A Desiccated Heart
A desiccated heart
The tool of the patriarchy
Bringing down symbols in the trees
Text messages in the reliquary
Bringing down the gates
Cracking the iron bands
The heart a ghostly rose
Trembling in the temple
Of the black demon
Amid the carnage
Sated on the hill
Carrion beasts in full repose
A sputter of movement
Arose flapping wings
You spent your whole life absent
Alone in your chair facing the void
I chiseled our initials
On the hangman’s tree
A well centered in a dead wood
Where ravens come to peck the eyes
Of the children floating in the tepid waters
The Wraith of Road 348
3 miles down
Under the lightning split elm
Flapping the breeze
The wraith of Road 348
The Chugging Machine
The chugging machine
Sulfur and smoke
The building rose
Phantom scented seraphim
Bringing Truth to modernity
A Raven’s Cry
A raven’s cry
The clay bricks
Baked in the sun
Reclaimed by nature
Destroyed but replaced
Mineralized as fossil
A white steam frothing
A rose in the bowl
Of bubbling acid
Tearing away your breath
Twilight in Washington
When she feels the churning green glow of the
Hardening voices. She escapes into
The hard binding of her books. She had read
All of the books about vampires who
Fall in love with girls. Now, she has begun
To read about werewolves who fall in love
With girls. Next she will read about mummies
Who fall in love with girls. Then, ghosts who fall
In love with girls. Then, Frankensteins who fall
In love with girls. She was fifteen when she
Broke his corrupt hands and began to slip
From one man to another. Pulled to these
Books to see children rioting in beauty
To see things she had always never had.
The Twilight of the Vampire Mopeds
You won’t have to change the tires or fill
Up the gasoline. Just a few drops of
Blood and you will be racing down the street
Impressing your friends and getting chores done
Lickety-split. Just like Bella climb on
Edward’s back and race down the streets in a
Blur just above two hundred miles per
Hour. With a jab to the ribs, he will
Leap to a nearby stand of trees and flit across
The tops. Slice open a vein and pay for
The wide open American culture
Of vehicular freedom. All very
Reminiscent of The Little Shop of
Horrors that is the Texaco station.
Approaching Baba Yaga
The bright lights of the stadium lit the
Field leaching everything into shades of
Grey stretching long shadows from the cars
In the gravel lot like the pulling out
And across of the utility knife
To serpentine over the guide line. The
Family walked the paved path along the
Thicket of brush toward the shadow of night.
What could they want out there in the darkness
Beyond the bushes in the mist over
The creek where the mosquitoes bite twice as
Thick and the shadows hold whispers? Is it
The woman in the woods and the house on
Stilts? And do they know her terrible price?
El Cucuy into the Dark
Did you see the light outside the window?
Was there a man in the street wearing a
Black hood with an evil light behind his
Eyes, little one? Did you see him? He had
A flaming censor hanging from a pole
Hooked like Death’s scythe. Don’t look out the window.
He has already faded into night.
But if you must, do you see the neighbor’s
Roof? Do you see that small shape in the dark?
You can almost make out the eyes of the
Owl, blank like two holes in a skull. El
Coco, Cucuy. The disembodied
Head. He is watching, my son. Licking his
Bony chops. Have you been good? Yes, I hope.
The Curse of Old Raw Head
Black and white headed goose sliding slowly
Across the pond, is there mourning in your
Call? Why do you linger so long in the
Stagnant waters near the abandoned farm?
Where is your flock? Did they venture too close
To the marshy end where the old dock stands
Mostly sunken and half hidden in the
Muck and swamp grass? Did you fix your stare through
The gaps of the warped slats to the shadows
Under the dock at the dripping pile
Of bones? You were the one, weren’t you? The
One to hear the slosh and suck of his steps.
Did you see the fates in his dead black eyes,
Or just the dripping maw of old Raw Head?
The Roentgen Effect
In the red light of the basement dark room,
I have seen Death dancing. A dim specter
In the dark. A shadow skeleton that
Might not be there. Arms outstretched motioning
Me forward. He has shown me photographs
Floating in the chemical vats. Floating
An accident of exposure. Floating
An artifact of suffering. Of black
Limbs solidified in among the white
Trees of an early snow and short sleeves. Drifts
Piled upon the autumn leaves. Weakened.
Unprepared. My son and I chasing that last
Bit of beautiful weather with a small
Burned out fire and Death dancing us on.
The Specter of the Nue
Thin wisps of black smoke lay low in the fields.
They disperse almost as quickly as they
Formed. Their haze in the tall grass that has gone
To seed. The smoke gathers thickest in the
Brown grasses that eventually die back
To black spots of earth bare like life in the
Old house with the odd shingles hanging loose
From long years of wind. She couldn’t help him
Or leave him now. But she can watch from her
Perch in the branches of the unkempt wood
Abutting the old property. She could
Float through the weeds and up out of the ground.
She could watch and choke him with her fumes. Cursed
To make him suffer for the love she holds.
Death and the Black Dog
That last night, as I walked miles from my
Broken car with a blister stinging on
My left foot, a dog mourned a lonesome howl
Into the darkness of the shard of moon.
He sniffed along the gravel shoulder of
The old country highway. His dark fur could
Hardly be seen in the distance except
From the corner of my eye. But the faint
Green light of his stare so much like the light
That often woke me puddled in sweat. His
Presence brought a chill. Or was it the cold
Wetness of the wind through the roadside pine?
And the vision of a man watching from
The woods, and my blood warming his wet hands?
Enjambment of Pesta the Princess of the Plague
Nature is a woman standing outside
An open window blowing the breeze through.
Do you think her life does not extend through
The screen? Do you think she is just broken
Off to begin again on the next line
Sterilized by your four walls? But you know
She will come through and when she does, will she
Come upon her cart with rake to gather
The dead like so many leaves of fall to
Leave the few to escape the tines or with
A broom to sweep them all like dust gathered
On the floor of an empty tomb. You know
Life brings plague on the wind and none escape
Life alive. But you want to be the first.
The Bargain With Death
The queer light of sunset lit the old man’s
Face lighting his eyes with blood and fire.
The neighborhood dogs were howling in the
Distance with the old man at the front door.
He let in his neighbor and closed the door.
Breathing heavy, he nearly fell against
The wall one hand on his stomach and the
Other still grasped on the knob. The neighbor
Put an arm around him to help him to
A chair, and the hound in the corner moaned
Out a soft howl in his fitful sleep.
The old man lifted his hand from his shirt
To show a small spot of red spreading on
His button down shirt. The old man said, I
Told you about this scar the night I sat
With your wife all those years ago. I know
That you always questioned how I could know
The exact night to comfort her passing.
Tonight, I have seen the visions again.
The Barguest is coming to finish what
He started in the old grave yard in my
Youth. Will you return the favor I gave
Your wife? Sit and lend comfort, and don’t stare
Into the beast’s eyes when he breaks through the
Door. The neighborhood dogs continued to
Howl, and the old man’s dog fidgeted
And growled in his sleep. And the darkness was
Choking out all the light through window.
The Dark Imagery
And they walked through the rising vapor of
The creek below the bridge where mosquitoes
Work the keyboards to generate the text
Of my future masterpiece of modern
Poetry. They will find the ether, for
The thick air of meaning brings its own hook
And line to catch the words and breathe the lines
Of verse into being like the blood from the
Bare arms with bulging veins that draw out the
Mosquitoes like little vampires sworn
To the devil. Sworn to bring grief and pain
In long swaths of meandering voice. Sworn
To confuse those willing to subjugate
Their minds to the dark imagery of verse.
Of Murders and Memorabilia
I remember when I first heard about
The carved wooden legs like a tiger’s paw
Holding an apple. They glinted in low
Gloss and hunched near to the ground. You could have
Sworn that you had seen them move or tense or
Twitch ready to pounce. The handmade table
With swirls carved like eyes and a point in the
Middle like one long retractable fang.
A deadly venomous sting dripping in
Anticipation of the moment you
Dropped your guard. But there on the auction house
Floor. It was just another old piece of
Furniture. It’s probably not even
Valuable except the story of it.
The story of how they say it got the
Brown stain that could look like dried blood. If you
Thought about it really hard, you would be
Able to see menace in its designs,
But not really. They say, this was the one
That they recovered from the site of that
Grisly murder from two years ago. The
One that had been held in evidence. The
One that had been found with the bloodied head
Sitting on top. It was too clean. Not a
Drop of dried blood. And the finish had not
Been dulled by any harsh cleaners. But it
Would do for my collection. And hell, I
May even get it for a damn good price on it.