White Horizon, Tideless Afternoon

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It’s the absence of shadow blue which fails the picture,
awareness drying too fast, without the yearning to quench
and passing on bare, unsated, unaware even of its need.
When Navaho weavers starting making rugs for tourists
the distaff thread—that lone discordant note in the pattern
which allowed the spirit to escape unburdened—was lost,
vanishing into government housing and alcohol abuse,
a reservation’s angled roofs serrating the immense.

Now there’s only sun and shadow, nothing left between:
Even the petroglyphs are fading from their rock, elk and bison
bleaching themselves out, the hunters’ stick figures collapsing
into balls like dead ants, tiny waves without any sprawl left,
no longer greeting their ghost kills or even waving goodbye,
patternless stains in the overhanging whose blue shadow
cannot comfort or assuage the lingering assault of light.

It’s what becomes of presence in this vanishing age
and would be terrifying if anyone paused to notice.
It’s not that we cannot see the erasings, it’s just that ghosts
aren’t on the dropdown menus which decide where we look.
Between those links to someone’s fortune there is this:
Would you have the land of shadow so literally dead
not even an abyss distinguishes the one and zero?

Observe the island oasis of a wet nipple dimly lit,
the infant’s mouth half open as he deeply sleeps.
White curtains billow next to a half-opened window,
their soft calm breathing weaving white and shadow
from lungs we can’t see but are. And the ocean down
from the house in midafternoon is blue then green
then darkening, there at the horizon where heaven
anneals earth with stormclouds tall and steelblue
grey and darker underneath where long mists trail.

The fretful shadows of the maker’s overlit hand
were lost when we burned all yearning for the page.
Leaving us this fretful immediacy, this metastasizing
now, a immense vacant reservation bent on whiting
itself out. The myth was lost when we lost forgot the words,
the mouth’s soundhole sealing out the shadow tones.
Our voices now like surf when the window closes,
a ghostly murmur, like sleep without a dream.

Come nightfall none of this will find the minor key
and what’s walking into water won’t look back.
Leaving us tomorrows without seam or sea,
the horizon too brilliant now for what made
the nipple so perfect. Anointing the soft breeze.
Its milk night infinite. So darkly blue & gleaming.

August 2016

Note

In his essay “Alchemical Blue”—a writing which has colored my poetry since I first read it 20 years ago—James Hillman writes about Cezanne, first quoting Kurt Badt’s The Art of Cezanne: “When he was composing, only a visionary’s or a poet’s imaginative conception … could e of help to him. It was impossible to start out from an isolated real thing seen.”

Hillman continues: “He based his painting on ‘shadow paths and contours’ out of which ‘real things’ emerged as local high points. The imaginative conception, the visionary shadow, originates and supports the real thing seen in nature. “

Badt again: “The deepest color in Cezanne’s paintings, the one which supports the composition and is most appropriate for shadows, is blue … When (Cezanne) used blue in this way, he transcended any special connotation which had attached to its former uses. Blue was now recognized as belonging to a deeper level of existence. It expressed the essence of things and … placed them in a position of unattainable remoteness.”

Hillman: “The blue shadow is the imaginal ground that allows the eye to see imaginatively, the event as image, creating at the same time a remoteness from real things.”

Uniform Edition of the Writings of James Hillman, Volume 5: Alchemical Psychology, Spring Publications, 2010.

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Downbrain Lane

lonely neighborhood

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A neighborhood behind here, long abandoned, forgotten
until I dreamed it: Its winter afternoon ending too soon,
the light almost heavy as I inventoried empty houses,
each in such despair of disrepair there was no hope
of going home. Leafless trees armed up through collapsing
roofs, corner masonries were crumbling out, boarded windows
stared like dead eyes and the porches’ welcome was lost
from both sides of the padlocked darkened doors.
It was like walking back down the brainstem, my motions
dulling and clumsy as I numbly tried to pencil addresses
on a notepad until I forgot how to write. With cold dark
approaching like a rising water, I tried to take pictures
with my phone, but what was that silver gadget in my hand?
A flip phone from ten years ago I couldn’t now figure out.
The poster from “Endless Summer” on its home screen
the only brightness now, a little stamp of beachside happiness
flickering and lonely as night snow began its steady fall.
Icy water everywhere, freezing this far South. I wake
to write arch sorrow, droppering blue on every flake,
covering dead suburbia with this silent frozen lake.

August 2016

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The Ghosts of Mystery

miami beach sunrise

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The destructive blue and the white belong to the same fire.

— James Hillman, “Alchemical Blue”

 

If alchemy turns memory into soul
then what is that pool at about this hour
thirty years ago, its morning much like today’s,
waxing into the same late-August exhaustion,
breezy and a note or two cooler which after
the hottest July ever comes as pool-like relief—
a dying-time, if there still is a thing, decades
after my lonely well-thumbed tome of drunks:

If history is the memory of alchemy,
a ripe bud drunk now with the bursting
from the sap of so many rifled tombs
then the 6 a.m. of that pool was emptying blue,
the cobalt jolt of its late night dimming into air
around us with the whitening of a dying night,
that drying evanescence which is pure smack
to a dying heart…The two of us are naked,
very drunk and swaying in our separate blackouts
after all the booze & pot & speed & driving,
arriving finally at somebody’s house and fucking
on a couch, come to the end of all nights
—what was hoped for, anyway, in the alcoholic myth—
in a flippant crash of oiled come: And now this,
what, post-pagan baptismal at the hour after desire,
when black mordents silver every ached-for depth
into the shallow grave I feared and slept all day:

If myth is memory dreaming truth, there becomes
a point to this in the wrack of time which followed:
If my reading is sure, I get that: And poetry threads
the bulb sublime along the same track as whiskey’s
annihilating rounds, but turns the work’s albedo,
a black thought reversing, bluing toward the flame-tip’s
white which lamps the page with lines of meaning’s hue:
But if reading itself has drowned, subsumed into
a culture gone dead five or ten years ago—the last
book read carried out with the tide—then this tale
is fucked as concerns any mythological instruction
these past three decades and ten thousand wells:

If myth is just a rotten relic of the turning mind
we tossed into the wave—extinguishing thought’s power—
then that pool is just an undeserved exit from self
into a wonder I only recall the aesthetic glory of,
a blue steel frame for a noir crime thriller where
the sated gumshoe leaves the rumpled dame
naked in a pool to drive back to his beachside
apartment whistling “Misty,” dawn blue ocean air
pouring over his convertible black Delta 88:
A long shot, that’s all, heaped on after all the others,
the narrowest angle of the widest view
the way a 20-something proverbial dick in the rain
outlived his beachside soundtrack of blue saxophones
fading with everything else beyond first light:

If memory is a corrupting silo of discordant meanings—
no more the vault of ripened, volupt things—
then there’s nothing to appreciate here; it’s just
another lousy night of drinking, zero’s empty sum,
adding nothing to what history once could teach,
entrancing even less the productions of history one
might harvest from the cache of poems dreamed by memory,
crammed now in a folder on a laptop and glub-glub-
glubbing down a spiral trail of bluewhite bubbles
while the nameless woman with the draught of curves
steps now around it, fleeing the very notion of divine blue,
heading for the steps at the shallow end too long ago:
It’s memory cursed by speed & Journey & crossed
by history’s defeat, walking past a defining ritual
as blindly as one would a homeless heap of flesh
collapsed and snoring next to the bank’s front door:

And if the soft wet winds which stress today’s trees
are without beginning or end—a feed, if you will,
sounding like time wheezing out its last balloon—
then blue is just what leeched first from the picture
when stepping out she turned her head to gaze at me
with shark-eyes so flat and black and white,
defiant of reflection much less meaning,
a gaze which spells catastrophe today, the ruin
not of cheap gin and some babe’s brokering ten
minutes of hand- and blowjob then straight fucking
for the final emptying choiring squeeze which
thrilled one fleeting thought of endless love,
washed off and forgotten in someone’s pool,
a tub too easily emptied in the mind’s erasure:

But worse the ruin of history itself, for if mystery
and myth have no use; if misery is “Misty”
in a long shot of someone’s driving home
where shore waves and condos both conspire
to make the fade-out seem like a granted mercy;
not really a boon, but a postmodern coup-de-grace—
a ghostly machine finally ghosting itself,
no longer possessing the ability to baptize
so much meaningless conveyance into song:

Then blue’s just the soak of self-forgetting dreams
and memory is spilled wine, a poured-out recit
and poetry is mute yearning lapping at beach white
and history’s a breeze fingering the last stops of night,

playing “Misty” soft and slowly for the ghosts of mystery.

August 2016

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Submitted to the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

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Filed under Alchemies, All the Dumb Dudes, Big Night Music, Blue, Devotions, Jazz, Matins, Mystery, Night Moves, Noir, On the Road, Oran, White

Susie Q The Weather Bird

weather desk

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Susie Q is a transgender second generation
immigrant from the Ivory Coast who works
the night shift at the Weather Channel.
After graduating summa cum laude in ethnic
studies from Cal State, Susie found herself
too deep in debt to afford her lifelong dream
of studying the shaman-songs of the Inuit
in the Northwest Territories. So instead she

started making YouTube videos, singing
poetry about transgender love in Salinas
where she lived with her parents.  Susie
became a viral sensation, the wounded
wunderbust of a gaining generation. There
was something about the massa confusa
of the vids—a chaos of nations, tenors & sexes,
strobed by her tattoo of a look and rendered
in that birdlike chirp—that caught the notice

of an IBM marketing exec who thought
Susie had just what they needed at their
new acquisition The Weather Channel:
timely pizzazz to hotbutter stale meat,
a firebird for climate change’s sure defeat.
The rest is just meteorology, the kind of
forecasting any Jack or Jill or Jillyjack
can do, backed by a bank of silent Watsons
housed in a datafarm in rural Virginia.

Nights Susie Q now spiels the forecast from
a desk that serves as her tripod, gleaming
silver with bordershots of pure noir,
invoking with her strangely-inflected
cheepy she-brogue portents to come—
melt in the Rockies, record heat in Rockford,
a hellbent derricho sprinting from Rochester
to Rockaway Beach. Susie’s eyes on TV
at 2 a.m. seem almost Eygptian, mascara roping
her eyes, the faintest burr of moustache
above a thick scarlet black beak of a lip
which curls, almost fatally, round the
words, so that Temperature and Humidity
sear and score and scar the sleepless
denizens of America with dreams of
the future which burn true enough.

Projected through Susie Q, weather becomes
the witchy ley-lines of the world’s melting yoke.
It’s just a gig, Susie knows, and at the rate
they now pay—digital scale, almost nothing
with benefits—she’ll have to hoe this row
for a long while before she can pay everything
off and head for Alaska; much longer than Watson
has use for any of us any more. Even now,
the computers  are banking every dot
of her late-night visage, slowly feathering
the big-data imago which will one night stand up
and commence cooing like Susie the Q Sibyl.
Yesterday’s weather news, meet 2.0 cool.

Look at her standing at the green-screen at 4 a.m.,
mimicking our human mastery over nature
like the little bird who laughed at the twister.
You almost sigh watching how perfectly her
every move disrupts: That primal glee stealing fire,
turning torches to stelae to alogrithms
with knowing sweeps of the hand, tracing
bands of low pressure and drawing out
the cupped calibrations of how much rain when.

Travelers beware of Rock Springs where
the stars are all falling, lovers by all means
try those dazzling fake sands they’ve poured
in Baton Rouge before Hurricane Karl
hammers through. That’s Susie’s real name,
you know, the one her parents cursed her with,
believing their adopted home in Salinas needed
another dick to fuck and fix cars. Susie was

born like a feather snapped almost immediately
by the wind, carried into the future on a song
in a pitch no one hears any more, not even
dogs late at night.  But that’s not what cable TV
is meant for these days, its vast empty desert
of channels on a galactic remote, meant
to stifle our yawns with it burning red rag.

Record heat in Roseville. Twisters in Rolla.
Listen to Susie Q oracle our dooms.
The Rahway River cresting over the town,
Riviera Beach claimed back by the sea.
After a commercial she’ll fly us right there,
nesting tomorrows with our burning hair.

August 2016

 

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Caer Bran

bouncing ball IMG_9546 copy

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The change came over us slowly, in a way,
generation after generation receding from
one way of knowing how to think into
this almost-obsequious cancer of defiance,
free to snowball naughts into nothing at all.

In another way, change came so fast its tide
out-ripped the waves, tearing us so loose
that we flailed for backwards meanings
which had fully ebbed away, leaving us
this aping worship of ghost demons
where god is brand and past is oracle.

The disconnect between the two is
the mindfuck of the age, one side as devout
as the other to its rout: The id as algorithm,
deciding what our voice bubbles say.
A force so strong it feels like truth itself,
perfect and divine and so absolute
there’s no point in questioning the cleff
which locked us in its key without a depth.

In the dream I tried to get some child
a library card in time before the place
closed for the night. He had only
five minutes to find something book enough
to quench his parched pale thought.
Too late, I thought, cursing my means
of getting around to helping him so late.
All the patrons were walking out,
the librarians impatient to close up.

Yet in the way of dreams and accidents,
the last moments ballooned into
some massive bold proscenium where
the undersides revealed themselves
rich with cables and tethers and wheels.
All that moves exactly what confusion stills.

Nothing’s lost I thought as I woke up.
It takes a killing split to reveal true seams.
I got back to work at naming things,
this wound of ghosted piers and Fisher Kings.

August 2016

Note
Caer Bran or Corbenic, the Grail Castle in which the mythological Fisher King resides. The foundations the 11th century Voyage of St. Brendan were laid in the pre-Christian Voyage of Bran the Blessed.

Submitted to Real Toads Tuesday Platform

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The Sibyl of Mar-A-Lago

trump mar a lago

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Just because you think you know all about us
means nothing the thousands of us standing here
before the oracle in the pinstripe suit and baseball cap,
his hair askew in the breeze and eyes squinting
as if to drill straight through the marrow of our rage:
You cannot begin to close that mouth whose yesterdays
are more powerful than Viagra or smack, more true
the more we board his promised backward-burning cart.
Speeding into whiteout with the man who powers things,
Rapture and oblivion because my heart is what he sings.

July 2016

Submitted to Real Toads’ Because It Is My Heart challenge

Note

The appeal of the no-holds-barred populist is messianic in one sense (if you take Roger Ailes’ head on a plate to correlate to that of John the Baptist—sexual fire engendering political ones). But the grip of the pretender on the minds of his followers is also oracular—he says what everyone thinks! According to Julian Jaynes, that power is archaic and represents to collapse of consciousness and reversion to the old cognitive order of god and man. He writes,

After the collapse of the bicameral mind, the world is still in a sense governed by gods, by statements and laws and prescriptions carved on stelae or written on papyrus or remembered by old men, and dating back to bicameral times. But the dissonance is there. Why are the gods no longer heard and seen? The Psalms cry out for answers. And more assurances are needed than the relics of history or the paid insistences of priests. Something plausible, something direct, something immediate! Some sensible assurance that we are not alone, that the gods are just silent, not dead, that behind all this hesitant subjective groping for signs of certainty, there is a certainty to be had.

Thus, as the slow withdrawing tide of divine voices and presences strands more and more of each population on the sands of subjective uncertainties, the variety of technique by which man attempts to make contact with his lost ocean of authority becomes extended. Prophets, poets, oracles, diviners, statue cults, mediums, astrologers, Ojija boards, popes, and peyote all are the residue of bicamerality tha was progressively narrowed down as uncertainties piled upon uncertainties. (The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, 320)

In our generation, the ones raised on the Boob Tube and then kicked out of our minds by the Internet, the only solace of that golden age is in reruns of The Honemooners and reality TV shows where white bling trumps everything. The torrid upward spike of our speeding age—outstripping time and knowledge and any human capability for containing our technology—may simply Tarot the Fool we are. Is the only salvation from futurity a backwards collapse?

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gm5xOOz

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Wishing You Were Here

balmy

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Such a swaying place! Blue depths divine,
beaches white as chardonnay
and these bikini girls walking wine!
Wishing you were here to bray
let’s have ourselves some fun today!
Instead you’re ever always only dead,
one hand gripping the bottle’s neck,
the other groping up a tit remote.
Distilling every night your Northern grave,
all that burning  grievance human smoke.
Wishing I was anywhere but there
sitting at this bar down by the beach
with all of heaven that far from reach
a shot in one hand and in the other this beer,
with so much water darker everywhere.
Hello smokin’ barmaids! Coldest nights adieu!
I’m a postcard from the next whiskey,
curling all the edges that you burn in me.

July 2016

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Saw Duet, Summer 2016

downtown burning IMG_5975 copy

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I .  M A I N  S T R E E T  B U R N I N G

Now we think it matters, and only because
so many forgotten citizens are so furious.
The silent majority, outsourced and disrupted,
the old ideals woven in the tattered flag
now trampled by rude incoming feet.

They’re mad enough to burn our town
believing no one hears their grievance.
Someone gave them fuel—permission,
audience, a smarmy, sympathetic arm—
and though they know its toxic to their words
the rage feels fresh and young and powerful,
plan A forever rising stout and proud again.
Taking selfies of revolt and Facebooking them.

If you had a choice of taking Oxycontin for shame
and Viagra for the wood, which witchery
would you take in lieu of growing up?
And since we’re lowering that bar,
why choose? We’ve always loved the
old beer commercial about having it all,
the pinstripe foil round rock ’n’ roll,
country charm bull-rocking urban soil.

We’re dying of the myth that wasn’t,
salvation rendered in commercials,
true love a ditty on the radio, wedged
between Rush Limbaugh and Don Mealy Ford.
The second-to-third drink golden moment
the alkies grieve for at Irene’s all day.

And all of that puerile sort of petulance
stolen, like the rhythm and the blues
for white approximations minus black
wooing like the Ink Spots without the stain.
America the white, the great again,
purged and burnt and gutted free.
Politically correct the bully code for
leave my noxious shit alone.

Stealing from the ghetto that single art
of fury. Burning it over into a Middle
American rage, hanging all the foreigners
and dumping in the fire the failed elites
and cronies of our tired failed days.
So goes the vengeance of the Dream.

That swinging, blackened body
hacked of genitals and tongue
remits the half we never owned
and cannot by reversals be won.
The ghostly filament that flickers
having shorted every bulb in town.

American’s broken middle finger
crooked from crabbing for dingleberries
in the furred funk of money’s arse.
No matter how many nooses swing
there’s no getting back our rifled purse.

There’s nothing greyer than the blues we sing.
Whiting in a winter which will not make spring.

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I I .  B E L I E V I N G

And so we bargained all our deals away.
Spent the last vapors on the flicker’s gleam.
Now the misery of hard times forever
soots the region from its baleful flue.

It’s weird how everything looks the same
in a world of smithereens. Still Florida
albeit hotter with nightfall curtaining the city
with thunder and scattered gunfire. Sleep
is a swaying hammock black dreams leap at
up from churning waters with jaws wide.

Long lines for gas and water and whatever
hasn’t been sold first by black marketers—
Yams and toothpaste and bad cheese.
You and I without our cats now
and the yard so overgrown because
who should bother mowing any more.

Snakes and armadillos swishing out there,
starving coyotes even by day. Et cetera.
Two weeks without power and it’s August,
the swelter chasing us to inward rooms
cool only in the sense they’re nothing,
annihilate of sense. That I guess is enduring
for a few more summer days. Without
the Internet our minds became grey bulbs.

Still, there’s a moment every day when
we touch hands just for a fleeting second
and some ghost of a smile haunts your face.
That’s what enduring means. One second
of remembered love to last all day.

Some beliefs are  like this. The last food scraped
from the can before that empty sound.
The next heavy sandbag piled up against tide
with two bad shoulders and this infected foot,
praying it will somehow still be enough.

Maybe grateful tomorrow morning. Maybe still believing.
The days always longer. Wishing for yesterdays
is just as bad as believing things will right
themselves, like magic ships. I wish I had more guns.

I wish the fucking Dream would wash itself away,
carried downstream in the remains of this house,
this faith in rising suns. Let us pray for rains
to cool this down. For belief to blow our brains.

July 2016

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abandoned saw

Submitted to Real Toads Tuesday Platform

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The God of the Sea and The Ghost of the Saint

 

iona storm cloud

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A chalice used by the Iona abbey is broken. It is taken by one of the monks to the sea-god Manannan, who magically restores the chalice by blowing on it. He sends it back to Columba with a question: would he achieve Christian immortality? “Alas,” says the ungrateful saint, “there is no forgiveness for a man who does such works as this!” The message is returned to Manannan, who breaks out into an indignant lament. “Woe is me, Mannan-mac Lir! For years I’ve helped the Catholics of Ireland, but I’ll do it no more, till they’re weak as water. I’ll go to the gray waves in the Highlands of Scotland.” — Fiona MacLeod, Iona

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How many moonyear-tides have I waited to return?
The Christians never did get tired of whiting themselves,
the eternal toy hugged forever in their corner of the room.
I was growing in danger of my own doom, no wave
close or high or booming enough to prevent lapsing,
my temple dimming deeper on this mount of silt.

I thought the saint might yet be served—yes, saved—
beckoned from the purgatory of a thousand votive lights.
So I handed the chalice to the fish-girl and told her
to give it to him. Up she sashayed from the sea past midnight
like a whisper of the gale: But Iona by then was just
a tourist trap, with glow-in-the-dark crucifixes for sale
next to Ye Olde walking maps. The Catholic disease,
apostolic now of the pound. There wasn’t anyone
for her even query at that hour, the rebuilt abbey
stout and proud and silent on its ruins, the
graveyard filled with broken headstones. When
she failed to see the moonlight in the chalice
she folded her fish eyes and sighed back into the wave.

This was going to be harder than I imagined;
what had really transpired while I was gone?
Even the deepsea Highlands was a ghost town,
scoured clean by steel-meshed nets, big fish
killed off for lack of prey, the narwhals impaling
each other maddened by the sonic booms of Naval ships.
Where the roar of Odin in a propeller’s silver whine?

And so I sent my underboss Oran, his infernal yap
brimming with sea-trash and missals, the keep
of tales long lost below. To him he’d only been gone
three nights—a short row to the Land Beneath the Wave
and back—but to see him walk up from the water
there at noon among gaggles of fat Germans and
menopausal concubines of the New Age
was like costuming a curse in the casing of a wurst
plopped into a steaming bun with mustard squirt.

With only the ban of Columba—mud! mud back over
Oran’s mouth lest he blab no more
!—still
familiar somewhere in the crowd, but only to the
fisherman’s great-grandson, sent a-wailing
from the dock. To everyone else he was just a fly
in the tourist ointment everyone came lathered in.
What’s the use of periscopes when surfaces have
all turned to milk? Oran too turned back,
revealing the budding dragon wings and wrack
of harpoons hurled his way excoriating ghouls.
The delicate Scots head and then water everywhere.

Finally I myself had to go, disguising myself
in a sealcoat over which I masked my face in morrows.
Parting the ocean like a woman’s thighs,
gently as a leaping porpoise clears the wave.
No one took notice my salt divinity, much less
enquired about the chalice in my webbed grip.

I walked the island all day dripping the old Hebrides
gestalt, with nary a saint in sight—as if holiness
had become the sand they had mixed in asphalt,
paving over the Road of Souls too long ago.
Finally I ended up on Dun Mannanan where three
kids were dowsing with cellphones playing Pokemon Go,
angry at the lack of any local urbs to appease
their gaming’s gods. None of them saw the hillfort
or my standing stones the later monks had pushed
into the sea. Much less the lord of this mount of water.
Myth is just more fakery to the likes of them,
last year’s selkie in her box beneath the dream.

I left them to their drizzle and turned for home.
No surprise it too was gone, just a gray void of
parchment unfilled by the last copyist’s hand,
the sound of the bells in first abbey echoed
sadly by the mooing of the last cow on the island
boarded for the Oban ferry a hundred hearts ago.

I found the saint at last down at the northern shore,
waiting as he had for the past thousand years
for my return. We stood there together by the water
listening to the cries of gulls against the wind,
feeling the waves pound so hard against the rock
their thunder makes you feel the end of prayer.
Columba said nothing as I handed him the chalice
and we both walked away—he back down the Road
of Souls to the abbey graveyard, me back in
the mazy sea’s marauding blank resound
taking the tale to leagues yet farther down
perhaps never again in thought to be found.

July 2016

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Iona Fingal's Cave

Submitted to Kerry’s Gods in Nature challenge, as part of Play It Again, Toads

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The Second Sight

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The first sight supplies us with the vista
of the known, house and oak and stone
and field, two hands on the mowing scythe
and the hawk scooting its comma overhead.
The page of ink, fenced in deathly white.
The second sight disturbs this tableaux
so that yesterday is tomorrow and ever after
an earth of winged cries. The page on fire,
the mind encircling heaven with its smoke.

If ships have bows and sterns, the second sight
contumes distance into docks and shores
without a sea. It is the glint of destiny
in a blind woman’s eyes, the shadow
of a hawk over a child walking by.
The vertigo of dreaming that is not,
nailed by the knowledge of that which is
but cannot be. A well become the
drowned hill-fort bellied by whales.

Somber Kenneth walked Fairies’ Hill
one day in the seventeenth century
and saw chains—an extraordinary weave
of iron links, like ogham script—
enlacing all the fairies in. How could he
know the hill would be turned into
a cemetery two centuries hence?
Or that the hawk that flew over
at the moment of his sight would
screech, louder than any bell,
signaling the end of living dead?

What Kenneth saw was not the truth.
Nothing so somber. Second sight
was never that. Seeing with eyes
beneath the water of the dream
casts the view with a cockeyed gaze,
the peak and crags of Fairies’ Hill
become wine spilled from a lost grail,
the stain which we rubbed clean
with maps and clocks and books.

It is the hawk’s eye—arrowing, prescient,
bone-splinter sharp—that the Sight provides,
flying far below the known world we see
from the tin periscope called waking. Somber
Kenneth saw the Fairies dead inside
that woven wall the later world called fence.

What his Sight would not provide
was the despair of staying dead two
hundred years. How it would ruin
the Fairies’ tune, turning their
laughter into that lead which sinks
graveyards to a leaden empty chill.

How does one see the ghost of graveyards?
And what became of second sight?
We’ll have to leave that to the hawk
now arcing overhead, shadowing
the full moon just long enough
to blind one eye that much—just
a daub of witchlight—the fleeting
shadow of dark knowledge. For an
instant you almost heard stones singing.
Not enough to lift the dead to view
from what Kenneth was only dreaming.

You should see the condos
they’re building up on Fairy Hill.

July 2016

space

hawk and moon

Submitted to Real Toads’ Animal Familiars challenge

and D’Verse Poets’ Open Link Night 176

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Filed under Big Night Music, Boning the Ghoul, Feral animals of the soul, Folklore, Forest Shenanagans, Ghost Towns, Immrama, Infernos, Night Moves, Oran, Paleolithics, The Dead, The Future, Writing to The Dead