(sketching) The Dark Doxastic

Bring your
black wings
down on this
lamp-lit
city block,

brood
and
hover
and
strike
right here,

snuff
the street lights
in lovely
holy
gloom-fire,
glory-smoke,

dark doxa,
dusky kavod.

Bless
with
lampblack
pinions

all
your
dim
dominions,

and give us
inkblot
sight

to see
you
in the night.

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unguent ambient (1st sketch)

flies in the buttersilk
oint the ointment,
enter antwise,
wing up yawing,
heavied and sleekened,
dripping gold globules,
murmur thickly
from clotted hairy legs
and dairied wings,
tickle ears
with smeary buzzings,
glossed follicle-tingle
from smooth nearness.

categorical blends
reap weird dividends.

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Brother Mountain – Your Hidden Face, Your Secret Name (take 1)

Dedicated to one particular daybreak,
who arrived a year and a half before I did into the family,
and who was there when the internal mountains finally broke forth.

 

I.
A vast rump humps up,
A score of furlongs long or more,
Rippling with grassy-rugged rock-muscle,
Though still, still as the ages,
Worn by wind and ever-rain into the terrain
We see from so small a person-body here
In delighted fear and humble awe.

The great green-mottled form is still, I say.
Still, it rises, or seems to be rising
Right now as we meet it with heart-wide eyes,
Nostrils flared in joy-terror at the psychic fragrance
That with mountainous flagrance flouts our small notions
Of small loveliness with vast blasting majesty.

The great green-rippled length looks still, I say,
But just about to move at any second. We small ones
Can feel the rock’s pent up motion in our small bones,
As if those stone ripples – massive shadowed dips really,
Miniature valleys and downs – as if those muscled curves
Might ripple forth and shift any moment right before our
Awestruck eyes, as if those ripples might rumble and slide,
And rearing up from the mountainside’s far side, unseen
Until now, a great granite head might turn to look at us
With a monstrous crag of face, two incredible deep-set holes
Of verdant luminescence for the man-mountain’s eyes,
Burning holes in our mind’s with the impossible gaze, a last
Happy-mad sight for mere mortals dying in deep love and satisfaction
At a mere glance from one of God’s hidden creatures.

So the mountain’s features make us feel,
down here in our smallness.

II.
Maybe you’re not a man-mountain at all, but a
Beast-upthrust shepherded by some unseen Titan.
I know you and your siblings are mere foothills
In light of Himalayas or Rockies, yet no other range
Rumbles quite like your primordial morphology.

They are all kings and queens and sentries towering,
Where you are humbler and hoarier in your low crouching,
Ready to rise, to spring bestial and roaring; and yet
You are not only rough, but elegant also in the green sheen
Of your mist-slaked, sunwashed pelts, which appear
Nearly velvet, if they could but be felt by
Gargantuan coarse Hands rubbing and petting,
Accompanied by cyclopean Voice acclaiming: ‘Good boy!’

Or maybe you are the kind of beast, shy but fierce,
That is only to be tracked, flushed out, and wrangled,
A pursuit perhaps thought better of once attempted,
Resulting in casualties even among gigantic hunters.

III.
But maybe your kith is not found above-ground at all.
Maybe you are an under-thing calling to our own under-ness.
‘Deep calls to deep’ in your emerald and umber swells.
I’m sure I heard at least one observer cry: ‘sea monster!’

Yes, that too rings true. Your great swimming shapes
Have hurled us into deeps. Maybe it is a massive
Fanned tailfin that will any moment unfurl from
Your unseen extremity, and a yawning maw
From the other end, a great seeking mouth agape
With such width as could only be oceanic.

Aye, we are sailors who catch a glimpse of your
Deep-sport: wave thrashing or ocean-bottom crawling,
either way capsizing our hearts and swallowing us
Whole in jubilant excess. Such depths in heights!

IV.
Whatever you are – man-mountain or beast-mountain or
Megalithic leviathan – you are one of God’s monsters
I am glad to know. I am privileged to have made your
Face-to-face acquaintance more than once, each time a shattering
Meeting, if fleeting.

I thank you for the meal you made of me (mere morsel at best,
I know – more likely a kernel or crumb) and I thank you for
The kind meal you gave me each time, each time a little more,
Nourishing me from weakness to strength to strength, still small,
But growing, growing, eroding and rising mountainous inside,
Until at last this pen could bleed a little blot in your honour.

Brother Crag and Sister Cairngorm, I am blessed to serve
Alongside you at the curve of our mortally wounded world
That in one day dying will rise again renewed and glory-flooded,
Knowledge-deluged, where your great folds and curves will finally
Shift and coarse in awful grace and you will at last lift up your
Glorious head and all will see

Your hidden face

And hear

Your secret name.

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Driving Test

Weather: check.
grey ambient striated with echo-shine, a sheening mist
waving in on the wheeled capsule that contains me,
a dull ache in the car’s bones, prankster wind tapping
the car’s shoulder and hiding, shoving from behind,
then slamming with both fists the car’s face; sunshine is
the bigger prankster, like a dull child waiting it out for
hours or days just to jump out and shout surprise;
drivers beware the startling childish light!

Pedestrians: check.
uncle Bunk is cracking brains with the junk he sells
there by the petrol station looming up and flying by;
gaggle-girls are gagging on fake-tan fumes and spotty
choppy boys ogle the bleach and dye and overfilled fabric;
that one’s mind is a tree sprouting from his brain, so
obvious to everyone but him; this one’s heart explodes
in a scattershot of men’s eyes as she cries it out; dogs
are leading owners and little children circle in on their
victims; the timeworn old ease on at a pace unseeable.

Other drivers: check.
loud sleek muscle revving up alongside, booming the
system’s capacity for beats-per-minute, all that energy
and style useless and pointless in this little no-place;
crisp all-business success-mobiles proliferate, sharp new
family movers too, oozing class entrenchment, rusting
the rest of us; beefy beasts chug away in dogged bulk,
the rumble of modernity-maintenance felt through
every rolling tire in proximity, a comforting nuisance.

Awareness is the key. Stay alert!
things are all that they seem and so much more in
every pore and pock; in very contour a chasm lies
unplumbed, all portals are wide open and universes
are bleeding into every single object, the road is not
mere concrete, nor mere metaphor, but an unspooling
ribbon of existence that begins and ends in poly-ontic
swamplands of ecstasy and terror from which emerge
all beings that you encounter on your automotive
journey; open the apertures of your mind and of the car’s
skin or you will die in a rainbow of undiscovered blood,
a storm of gleaming bones you could not have guessed;
you have been warned.

Awareness is the key and its hardest part
is that you must,
with the same piercing sight as you give,
be seen by other drivers.

Addendum:
‘Where you can’t be seen, such as at a hump bridge,
you may need to use your horn.’
Proof that we are coiled
goring beasts
at the very least.

(photo by Flannery O’Kafka)

Outsiders Inc. (or This Poem is a Crime of Passion)

I.
You wanna talk about outsider?
I’ll show you outsider!

Rack-and-bone boy unwinding
struggle-thin sinews,
grapple-scraping your brick
in a grim hug of spite,
his hunger-bright eyes
glaring in at your window,
which you just now realise you’ve
left unlatched and so you snatch
at the hasp and hit it home
with a satisfying click.

You can see, as you fall back
from the double-glazing, the bird-heart
beating beneath his nearly translucent
skin, bare-chested as he has come to you,
baring a soul you wish he’d leave
well enough hidden.

II.
outside,
he’s out, to one side
on all sides,
no way in,
all ways out,
out.

even scrap paper walls
are too strong for him,
he can’t break through,
he’s out,
outside.

he flails out there,
a filthy snowflake vanishing
in all that endless whiteness.

III.
Conflagration!
Skulls Aflame!
Crime of Passion!
Run!
Run!
Run for your lies!
The skies are bleeding!
The sticky-blooded bones are sticking
out on stick men stacked
in writhing piles on your doorsteps
and all the world is laughing behind its hand
at the cosmic jubilee that is coming down
on high heads un-expectant and unrepentant!

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Fauna Boy

Inspired by and dedicated to my son, age 8.

 

I’ve seen him
foxing in the evening
through the quieted streets,
homba in lapine.

I’ve seen him
dogging on a lead
on the pavements by houses,
unleashed through a grassy park.

I’ve seen him
soaring down, flapping up
on trees, wires, poles, fences,
arcing air or flitting ground.

In winged guises he is most multiple:
crow, gull, jay, sparrow, finch,
and once, no, twice, I saw him
as that strange graceful hermit, heron.

I’ve seen him
as darting rabbit too
and snail with slow-seeking horns
and the occasional grey-clad squirrel.

They call him Beastie

and these are not his only forms, no,
these are merely his city-wise shapes,
appropriate fauna for physical eyes.

But also…

I’ve seen him
foxing through my dreams,
speaking not in vulpine barks but
people-voiced words of guidance.

I’ve seen him
dog-headed and gorilla-bodied
in hat and coat, swing from rooftop
to lamp-post, light a stogie, loiter.

I’ve seen him
with wings of goshawk
on keen-clawed mongoose
flying down with grinning fangs.

I’ve felt him
in oceanic dreaming,
as coiling octopus, gliding manta,
coruscating cuttlefish.

Beastie is all of these

and so many more
by day and night and dream
beside us and inside us.

And some say

they’ve seen him,
strangest form of all,

as a little boy.

IMG_7526

(photo by Flannery O’Kafka)

Principia Noctis

Into the gloom,
Into the gloom,
Make room for me
In the purpling blue-black
Gloom.

Goblin haunt and ghost swath,
The moon’s house full
Of hoary hosts
With silver beards dangling
Over us like stellar moss,
Angling in all that
Purpling blue-black gloom
To catch and weave us
Into their starry loom.

Into the gloom,
Into the gloom,
Make room for me,
Old night’s got no bite worse
Than curse of glaring sun.

Indeed, night’s many-eyed arachnid visage
Is a goose-fleshing benediction
After the cyclopean passage of Sol’s
Gigantic red-eyed malediction.
(So say we people of the hot sun-lands
With apologies to you of the steep and stark,
Cold and dark highlands.)

Into the gloom,
Into the gloom,
Make room for me
In the purpling black-winged
Gloom.

Fold me into its shaded shapes,
Limitless and lost until dawn,
Peopled with whatever it is peopled,
The night brood,
My true breed.

(photo by Flannery O’Kafka)