men of fire

Men of fire, men of steam
hissing through the fields of dream,
born from embers unremembered
leapt from the hearth of dead December –
Kin of fire, folk of flame,
for all they burn there is no blame,
flesh, wood, stream, stone,
rasp the world down to the bone
and when all is dead and gray
only then they fade away.

To Consider A Man Strong

A strong man would make a weak bear,
a fast man would be a slow cheetah;
the greatest of us will parade
heaps of flesh and abundance,
carefully trained and chemically altered
far beyond our limits,
only to be outdone by a tiger
sunning itself on a log,
stunning in stripe and
fearsome to behold.
Oh, tell me,
what man is stronger than a tiger?

Thorndoll

It was you who wove me
of blackberry vine and wandering rose,
I did not ask to be ripped from the woods
it was only what you chose:
a bundle of brambles, the twisting of twine
gave shape to this form of mine
half merely man, half merely clod,
I did not ask to be shaped like my god
nor to wear this flesh of thorns
from your careless fancy –
all I touch is torn.

Abyss Fish

in deep darkness
light is lure,
light is death –
there are creatures born without eyes,
untempted creatures
arrows shot through endless nights,
hungry beasts
all teeth, scale,
they will never see the light
but, some fateful day,
out of depth, out of clime,
they may worry their way from below
and feeling sunshine lightly lilting,
may surface –
and die.

Shepherdless

No crook to catch a neck,
the beasts heave in the cool mists of morning;
steam batters out from nostrils
steady,
impatient risers already stretching and strutting.
The lambs are wild without their shepherd,
the lambs are wild and do not care,
the lambs are wild and the lambs are free;
and to break their wildness
is to lessen them.

Practical Strength

He doesn’t know his deadlift max but
saw his son go off to grab a snack
and come back a pine box, he
doesn’t know his benchpress, doesn’t
care much to salute the flag, he
doesn’t want to talk about
how much he can curl, or
how fast he can run, he
can work the fields alright enough
and most fellas his age aren’t half as hale,
but he doesn’t want to talk about strength,
he doesn’t even recognize your definition

it reads like

It reads like guilt and
guile, like grief and
gloom, it reads
fast at first and slow in the middle
and I haven’t gotten to the end yet but
I imagine it just goes on like that,
like a ship launched in clear skies and
mired in storms, lost and lonesome and
wishing to return to port, circling around and
finding clear skies and smooth sailing,
and wondering if perhaps it’d be easier to simply go forwards –
circling around again towards the plotted terminus.
Weather-based indecision, or star-based,
or based on feelings masquerading as fact;
so yes, it reads like that
for now,
but I haven’t finished it just yet.

Costume Jewelry

All jewelry is costume jewelry
both rubies and dyed glass glitter
when slipped on for
dress-up parties for old children –
All jewelry is costume jewelry
and no child has yet been born with
diamonds embedded in earlobes,
with rubies in fingerbones,
and if they did, surely,
it would be pried out amid screams
and fashioned into
cufflinks, or a billfold.

Old Grudges

The gods gone out of worship
but their punishments remain.
All curses. No blessings.
Prometheus’ liver still growing, still being
ripped by beak and talon,
still growing, still being
ripped by beak and talon,
regardless of whether we see
or believe;
as immutable as gravity,
as measurable as heat,
still growing,
still growing.

Comfort Found

We’re hoping to become comfortable
by middle-age, or even retirement,
we’re dreaming of deserving comfort,
of being human and acknowledged as such,
of kicking back, feet up,
watching the tide roll around a while –
We’re dreaming of deathless debts
fulfilled or forgotten,
of treasure-ships sinking and the world surviving,
we’re dreaming of being human
instead of the help, we’re dreaming
we’re dreaming.