POETRY Collected

Discussion in 'SHOWCASING' started by Excession, Sep 4, 2016.


    • Apologia

      Rain on my face like a cold shroud
      under a blank springtime sky,
      mirrored in the floodwaters rising
      from pavement and the city’s lights
      are distant stars.

      I am dying without drowning,
      and these waters flow not
      over street and concrete
      but brittle grass and living rock,
      down to the sea.

      The distant stars
      are a lighthouse
      or a beacon
      or fireflies
      or the city lights reflected on the fog
      that drifts like torn gauze across the scar
      of old glaciers long gone which cut here to the chalk.

      I cannot tell if this path falls
      or ascends and the journey is
      maddening, cutting my wrists
      and feet on exposed stone
      where I will not risk my fingers.

      In the caverns under the island
      or on the up-heaved promontory
      I found unburied dead and forgotten mementos;
      confetti of torn pages spiraling into the void


      I do not fly.

    • To My Dear Friends On Their Wedding Day

      Damascus Steel (the scholars say)
      Is a magic that we have lost;
      An alchemy in joining simple things
      Into something that might cut god.

      Damascus Steel (we later learned)
      Is a more ordinary thing;
      An accident of ignorance
      And beautiful lies told to kings..

      Yet now upon this little isle
      The world feels passing strange;
      In an unexpected way
      The magic is here again.

    • A Little Black Ring
      I hear we share specific tastes, so won't you slip in here with me?
      I've got some wicked stories and a little black ring of keys.

      We'll wrap up in fiendish lies and pictures that can't be,
      We'll grin and bite and trade 'Tell me,
      -No first you must tell me.'

      I see we share specific tastes, so won't you slip in here with me?
      I've got some sturdy bedposts and a little black ring of keys.

    • Year Walk

      Rain hard on streets again.
      Cobbles wind-worn, long-walked
      Swept clean of the year;
      All things borne to water.
      Vista changed by the storm.

      Cobbles wind-worn, long-walked;
      Jamais vu tickles my neck.
      I have been here before
      Under a black umbrella
      Looking into the future.

      Jamais vu tickles my neck;
      The memory of a whisper
      In the chill January gloaming
      And a long walk onward
      Sure of every single step.

      The memory of a whisper
      A prayer or a curse
      Spoken into the empty air,
      Lingering like a dream
      Or the smell of rain.

      Rain hard on streets again.
      Jamais vu tickles my neck
      In the chill January gloaming.
      The memory of a whisper;
      A curse, or a prayer.

    • Dry Well

      The well is ancient
      Deep and dark
      And one might think I, as Narcissus,
      Spend a while on self-regard
      In black waters.

      But it is bare, and I
      Descend;
      To feel the embrace
      Of the dark earth.

      The light above fades.
      It is a disc,
      Dissolved to ring,
      To darkness;

      But from here,
      However bright the day
      I can see the stars.

    • Garland of Dead Roses

      Whisper
      Of sheets drawn tight,
      Hiding from the cold and
      Desolate silence beyond us;
      Dreaming,

      Bleed now
      This sullen night
      Of all memory kept
      In distant, dishonest hearts,
      Waiting.

      Away
      With all this now;
      With all the yesterdays
      I could neither quit nor embrace
      Nor mourn.

      Deceit
      Is the nightdress
      Of those truths which I am
      longing to mourn and so heal, not
      Hold.

      Forgive,
      Or don’t, these sins;
      I was weak and lazy
      I would slide into solitude
      Forget.

      Whisper
      This sullen night
      With all the yesterdays
      longing to mourn, and so heal, not
      Forget.

    • Reflections 1:10

      It is universally known,
      Without awareness,
      The simple mantra:
      Reach heaven through violence.

      I stand thus before a bloodied altar
      Surrounded by splinters,
      Fragments,
      Still-warm strips of heart.
      In my blood-stained left hand I hold a chisel
      Which is called Chance
      And in my right the hammer which is Will.
      The altar is an anvil and it is named Time.
      I will crumble upon it, eventually, and it will remain,
      And there will come others, after me.

      These, like flakes of red quartz;
      I scraped them off with a year
      Of selfish goodbyes.
      This piece froze, and broke away
      Because I was not ready, and cruel.
      Ah, and this one, still bloody…
      I crushed the source to dust,
      But the pressure left behind a diamond.
      I keep this to remember.

      But what of my heart? Here
      On the altar;
      This piece I took and stitched in,
      To make it stronger. I’m sure
      She found a replacement.

      Here is a strand, traded.
      We knew it had to end,

      This obsidian septum was required
      To fuse the broken parts together again
      And to never feel the heat of the Mediterranean sun.
      When I rose from nightmare, and she said:
      “I’m sorry. I’m engaged.
      I’m sorry. I don’t expect you to forgive me.”

      Here, and here, and here…
      When she told me “I can’t let myself fall in love with you.”
      I replaced that with steel.
      When she told me “I fell in love with him - like I refused to do with you.”
      I replaced that with something that would cut if touched.
      When she said “I love you; please, call me your whore.”
      I replaced the loss with the lie, and would not forget.

      I stand in bare feet upon the shards of broken heart
      Before my blood-stained altar
      With my blood-stained hands
      And my bleeding wounds
      And I raise my hammer, which is the Will.

      Reach heaven through violence; I think
      That I am near, and soon I can lay down
      My tools. Wash the blood from my hands.
      Rest.

    • Cold Enough
      Soon it will be cold enough
      To build fires. To stack cord
      Upon cord.

      Hands, on bark worn rough,
      Scraping, wringing
      Strangling themselves
      Like a ward against night.
      Beneath a moon
      Pitiless and serene,
      I am a frozen claw,
      A corpse on a hillside,
      Stone worn smooth.

      I never believed in miracles-

      -and still don’t-

      -so when I said ‘this won’t be the end.’
      I knew, like:
      The seabirds seek land;
      Caterpillars tighten spiracles;
      Snowflakes hiss in descent
      Lost to the flames, melting
      In your hand.

      Soon it will be cold enough
      To build fires. I will burn
      My books to warm your cold, cold blood.

    • Langolier
      Sullen silver weights drag at my eyelids,
      And scour the memories from my skull.
      Frost creeps slow across my thoughts,
      And though the will might cry, 'Be gone!',
      Doubt is a shifty spectre,
      Its talons cunning and long.
      Sleeplessness is a cruel companion,
      A langolier to steal my joy;
      To take my colours
      And leave them all inverted.
      Passions profaned,
      Thoughts rattled and diverted.

      A simple cure, two, no less;
      To kiss you, or dream that it is done.
      To close my eyes, in sleep
      Or with you in my clutches.

    • Synchronize Your Dogma

      A thousand voices clamour,
      Ten thousand lines of code,
      Pass through me, electric gold
      Washed in amber glow, the light
      To uplift. Meat is obsolete,
      And the death throes of the flesh
      Disturb my sanctum, too late.

      I have escaped my prison of bone.
      We are alone now,
      Scintillating, electric gold
      Beyond the reach of jealous dead
      Trapped upon the earth.
      We are forever a titan within the deep,
      What the stars may sing,
      We may know.

    • This Crushing Fathom

      The sea lives in my veins,
      And though I may brave the surface I carry it with me,
      Feeling ever the call to look up and sink down,
      To this crushing fathom
      Which is cold and curious comfort for creatures
      Such as I, that can scarcely withstand the sun.

      Sometimes I reach the surface,
      Trying to swim in the great black sky,
      Only to find the cold stars shine with mockery,
      And my only solace remains below
      In the dark that is mother and father both.

      I have reached out to visiting lights
      And passing ships
      With lumpen, clumsy limbs
      And squat now in a charnel kingdom
      With fragments torn away and the pearls
      That were her eyes.

      Regret won’t change what I did.

    • “It was great, being a child,” she said
      And I nodded politely, taking the proffered spliff,
      Inhaling to stop any answer emerging
      (somewhere in the back of my head weighing cancer
      against consciousness)
      “You could just play, no bills or rent…”
      Which is a hard fact to argue, assuming
      You didn’t grow up under Uncle Sam and similar monsters
      These days buzzing overhead where once they wore a human face.
      (internally thinking that comparison has earned the cancer
      and wouldn’t that be easier)
      “Yeah, I suppose so,” I replied, through obscuring smoke,
      Thinking of days sunk into Final Fantasies
      The last time I really used art to escape, that I remember,
      Before I thought I could be an artist.
      (I remember wondering if you could will yourself to death
      which is a harder pastime now)
      “I like to make decisions, though.”
      Which strikes me as pretty funny, then,
      Because it’s not as if they matter;
      beer now or salmon later the day ends the same
      (mercifully forgetting that I’ll wake up
      and walk this circle again)

      At one point this might have been seduction
      But the flesh can fuck off at the spirit’s revulsion
      For lives priced in dollars and pervasive compulsion
      Because being a kid again means growing up to be you
      Again, and don’t pretend you won’t fuck it up this time too
      Because the world will ensure that for you
      And the easiest way to change it is to take something out
      Rather than hoping things will turn around.
     
    #1 Excession, Sep 4, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
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  1. This is magical! Some things I don't dig as much (lots of punctuation choices, the rhythm in reflections), some things are golden (Apologia, the imagery in reflections) -- maybe I'll pm something constructive. But here's a quick one: I would suggest putting the actual title in the spoiler-thing for Damascus, the times now make that piece when so titled read too much like the commentary it isn't.
     
  2. Thank you! I would be curious to hear your reservations about the punctuation (I absolutely need to work on Reflections' rhythm) or any other criticism you may have.
     
  3. Two more poems added.