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Poetry

pater noster

February 17, 2020

the supermarket hum follows me home
it is a tough season for produce

inside there is nothing but empty space
to be filled with furniture and lonelineſs

orgasms reach god faster than prayer
scalpels don't rip  birds don't sing

I am beset by wood inspired plank flooring
my head spins because of the variety of veg

my father gives me knives but fails
to ask for payment for he is a mute

and yet it is how men make love  with words
it is with this we'll start the test of taking

my head spins  boys by the hour for rent
run up to me  hasheesh all you can eat

what's my hourly rate daddy
(they want others to struggle like they struggle

i ignore them  instead I dip deep the tip
of my roast beef  it's too late in the day

does the basic dial remind you of good times
does the running machine leak electric onto the track

i get brought down by a girl with a beautiful frown
she puts it in the monster's maw

she leads it out to the mountain
and delivers it there without a word

The Knife Sharpener Comes

January 12, 2020

Can you hear the bell?
Can you hear the bell?
That familiar call,
That familiar knell,
The jangle and swell,
The jingle and drawl?

The knife sharpener
Is at the city wall.

He comes once a month
With his horse and cart.
For the townsfolk he will
Practice his art.

From afar and from near,
From each hut and house,
All the townsfolk will come,
Each son, man, and spouse.

Can you hear the toll?
Can you hear the toll?
That familiar knell,
That familiar call,
The rattle and clang,
The clatter and blare?

The knife sharpener
Is at the city square.

The children run homeward
To chatter at parents.
The mothers wipe aprons
And leave all their errands.

The fathers all gather
All things sharp and pointed
And carry them, singing,
To the place once appointed.

Can you hear the chime?
Can you hear the chime?
That familiar call,
That familiar knell,
The clang and the peal,
The tinkle and groan?

The knife sharpener
Is now wetting his stone.

The townsfolk queue up
And bring to the fore
Blade, carver, and cutter,
Sickle, skewer, and sword,

Dagger, machete, scalpel, and lance,
Ripper, stiletto, and sabre,
Cutlass and scimitar, switchblade and shiv,
Bayonets still attached to persuaders.

Can you hear the cry?
Can you hear the cry?
That familiar knell,
That familiar call,
The holler and wail,
The yell and yelp?

The knife sharpener comes
And no one will help.

First, he sharpens his wits
By braining the brave.
Next, he sends every child
To a cobblestone grave.

Every person he blesses
Fills with his blood
The teeming town square—
A vermilion flood.

Can you hear the howl?
Can you hear the shriek?
That newly born wail
Of the dying meek,
The screams that abate
As the lives are lost?

The knife sharpener
Is thanking his hosts.

He packs up his cart,
On his horse a harness.
In his chest he feels
His old heart's stone hardness.

As he exits the town,
He changes his shape
From a man to a beast,
Hooves show from his cape.

Can you hear the wind?
Did you hear this tale?
The knife sharpener
Is in the next vale.
Don't open the gate,
Pray you save your lives,
And tomorrow and after
Sharpen your knives.

Can you hear the bell?
Can you hear the bell?

after/atwood II

December 17, 2019

Marriage is yet
a house but never a tent

it is after that, and older:

the centre of forests, the centre
of deserts
               the stairs painted white

in the room where we sleep
inside, no popcorn

no glaciers

no pain and no wonder
at having survived even
this far

we are paying for stealing fire

ritual

December 1, 2019

how i still have enough memory
boggles the mind

we move in slow concentric circles
you and I

I drop your head
to write down this line

I order paint trails
for a stuck kermode

I roll the syllables
inside my mouth

your mother dresses up
as black magic

I tumble down the stairs
in a grand flourish

the mind unravels
we obviously all had fathers

but the women were always in charge
what else is new

the madman is rapt

  I am my love quite rare a breed
  dumb as a board but love to read

give me commands upon arrival

the tone of the sky
is a nice fall day

coffin like an amator

November 16, 2019

when horus becomes hours
i fancy myself a locomotive
  five stomachs
  two hearts

while kurds hurl rocks
i sun you
             i rain you

in the afternoon
we refine our tastes
we forgive each other
  my backwash of warm soda
  your undulating peristalsis

                   you feed her
she likes that

                          later
      she'll whisper
      all the answers
in your teeth

                   i must admit
i do so love to spoil the rod
spare the child

house of sin

November 8, 2019

when I was in high school
some classmates and I
built a gingerbread house

we didn't donate to enter
    the contest
instead
at the lunchbreak
we burst into the classroom
    and took part

first
    the snap walls went up
the roof poking its
ey frame steeple
    here we placed
    caramel cornices
there
    licorice doorfames
    and chocolate eaves

as fast as we'd started
we finished
                 the contest won
    and I tasked
    with taking away our creation

as I sat in history
i pondered the windows
    and moving inside
the figures
                at the day's end
                it went into the trash


every decade or so
I close my eyes
    and look into the house we made
past the family photos
past the tapes and eight tracks
past the plastic marlin
past the pickled cabbage

    at first i wonder
which turns out
                       the incorrigible bachelor
                       which the family man
                       which the slacker
                       which the criminal
    which the rapist
                           the doctor
                           the murderer
                           the scoundrel

standing a head taller
than you
             in summer of nineteen
             eighty nine
    which face
    will continue to haunt
as you pass from photo to photo
wall to wall
    the defiant eyes
    you remember so well
                                    the disguise

my schoolmates and I
rarely talk anymore
    one of us becomes a teacher
    two turn to scientists
    another a dentist
and a lab technician

    in this
wood panelled room
it gets hard to remember
            who turns out how
            who becomes whom

midwife crisis

October 13, 2019

fall is arrived


you tell me you're never heard
our house is strewn
with postindustrial artefacts
gold
and animal fur

tonight  you wore the plain
black band watch
from your last longterm man
the thin ring he'd given you
emblazoned with BAD BITCH

behind you
blue koi jump against the stream
bounce off the water
joyfully


at times like these
i remember what holden
has to say about pretending
to be a deafmute
with a deafmute girl
in a cabin all his own

(as far as i'm concerned
it's the best part
of that terrible waste of words

as far as you're concerned
i don't exist
in this discrete moment


on bad days
you rend unto me
an unanswerable catechism

    who taught you how to sweep
    who taught you how to drive
    who taught you how to live
    who taught you how to make the bed
    who taught you how to lie

on good days
when my mind isn't
polluted with fear

    we drink coffee
    we drive nowhere
    we buy produce
    we watch something  and get high
    (a ritual with effective victuals


when we lay us down to sleep
we note the marks of our past occupations
that lower our resale value
that cover our bodies
these dings and scratches
add only more character

                                    then
              the world ends
            when something
happens

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