So said the hand in clutching pen,
Written upon sheet upon sheet in endless scroll
With trembling laid down, as the pitch of the sea
Fierce rolling summoned in his ink:
So began as all began
Begotten storm in song.
Swung the lantern below in theft of the Sun,
Dawning upon the Face of we travelers
Our salt face, our biscuit face, neither pearl nor stone
Squinting at the place of our journey
Stinking in brine, vomit, and rats teeth:
White daggers that dig the eyes of those who sleep
Making us as soft as the goat’s cheese that crumbles.
Clutching omens we cast our vision aside;
Incense burns our nose, Frankincense smoking out
The sickness of churning, the hunger of days;
Our lips in convulsion mutter and throw hope to sea,
To be swept along as though Hell had messengers to
Carry these bottled letters and retchings.
Not with white-tipped hands will our prayers
Be carried to holy soil; not by weeded tongues,
Nor devil-vessels, nor driftwood.
Silence is the Face of we travelers. (I.xxiii)
Our mask-face, our warp-face we carved from
Ships, carts, and barrels.
Pierced with the taste of our stomachs.
We began as all began:
Begotten in storm and song.
Storms without waves, wind, or thunder.
Quiet storms of men and long-lingering flesh
That ties from birth beyond and ghostly.
Born to the world, unborn in the ship I
Press my coins, remaining copper of poor wealth,
To my eyelids like all traveler’s masks are.
Stars in these thumbs do not lie: there is no pure
Black, only pitch black, flow black
Nor do stars shift so often as the tide, for we find,
Parched of discovery, the walkways of docks
Upon water, and upon shores
And I find honeycomb sores fresh in me.
From one flow to another
Waves turn to cobblestones and skin.
The Journeyman stands rooted, rooted as always
Rooted deep into the family tree,
Before the kiln, golden-framed with soot.
Reaching deep to the past of gold,
Burning and furious, choking the throat raw.
Inhaling the sinew of old corpses
Dumped in the pile and stacked chest-to-chest
To turn to smoke and pastime for foolish boys.
With face boiled in sweat he turns to the window
Where the visions of black ships come,
Bearing soldiers who march abreast;
Forcing hobnail to cobblestone with muskets
Combing the sky proudly in glistening rows,
The stalks of progress born by the cornucopias
Of the sea and the carpenter.
New arrivals all, dough-faced, with stiff collars
Snot-lined cuffs from the habit of wiping
Darkened armpits of the work and humid air.
Shivering figures too
Weak in the heat and rough-skinned.
Torn from the bowels of the damned seas,
The obsidian rivers of sleep, and ice, and fire.
Shell women and men ripe for wasting.
The Journeyman shall root them,
Sate their lust for still life,
Prentice them to the snuffing wick.
Bloated as they are by the wander and rock
Of black-masted vessels,
He will have them.
Those who eat too much stillness, well,
Turn up the kiln and get ready
For the charring stench.
He has smelled it before, too many times,
Slinking into the corners of his belly,
Raw throat salving itself and catching the taste.
Forest floor pounding so ripe with the crushing of the dry;
Barefoot up and down into the concave bowl of earth.
Packed away somewhere in the invisible between
Where all dust goes together and together, impossible
Bodies thrive on the stuff bah
The bowl stuff, vision stuff dum.
All this speaks of dreams in shaded starlight bah
Speckled in the gleam of the fierce blue of the veins dum
In here there are small things to be tasted. bah dum
Their heads pinched between the thumb and nail ‘till spilt. bah dum
Dark carapace cracked: the one eye is seen thickly
and through fog with piercing
“Awaken you ask?”
So say we:
“yes!” not knowing in our shivers we are already weak.
So say murdersome children with glee-dunked knives.
The chattering scrivener’s tongue is wet with temptation.
With flicked wrist it is done: one eye seen thickly
beneath welts of sky shines and
all is a dance of cudgels.
bah dum bah dum bah dum
Air strangles with cool fingers reaching in to steal fresh kisses
bah dum bah dum bah dum
Satyr trees, who holds their ankles now? Stripped to burst
bah dum bah dum bah dum
Twitch star and cradle with hands so drenched they are wells
bah dum bad dum bah dum
This is the bleeding well built upon the Mother’s heart
Where love comes from in all its aches and mouth-crawling,
A meniscus: the downpour is ready.
Ass to heaven and stump to Hell they are resolute dancers
Pouring from their severed necks the ruby wine of ages.
Bound to the embrace of the oak, they are splinters now.
The body is a tedious path to a river to ride
Upon soft moss that floats in slothful currents.
Loam canals for honey veins tie their cord to this fledgling planet:
A child that cries and shall be sated, one eye smiling
Fresh vessels emptied at the table
Cup after cup and jubilant in their unpacking
The worship gush is a merry spill, a holy blunder from the grip
Of a worldly child’s curious grasp.
But where is the palpitation?
There are no pelts stretched, nor clubs descendant,
Nor hearts but the one fresh and deep and weak.
In the sore tunnel of cackles his hands move
Doubled in time and shimmering
Cancerous growth of the brain stemmed outward
Reaching for some new light, more bright than this madness.
He cannot be for the branches are through
Muscle and skin, porcupined out of ears and mouth and nose
So hands shall move with long, fungal nails of spores
In the gutter sits a poor man
All bandages from the ears up, boar tusks and wool
From the nose down. Stuck aside he will tell a tale
For coppers in his cup. He knows what’s written and
Speaks it oddly with a bubbling jaw.
– What cards have you of the skull? It has spoken of you
dryly, wry, the words that taste like barley.
His fury burns out at the wick
Unfit for the walls they stand on.
A thumbprint is more worthy, it fits in the mouth,
It may be printed once alone like the iris.
Sunflowers mush as they chase the sun: their hope
Is the beautiful scythe.
So, shall he be cut down and picked,
Vivisected for all his worth and curiosity?
Gloam from the ocular confinements of saints: a look.
– This is not a poet
Specimen: a Rich Find.
Bound and gagged it finds the need to express nonsense
Emphasis on finds: there is not need
Invention of the injury shall justify the pain
Madness in this case is psychosomatic, common symptoms
Include no source
What difference is there between this cancerous mouth
And a sewage prophet?
Powers are born of drunk fear
Stuck with blood in their veins they rule
With the vengeance of jealous stars
Damned to watch and be silent
This never ends and all eternities
Are a certain Hell
When this shall never pass quick enough and
Return all too soon
No, not Gods in the clouds or in the change
Nothing but thoughts to listen
Waiting as patiently as crows can
Thoughts are our carrion.
Our Murdering Kings.
So said the charitable fool, begging for what he would give away:
– Once upon a time, not known whether soon or far
There rode a dark beaked king, born beneath a bloody moon
Who swore to set his stones upon the mud ,
And from the furrows build his unbroken Empire.
If ever he encountered an Elven Lord,
Antlered and arrogant, his talon would split them in twain.
So bloody was his beaten path that antlered elves
Upon their thrones of thistles and thorns swore
To take his skull for their own
This vengeance set in motion
By the proud king’s culling hand
Would end in his expulsion
From his stolen, sylvan land.
With antlers and arrows they drove him down
From the fey lands to foul countries of mortal men.
His hands were hard and his talons torn from his
Journey through the joyless bogs, blood-soaked by
The very battles that brought him victory before and branded
Him the Murdering King, mad and cruel, made to suffer.
So by selling his feathers he set himself southward
Till his travels took him where the river runs and twists
Its way to weary men’s throats, and there in the reeds
May be found the crossroads and camp of the Murding King.
For his crimes committed
Against the court of the Fey
The King was named Murderer
And was sent upon his way
To sleep beside the river