Inspecting the Dark

 

Does not a form
of vision bait this hour
while frilled sharks of sleep
slide in between impaired
and deafened ears,
feeding on monsoons of dreams
I am here
breathing in this night of spring
on darkened curb below the plumes
of foliage that offer paper lanterns
of cavalcading lilac-whites,
their fragrant light accompanies
my sack of lonely bones tonight
as I inspect these trees
against that moon,
sit in this obscured
outsider’s room with quiet houses
walled within
the passing pantomime,
standing circumspect
and bricked around the slumber
of their occupants,
playing those lickspittle tricks
of a sober, fixed
existence;
are not we all canaries caged
and sent down coal-black shafts
lit with fits of monkeyshine,
blinded by the slighted hand,
waged and mortgaged
by the soundness
of illusions we expand.

Great Basin Plants

Regardless of the hour,
concrete culverts funnel
their noxious fumes upward
in unapologetic clouds.
They canker
the stretch marks
of great basins,
where the Bonneville ranges
heave like hard-rock breasts
and salt flats
rest between them.
They seem
to have absorbed
the curious tears of Lot’s wife
long ago when she harked back
to rough-scrabble elevations.

Even the Bristlecone pine
imperceptibly snake
their chapped roots
down through basalt fissures
and twist into the altitude
in tortured angles,
dismember the eons
before Pony Express riders
galloped across sprawling
high desert vales
beating out
a common time signature,
winding through the Four-winged
Saltbush,
dodging the spiny Shadscale.

Alkaline expanses
tickled by the wheeze
of gingham skirts and spun
wagon wheels, easily blanched
the broken frames of the dead
to accommodate
their deserted efforts.

More recently,
salt processing plants and toxic
waste incinerators are long-mile
neighbors up wind
from the army depot,
peppered truck stops
and the copper mine slag-heaps.

Rinsed in a halogen-sapphire light
after the sun gives up the ghost,
monolithic smokestacks bolk
a steady exhaust.
It diagonals
and dissipates in secreted
melancholy burnings
offered up to the isolated
and inhaled by the sparkling
seven sisters, reduced
to semi-precious stones
worn above a vacancy.

Underneath it all,
radioactive wastes
buried inside vinyl-lined landfills
live out their quiet half-lives.

 Flora on the Surface

Her recollections freckle lavender;
rosemary purples, drift
and dot the scene, mid
pensive pansies with bruised
eyes that bleed
into canary velveteen, 
let sail to bob and weave
with fennel’s eyelash greens;
a feathered flattery
that boats between
the columbine
with spurs obscured in flower,
forsaking other blossoms,
rests with rue,
whose bitter sorrow
contemplates the hour,
chaste daisies chain and violets ensue
and float above the tomb
in buoyant truth; a eulogy
of pollinated wreath.
Ophelia stares through them
from beneath.

Wilderness

Regards to all those solitary places
where unaccompanied, some fear to stroll,
located in a wasteland that erases,
then redefines and purifies the soul.
A beating muscle somewhere in the middle
of wilderness is sensed before its seen,
there ‘found’ and ‘lost’ united, form a riddle
and pinnacle inverts into ravine.
Where time is only relative to season,
dimensions shared by life and death converge,
recombinant, these patterns beyond reason
adapt spontaneously and emerge.
A frequent misconception that forsaken,
within this void, there wander the forlorn.
Clear glimpses of existence are mistaken
for dirges sung by landscapes left to mourn

Pelican

He stands, body of an immense, whitewashed
soup tureen supported by mustard
bamboo limbs jutted
out in twin tangerine webs
of lizard-skin fans.
Heaped hanging dishes of raw
Indonesian black rice along with the white
jasmine variety
against his sides, are folded wings
below his peeled, boiled egg
of a head dotted with opposing eyes.
They swivel, long terminated
on a neck of fat albino-copperhead
snaked-circumference
almost bent into a figure eight
while he sleeps with his acrobatic
nape against his back.
His bill is an arm-length
by a four-finger width
of a marigold funnel,
intersecting his frontal view
over blizzards of breast feathers.
This concludes in a single-beak talon
sissoring a three gallon collapsible pouch.
All skeletal hollow inner workings are enginneered
to absorb the tension hidden in an aquatic surface.
He is unaware of the myths
of self sacrifice assigned to him
and spun by our need to elevate behavior.
Folklore doesn’t affect his flight or fishing
nor does the symbolism of blood and water.

Hieroglyph

Unwinding, hissing, passing eons out,
ballooning flapped, elastic: time’s disease.
The years deflated under winter drought,
while oceans were reduced to antifreeze.
Through complicated wars of circumstance,
in heat and dust, a few survived. Though stiff
at first, our body-language did advance
and printed verse became a hieroglyph
and sneezed. Exotic font and serif said
it all, to modern scholars looking back
from Times New Roman, Palatine, instead
of Courier, Papyrus, Copper Black.
The future pouring over poems found
the curvature of letter minus sound.

Ides

Abeyant limbs stab the ides
with a flimsy shade,
Parked buds tumefy,
eddied in the tepid jetstream.
Lonely gaggle-strays
prematurely return,
stand selfishly straight
and ringnecked on a pond island.
Aviary music swells
beyond its clipped wings; blankets of feathers
break over pimpled birdflesh
in recurrent waves.
Hands of internal clocks sink
to a depth of the tallest hour,
while an unconscious violet
rises with a split clitoral petal.
Snow is razored by the sun
into clean shaven slopes
and intermittent springs
rupture the ground
reminding me
how winters lie.