Litkicks Message Board Archive

into the abyss - series

Posted to Poetry

2 poems for j. joyce

“Old father, old artificer, stand
me now & ever in good stead.”

Deadless — timeless creator
Mirror — suracI
Through corridors we are shunted
In the carriages of myth, in
Hot flight shot down
Over the pre-Icarian ocean
Lucifer, fallen angel ate
Newton’s apple & seeded such with his.

What goes up —
Down - into Persephone’s cave,
Plato’s politics ever immersed
Your thoughts, blind Jim?
And Seraphim in that foul poem,
Was that the place of angels
Or the imposition of schizoid androgyny
Designed to confuse all archaeology?

Maybe the tattooed black bull of grace-land
Worshipped adrift on Serapeum waters,
Slaughtered at twenty five
Martyred in lore as are all poets of dissent
Or descent
The gene pool holds no special privilege
For any man to cool his wings —
And what of the mind?

Connected /diffused at birth
Or born with instinct of all time,
Eternal motifs?
These are all unanswered.
You have rendered blindness
Attainable by all, that dive beneath
The dark lake of mirrors,
Shot down in flames.

Ulysses’ wake

Do you fit all literal clichés?
I bet you played cryptic crossword
Puzzles as a kid,
That’s what you get when you
Don’t have television.
I suppose you also knew
What crypt meant.
Did you want a tomb
Where all could see
And feel, the hard granite on the page?
The eternal symbol — infinite image,
The bottom line of every
Epiphany — these questions without answers
The vision of a new world
This gasping earth gorged
Fed with funnels of waste
We run in burrowed warrens
Deep within its gut beneath
The river
Laps the earth from the banks
Pulling the blanket of glass up
Its wake rocks & stirs our consciousness
From mournful sleep & ritual
Yet, we are drowned . . .
Only to be risen once again

Punishment for all former sins

The wicked city sleeps a second as the sun comes up
Sleuths with blind obedience & subtle reward
The day blinks & is gone — swallowed by itself
We float like zombies
Bittersweet voodoo magnet — implants its claws
In our broken backs
Toward the neon grin
Great endless inanity of night pulls
To begin in earnest the spade breaks the Earth’s skin
Our quest for delight knows no bounds for fools
Streetlight sings & slaps the cruising cars
Like bleeding sunshine shards
Through weeping tree-lined avenues
The cumbersome concrete breaks another face upon
Goose-steps goose-step across & over
While black mirrored glass
Of her evening bodice entices
Swirling mutants, who stumble & ripple
With vanity & the tease of undress
Winding — winding in & out
Through cavities like cancer
As darkness covets flight, of our souls
And soon, as ghosts, we echo & return
With another tattoo
From the city’s sin emporium.

Firstborn thoughts & memories

The beginnings drug the memories with sedition & promiscuity. Ripe fruit ferments & intoxicates with its poisonous nectar. First memory: father’s keeper; the farm; stormy black wet night on the back of a churning tractor, picked up from a bus-stop in the middle of rainy wop-wops. Flooding ankle deep in brown glass. Mud, cattle-stop judderring, jarring my fresh teeth. Mum’s beaded purse glistened as it dropped in the mud & water by the ugly fence-post of the gate off-of the back of that stupid noisy tractor.

Morning. Gumboots out. Farm smell (like a fresh creek) — ran to gate & found the jewel; felt proud as I surrendered it gallantly to her. In the kitchen deaf Nana mumbling - laugh gesture — gesture. Everyone yelling & big. I shrink to the floor & see myself killed in the big cat’s eyes. Grandad: HERE boy; outside by arm, gashed block of wood. Swinging black axe with silver blade, chicken screaming by its feet — big pink face winking — CHOP, feel blood warm splats on face; chucked on muddy slop ground, chicken red hose squirting blacky red - no neck dancing stumbles into shed door. Thud. Flap flap flap . . . Nana pulling feathers POP POP POP into bubbling steamy water she goes. “Don’t flush the dunny for wees BOY. We’ve only got one tank & she’s nearly dry as a chicken’s gizzard.”

Drink deep of that refreshing draught

Sit alone on these steps
I watch the cold clouds reiterate
there is no blank canvas

everything is a colour
everything is a word
I can’t help but interpret & participate

this morning froze me
snapped me from a dream of thirteen faces
none of which were mine
what is neutral in this world?

I have a new-found faith in sleep
that serves me well for everything
shuts my eyes as light as a thief
yet still lets me live, when I wake . . .

A city called chaos

I stand on the edge of the hill
Above the dirty little town
Where I lived & looked
Across the black abyss
To the thrashing heaving mass

Molecules of space & time
Burst & splash the city lights
Across its pockmarked moosh of pain


Whisper murder
To my ears — blood pours fear
In swirling rain
Glaring moon grins red grins
Twists my limbs with silver threads
Dances me right off the edge . . .

Who were once slaves of sin

We sight our ships to sea
to have them crushed
by quick waves
some abort the vessel
land, we set our sights to land
catapult an anchor
plated with fear of missing
the mark, where it scalps
may as well dig our place
and in it lay
spinning off
far away
inconceivable distance
languishes old ghosts
banging walls
of our abode
rise up
rise up
to get to where it is
you imagined
the secrets of
such abandon . . .

Not arisen from conviction

The agony of beauty, apparent in your look
your style is of the wilderness
groomed & plundered
a book that somebody pretends to read

waiting for someone else, in a neon side-road motel
a flower that someone gives, to someone else
beside a pit, to play with time like it’s a game
and maybe it is all that you have

you wouldn’t want to give away to a stranger like me
a dove releasing, that you’ve reared from birth
holding in your hands outstretched, my heart
let the sky vacuum your baby smile

right off your pretty head, that dangerous game
you played with time, countered with kind caress
weaved the rules into your gentle skin
made you mortal — innocent, once again.

She held a golden cup

Candle burns brightly in your eyes tonight
Skin so warm touch like silk lips so you who
Hypnotize like a home welcome into
Your arms I pledge as we twirl like dancers
In worlds of white untainted by freedom
We melt sun with the sky to burn bloom buy
Our place with what we’ve got which is not much
Keep climbing through pretty beauty blessed in
You we love in love & so we sink rise
Released to live like one doves do live long
In various sorrows blizzards begin
To blow the bells & ring the chimes of you
Burning pyre-like in my flaming chest I
House the flint you struck to live is to die

A new day

Pockets the change
smile creases
the sun
dresses you with its warm jersey

Suddenly awake
lucid kind-of light
licks hand
hard not to forget

The promise of rain
what a bastard of a shadow
this is the time when
a mind eraser
would be put to good use


Love floats on desire, then tries to cover its tracks self-sacrificially, as if paying for some mistake; trying to patch a hole in the raft, with tissue paper.

What else is there to write, breathe, & think, but love? Burning love tainted by another title is not love, but shame. I hold no shame to bear masques, that hide the rage - the ripping tear of your ferocious beat within. I stand screaming your name — again & again & again - ‘till the sun ceases light, until the moon ceases reflection, & we lay side by side in common silk attire. For that is still the dressage of all true love & all that swim its voracious hungry tides.

There’s always that sulphurous fear in love: reprised & hampered in depths of heart’s fatigued consciousness. Outside eyes — intoxication - bathed in brilliance, entreated sacrifice — ignorant with light. Black love’s bitter bleach, drains / sieves in its own kind of shafted brilliance.


Words crawl like
pulsing worms
from mouth

Naked nice in
fetid time
of clock

Rain falling is
dead sparrows
on roof

Old trees
cracking twigs
arthritic limbs

frozen air freezing
flays flesh off
bare cheeks

Wind whipping
strop’s slap
acid sand grates

Disease licking
orificial access
to burrow faster

Red lips
platinum hair
ghost skin
yellow tongue licks
black teeth

Everything surrounds and
squeezes back
large machines
enlarging . . .