Anathema

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Anathema can stalk
anyone, anywhere
like rhetoric, or marketing

it will find them

and use them

like a paycheck

~~~

For three days and nights
it’s been raining humans:

humans falling from heaven,
humans drowning in their own
human-made puddles,
humans choking
on unshared wishbones.

(Humans with frightened, bulged
out eyes, silently screaming
sclerosis, sclerosis)

Anathema catches these humans
by the tongue, one by one,
as they fall like tears from heaven.

Anathema spits these humans into a bag
– a messenger bag made of Chinese linen,
so, the humans can breathe in this hot fall weather –
throws the bag upon a broad shoulder
and walks across the bridge to Anathema’s tower
where Anathema takes each of them out,
one by one, holds each
in the palm of Anathema’s hand
and studies their movable limbs;
very doll like, very simple.

Anathema lingers in the moment because
Daddy never let Anathema play with dolls.
(Daddy never let Anathema play with dolls.)
(Daddy never let Anathema play with dolls.) but
daddy’s gone now,

Anathema can play with them all.

Anathema gets a magnifying glass
out of a detective kit purchased from Boys R Us
and thinks about taking the dolls to the rooftop,
you know, the old victim under the magnifying glass trick?
That was always fun to do on hot days like this

But then something happens
when Anathema hovers the glass over them,
and notices their great big eyes of fear:

(Humans with frightened, bulged
out eyes, silently screaming
sclerosis, sclerosis)

and notices the bloodshot complexity
of their eyes
and how the vascular pathways
spread throughout the whites
like a network of routes
on a human map
and Anathema begins to believe

that Anathema has found the map
to his hidden treasure

Lament of a Despondent Peach Tree with a nod to T.S. Eliot

I grow old… I grow old…
If that’s not poetry enough, what is?

And, I am running out of leaves and what remains trembles,
rattles at times, in the cooling Autumnal breeze
and the birds and the bees no longer trigger in me a ridiculous outburst of laughter, in fact what they perpetuate is beginning to seem a bit obscene.

Am I boring you yet?

Even my addictions are losing their sheen;
the sun, the water, those sly children who once desired my peaches.

I once heard them whisper on a summer day beneath the shade of my marquee.
Dare we… Dare we?
Do dare… Do dare! I hissed back, emphatically, with my leaves like lips shaping the mad thoughts into the air.

Do take the highest fruit from these silvering boughs
and take them far far far away from here.

But, oh no, no, no…they didn’t listen.
No way, No how!
after the taking of packaged sweets, and TV,
they just didn’t seem to give a damn anymore.

Perspective

When I believe
what you believe, I see the world
as a leaf, not a tree,

but, that’s okay
because the aphids
see it the same

and the tree
sees the world as the forest

and the forest
doesn’t know what to think,
except that it is made up of countless trees,
hence its pantheist God Complex

and God, who is not actually trees,
but man-like
tries to looks down upon the world,
but can only see his overjoyed penis,
because it is so great,

shouts out, “Oh my God! I can make it move.”

Natural Causes

After the last failed attempt,
I decided to tattoo her eulogy across my chest.

Better to be safe than wordless in front of a murder of mourners all bent on deciphering the meaning of “natural causes” at age 45.

I was never really good with a needle and small bits of viscera leaked from each letter.
When I finished, the heart was nearly drained to the size of a shriveled beet.
Then there was the scar tissue that grew over to construct the shiny pink tomb I now call home.

You say you want to reach out to me, but that will require a type of open heart surgery
and blood always makes you weak.

Whatever it will be next; razors, pills, or cigarettes, It doesn’t matter,
I have already located your place in the stars.

“Such cruel poems” she says “will surely bring on the death of me.”
“Whatever” there are much crueler things in life.

Relativity

We see rain for its pain
prancing upon a corrugated tin roof.

poor rain. dancing against itself.
pathetic rain. Why must it worry its heart
thinking about all it mistook?

Everyday it survives a trillion drops,
Its countenance a trillion sparkling eyes
fracturing sunlight into a trillion faceted thoughts.

See how it shimmers for the sky,
magic and tragic in its starry flight;
The sky likes it that way,

but, it’s rough on the kind
that cannot fathom the rain’s failing
commitment to dying.

Everyday it survives a trillion drops.
Everyday a planet plummets through outer space.
Everyday its inhabitants look up (ostensibly with wonder)

and judge all the things they see as falling out of place.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot

S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma percioche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.

Let us go then, you and I,

When the evening is spread out against the sky

Like a patient etherized upon a table;

Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,

The muttering retreats

Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels

And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:

Streets that follow like a tedious argument

Of insidious intent

To lead you to an overwhelming question …

Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”

Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go

Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,

The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,

Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,

Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,

Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,

Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,

And seeing that it was a soft October night,

Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time

For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,

Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;

There will be time, there will be time

To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;

There will be time to murder and create,

And time for all the works and days of hands

That lift and drop a question on your plate;

Time for you and time for me,

And time yet for a hundred indecisions,

And for a hundred visions and revisions,

Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go

Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time

To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”

Time to turn back and descend the stair,

With a bald spot in the middle of my hair —

(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)

My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,

My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin —

(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)

Do I dare

Disturb the universe?

In a minute there is time

For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:

Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;

I know the voices dying with a dying fall

Beneath the music from a farther room.

So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—

The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,

And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,

When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,

Then how should I begin

To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?

And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—

Arms that are braceleted and white and bare

(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)

Is it perfume from a dress

That makes me so digress?

Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.

And should I then presume?

And how should I begin?

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets

And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes

Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? …

I should have been a pair of ragged claws

Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!

Smoothed by long fingers,

Asleep … tired … or it malingers,

Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.

Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,

Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?

But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,

Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,

I am no prophet — and here’s no great matter;

I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,

And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,

And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,

After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,

Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,

Would it have been worth while,

To have bitten off the matter with a smile,

To have squeezed the universe into a ball

To roll it towards some overwhelming question,

To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,

Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—

If one, settling a pillow by her head

Should say: “That is not what I meant at all;

That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,

Would it have been worth while,

After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,

After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—

And this, and so much more?—

It is impossible to say just what I mean!

But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:

Would it have been worth while

If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,

And turning toward the window, should say:

“That is not it at all,

That is not what I meant, at all.”

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;

Am an attendant lord, one that will do

To swell a progress, start a scene or two,

Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,

Deferential, glad to be of use,

Politic, cautious, and meticulous;

Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;

At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—

Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old … I grow old …

I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?

I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.

I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves

Combing the white hair of the waves blown back

When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea

By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown

Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

Source: Poetry (June 1915).

T.S. Eliot

A Dog’s Optimism

My dog chases a ball
to give him a reason to run;

I chase meaning
because it gives me a reason.

He also likes to bury his bones in the backyard
to hide them from other dogs.

I flaunt mine; it’s my only risky behavior,

other than that,
I’m just a steady grave covered in daisies.

We all do what we can to want to survive;

for my dog,
it’s all about performing that perfect high five.

A visit to the Old Cul-de-sac

The cul-de-sac is cold now,
spry children play no more
& those bright marks of chalk
from softball
have long faded into lore,

the parents have all moved away
their sons & daughters grown,
the driveways need resurfacing
the seedy lawns need mown,

behind an iron window guard,
desperate eyes peek out,
I hear a woman’s frenzied call,
I hear a man’s stern shout,

Then suddenly, the man appears,
fist up, approaching fast,
I roll the window up, shift gears
& leave dark skid marks
on the past.

Um? – The Noise the Universe

If I could trap the original noise
in my tympanum, instead of just its echo
– which echoes inward, away & wayward-
a noise so pent up in
iron chamber civilly & Cyrano de foolery,
it goes off half-cocked,
flaring
in such a shrill,
harrowing trajectory,
even the fools of schoolery
bend to secular knees in prayer;

if this noise could be captured & trained
to run freely, to and fro
-unhindered by the heaviness of its echo,
always dreaming-
playing for hours without scheming
or wanting
to contemplate the purpose
of its soul;

would I then be free to call it a day?