The straw of boxcars

The gigantic interiors on steel wheels
move, punching out sound like
cannon shots:
quietly the grain in bribery to feed the mills;
will there be bread for the poor?
Push it through the slots of their
cardboard domiciles.

No faucet water, their arms and legs
are piled outside
washed with mud, unending cries
like an ER hospital; nurses waiting by the
train stop silos, handing out
smiles from buckets filled with straw-
the gray-faced homeless terrify them.

They stand in a column,
the wheat drudgers. For years they have
eaten dust, drank the
dew from their dangerous skin;
here is their brain machine, it works
without thinking.

They scour the ground for grain powder;
here is their slipper, here is another
as they walk the square patch
of earth for a meal:
they thought death was worth it. They
mold their lips into lies,
are they dead, or are they praying.

The sweat of their efforts tug the
world into a lie. Even the sun-clouds
cannot manage the grief.
Here they come now, the ambulance
gatherers, stacking the poor
in empty boxcars like straw dogs.

The black boot doctor has no mercy
for anyone- he is the hearse
for a dead rail; the priest throws on the
toe tags. His obscenity bulges
before him like a tired rosary. Onlookers
tremble, they clutch the good book.

A third person, it might be god, hairy
as a savior: his heart is too small
to bandage their terrible faults. He
creeps away like a weeping Mary. The
long coffin of colored pine
departs with a marvelous calm. This
is what it is to be complete. It is horrible.

The straw of boxcars

prophēcy and fáith

The doorway to her sleep

She is sleep spelled in her lowly
beach house.
Out of night’s lair the sheep white
clouds
and the dune grass loping and bleating
roughly
as the wind blithely leaps across the
dew dipped sea.
No gull herd or fish school shall flock
before the sunrise.

Sleep good, fair one, slow and deep
in a creek of dreams
and fairy tales.
In a spinney of dingle wood riven
among the sand plum,
came the keel spume from the fisher’s
sloop;
it lay fast and soothed, safe and
smooth from the
bellows of the rushy sea brood.

He harrowed near and wide; fought
the skulks with metal
drawn from his scabbard in the
deep dell moonlight-
he breasted three into the gravest ghosts.
He sought her sanctum sanatorium,
her dreamscape;
the knelling of her bed. He knelt
before her in praise,
in the star sky of the nightlong days.

He a cavalier, rind in the quest for love;
she, a fair child of the
wheeling moon.
With a kiss, sleep spelled at rest out
of the dream cell. With
chant and flower under a linen of stars,
a marriage forever
held and blessed. Trade winds from
the dousing east,
waves roaring from the sea latch,

Light on the haygold dunes, the winged
plum seed gilding,
and tern wings ribboned for the fair;
Two hearts.
Pastoral beat of blood held and blessed
in the haloed house,
devout in their vows; their faith each
vast night, and the prayer, and
a birth in the first dawn. A
child touched by an angel of the sea.

The border of her sleep

A piece of daylight

Marbled columns like fat candlesticks-
hard with furled brows
ready to snap. They grip a floor eaten
smooth, stiff and white.

Shadowy lids of night cover them,
hide them away in
furrows of a sunken sunset,
wrought with the vines of day.

Across this hour dividing light from
darkness, ascends
the vials of stars, their light in fiery
spheres; they sweep

The dark line bare- a passage for
heavenlier feet to tread;
spreads the covering splendid of
god’s golden hair:

What hour shall be your hour and his.
The very soul of this sacred
place is his soul.
The evil of darkness shall no longer

Hang hard upon this holy place.
With childlike passage,
all sins sowed from our enemies
are washed away.
(A holy aureole in the spheres of faith).

Light

Letter to my followers

Dear Friends,

As you know, I take my work very seriously, as we all should. This includes being completely dedicated to one’s art through reading and writing. In our journeys to become better writers, we meet fellow travelers along the way. Some with more experience than ourselves, some with less. It is up to each one of us to learn, as well as it is to help.
Unfortunately, not everyone who we encounter is gregarious. They may seem so at first, perhaps to advance their own position in the field of literary works by pretending to really ‘like’ our style, our writing. One such incident just occurred. I won’t go into the lengthy details, and although I was a bit weary of their claim to boost my poetic presence abroad, I agreed to have them proceed (this was why I had intended to put my efforts into this venture, to take time off from WordPress). It was a complete farce, a ruse.
I am deeply indebted to each and everyone of you for the beautiful thoughts and comments that you have written. Without your most generous support, there would be no poetry. You greatly inspire, uplift, teach, and motivate my writing. Thank you sincerely.

Warm wishes,
Lance

The Book of Isaiah

I am that which began, the soul of god,
equal and whole.
Yet, god changes the man,
his colored flesh,
his firm limbs,
much in the way he changed the land
and sea.

Out of me a woman, and the fruit,
and fate
forgotten as the plough of earth,
the dust which is god
wrought from water and iron,
communed and sold
to the peasants of Jerusalem.

They are neither prophets or poets,
nor a throne;
mothers forsake their children.
Their labor is the
red fruit of death, blood and breath;
servants to the lord,
slaves to the master.

The shadows of clouds furrow
a kingdom,
their darkness is in the bud of life;
pity and passion.
Worshiped as a sun until the
sun rose.
Its light is in the deep root of trees.

Its tongue is the winds tongue,
barren streams and
clay mud land,
death worms are below;
they have their part in me,
as I have my part in them,
it is a pilgrimage of death and life.

I have not need of prayer. I do not
behold that god made me;
his miracles are shod,
he trembles in heaven.
His anguish is here in Israel.
Our truths are slayed and unforgiven.

My beliefs are the seed of my soul,
equal and one with me.
My brethren are hostile, it beats
in the darkness,
their beliefs live in empty skins;
they clutch at an empty god.
I shall be glad of their deaths.

I am alone in the kingdom. My
misery is three thousand years of
unsheltered contempt.
Almighty, why have I shared the
shame of tyranny,
nailed to its cross- dark,
dead, unmeasured.

O Mighty god, insect or beast,
all-beholding heaven,
have you not heard my agony?
Alas, pain, pain forever.
Your ever piercing arrows have
burned cold into my bones.
In their hoar frost I kiss death.

How my soul, riven to its depth
with terror
gapes like hell within; no
exultation, for I hate no more.
My misery has made
me wise. God’s curse no longer
breathes on me.

The Book of Isaiah

 

Leaving for awhile…

Dear Friends,

I will be away from WP for an extensive period. All is good. Your wonderful reviews, feedback, thoughts, and support are deeply appreciated. I wish you the absolute best in all your writing endeavors. Stay safe and be well.

Warm regards,

Lance

Naked sea in a still place

This is the sea’s end, this cobbled, fishing village,
How the sunset’s breath draws on my hobbled walk.

Cod and halibut, once scooped from the deep brine
By weathered men, salt air nettled in calloused hands.

Why is it so quiet, why are fishing boats with blackened bows?
Their water-lines gasping for a breath.

A quietness dampers the street sounds,
It stretches for years, the shrunken, aging voices.

Aging wooden crutches, half my older size;
The creases in my face, etched by salted wind.

Storms and rain like anchored chains, pummeled the fishers,
Is it any wonder we all survived?

Is it any wonder we weren’t all swept into the darkened abyss?
Drowned among the mackerel, kettled schools

Who swim with their backs against us,
Silver and gray like the perts of our bodies.

The sea, that bred these,
Creeps away like a sea snake, slithering distress.

This tired, aging, salted body has no mercy for us,
Why should it, it is the hearse of forgotten souls.

O unforgiving sea
What dregs sigh, what brine in our throats.

And our families, worrying,
Drawn together like a long pencil line.

On the widow’s walk, hands writhing
Things, things.

Oft, I hobble to the breakwater, spotted with wooden debris,
I am a fisherman, not a land attendant.

I am no longer a smile,
Our children here for a fish, with empty hooks and cries.

And their hearts too small to bandage,
Do I fault the sea?

They watch the fishers vanishing
There is no help from their weeping mothers.

Now the sailcloth, gray and tattered, flickering
In the wind like a pitiful candle.

It is the tongue of a dying profession, remember, remember;
What is the name of colors on the sinking vessels?

Old wood like stumps in a harbor;
Their names disappearing, wordless and slow.

Naked sea in a still place, necessary fish once in search
Of a net; pallors of fishing hands no longer gather.

Copyright © 09/01/17 lance sheridan®

Naked sea in a still place

Love and Loveless

I heard it in a love song

We touch the pulse of morning’s breath
the rich dark honey
of summer’s light,
lays bare the shades that paint the sea,
the black-tongued bells that
tolled the night,
awakens the damp mounds of grass
and dune;
the tidal pools would they sleep too soon.

And the wind is unquieter than
the gull-winged bird,
it drifts along the shallows with their
stoned-faced crags,
sea life clinging to its garboard strakes-
starfish, silvery minnows,
anemones, urchins and barnacles.

The sea is within us, its different
voices heaving homeward
in our hearts- its rhythm, its pulse
unraveling its beauty
with each passing sound;
its still waters the ecstasy of life.

Time stops for us between midnight
and dawn, the silent sea
threading together the past
and the present;
moments of happiness in the warmth
of its depths, its currents
flowing through us like brined rivulets.

Here, where the world is quiet with
sleeping streams,
gentle rain sows the sea, pale
beds of waves blossom the shore,
clouds take wing
and follow the sun.
Here, where winds blow leaping, we
whirl and toss into amorous dancing,
up Up into the stars.
We have no names, just love and lover.

I heard it in a love song

Where have all the children gone

Jug Jug Jug our parents drink,
words spewed out
on serpents tongues,
Adam and Eve white as skeletons
in the garden of Eden;
bride and groom kindled back
to the beginning.

We are their priests and servants.
In the streets we sow
the seeds of their loins like virgins,
we chant under the
headstones of our labor;
words as cinders burning in
our little skulls.

Into the organ pipes and steeples
of alleys-
cathedrals for the forgotten,
the dead mouths burn on the altar
like sacrificial lambs;
glory, glory, glory to god in the
thundering kingdom of his thunder.

Forgive us, forgive us, as we crumble
back into darkness,
our births cannot atone for our sins;
we are bare in the
nurseries of earth’s wilderness-
ditches where we drag
our innocence.

The molesters, the laborers kneading
our bodies like prostitutes,
humping us in silence as we bleed;
drip drop drip drop,
our hearts exhausted wells, our
sweat is dry and our feet in quicksand;
we are those hooded-hordes
stumbling in violent air.

Where have all the children gone

Philosophy of Mind, Dream, and Soul

Mind

My mind has burst from my head,
down to the pavement it ran,
I stand and grieve
(more of waxing philosophical I concede).
After all, one’s thoughts leave
the body it has used,
faithless as a smile, shake of a hand;
reminiscent of a withered life,
now a vacant storage lot.
I’ve stuffed in sawdust with the
faint smell of stale beer and muddy-feet;
wrapped a wool blanket around it,
moth holes the size of sparrows heads.
I dozed, tried to dream a
thousand sordid things; hard to
concentrate with flickering thunder,
gushing rain washing moonlight
down leafed filled gutters.
My sleep stretched tight across the sky,
sullied hands tried to sneak
in a prayer, but they forget the hymnal;
the words, Christ’s last supper.
I ran the revolver across my mouth,
smooth as an ancient sculpture,
bullets are round in empty chambers;
at four and five and six o’clock
the ticking, ticking of my conscience.
A spark, like a wooden blind in a
chimney-pot; memories and
desires stirring like kindling. My
thoughts were an old battered
lantern hanging aloft, now
gathering fuel for a vacant lot.

Mind burst

Dream

Here I am, waiting for a dream, restless in a
decayed house
in a salt marsh, mosquitos with their barbs
much like cutlasses squatting on
windowsills,
swaddled in darkness, craving blood.
My refusal to donate a vein somehow propagates
a fear in them; have I mothered a
heroism forced upon me by an awaiting sacrifice?
I will be devoured when I sleep.
Stiffened by age like a rented grave,
I lost my beauty when my husband died;
now I’m an exiled membrane fractured in
summer heat.
He, an old man, was lost in the windy straits
in a swell at sea;
drowned in a silent wave, stiffed to their shroud.
The clock is whispering twelve,
seconds are spaces in the dark, sputtering
movements like dead geraniums
in clay pots.
I hesitate into a sleep, twisting like a branch,
hard and curled and ready to snap.
I muster up a prayer, slips out of my tongue,
grips my mind like smallpox.
The moon has lost its memory, its nocturnal
smell of dust.
I cross and cross like a crucifix,
reminiscent of a graveyard, church basements
and dirty old priests.
Moonlight spreads a ring on my head,
my bed is open like a coffin,
the last twist of Abraham’s knife.

Dream background

Soul

I am possessed by a skull beneath
my skin, and lipless
creatures flowing through my veins;
I have bare bulbs in my
sockets for eyes-
they cling like dead limbs tightening
their grip.
I have no substitute for touch, it is
ague in my skeleton,
a debilitating fever in my bones;
it scampers through
my body in its arboreal gloom.
My soul is a mortuary, rattling its scalpel
like a breakfast plate,
hungering for me to be on a
cold slab, maggots
sprouting despondently much as
cemetery gargoyles
with grotesque faces; the muddy
skirt of formaldehyde
hovering in the air.
My moral standards now tarnished
and swinging like rusted
gates where vultures land; their
vision askew in
reflecting dark. Lurks the grim reaper
sullen and confused,
groping for dead odors.
My nerves are shot, shuffling as
withered stumps in a
prolonged, tired life where souls are
swept under doors into
the wind. What is that noise now?

Twilight of the soul

The Wire ~ a melodrama

We are as slow as the world turning,
regard us with attention though;
we pass through time
luminous as a sun’s morning rehearsal-
you should be simply
astonished at our constant smiling.

When we walk outdoors, it is a great event,
although, we do not have
time nor the patience to think;
we do not worry what will happen without
your undivided attention;
birds always stand still upon the wire.

They are arranging and rearranging their
brown downy feathers,
we saw them first.
There was something about them, much
like pieces of flat cardboard-
flat in winged flight, wilted when wet.

We sit in our underwear and stockings
when it rains;
we often think, let’s do something awful,
so white, so suddenly.
We wait for a spirit to alter our faces-
being evil is so difficult.

We only play the white keys on our piano
with our alphabetical fingers,
the sound is rather mechanical-
like a taping at your window;
hide your faces from the rhetoric,
a musical disease.

This could be death stalking, the cold angel
with the lichen-bitten name.
She’s looking for the one sin that will
tip you over the precipice
into the land with the iron dove gates;
remember, she wears white cold wings.

Compared to her, we’re a couple of white swans,
dragging in four directions in an ill-wind;
it never seems we’re quite ready,
we prefer white sheets instead-
that way, our faces have no features
when we kick in your door for an exorcism.

Did we mention we do not like your children,
we prefer them precariously rare,
stitched to a church altar, buried in a hymnal.
All their imperfections, yet somehow
it makes the gods jealous;
such flatness like cardboard cannot be holy.

Speaking of, let my sister and I flatten and
launder the goodness of your soul.
That will happen at the precise moment when
the bigot wind blows,
when the leaves shrivel in the cold dark air;
turn up your hands, sinners (or something like that).

Let’s see, we have the white sheets, the distorted
white faces, your last will and testament
written in hieroglyphics on cardboard paper,
the old bricks to break your windows;
are you ready for eternity as it engulfs you?
Wait. It’s those damn birds again clinging to the wire.

Their off-color will be our death. Wearing
dusk hoods like a Mary.
We wish they’d keep their distance in their
own brown neighborhoods
before they engulf us with their terrible element.
It frightens our discriminating minds, our well-being.

We prefer a white clean chamber, no miracles
of course; maybe an accomplishment or two.
We will last it out, we will last it out;
does innocence kill?
The trees are withering on our street; our hearts
tick and tick with their satchels of supremacy.

Our eyes are squeezed by all this blackness.
Will we ever hate ourselves, our fears?
Someday the dark earth will drink us, then vomit
the waste. After that, there will be no
more guile or warp left; may god keep it so.
How winter fills our souls in the chalk of earth.

The wire~ a melodrama

The replicant †

I am shallow and silver. I do not have a heart,
only a flickering light
like a dull candle or a half moon, I reflect it faithfully.
I am truthful, a four-cornered
insignificant little god;
religion bends over me like a drowned sea.
I kneel upon its shore.

I seek the liars on the opposite wall of the church.
Their untruths are a necessity
flowing in scrolls of their ancient text;
flowing from their mouths,
stiffening odors of scriptures,
headstones in hymns;
their crusade unholy, it sanctions heresy.

I am bonewhite in their incoherent darkness,
death to their religion,
patriarchs that should be excommunicated;
I expose their embarrassments,
their adolescence, impotence in their beliefs.
They are a drugged awakening
seeking sacrificial wine

Draining like water into a baptismal.
Each genuflect flees as an ascension
into Heaven,
all suffocating like the howling man.
Their eyes are pagan and lifeless
as a penitential exercise,
sinners staring up at their accuser.

A crucifixion, crackling splinters of wood
driven through my artificial limbs;
I am flashing sunlight.
Their followers plunge and toss their heads
like apocalyptic horses;
everyone pointing and shouting.
I struggle to throw down my beliefs at their feet.

A resurrection. I am eating a church wafer
from my nailed hand.
It is absolution.
My mouth speaks the truth; my congregation
embraces by a stain glass window.
The unholy look up from the wall,
a reformation. It is time it was time.

The replicant

Double-edged poetry

Fragments of love

Do I dare? said he.
Do I dare? said she.
The sun’s collar mounting firmly to her breasts,
He, with his aloofness melting,
wriggling down his spine,
now, quite handsomely structured
like blacksmith’s work.
They, embraced in fire, engulfed in flame,
an extraordinary cry of pleasure arose;
overwhelmed.

On went the hours, pounding,
limbered
twisting;
arms like bracelets, white and bare.
He, gone at dusk through narrow streets,
malingering;
aware of dim and darken,
dooryards of skirts that trail, bit of a fool
with his trouser’s dropped,
acquaints in their chambers,
a moment, a day, a week.

She, indignant mangled sleeping,
slopped and floated
by his leaving,
her whole body a tremendous wound
driven to be hurt;
disallowed his horn-rigged burning.
Envy or malice, took a new one,
stretched angelically for an offering;
curled more than once.

Sun gutters from the sky, he swings in
like a rusted gate;
falls into her bed
sway of bodies across the sheets.
Bountiful in her body, pushing for a birth;
gleaming ring on her finger
prompts for a marriage,
the better part
eternal rewards.
Pain drains her to the last drop,
she hardly knew;
he is swift in black air to another’s womb.

The wind whines and whines the roof shingle
of an empty house;
a miscarriage.
She weeps mourning in a loss.
With his lover he is mocking death,
a pattern,
lifeless like a grave.
Her limbs, her loins, her abdomen, her thighs
tormented, wrenching;
alabaster handle, gleaming barrel,
one shot to his head;
blood, an hypnotic luster.
A second steel round. Her pale rouged flesh
pooled in scarlet.
The red rust downward and the long love creeps.

#1Fragments of love

Black magic

I, with trembling body was exhumed from
a flickering white light
into the catacombs of her
dark inhaling throat,
cracked ribbed into the malicious
left hand of her soul;
a four ringed ritual caverned in evil.

She weaves with the clasp of her hands
witchcraft, a ritualistic folk
magic invoking evil spirits
covened in black pots
clothed in iron;
first a bruise, a hammering of the skull,
my memory
falls heavily into the bric-a-brac
of darkness,
I am her demon, sorcered and
expressionless.

I cry like a crow, chatter like the
insane,
it is a dying fall into being possessed;
I am leashed
and exact.
My bones have been picked clean
by her fingers,
I am a dead fish, lifeless underneath
the shadowy moon;
my elbow and foot sink in the
quagmire of hell,
twisting on Satan’s rack,
I snap in two,
a unicorn runs me through, I split
and I crack.

Death breaks loud in my dominion,
save for the eye of
a flower,
its petals like a candle,
mechanical flame;
can I make a cowardly amend,
a slight sensation that breaks my trance?
Am I wise or foolish,
tardy or too soon,
will she have the advantage?

A stake, a fire, a burning,
a magic circle
for the condemned; left-hand path for
a witch.
Spontaneous combustion,
the earth’s coven for heresy.
This is how I had reckoned, the morning
is grey and smoky.
Am I a heretic for being an
omnipotent,
for letting her possess my soul?
(In a capricious monotone voice I
once asked her, will you wed me?).

Black magic