What I Know

I know that all voice is metal,
cutting blade
until the tongue softens its edge,
and in saying this, I seem to
only know of auditory
things — what else is there?
To see is to allude, in suggestion
I know the colors crawl,
but to speak is to make sense
of veins in rock, of
lustrous ore, not yet formed,
to break the leaf of
indeterminate ingot and
weave gold from its bedlam.
What else is there but crushing
noise, those atoms in their
offended chase,
that we, in a feat of muscle
and stringy vibration,
master?

© 2017 Stellular Scribe

Manichee

I met a
Manichee of vulpine gaze
who squatted in a shadow still,
his nose pointed at the light,
a sentry testing the dichotomic
air.

He spoke of
bracing gums and betting souls
on a darkness that was six inches
thick, that tasted of hailstone,
not of hell, and could be pinched
like fallen snow.

I asked
if he could cross the line
and put his face into the light —
but he raked his fingers in mounds
of night and showed me
the underside of his
blackened nails.

He denied
that where he sat was in theory,
and raved that I should be hungry:
“All material is reality, yet
you think I can move through
her polar will.”

He said, and I
did not hear him breathe,
“I am incarnate; this shadow
is loathe to let me be. And so
I will keep my watch of light
until her origin purges me.”

© 2017 Stellular Scribe

No One Knows

looking feels forced to
me, as if in
crossing glances
i am
the violator
of my neighbor’s
privacy and
the interloper
of his misery.

contact is cruelty
especially
when unbidden
by my
imperfect eyes
and his
dragonfly pupils
that dart
to sweeter nectar
still.

i look away,
my shoulders hunch,
and i fold in,
a flytrap
unused to sight
as I taste
the exoskeleton
that could’ve
been.

© 2017 Stellular Scribe

Communion

I nibble the corner of God
on a hot Sunday
and I am reminded
of Italian grandmothers
who crumble pizzelle
over vanilla ice cream.

I nod my Amen not
to the Latin words
in my Irish priest’s mouth,
but to the body
in my memories,
to the bread
that my family breaks each day,
to the old songs and the “Salute!
of shiny faces over
red tablecloths,
to picking patron saints
and dancing
in white, rite-of-passage dresses
while reciting rosaries
in my father’s
voice.

I taste not the resurrection,
nor the eternity that I am
meant to starve for. In
breaking God between my
teeth, I confess to nothing
but the heritage
of food and love
and wanting more.

© 2017 Stellular Scribe

nightstand

eyeteeth before eyes
grabbing the stranger’s wrist
chin tilted towards the neon
she floods her face

familiar with his jawline
glass spreading skin
in the bottle, underwater
the world spins

two, two, three, four
the dance floor is sewage
breathing, old saliva welling
ankles twist

memory is a tricky thing
he’s like all the rest
just sweat and want and fingernails
good night, let’s bite

© 2017 Stellular Scribe

Heed

Take heed. Across
a wieldy hill we have
a barefooted girl, her big
toe in the dirt, her fingernails
hanging in pieces of
retribution.
She kicks into the
giving grass
and storms.
A way down the hill
a stone is pitched.
It sings,
upended, reprimanded —
it finds a burrow
in the lake,
a lake that laments
on how flat it must
seem to the
overhanging ones.
It swallows the
stone, and hears
the girl’s cries in its
coiling gills.
She suffocates on
uprooting things,
on watching them drown
in the lake’s watery mouth,
on losing a piece
of what was sure to her.
Back up the hill, on
a boulder’s back,
she rests her toe
and holds her breath.

© 2017 Stellular Scribe

Swallow

But we did not lose the sun that night to the hem
of dark and day. Our mouths, our tongues, our teeth, our gums
held tight to that plump fruit of light and let it spin
in the back of our throats, made to reel at the edge
of shade. Our eyes gleamed bright, each nose did beam, as we
crouched to wait for dawn. Our ears flashed with shafts of light,
and there we were shards of glass forced to know the stars.
But we did not eat the sun that night, though its taste
bled sure and sweet. Our task was to hide it with our
locked off lips, and then, when broke morn, set its flame free.

© 2017 Stellular Scribe

Cemeterical

Here in the heat of the cemetery, in the peeling heels of children’s feet, in the sweat of stone-watchers and ghost-hunters.

Here among the living headstones, among the itchy onion grass that whets naked shins and smells of cutting boards.

Here the worms are unashamed of their slime, of the apple core that’s marked with man spit, of the millennia that they chew up and excrete.

Here there is a fork skewering the dirt, behind a wizened rock. Do we eat the dead or the macaroni?

Here near driveways and dining halls that pump bodies like blood vessels.

Here puddles deceive, and wary boots wonder how deep they have to splash before they squish mummified ligaments and moldy old teeth.

Here spiders are overlooked architects; redesigning wreaths of webs, forever breaking in the path of kneecaps and night things.

Here a boy of blackheads and hope breathes close to a girl who believes that the shadows are alive.

Here where hand carvings reign, where cubist hearts and communist quotes and severed genitalia are art unlike anywhere else.

Here where hand carvings hurt, where death stares back at the vandal’s split tongue, where the rain promises to restore the memoriams.

Here in this place of picnic and prayer, of half-drunk beer bottles and half-hearted psalms.

Here among the incense-wringers, among the flag-stickers and the flower-bringers, among the rusted rosaries and framed pictures of withered, smiley grand-people.

Here for the remembered ones, and their forgetful nieces who hop from patch to patch of green grave grass while their parents hiss, “Not here!”

Here for the forgotten ones, for the moss-masked stones that once bore names that now no one knows, that died from yellow fever/diphtheria/polio before their time. Long before ours or within their own?

Here lie not the forgotten ones, but the rotten ones.

Here there are mysteries of after beings, of what becomes when the earth contains us, of who we are when we are dust.

Here there are no mysteries, only such.

© 2017 Stellular Scribe