Friday, September 19, 2014

Unfaithful Dreams

Tower of London Raven
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—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.

 Regimental Flags, English Church
—Photo by Katy Brown

the cadaver stanzas
—Grant Harbard

(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.


(vi) woe

what is it, here, what is it?
a cup, a telephone, a tin of mints,

the embers of a fallen star?
tragedy trails fire.


(vii) faint

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

—Photo by Katy Brown

—Grant Harbard

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.


Today Medusa's Kitchen welcomes Grant Harbard from over the sea! Grant lives in Essex, England, and he has worked as a journalist, a contributor to magazines, an editor, a reviewer and an interviewer. His work can be seen in such magazines as The Rialto, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Bone Orchard Poetry, BLAZE, The Journal, Southlight, Sarasvati, Earth Love, Mood Swing, Puff Puff Prose Poetry & Prose, Postcards Poetry and Prose, Playerist 2, Lake City Lights, The Open Mouse, Weyfarers, Miracle, Poetry Cornwall, I-70, South Florida Review, Stare's Nest, Zymbol, Synchronized Chaos and Decanto. Grant Tarbard is the editor of The Screech Owl; he says his main admirer is the stray cat that lurks round the bins. Welcome to the Kitchen table, Grant—and don't be a stranger!

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.

Also: the Rattlesnake Press website was inaccessible for a while, but it's back now at Which means that you can order copies of WTF, current or past, through PayPal for $2. Unless, of course, you are a contributor who never received one—in which case, let me know at and I'll send you one. (Or there may still be some at The Book Collector.)


Today's LittleNip:

Information helps you to see that you're not alone. That there's somebody in Mississippi and somebody in Tokyo who all have wept, who've all longed and lost, who've all been happy. So the library helps you to see, not only that you are not alone, but that you're not really any different from anybody else.

—Maya Angelou



Grant Harbard