Marquetry was born during a dearth of chessboards, chest hatches, and ornamental tabletops. That's entirely untrue—more likely, parquetry fertilized the chess-board vogue, as they abide by squared precepts. Modern interpretations of the game would imply a male monarch who limps sciatic, eluding all potential suitors out of impotent fear. He, a wayward dudicle in regaled polka dot fur collars, ejects his prearranged queen outward to force all significant maneuvers alone, unaided—she wrestles existential and unrealized desires: earning her PhD in bio- chemistry, for instance. The rooks, once firm, their flanking parapets have long collapsed—grown green over with the hyper-sensitive moss of cultural gravitation. Cardinals, per- functorily dutiful, approach only obliquely, bedecked in ordained blue jeans, and purposefully diminish whichever unarticulated innuendos might be inferred by the appearance of their blush phallic caps, full crimson and stiffly starched. All the pawns got lost in a digital booze mist of virtually realized pixels, and today march directly from their slaughtering fields into haphazard columns toward white beanbag cubicles, dark rubber gogg- les dangling below their sockets. So, questioning the aptness of current gender roles, all previously plumed, pleat-pantalooned knights have, in protest, declared themselves voluptuous court ladies and ceased further horseback and/or sword- brandishing acts in favor of burlesque theater, rouge red, and sequins, relinquishing their brushed felt bases for courageous stiletto heels. The French-branded art of fitting bits of animal carcass like tortoiseshell into slots of beech wood remains omni-relevant.
Consider this swelling loaf, browning on our oven's steel grate: it expands under yeast power, all its continents skating apart, bidding brief adieus tectonically, like night trains scudding absently toward opposing suburbs. I can unfold—by the solipsistic streaks rappelling from your lashes—your inward crease. Not intoxicated by baking, but by the tent pins that stake down a widening morass of neural umbrae into the loose, damp loam of your conscious; your tin fingers yawn limply—thin, unshut jaws like two vagrant pitcher plants. You depart my platform, a dusky engine dissipating into muffled remoteness.
A minor experiment in syllabic structure, this poem has been kicking around my keyboard just a bit too long for comfort. It’s a made-up form consisting of eight seven-syllable lines, followed by two eleven-syllable lines, repeating. Visionary, right? It helps if you have a penchant for locomotives and/or a flair for the act of kneading dough.
There are no circles on the Wall,
no trapezoids, icosa- or dodecahedra
either on the Wall, because the
Wall has achieved Nirvana. Owing
no apology, and professing no dialectic
or dogma, the Wall lacks all significant
tattoos. Nail holes plugged by globs of
drywall mud are the sheared tops of
desert rock plateaus, viewed closely,
sideways, and at a ninety or two-
seventy degree turn from rightwise
up. I have marked time on it, the Wall.
Somebody’s mother or grandmother
has marked the heights of the tops of
children’s skulls on the Wall—in hash
scars deep and bold, and in light
scratches from dull, disinterested
hands. Michael grew one point five
inches in nineteen ninety-five. The
Wall is the perimeter of a gift box inside
which I perspire away from viscid looks.
It’s bound with a wide, flat ribbon bow
and will remain obscured until arrives
the red-marked date on an uncatalogued
calendar. No measure of time exists but
Wall time, and is naturally incompre-
hensible to all and any non-walls.
I rest the dimple between my cheek
and jawbone against it, sanding the
fibers of my stubble into its skin with
shuttered eyes. The Wall is my numb
horror and my unrequiting lover—it
precedes and proceeds all felt things
that rattle like stray sewing pins trailing
with my bloat and wheeze. I am undone
against the Wall’s stiff, inconstant pavise.
I have only ball-tipped pens, no pencil
to etch a leaning line at the top of my own
head. I chip with a jaundiced right thumb-
nail, but my height remains unchanged.
Float me a platter of ampules in place of breakfast. Please do brush the grime from your feet ahead of time: the old carpet is starting to struggle under the dark of permanent wear from the hallway to the bed, since we set this same metronome each morning. My covers are crusted to my dewlaps, and I could use a cool shot from your cocktail tray— it might muffle the bleat and peal of my soured conscience— to chip me loose from my still December puddle. I will be blown-in insulated by cottony palliatives; the oculus stalk craned to focus into the cavernous geode of colored blips which compose habitats in my shifting imaginings. "I want to be a real boy," I say in the quiet of my soundproofed skull, the deadened place where no jeer nor laughter of the mob can penetrate— those crowds of we who mock the dying man for his dying, we who milk stimulus through pert voyeurism at the sad throes of human wretchedness. No, with a favorable mixture of your silvered anesthetics I'll log-roll from my sleep, out of my dermis, and into a pasture thronged by formerly unhappy icons who have attained high enlightenment by synergistic mood enhancers. Can I now eat my first meal from within the com- forting capsule of my caterpillar suit, where I will outmaneuver all the insufferable raindrops? I generally weep in foul weather.
I pull apart a contracture in the snarl of my drab cargo
shorts; the washing machine’s fat bottomed steel colander
anticipates—a reverse doughnut hole array of shark finned
water paddles designed to beat the stale from the mesh
of old garments. Veldt grass Velcro is twined like a jungle
eyebrow to the affixing threads of smooth UFO buttons
which moon over fabric plains and stitched superhighways
in search of experimental life signs. My humid thighs had
knocked around like clappers in cloth bells along the soft
crust of the Atlantic, where a blue crab lofted its pincers
in a brace against the infinite conflagration of surf: broad
panoplies of tongues which lick away each child’s sandcastle.
Tight daubs of bathing suited bodies upright in loose furrows—
soft synonyms to my unaided eyes; mislaid voices are hues in
a mixing bucket, amalgams in a memory of threads that fray
beneath the blue of detergent, erased from time after the cycle
I’ve been away for a time. Still writing, still dreaming, just not posting. I keep up with things in the Reader and occasionally “like” some posts. I’m not gone. I’m quite here, should you be interested.
For any who are interested, The Drabble was kind enough to accept a (very) short prose submission of mine, “Stains in a Cup.” You can check it out here.
I encourage you to give their site a follow. They publish some lovely pieces.
Wearing a 37-inch television crown, I
stand proximal enough for the static
thrum of its
to erect strands
across half my dome’s oblong equator.
Army men slither on folded chicken
spooled wire, past the glob of lime
discoloration that creeps through
left corner of
cathode ray tube. I want to germinate
a space shuttle jumpsuit—unravel the
arts of stick,
but some ships sparkled and burst like
backyard bottle rockets, and the vast-
ness of space
gains, so I wrapped the universe in
packaging tape and rifled it down the
open end of
I howl into at
night before I
A shoehorn soap peel sits on the tiled ledge to the
porthole in my tub-shower—glass louvers gut-high
in the wall, so the earth may watch me scouring—
with upturned fins like a mid-stroke manta ray I
twirl and scuff to coax absolving lather (because all
mothers say hygiene heals a gape of wounds), and
I enjoy the soothe of vapor while my nerves are
whipped into a froth and the light separates to
striped piano keys, when for the sixth time today
I’m convinced death’s viscous glaze is plastering
me over; perhaps a salving byproduct is the warm
expurgation of my guilt-stuffed lump of belly fat—
which jiggles when I contort to baptize unmapped
appendages—but the suds usually make me dry-itch.
He’s splayed under cover of a rainstorm awning
with a spray-on shirt in green weave like tangled kelp—
serif lettering across his tanned breasts has been
parched into an indistinct dither by the hormonal
swings of a foul-mood sun.
And his dog tap-dances with pointed red fox ears
under the gas station windows—tip-tap-
tapping with unclipped claws that mime the practiced knocks of
patent leather stage shoes—the yellow feather of its tail
pursued by a cloud of affection-brown hands:
fluttering wings whose fingers are slivers of washed driftwood,
like what’s under the flakes of peeling blue bow paint on that down-the-road
sailing boat; its overturned hull passes every season in slowness
near the broad, relaxed shoulder of the coast, as it casts
and drags in the sighing vacuums between
stuck RVs that aim themselves like sunbathing snow bears,
angling for a first-time roast of bronze.
The tap shoe pup hits marks to a rolling drum like bullets from God
for the chuckling man who wears the sea on his back; legs figure-eight the piles of
every owned thing stuffed into the paunches of
three plastic grocery bags.
Slanting forms eye the Mesmer roll of numbers clicking;
thread long rubber tubes into the empty bladders of their automobiles—
ears plugged against the music.
Three standing crosses, staggered,
reinforce the salt white scrimmage line of cement curb.
Necks draped in floral strings—
guests in Hawaiian orchid leis attend a beach-side luau.
Rome had famous crucifixions;
my mind reechoes the long death wails of Pict and Gaul.
A traffic light dangles on a cable,
its glossed new body is trimmed in thin reflector yellow—
—no Lazarine resurrection.