mendicant’s cold eye

one becomes inured
to the blood spatters
across the floor
best to see plain
without care’s risk
to clot one’s vision
strip away emotion
as if peeling tissue
from broken bone
to see with clarity
the oblivious truth
which hangs like flesh
from carnal house walls
its ubiquitous taint
thickening the air
until every breath
tangs with blood’s
metallic fears

(from a work in progress, “Arcana,” Queenswords, March 16, 2014)

staff work

the form is basic enough
parry riposte block deflect
then repeat as each advance
comes toward me again
year after year after year
even on such shattered ground
the pattern’s familiar enough
each question carries doubt
specific enough without being
at its center entirely wrong
yet it is wearing to explain yet again
what it is I do 
who I am 
that is not you
(from a work in progress: “Arcana,” VIIwands, March 12, 2014)

The Heart Slowly Overtakes Reason

I plod past dreams
to pass the day.
Truth lies
beneath a soft surface
of a song I sing
to you of love’s desire.
I lack experience
with such seductions
to turn my intentions
beyond the shapes of clouds.
I stumble my words
in exaggerated failings
to transform the ground
around you to include me.

(from a work in progress: “Arcana,” Knightcups, March 5, 2014)


I embed
each razored
word I speak,
like dormant seeds,
into the surrounding
ground.  Then wait,
without surprise,
for the vindictive
vines to snake
along my legs
and spine stripping
flesh from bone,
like butchers applying
their keen knives
to the unvoiced
tendons of
the dead;
until I wail
long ululations
of despair
to the wind,
as if my coy
had not vanished
like breath
into the icy air’s
with the first
soft words
I spoke
to you.

(from a work in progress, “Arcana, VIIIswords, February 27, 2014)