Rough Roads To Roam (Poetry Monthly)
The flames of the furnace (well-travelled by wind
slowly glazing the rags of gray women chagrined
at the sight of a hair fleeing tresses now thinned)
sometimes billow like waves flooding naves through the night,
when the lightning peeks in where the tension hangs tight
while the lanterns, alarmed, appear fulgent with fright.
Having lost both his hands, and now dancing for dimes,
Captain Hook haunts the alleyway's rivers of rhymes,
sometimes singing or prancing to mimic the mimes
with white faces contorted to pillars of pain,
as the ringmaster murmurs “we're all the insane”
and the inmates dunk donuts in droplets of rain.
With their hammers in hand, in their plum pinafores,
Satan's soldiers of fortune wield powers of Thor's
leaving blood on bent bodies, the tombstones of wars
lining highways and byways with manna and gold
for the mastermind movers, survivors consoled
with some pie in Valhalla (or so they've been told).
Above boulevards, battered with batches of bricks,
flys the Duchess of Dawdle on waxed candlesticks;
while she watches, debauches, her Gigolo tricks
as he talks (on their walks in the summer-day parks
where a parrot kneels praying, a parakeet barks)
’bout the buffed brazen beaks of the latter-day larks.
Hoary goblins glow gruesome, they leap from the loft
to the hard-hearted rues, shedding tears that they've quaffed
through the night of the dead as the clarinets coughed
and the keepers kept watch so that no one escaped
dingy dungeons where priests and their puppets hide caped
behind walls lined with tulips and justice hung draped.
In the Garden of Eaten, where apples once grew,
lie the bones, somewhat blanched, from the last barbecue
and the snakes strut like storks down a lost avenue
along tracks like the cracks on the mask of the moon
all alight with the shadows that seep down a dune
as the firefly crawls from a crimson cocoon.
Phantom trains travel tunnels (dispatched in all haste),
voiding tickets to nowhere, it seems such a waste
to see roadblocks with red lights at dead ends misplaced
at the base of the bowels of the bottomless pit
where reflections of life seem so damned counterfeit
from the back of the eyes of the blind hypocrite.
Lady cockroaches, camped in the Countesses' beds,
are commanding crusaders to fit arrowheads
to the ends of burnt bridges suspended by threads
from frayed thongs of diminutive bald balladeers
taunting Cerby, the three-headed dog, serving beers
to the pagan disciples of bold puppeteers.
The oceans lay barren, the garbage dumps filling
with fracking and cracking and lead water spilling,
for milling and drilling are thrilling but killing
the birds and the beasts and the tea leaves, soon falling,
yet gurus roast chestnuts but can't heed their calling
while mauling and crawling on knees while they're brawling.
Unshorn sheep in the meadow are led to the bay
to be brainwashed and fleeced, trusting donkeys that bray
of the virtues of demons that haunt yesterday,
while the vultures deflower the turtle dove lanes
where the blood trickles up and the cruel crimson stains
Easter eggshells and feathers – that’s all that remains.
One eyed bees pilot lines through electrical storms
and blind hornets hum hymns when they're swirling in swarms
while the rest are repressed as the blue marble warms
(regent Queens losing sight that the end has begun)
and for eyes of the ewes, veils of wool have been spun
and the wasps fly their flags from the butt of a gun.
Seven trumpets (attempting to echo the horns
of the Siamese goats and the three Unicorns
giving birth to the mirth in the temple of thorns)
sound the bugles of sorrow inside of the sea
of crazed lies of the wormwood afloat like a pea
in a pod of dark dolphins that can't disagree.
Often bellowed by barkers, to crowds with no faces,
are words (in their aftermath, leaving no traces)
of picnics and parties in limbo-like places
on paths to perdition where pundits are preaching
and sirens belch bullets while pirates prowl, breaching
the shadow's barbed branches, with whistles blown, screeching.
They're dissecting dissenters that dare to annoy
and then trample with jackboots sent in to destroy,
until taming the toes of the last Gypsy boy
who gets caught in the craw of their cold catacomb
with no rescue by running nor staying at home,
and no freedom to breathe, only rough roads to roam.