monster boys need love too (or The Terror of Clay Creek)

What if I
told you I
got inside a
crustacean,
just laid
myself low
down in the
silt of the
riverbed
and waited,
facedown and
fecund a second,
an hour, a year,
a half a lifetime
(while you
weaned,
preened
and primed),
down in it I
turn half
to slime
and suckerfish
until a skiff-long
shadow looms
in waters above
and the greatest
crayfish of these
channel-ways
lays down
on me to die,
old and full
of years,
Grandcrawdad,
and my skeleton
fuses to his
guts and his
exoskeleton
becomes my
skin: I’m within.

The great crawdad,
crayfish, and I
begin to rise,
black eyes bright
and big claws
clacking,
there’s no
backing out
now that I’ve
backed
into this and
up the bank,
shell shining
wet, streaming
rivulets
all down the
armour-plated
concatenated
length of me,
of we,
Crawdad Spirit
and
Suckerfish I.

And these days
a big-brained
crustacean
has been
sighted in
your rivers,
on your banks,
even outside
the windows of
riverside homes,
families frighted
by the sound of
incidental
antenna-tap
on glass,
a horrible face
looking in and
leaving as if
searching for
someone not
found in any
of the many
homes haunted,
the creature
roving now
inland and
drying, some
say dying,
great claws
rasping the
ground as if
dejected, and
a keening
cry in the night
none hear
without fear
and a feel
of some
unaccountable
sorrow.

And I hear
hissed rumours
of the existence of
monster-sympathisers
wondering
how such a thing
came to be
and what It wants
(shamed and
bad-named,
these curious
are branded
ontologists),
‘What does It
want?’ they wonder,
and I wonder
whether you
are one of them,
the sympathisers,
whether you maybe
just maybe
feel sorry for
The Crayfish Man.

And here,
here at last,
here I see,
finally, you,
hair, as ever,
spilling down and
silver-streaked
now, your skin
like earth, tilled
and tamped,
more beautiful
than ever.

My claws cease
their dry-clacking
through the tall
grass and the
concatenated
dry-length of
me, of we,
shudders and
the great
ghost of my
crayfish host
lifts away
and is gone,
leaving you
and I alone
with unspoken
thoughts and
unreadable
glances, I of
double the
body and half
the spirit, limbs
unliftable, in
need of
submersion and
extrication both,
and you,
whoever and
whatever you
now are.

(What if I
told you I
got inside a
crustacean,
would you
take me back?)

Image

 

(photo by Flannery O’Kafka)

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oxidive (take 1)

concatenated Rusty John
in a dustup outside the barber shop
happens all the time
without rationale or cadence
but does everything have to be deep?
do these streets have to be deeps?
I told about the bus-whales that swim up
alongside us as we walk
and no one paid attention
maybe ‘cause I wasn’t deep enough yet
and Rusty John here
(he of the loosely affiliated body parts
corroded chinks in the chainlinks of ‘im)
he’s just another shallows
a crawdad catch-and-release, child’s play
pincers all too easily avoided
and you, boy, need to dive down
deeper in the river, seek bottom
away from the preacher and the pig-creature
chasing you with striped lollies (as per Flannery)
get down, young Moses, get down in it
and grab double handfuls of not free
but costly association, death-priced

hell, Rusty John can wait outside the barber shop
scrapping and biding his time

Thus Spake the Zygoat… (excerpt from ‘Loretta and the pig’ story-in-progress)

A high shadow detached itself from the whole territory of shadows.  Like a tree of darkness felled from the darkness around it, the shape loomed out at them, gargantuan, ten Lorettas tall, horned and bearded in the manner of a goat, upright in the manner a man.  The distinct clop of a hoof, magnified to a boom, sounded as the form stepped forth.

The pig cried out the cry of horror-recognition, squealed and back-trotted, flinging the colour-emanations from his eyes in barbs and whiplashes.  Loretta’s fingers dug into the pig’s bristly nape with instinctual terror, yet with the urge to fight too.

‘No!’

The pig finally managed to articulate that monosyllable rather than merely squeal and cry, hooves back-clacking in the dark.

‘No, no, no, not you, not you…’

Something clicked in the pig’s throat and then he groaned.  The colours from his eyes settled into their cascade again, though he trembled.

Loretta made to sooth-hush the pig when the giant goat thing spoke.

‘Fear not,’ it said to the small company crouched before it and its huge wit-slitted eyes flamed a little in all that dark.  The colours listing out from the pig’s own eyes broke upon the dark goat, but illumined its vast form not at all.

The embered eyes of the goat descended and enlarged.  It squatted over them now.  The impulse to scatter was strong, but the basso profundo of the goat’s voice had spelled them to the spot, immovable.

The eyes turned themselves directly upon the pig.  He felt the heat of them and shivered.  It was the hotness not of temperature but of attention.

‘Your goat officemate, oh pig,’ the great goat said in an expansive and explanatory tone that surprised them, and they were held inside the cadences and scarce-guessed meanings of its subsequent speech, ‘he was just an impostor who got into your head and through your head into, and even above, the cosmos.  You saw his mega-parsec horns and eyes and teeth rising above the event horizon of existence?  He is a chimera of your devising.  I on the other hand, I am the Zygoat.  Yes, I am both embryonic and frisky, as my name suggests.  I am the jump-point to all ontic antics (for all quanta are alive and kicking in the end – do you not feel them bump you back?), butting and birthing as I leap.  I am not the jump off point into the abyssal dismissal.  No, I am not the destruction-goat, the Null-Goat, as you imagined when you saw me here in the dark, as your goat officemate pretended to be when he thought to casually murder a computer girl-ghost in his heart.  Yes, yes, I know of it.  But more importantly, I know of the third goat, the Scape-Goat, who has made the way for my frolics and seminations with his own throat-spilt blood, the way for all of us.  You are worried because you have heard that the goats go off to perdition, and it is true.  But those particular fauna-hides are only their parabolic guises.  (Recall that the holy Tabernacle was covered in goat skins too, oh you little-faiths!)  It was the same way with you, dear pig.  You were emblematic of impurity until the Scape-Goat Lamb-God bled on you and made you delicious, beloved, clean, included.  I, the left-handed goat, in the same way became acceptable and accepted.  So it is that I, Zygoat, am the archangel (each one of us is called the archangel, fear not for Michael’s glory).  I am guardian of embryos, individual as well as cosmic.  You have weirdly entered a weird back entrance into my weirded realm of fractal matrices.  You are welcome.  It will probably kill you to be here.  That is good.  We have only good-death here.  Should you be rejected, you will be ejected only into old-life.  Your good-death will then have to wait, hopefully not forever.  Pig, I will now take the colour-emissions from your eyes.  The dark will be its own light to you here, dear pilgrims.  But first, you must take and eat it.’

The pilgrims began to do so.

Gold Wing Sing It (draft 1)

Gold wing sing it.

 

Transluce the morning in a wing-beat.

Transmute the sunlight unleashed at long last.

Refulge it on down to us in black-outlined drops.

 

Transluce clamp-lipped hearts with heavy dripping gold-shine

 on wing, awning of black-ridged gold-throb dipping

   down in fleet flotilla, your sweet-winged sisters

     and brothers listing earthward also.

 

Aye, all wings!  Transluce the morn-light!

 

Aurify it amply, umbered amber lambent, bent in flap,

 snapped out in flight, the abandoned breast-jump of birds

   for which no words suffice and yet no mean receiver

     can abide in silence.

 

Golden-folded rays imbue beast-men such as I who cry out

   in too-fast words fastwards at your captured, ambered,

     slowed rich flow-wing.

 

Golden-fisted gobble, the honeyed light of your flight

  on hairy paws and belched back in skyward sticky roars.

 

We cannot match grace with you.

This growling is our only poesis or part played.

 

Forgive our need to lung it back

 and our round sung so grossly,

   and your wings returned to you all chewed,

     the pellucid swatches damped and darkened

       by our mawing happy ululations,

         half-mad emulations of your gold wing song.

 

But how can we be silent when you benedict us so?

(photo by Flannery O’Kafka)

As If Shades Knew Not

This is a self-contained piece of ‘microfiction’ or ‘flash fiction’ that I attempted a while back.  I’ve now incorporated it into a larger story.  I’d love to hear from people as to whether it does or doesn’t work (on its own) and how or how not.  (The story’s title, ‘As If Shades Knew Not’, is from a 17th century poem by George Herbert called ‘Evensong’.)

 

Angie says this city’s a living thing and I say I already knew it ever since mom took me out the door to the places she always had to go every night after night and I felt its yellow breath in my collar and its lamp-lights fixed their dots onto  my eyes and never went away even during the day and the hard pavements hit my feet hard and became my bones all cracked and crudded for everybody to walk on every day and night under the lamp-lights on my eyes and the cries down those blind alleyways from cat-people and people-cats, torments and loves and torments and loves and all the things I thought I would never ever in a million city-years know but I know now because the city’s a living thing Angie said and I already told her I always knew it from the time I spilled onto the concrete with my mother into the night after night of walking on the pavement-bones past the skeleton-tenements full of skull-prominent tenants ranting about rents in the pavement because my bones are cracked and crudded the doctor said because he’s a mouth of the city and the city wants me to know it knows I know it lives just like Angie says this city’s a living thing and I already know it the way I know about heavy kisses in the dark and how the city takes us back into its bonework and veins like it’s taking mom the way she’s half in and half out but only heading in, her skin grey cement now and she says I did it but I didn’t because my bones are cracked and crudded for everybody to walk on, the city did it and it knows I know and never lets me go.

Image(photo by Flannery O’Kafka)

 

He saw in the mirror a rough dark thing

He saw in the mirror a rough dark thing,
splotched and corroded

He could see rust flakes on the rims of its eyes
waver in some breeze over there,
break free and float off

In those eyes he saw
striated bloodshot lightning cracks water
in a sheening sky of tornado-warning yellow
(storm-windows aged a browning icterine)

But worn cobalt twin-central spheres
adhered still in the yellowed sky-eyes
that mirrored back at him cracked and stained,
and each faded inner blue-vault
in turn contained its own black-orbed core

And in those final centralities
he could just make out the tiny shiny
beetle-black shadow-selves of himself,
a rough dark alien draped
over his own body-double in each,
a double mockery of twin-glitched mimicry
inside his own eyes
or the eyes
of the that
in the mirrror

He fell back out of the over-close scrutiny,
seeing whole again the blotched face-husk facing him

He could not interpret the look of it,
the way the dark thing gazed back at him,
whether it was cold hatred
or bottomless pity

Its caved chest heaved as if to speak and halted

Some word struggled
at the breach of its mouth,
some form lifted itself
on the parting and reshaping
of its parchment lips

It breathed out this untold shape
as an audible sigh instead,
the soughing of a crumbling wind tunnel
with a woman’s soft moan in it
(he shuddered at the noise the thing made,
hadn’t clocked the silence up till now,
hadn’t expected sound from over there)

Every feature of it settled now
into a sedimented rock face,
a battered cliff unclomb
on the far shore of reflection

He turned away from it then

And just as he did
he saw in a peripheral blur
the rough dark thing
turn away from him as well

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