at the edge of the world
The argument continued until morning.
She was sick, she said
Of his ridiculous dreams
And unwashed clothes.
His fucked up attitude.
And unwanted groping of other girls.
Paying his rent
Always. Being. Right.
She needed saving, she said.
A solid brick house
Or fresh air.
A savage song
A new start
A way out.
Of staying warm.
For two whole weeks you stayed away.
You were polite at first,
Then openly and deliberately defiant.
For two weeks,
There were yellowed skies with
Semi hurricane winds
And low spirits.
And as trees felled I roamed my flat
Until three or four in the morning.
I sometimes hovered on the landing too.
With my chipped pink mug of Jack Daniels and Wine.
And I remember I grew so demoralized at one point,
I continuously picked up and put down the phone,
And lit cigarette after cigarette after cigarette.
(I was bitter that you were not the one alone)
By the time you came back, you knew I was ravenous –
I was starved and famished and craving
The lurid stories of your cheap affair
with another man.
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
[ journal entry. may. 20 ]
before breakfast this morning,
before I showered or washed the bitter taste of him out of my mouth,
I flicked the switch on the overhead radio
and raked around for the longest smokeable stub
in the ashtray beside the bed.
and already the day way red hot
and as unpredictable as a landmine
Top of Form
He was clearly his father’s son.
The second (superior) joint,
In the family cut of meat.
Same blue eyes.
Same blonde hair –
Thick with curls,
Framing a face that made me grey at the edges.
He was wilful then.
A lethal concoction, predictable
Retaining the foul impatience of a small boy.
But I was helpless.
And even then,
I knew what it meant.
And what it was it would mean for me.
Was plump dead meat
Inside a white envelope
They pulled you out.
At half past nine
They laid us flat,
And with one neat line
Cut your curtain
And a small battalion of strangers
Worked us both.
Layer by layer
Paper soft tissues gave way
I was stilled,
And felt nothing as they invaded your space.
With borrowed tools,
They broke the border.
And I watched
As they dragged you,
into my world
Where time stood still
And everything was sealed
With your stark, bare bawl.
De Invisible Expert
De Invisible Expert he go
dis way an dat an no
one see he have de answer
Many say dey have de answer
but dey not de Expert man dey fuck tings up
worse dan dey ever were before
In dey offices wid Expert on de door
dey pickin cherries man, dey makin closure
Dey slap a sticker wid de word Closure
on all kind of problem
an de people who have de problem
write dem fat checks an come out
wid a sticker on de mouth
in case dey might say
man but my problem not go way
just cos you slap on a sticker
De Invisible Expert he go
dis way an dat an no one know
he have de answer
cos de mudderfuckin cherry pickers
don’t want he to be de Expert
an dey only expert at slappin stickers
A woman half my height in a laneway’s entrance
smoking a cigarette, face drained of dreams.
And the man we asked for directions said
‘I perfectly understand my own English’.
Only the brown boy slumped over a book
and his plastic cup revealed my whereabouts.
I sit where the Danube understates its passing
and spring’s new leaves are hard to say. And said
before so often, why again? But then
why not another turn about, to go
merry and down, and once more down and merry
in the hard-said spring? Don’t worry that they think
you have wasted your days, those philistines:
a splash of green that hangs in air on the river’s
opposite bank is no small thing; unheeded
it grows among the lives and it will be
again and find an open eye and they
will take it to their hearts eventually.
It is not fortuitous that I introduce
the Horsemen at this stage, for there they were
on Hero Square, flexing their destinies:
to be is to go, to gallop in all
directions. Otherwise they would have been
the men who sit each day outside my grocer’s
shooting the breeze. And nobody is more
shiftless than a Magyar going nowhere,
competing with the weather forecaster,
passing the time of day’s litotes.
But how those heroes passed time galloping
in their mustachioed magnificence,
demanding blood not bread, putting a world
of fear together! And the veins that throbbed
in their horses’ necks and thighs! I can still
hear the clattering of their hooves at night,
you could say they are always on my shoulder.
A taximan tells us taximan jokes,
gesticulates at the lights. If you can’t
say green, take it home with you. Don’t throw stones
at heroes or they’ll bounce and hit you back.
These guys can do without you forever,
unbending as a lover on the chill
with the square jaw you cannot climb when she
shows you her North Face. But let it be clear
that I am more important than you, Magyars:
this may on the face of it seem unlikely,
but you are dead and I still look for answers.
…stricken from out of dead light breath in a broken valves of teeth nothing left to follow onwardly dissipated silenced/ till closure eye redempt of no/ bitter sting foreign lapse space lack devour else what of some mattering besiege a scuttling of dead teeth a toothen absence/ shadowy nocturne/ frozen blue mist beneath an evening’s danse macabre given to expire/ it bitten cold weight settling in bone none of sensed of stricken resolve/ aches as it must in a redeem’s nonchalance till call of cards/ little less to burn of/ an electrical melancholy vibrating yet given to flourish in knotted fingers collage of breath’s resolve restless to become or other than/ it must lest in commence/ we stung eye lie/ bitter some aftertaste a child’s toy eviscerated lack of resolve closed over tearing limb from limb foreign else/ non-speech resolve fuck it forget what premise sudden to expire scattered fingers blossoming into nothing ever/ bitten absences and the divisive tongue cold weight of reckless arbitrary lightless unto pageant unto nothing skulled lest of excremental silences/ solace what/ dead pulse yes what a lie/ some seizure climate breaking forth un-sun laughter- long break tryst absence of sky’s bones as if there/ not we love/ what not we love/ not a trace given to explore where nothing ever is sought or reached/ still said allwhile taste waste expire/ guillotine breath a tomb of sudden demise/ whispers of some slaughterhouse feeling an absence of no further step/ (let it all come down)/ sudden yet of in we alack given from purpose forgotten callous nights lacking any/ in meat we trust/ and of some spiral of warped stone heavenly departed/ pause yes yes to falter from deliverance dried skin and some promise no not a/ close I it/ bit stung from hyenic jaws/ spill of the guts of in-dreaming/ slapped again/ steel/ ripping apart the core of less than matters else non-echo/ direct/ strip away of meat what if eye/ nowhere left to/
…in butcher’s colony/ bereft eye die symbiosis collective none octane given to occult wastage seeds to flow through desert fingers of/ all the broken glass in world will not has not collapse of spasm entity steel collision cracked skull absence dead as a lie/ opening up in worthless pageant clad turning pelts of some redeem cast upon what of it/ blood-rhetoric/ nothing into out of which lapse ocular spent yet never to observe not once/ caved in abortive cheer/ picks bones from teeth redeem’s absenteeism/ drunken coming to some fore or hereafter/ dead scroll and the bite of which indent rolling the tongue around as if to say that it was in or of collapse dead space empty resounding non-if scattering the petals of/ nothing of it nothing ever said or of decline/ what worth no nothing no not a/ bone echoing given to dispel what as if/ abattoir no or other than/ reclaim reclaim/ scattered absently throughout/ valve ice we what/ all sense devoured scuttling what if in out what scourge collapse I-dread/ crack marrow ice blood-red/ lost songs given up to/ some trace of desire sung the corpse-breakage bearer/ intro if or on/ tracing sky wilt a paranoidal skin beckoning what will dies less that of the before or now/ spies with the little eye it echos/ burnt stung a blind sight edge nothing much/ savouring less/ all alack/ syringe-clad night vomiting the sickness dredge to touch skyline’s drift exhale inhale/ unto/ cracked stone wilted fingers lung of it as if to say/ nothing of which to forge/ forage for/ effortlessly devoured/ close the wound as if what wounded eye/ it I-skinned given to un-pulse recollect/ devouring/ shrapnel dust in a collect of no nothing/ some sought/ some nothing…
…if hence then will what from an eye clad circus of devour/ levels then rescinds breaking forth as if of some redeem clotted blood exigency of futile breath/ a seeker’s solace sudden dream of expendable desires ever to eclipted cracking apart design from locked unto severed unto fathomless/ yet neither thrice given unto pace some opulence from out of pitch never to become/ pacing allwhile deserted streets of echoes sudden enough to kill and then recede/ breaking from fever sensed of some subtle eclipse specious known no nothing known/ through breakage point of bedamned lights collectively ripping apart unto nucleus bite/ ever yes in itch an itch for razor silence some earthly kiss of vapour tones all then from birthed-will out it out from reach collision desolately unspoken/ through dense said soil another given collapsed weight broke teeth stun whisper given to expire in lack’s obtruse subtle then to dredge sudden to devour/ all along depth will out what if non-spoken return to obsolete spinal crack will then what as if then of without/ flailing sands of bespoken intricacy of dead speeches long foreign words echoing from said distance/ till uttered once more/ in fugue prayers from deep nothing collapse sky-pelt bind of neither or of closed fist shattered glass/ a breaking of/ piss for blood collapsed design what venture taken only to recede/ till yes or no once more/ not a/ silenteeism in reek of bitter obsolete as said once else given to dreaming-in/ arced tongue/ broken landscapes of desire reduced to dust/ of some ever-held blind-sighted psychosial bleeding out as if to say some final passage pressed upon as wax/ we obsolete/ machinations bled will out from frenzy prison prism reckless shadow/ movement toward none through none instability of deduced bone haven collision/ expel/ wastage to become settled in gilded out breath or simple outrage/ fuck all dignity in final/ where operatic flows null/ what spun not a trace of redeem if as once said that it ever were/ shutter closed snap/ bitter pips to swallow/ approaching beckoned allwhile/ frozen epiphany of dead lights boring a skull of holes I-deathed/ skinned pit in lapse of ever-if/ presence/ presence not a trace of…
Beg, Borrow or Steal
She smells of Paris while I permeate
Pine sol and orange peels. She wears pouty
pink lips, opera gloves and matching heels.
She wants to borrow my husband again
but I’ve lent her eggs, milk and honey, watched
her take the paper and slips of bleeding
hearts from the front walk. She’s in a low-cut
blouse, an even shorter skirt and her breasts
play peek-a-boo in the thin-taut creases
that gather at the pearly open gates
of buttons. I can hear his feet padding
down the white spiral staircase so I slam
the door. I turn and unbutton my brown
flannel shirt, pop open my full support
bra and shimmy out of my high-waisted
jeans down to my tummy-tucking, slightly
yellowed granny underwear. The doorbell
chimes and I fling panties to the dog pile.
I saunter to him slopping side dishes
of cellulite, jiggling scars, and trailing
veins of purple iris. I am moving
like coppery ferns sashaying in wind,
whispering moon-blanched words to a blushing
sun. I spare him the pounding of my heart
and let it beat in –the knotty French door.
(Previously published in Vine Leaves)
A Cat Poem
I’m not some lion-bitch on the loose
without her pride or a tiger burning
forests bright. I’m more domesticated,
a Himalayan house cat, all Persian
with no panache. You on the other hand
are feral as white feathers fluttering
down from skies. You fancy yourself a Tom,
constantly on the prowl for pussy-
cats, ready to pounce, back alley girls
who purr tall-tales and make you frisky.
You rub yourself up against me, curl
your head in my lap and then milk me dry.
You stand there with a cheesy grin, mousy
matted hair brushed beneath the stiff prick
of your ears. You reek of Fuzzy Navals
and there’s caviar kisses on your coat.
I won’t stroke or pet you. I’ll tear up
the sheets, roll them in a ball, and bury
them like a beef bone in the backyard.
I won’t shed tears or call out your name
in a fevered pitch. You may have led me
astray but I’ll land back on my feet.
I may be no glamour-puss and sound
like a sour-puss but I’m no dog!
(Previously published in Kansas City Voices)
Things I keep
Abortions fall from my head, ugly
undeveloped children without legs
or arms to attach to. Some are severed
at the neck, eyeless and free floating
in a bubbling abyss of appendages.
They drop like bombs and I leave them unclaimed
as baggage, untagged and unfit to fly.
I brew miscarriages, send fetal bound
ghosts to a closet where corpses hang
skeletal as racks of thin white dresses.
There’s too many misconceptions around
coat hangers, knitting needles and slippery
elm. I labor to hold what’s inside, scared
if they slip out I’ll be a deadbeat,
a sarcophagus flowing down the Nile.
I leave orphans motherless, fatherless
and godless, embryos littered like trash.
I’m too wrapped up in the stain, the infancy
of things like the tattered fig leaf curling up
at the fringe of something dark and fertile.
P C Vandall
wind stole our words
muffled our ears
our ankles fall
in tandem pacing
kites on the wind
hoping we have
a grip on the string
of words thrust
what they are
until the wind
no longer claims
”The wind will blow
Like the thought of never\the self
Was known before”
Splintering trees bared dangling roots leaves flit dart in mad air domicile vortexes Clawing windows frameless are whirling glass to silica stirring glittering welkin pools
My dissipative candles flicker a flame lonely of light now conflagration ash
Clouds are the moving idols the smoky curtained filaments arc a decimated stage
Light a swaying particled illumination sky in its internal chain with space broken
There is a unexpected sound I thought the ocean gone waves tipped display power
Feathers my touch of reality even in the birds ricocheting off wet salt stones
No I was wrong the last sea passes in chill bleak fish crumbling comets of thrown
Seaweed shadowed sun seen rays salty explosive beams emissioned murmurations
Or that is my seeing my feeling trembling skin of blur in blankness I splutter
Exception of the shafting moon seemingly passing through me lying inverted still
Staring or one eye stares up blinding mystification scars the orb to a celestial circle
Centered with a small banner reading ”Lector of Apocalyptic Utterance”
The other watching the mesmeric world a gusted shifting incubus elegy
Incorporeal storm in simulacrum slivers cuts into itself deeply deeper deep
Into the stuffings of visible vapour of clouds dripping with stormy mania or mould
Electric like Tesla’s spirit explosive lightning of sensorial dazzling flash flashing
Thunder grand tinker of sound thunderbolts rumble thunder continuous over sound
Pitchers of the Giants pouring hail violent frozen swiftness hailstones showering
Great bladders of the clouds soaking reservoir floating tanks of breaking phials rain
Rain the atmosphere stretching moisture through the drops falling I see the inside
Storms Heart a stormy rhythmical dilatation pulsing its breast a organ of passion
Strangely like my own if I could but tear open my chest in a tempest of my own
Roused further into the tumult my agitated attended sight slighted in this viewing
Through slits my body purged cathartic now in slithers through slits I see
Swirling whirling eddied ramparts hurricane and deluge overlaid to all distances
Clang the echoed thunder groaning discharging a strike repeating to horizons
But here is this strange moving of silence against as far as I can not see sullen dark
Hostile engagement of disharmonious perception still abundantly shafting my ear
Through the movement of my tatters wild breeze gone wind not holding me together
I stoop in the loss of natural actuality perimeters tottering the maelstrom outside
Squally tempestuous air in the ambit horizon takes my glance now I appear secure
All a welter of thought nucleus visioning veil falls from my mind parable ‘scenting’
I am somewhat safe maybe left pieces asunder trying to restore the whole desired
Leaning falling through invisible walls tips of my fingernails scratching the deluge
It’s a cave a cavernous den an eye lashed brushed cavity
I fall sleepy absorbed into its iris the great eye of the storm
Descrying a reflection in storms eye the storm