Sunday, March 9, 2014

Faerystruck Down

This is the poem that got me my first Rhysling Award nomination. Written after coming home from Ireland a few years ago. It was first published in Volume 9, Issue 1 of Tales of theTalisman.

Faerystruck Down 

In the rolling fog of the purple sea
Where slugs infest the ridge
      And breeze-bent heather
      Tethers ghosts of the drowned 

Beyond the threshold of the mind
Where sea hags howl at the moon
      And shapes unseen
      Sneak away human babes 

Lies the maritime trail I was warned not walk
Urged by patrons of the old pub
To return to America, and be gone at next breath:
      “For too tempting is the tourist from afar!” 

But I split my sides at their heathen pleas
Doused their cares with whiskey and ale
Till after a spell, I was cheered out of town
      Pushed along streets of leaping whispers 

So onward to accursed shores I went
Bold with humor and the prod of drink
      Where fish-lipped merrows in cohuleen druiths
      Leered from frothy kelp isles 

And the mutterings in belch-bogs grew ever near . . .
And the perverted, creeping shadows . . . 

I will never forget their dream-drenched faces
As they sang and danced and picked over my end
Their goblets high in the salty spray of the purple sea
      Where many a mortal bone now rests in the deep 

And in my last moments of earthly acquaintance,
Head a pivot and lit with fires green,
They branded my soul to the tongue of lore
      Forever to break out madly from seaside lips

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Quieting the Agnostic (old unpublished poem)

I have the quixotic urge
to steal thunder from the rain;
to take the pain
from our tears. 

To secure and sculpt it;
to create an elation all my own,
so that in a god’s honor
I can set the thing free. 

Because I’ve come to know
that everything sad or lost
is not really sad or lost
when the day comes;
when the truth comes. 

     And all the cold stars
     are a million degrees.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Making Amends

He is making amends to his victims
in the swarm of their ghosts, enduring
the blades, the beatings, the wringing hands—
each angry shade sucking up heat
as its own death reblooms and blackens.

For thirty years, few women walked
that city alone. In dreams they shrank
beneath his composite-face, took to prayer
in the gore of his wake. The law shaved
off its own flesh, trying to bring closure.

The instant death claimed him in age, a pack
of shades broke from the freeze, scurried
like bats to the rising maw of Hell. There
they blocked him, traded one of their own.
He is making amends to his victims.

First published in the April 2013 issue of Star*Line.