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

The moon is my mother

Lucina, laboring like a white star, your face
Of white flesh, your ancient father grey-bearded,
Weary, cold and planetary; I am separated
From you both, the earth door is quiet.

In despair, I live here, abandoned— a dark crime,
Soberly resurrected, bending like field grass,
Their mild eyes, tender in a wafted breeze. I have
Fallen a long way, white palms, no labor reddens.

Mother, you see nothing of this— you are not sweet
Like Mary. Her hands of holiness lift me from the
Cold pews of your silence. The clouds of darkness
Are flowering blue and mystical over your moon face.

Copyright © 05/10/2020 lance sheridan®

the-moon-is-my-mother

The Morþdæd Mystery

I
The boathouse

Winter kept the village warm under a
covering of forgetfulness;
Spring surprised them in their little lives,
rain showers
cups of tea.
A stranger not living nor dead in a
sound of water,
a body in a shadow, in a handful of wet.
He could no longer speak
and the villagers were silent.
Had he drowned, or was it murder.
The constable worried about
his horoscope;
one must be careful these days, he said.
Under a brown fog in a
winter’s dawn
death had undone the stranger in so
many ways.
The ice thawed and disturbed his disappearance;
he lay in a vial of dry blood,
powdered, confused in his clothes;
his withered life like a
stump in time.
No one claimed the body.

What shall I do now, as he pressed his lidless
eyes in the dark,
waiting for someone to answer his knock
upon each village door;
when answered, they did not mince words,
begone stranger,
you’re not wanted here.
Cold and hungry, he fell asleep underneath
the boathouse.
I am a proper fool, he said.

Sunday morning he never awoke, all alone
he floated in Plumb’s river;
fingers broken, lifelessly trying to clutch
onto floating branches.
The constable referred to it as loitering as
he rummaged through the
dead man’s pockets-
no identification
other than a few old coins and a wrinkled
photograph.

He, an old man, was buried the next day
in an unmarked plot,
eyes blank, took his secret with him;
no mourners
only a handful of dust.
When all was silent, there lurked a villager
wanting to know the truth;
dug up the grave,
dragged out the body, a dull wreck of
his former self.
Out on the ground, perilously spread,
his drying body
revealed something, a clue.

#7The boathouse

II
The mudwump grass

She allowed her half-formed thoughts at first
to remain silent.
A wave of emotions crept over like the tide
which flowed over
the mudwump grass,
each blade in a tuft of wind and wave.

The Plumb river sweeps wide, low, high,
enough to reveal boot-prints
in the mud
where a body had been dragged, perhaps
somewhat unwillingly.
Traces of dried blood- death by water,
or a shooting.
The tide began grabbing for the shoreline,
all evidence would be lost.
She had to act quickly.

A deep, dark voice startled her. What do you
have in your hand?
She tried to conceal the ring as her words
stumbled out.
Nothing, nothing, just an arrowhead.
Her long black hair blew gently
in the wind,
Feels like rain, she said.
Shouldn’t you be getting home then,
he answered abruptly.

A damp gust of rain began falling as she
trudged through the
mud and grass; surrendering to the warmth
of her home.
Thumbing through the obituaries, she found
nothing about the stranger;
the rain fell harder, tapping on her window.
The next morning she discovered
someone had broken in.
The ring was gone.

#8The mudwump grass

III
Plumb’s landing

Before she could react, the constable,
obedient to someone,
knocked her unconscious.
Controlling hands tied her to a remnant
of a pier;
sat patiently waiting for the tide to swallow
her last breath,
drown her in a ruin.
The rising river began lapping on her
clothes, the dampness worsened
all fears.

The wooden piling creaked and moaned,
resigning itself once again
to the thirsty Plumb river.
As she began regaining some consciousness,
she tried to call out,
but her voiced was muffled by gag over
her mouth.
Her eyes desperately searched for a boat
or passerby, but all she saw
was the constable
smoking a cigarette.

The river behaved as an ill wind behaves,
nearer and nearer to a
final meeting;
This is the drowning land that has already
claimed an innocent
life who held a secret about a crooked cop.
She groped at the splinters
in hope of freeing her bondage;
Is this the way my life is going to end?

Disturbing the wooded silence by the
river bank, several law enforcement officers
with a purpose,
hurriedly they approached with a warrant
for the constable’s arrest.
As it was being served, one of them quickly
waded out and untied her.
Quietly, quietly she cried, not only for herself,
but for her murdered father.
The morning sun carried the
black clouds away. A new dawn.

#9Plumb’s landing

‘i me myne’

Pio and her lover

There was an absence and the
moon stood still,
a water honeyed rain fell silent
along the sill;
her lover coming from faraway
from the great war,
in the wind-heaved twilight she
could not be sure;
a black bird kept tapping on
the pane,
then growing dull flew away its
wings curtaining the rain;
she was not certain if it was an
omen, rubbing her eyes,
is it a new beginning or an ending
she would soon realize;
in her parlor, the rain sang with her
a melancholy tune,
my darling where are you, cast her
eyes to the moon;
beneath in the silvery surf a
wooden boat,
a spiny sail cast in the shadows,
a skittery rote;
rudder slipped into silvery craters
in a simple drowse,
running down the beachhead,
crying seeping to espouse;
her hand slowly touched him, you came
to me, said in a whisper,
he lay still in the spume of waves, comes
a dark way, the redeemer.

#1Pio and her lover

Morris and his impulses

Aging grey on hair and beard
and other echoes
of time- disturbing the dust
on a clock,
shall Morris follow?

Despite his number of years
he was dignified
yet invisible in others eyes;
much like Autumn leaves
hidden in shrubbery.

So, he moved, in a formal
day-to-day pattern along
the empty alleys of
life; quite often
down the drained pools
hidden excitedly by rain
(that could not bear too much reality).

Whilst there, Morris would search
for garlic and sapphires
in the drying mud;
sing an appeasing song to
satisfy any winged bird,
ascend to a nearby tree
to join them.

His compulsion did not go unnoticed,
for on one particular occasion
a woman bird watching caught
sight in her binoculars;
she sang out in a chirping vernacular:
voice in, voice out from
wholesome lungs.

In appetency, in his operant way,
Morris invited her up to
a limb on the tree;
they clutched and clung,
fingers curled,
birds chortled,
winter crumbled into Spring.

Their love whirled like a wafted wind,
hearts afire (with deep thought and
meaning); every moment anew of
belonging to each other,
till death do they; until, happily ever.

#2Morris and his impulses

A long love

Love is handily made of what is necessary
To replace a loneliness;
A plainly made agreement on paper to stop
The holes- the one in the heart,
The one for a singular arrangement established
By a length of emptiness.

Did she mean, did he say, you do not cry,
Tell lightly what you meant;
All of which nobody not you knew.
But it is so. Once in a while you wait.
There is no search, but there is hope.

A circle of a ring and a chance for pleasure
And not getting tired of it,
It shows there is no mistake.
A commitment is a commitment and does
Not connect under a bed.
The sight of a reason, the same sight slighter,
The intention to wishing,
The same splendor is a necessity needed.

A method of love, a single climb to a system,
Lily white with a noise and a grace;
Not in a catalogue, not a resignation-
All makes for a silver lining with no ribbon.

#3A long love

Enveloped in darkness

A little called poor

White and a discolored life
and a ragged settlement,
a constant increase.

What is the length,
it is there and a dark space;
a rich line drawn in the sand distinguishes it.

Cabbage in a pot makes a boil;
inside a dirty window
shows a count of ten.

Thicker and thicker is leaning;
she is widening
and mentioning nothing.

All that is needed is a catalog,
seed clam, potato, bread a little please;
presupposed and little corners of hunger.

Notwithstanding a sickness
no money for a cure;
overbearing and a sacrifice.

Play outside when the rain is wrong,
and white is wrong as a pedestrian;
plenty of the right kind of breathing then.

Trembling cause a whole thing is
a sad size,
every bit is church wrong in a prayer.

No breaking the losing of no little piece
no more than any other
complication.

Any plan is a compressed disease
handily made of what is necessary;
the plainer is made more than reason.

A pine box is made neatly
to have holes;
is used and taken apart for a different size.

Left open to be closed to be circulating
in summer and winter,
and a sick color that is grey.

A piece of earth is not splendor,
dirty is worm yellow;
more in soil not mentioned.

Mourning if not dangerous is a pleasure
if it is cheap
supposing there are no flowers.

No cut in pennies and little dressing
and bare feet;
a peaceful life to uplift them.

~A little called poor

A blind looking glass

A death egg in a cast iron pan.
A single eye makes an excuse. Two
are more necessary;
blisters in a cup, somewhere-
sudden very little, suppose is a
necessary.
There is no gratitude in mercy-
it was chosen yesterday;
crawling in a circle
and getting use to it,
there is a bargain with a cane;
some increase means
a calamity. So ordinary.

Pencil and matches being round
things are something
suggesting and a coin
likely for a number- it is necessary
to mingle in a tin cup.
Very nicely may not be
exaggerating.
There are more places empty,
if inside is let in and
certainly something desperate,
which has feeling.
The perfect to accustom the
thing is to have a
silver lining-

A not torn color hanging in a
blight. The necessity dwindled.
Not withstanding the
choice
and a strict occasion.
The care which is wrong and
plenty of doubt.
Suppose within a glass within
a gate which is open at
the hour of closing
blindness, a light in the
moon without a struggle;
What is the sensible decision-
some reasoning
and a sight.
All this makes a magnificent
happening
handily made of a singular
arrangement.
It measures a length sooner
than a blindness.

~A blind looking glass

The mushroom effect

A kind of a cloud and an explosion,
a spectacle and nothing strange
a single hurt skin
and an arrangement in a system;
the difference is spreading.

A change has come, there is no search,
there is no hope; surely any is
unwelcome, surely it is unconvincing.
Supposing there is irregularity
of a violent kind
and not getting tired of it.
Surely very likely the little things
are no longer splendor.

There is a reason for distress to be
quite solid in standing
and to use heaviness in mourning.
Very strongly my be
fainting and not to be exaggerated.

Headless bodies makes for mercy
and a wilting flower
is loud enough
which has feeling
made handily of dust;
it indicates a cemetery journey
established by length
and by doubling.

The ground is left open to be
left closed;
a color that is earthen rust,
an occasional resource
for a body.
A sad size, a particular
color strangely;
assembling waits for a spade.

The mushroom effect has left
a message,
the intention it is an astonishment
for a cleansing,
lighter than some weight;
the pound of a wound
in an ambulance.
The disgrace is not in its
carelessness, but in
the sowing of its stitches.

~The mushroom effect

Trilogy of Faith

Metamorphosis

Childlike in white gauze bandages bent
around my head, my hands,
under the bell of full metal clasps
tucked in like twelve discipled verses-
I am a snail that walks a black line along the
holy house, in search of water wound
like a ball of rain, thirsting for an
existence; a priest condemns me with his
rosary cross, his hoisted bible- who in
this labyrinth of hymns can save me.

Who killed my life with a blunt scythe?
Time shall not murder you, he said; who
could hack out my heart- am I unborn
and undead? I felt as though time had
murdered me. Before it knocked out my
flesh, my liquid hands tapped on the womb;
my male figure fathered me like a worm-
I was deaf to spring and summer; I did not
know the moon and sun by name; my
flesh’s armor was pounded by a rainy
hammer wielded by clouds; sleep and
dreams were racks to my lily skin.

I bow down at the altar of trees in search
of new flesh and bone, where water
and earth make a mixture, a cocoon of
skin and vein till the blood runs. My heart
knows love. I drift down to the sea to
touch the shore, the tumbling waves.
I am richer by sipping on the vine of life,
christened with the milk of earth and sky,
the lifting hands of the four winds; singing
of the heavens in the synagogue of clouds.

!Metamorphosis

The dust which is God

A holy stream where the Jesus fish ran
clear and cold
and the sabbath bell rang slowly
and the hymnal folks sang loudly
and the collection plates filled poorly
while the sermon was of Adam
and maiden
in the newly made earth
below the dingle sky starry.

All church goers had a natural piety to feel:
a creed written in
chapter and verse;
all crouched bare waiting for a baptismal
and a mother figure waited in the shadows
and a new church steeple endowed
the heavens
and the midwives of miracles spoke of
a name- God.

Her dust, thin as sparrows bones,
writhes down like thorns
over the Holy Ghost
over the spuming cyclone of the
black silence melt
over the black plumed reaper,
down the dumbfounded stream to the
Dead Sea- burial waves for
the holy fish.

Brethren for joy, in the name of the mother
pray with the innermost marrow of
your heart bone,
rejoice on the Noah mountain
kneel before a burning bush
and the cross of his wounds;
I am wholly to that lamenting.
Sing a hymnal to sinners whose tongues
I tolled. That bores for all mankind.

The dust which is God

The shape of the journey

His pious eye was staring beneath the
hair of clouds. When I took off
my clothes for internment, there
was only one shoe left for the dance,
the pinch of where.

Mother Mary me out of here.
Time for the flat-headed St. Peter man;
I recognize that listener.
Him with his sanctitude and bent knees:
a varicose horror.

I have come on the church bus with the
holy water dispenser and paper cups;
windows down, wind and rain
like a spray of buckshot. The driver is
the last watcher outdoors,

Moving the card players closer. The sun
eases itself beneath the horizon; the
night collapses into the sky. We all depart.
Our muscles move like jittery water
into the gully of heaven, dank as a ditch.

Up the roadbed Roman stone we strain,
past the bibles in mildewed crates;
we keep breathing a small breath.
A hellhound is sniffing for sinners; an
ill wind sharpens itself on a whetstone.

Hello, hello, says St. Peter, I am the
assistant keeper of the mollusks- let
me see the pits of your tongues, just
a formality. You cannot enter until
his holiness turns on the green light.

We slipped into the silver city, stretched
over sand grain fields, the sun glinted
its sides; we crept cautiously, trying to
shake loose eyes peering. Oh, don’t
mind them, said St. Peter, they’re

Purists- watch out for their beacon swing,
it travels like a snake on a slippery plank. We
slept all night despite the core and pith of
that ugly worm. Come morn, his worship’s words
comforted. The bus departed with a lewd whisper.

The smoke of its breath hung on like the
dearly departed; its right rear fender scraped
by a bolt of lightning- a warning from Jehovah.
God bless good old heavenly terra firma, I quipped.
He said, lovely; learn by going where to go, my son.

The shape of the journey