—Grant Tarbard, Essex, England
Align yourself with purity, the sally willowing night sky
laid as a blanket for the Lady of Sycamore
and thrown onto bundles of kindling pulp,
boundlessly devouring the elements of fire and air,
fanning the pack of bloody savage flames,
lying on a shelf of pirates, thieves and cavaliers.
The countryside was trudging with irrelevant conversation,
the crows circling high, bewitching scraps into their gullets.
Raum, the Great Earl of Hell, ruling thirty legions
of a shawl of crowing, flapping in the breeze.
The sea shines like the lights that disappear
down the tunnel of the aurora borealis
that is a whisper under your breath.
Laughing, the oceans speak the words
that will summon a boy in his dream, unconscious to the depths
of mystery, mesmerized by Atlantis' eroding pillars.
Heartfelt in his vision of the mermaid's song,
under a cardboard moon, the cosmos is all dragons.
the cadaver stanzas
(i) in the mountains/in the cities
hearts entwined with the red klaxon,
a part is in the stop sign, a part is in alice's queen of hearts.
see the yellow grass morphing into murky white water,
a blur of the littlest jasmine petals.
unconscious mustard plants swaying,
a healer with a mood of roots.
(ii) all god's children
they're many languages transported under the tear drop
of the king james bible
asking questions of the rain,
take a closer look, the drops are wooden.
(iii) ornament of venus
broken glass and vinegar drum away
with a windscreen wiper's swish-swoop in the evening light's
deep black lens, a welcoming warmth of solitude.
thoughts coalesce into someone pretty,
and then she dissipates into an eye's iris.
here is the phenomenon of creatures of the Earth
creating music, presenting it to the sunshine
who digests the notes, pyrite requires nutrients.
a stalking horse cuts at the ankles
kissing fever on the mouth,
across the plank, two hands clasped in friendship,
there's nothing more unfaithful than a dream.
(iv) tied in black
the corpses are ravenous,
under the lonely earth, trees grow upside down
smothered by crow black soil.
the empty perished feel the fire of the eternal wreath
of granite rhododendrons, dusty and artificial.
the worm's tracks appear above a meandering stream
of narrow ringlets in winter's rime,
water vapour in a composite cloud of fog.
(v) the pantomime
the great sermon, cornerstone of an imaginarium of the divine,
amongst the hoods absentmindedly mishearing the encroaching terror
of creaking pantomime dust as the old Rapture rag,
wooden boards, warm blood fed through sad,
strange downy matted whines, a feeble milky morsel chorus
of in utero shreds of wire flowers and painted dames.
the limp man sullenly weaves the slightest rhyme:
the past you laid bare as her dwelt upon thighs,
the beautiful reeds who you wave goodbye aren't baptised,
the maniacal horror that you greet with spider's eyes
is the falsehood plasterer Mephisto in disguise,
your soul he does desire, he pits his wits to your untimely demise.
what is it, here, what is it?
a cup, a telephone, a tin of mints,
the embers of a fallen star?
tragedy trails fire.
one leaf of the tree of life
is a cardinal right atrium
throbbing in a cavity
of delicate flowers.
(viii) mortician's table
my gusto is attributable
to my tracks alone,
tread in scarlet lint.
my vigour for the task of butcher
sewing twill skinned figurines
with catgut sutures,
the doe-eyed dead
are silent on my table
(ix) one hour
hollow, sunk in
cheeks, going, going, gone...
the product was presented
as a treatment with a hose pipe
and a box of chartreuse miasma,
for an easy downpayment
you could converge on the gates
of paradise within the hour
(x) flute tears of stillness
the photograph is still weeping
flute tears of stillness
it's hardly you, a flowing lens
of one face absorbing into three
a cheek i cannot squeeze
through a solitude of glass
a lock i cannot feel
against my breast
dancing in a mist
of imagined coconut shampoo
THE VEILED ARTISAN
He draws a line in magic
around the wounded boys.
He draws in chalk, he draws in oil paint
around the wounded boys.
He draws with the old families' blood,
the wounded are boys of clay.
He draws in Canon printer ink,
the wounded boys beg mercy in the optician's house.
He draws in melted copper,
the wounded boys spend their pennies
on years of a life unseen
through the cracked lens of a fly's eye.
This is our busy season in NorCal poetry, and we have lots of readings coming up. This weekend is action-packed; check out the blue board (below the green board at the right of this column) for all the happenings.