Poems

I hate poetry but have had seven poems published.

(This poem first appeared in the August 2010 issue of Volume Magazine – USA)

Broken Heart Burning Forest

There is silence at the center of the forest
Around a murky pool all but hidden in the trees
Visitors are greeted by absolute quiet
The citizens there so rarely visited
Hide away in fear of the unknown
And the unknowing

Lovers come to this secret place
To touch and whisper
Caress burn heave and collapse
Their carnal joy dripping
On the soft fallen leaves of the forest
Smelling like wet paper

When later the sun arcs low
To hide behind tomorrow’s veil of cold rock
The gathering midnight dew
Dilutes everything it touches
And the hot midday passion dissolves
Into a memory of secretions

Mulch absorbs the animal drippings
Leaves inhale the final lingering gasps
And trees wetnurse the thirsty sky
The treebark stretches like old skin
As the furnace of the new sun ascends
Exhaling hot dessicating winds

Acetylene days fold into tepid nights
Only silence seduces the anxious and weary
The forest music becomes brittle and unkind
Its rhythms broken
Into the crack and grind
Of a vast waterless cacophony

Everything now is covered in dust
Black clouds unleash random electric fury
Leaves cringe and whisper a requiem
As trees explode into fellating tongues of fire
Footprints shadows and animal stains
All transform to ash

What poems can endure?
What songs endlessly echo?
What legs forever dance?
What lovers eternally love?
What hearts survive unbroken?
In the burning forest

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(This poem first appeared in the August 2010 issue of the beautiful print publication, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, from the campus of Pennsylvania State University)

Photo Shoot

A storefront
Empty windows
An invisible wind
Anticipating something
Perhaps this moment
Of optimistic wonder
In eyes full of fantasy
That go with the territory

She can’t help radiating
A certain amorous appeal
A contagious self-love
A soft silent craving
A certain flare
A piquancy
She has secrets
Whispered promises
A certain intoxication
That goes with the territory

She effortlessly glides
Riding her whims
And tender frail dreams
Into the deserted nights
Everyone’s dreamless nights
How she dances
With fierce abandon
Piqués and pirhouettes
And thus forgives and forgets
The crude and unapologetic
The hapless and insecure
The hangers-on
That go with the territory

The world is the world
She chooses to see
To shield her from the chaos
Of her heart
Of vain obsessions
Of the oh-so-wise
Of the who-you-know
The stragglers
The demons
The barbarians
The unruly crowds
Who haunt her
And stalk her
The demented angels
The impudent clowns
Who mock her
The diabolical thieves
And ruthless pretenders
The big-time spenders
That go with the territory

No she can’t help radiating
A certain amorous appeal
A soft silent craving
Whispered promises
Tender frail dreams
A hardness
A softness
A certain intoxication
That goes with the territory

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(These three sick, depressing poems were initially published in both the online and print issues of Record Magazine, April and Summer 2010 – Chicago USA)

The Secret of Death

No blindfold
I want to see my assassins
And feel their emptiness
Hear their obscene gurgling
Smell their pristine fear
Know their wasted humanity
They were my friends
They are in the end
All I have

The Holy Trinity
Birth
Death
Oblivion
I hear snickering
As irony licks
His pus-filled lips
And blood dries
As history’s ink

Are you the angel of death?
So centered and self-assured
A gyroscope
A Zen master
What is completed
Completing this cycle?
What is achieved
Achieving the inevitable?
I say it’s a done deal

So I don’t laugh
And I don’t cry
It is finished
Before it begins
An infant’s first gasping cry
But a death rattle and a sigh
And what of it?
The village idiots
The comatose
The  dead on arrival
The missing in action
The paint-by-number stoics
Who vanish at conception
Gone gone gone gone
Our little secret

Gasping

I can smell life
It is a chemical
Ozone and bleach
It burns the eyes
Catches in the throat
Like a hot acidic mung
It blurs my mission
And slurs my speech

People pass
And I gasp for breath
Can’t they bathe
In some solvent
Made of truth and hope?
A temporary reduction
In the fetid stink
That fills my nostrils

Baptize them I say
Drown their visceral fear
Dissolve their primitive anger
Lather them in dreams
Wash away the sins of history

Let the drooling stench of folly
Fill the nostrils of demons
And leave the air clear
For me to breathe again
To live again

The Messenger Deranged

A face emerges from the wind
Like a ghost from history
His sluggish luminous lips
Form words but there is silence

A distant gasp punctures my fascination
The messenger deranged has arrived
His mocking smile and fearsome leer
Scatters the cringing angels in my soul

I don’t need to hear his words
They are already in my heart
Strapped like dynamite
Across the heaving breast of my hopes

Is it awe or terror that I feel?
Anxiety or long awaited relief?
Tragedy?  Comedy?
Hope?  Disenchantment?
Do I really have a choice?

The twisting screaming guttural cry
Of the bludgeoning of dreams
Plays like a melody of spring
And now the parade begins

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(This short poem first appeared in the June 2010 issue of vis a tergo, an American magazine which exalts brevity above all else)

Two Words

two
words

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(This putatively amusing piece first appeared August of 2010 in the San Francisco humor magazine Hobo Pancakes)

Oh My Goth!!  (Gag Me With A Ruin)

The laughing worm in obsidian slime
Wraps around the leg of the goddess
The goddess points at a shreiking macaw
As five goats peek out of her bodice
The sentry at court relieves himself
From a gargoyle attached to his hand
Bubbling water splashes onto the head
Of the queen seated proudly on a man
This man from waist to toe is a horse
Head and shoulders of a Neanderthal
His tongue hangs out like a huge clot of meat
A gaggle of nymphs try to reach for his balls
The nymphs all dance in wild abandon
Lips stretched to the base of their fronds
One’s legs are spread like an archer’s bow
With a mushroom growing out of her mons
Adonis kneels before the Oracle at Delphi
While his slaves crouch chained to a cart
Egyptian crocodiles gnaw on his leg
A giant eel squirms out of his heart
Zeus is holding the world in his right hand
While the left gives Aphrodite a feel
A dragon-faced fish sticks out of his mouth
As he crushes a cyclops with his heel
Ten columns from Corinth stand in a row
Three virgins are carved in each arch
The one in the center has the head of a lion
The other two look like aardvarks
Over all of this grows ivy in stone
A sinuous limestone spaghetti
And if any of you doubt what I’ve described
It’s right there at the J. Paul Getty

  • Mike Foldes

    ohayo gozaimas, john, thx for letting me know … fb has been a great way to get the word out about ragazine…. in addition, i find out what a lot of other people are thinking/doing, people who i’d never know otherwise, and who would never know about our zine. i like japan, kyoto in particular. visited a couple of times, but never lived there. please keep us in mind, should you write something that seems to “fit.” sayonara.

  • “Photo Shoot” sounds a lot like that all too familiar story I hear from so many women over on Facebook…just sayin’

  • Gia

    I could drown in the visceral satiability of your poems! Lovely!