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Jun 2016 · 1.1k
Head Home
Alexander Klein Jun 2016
Indigo. A dream of the color, and the sound of soft rain. Bathing birds babbled among pines beyond her window, and morning light was warm on her closed face. An ache in the spine. Creaking knees. Shoulders cold cliff-rock. Complaining muscles knotted tight as wood. The wooden house around her also creaked in the wind. Smelled wet. And somewhere echoing through her fields Edgar barked three times, then once more in playful affirmation. Today maybe the last today. In her mind’s eye, falling almost back into dream, Nora surveyed the long acres surrounding her cold home: untended wheat, alfalfa, cattle-corn, all woven through untold ecosystems of weeds. Stray indigo flowers and violets. Scattered dust-filled barns. What the place might look like after all this time. With her right hand she sought the frame of the bed, found it, rough chips of paint flaking. Slowly exhaling at once Nora lifted her iron legs over the edge, thin-socked feet found the bedroom’s planks. Cold air. November hopelessness. With spider-sensitive fingers she plucked her way around the room, imagining violet dawn spilling through her screen window. Stood before the poker-faced mirror out of habit, ran her brush through hair that must now be silver. She felt the satisfying tug on her scalp and loudly past her ears. If her dresser was in front of her, to her right was the window and the pine-scented boxes where she kept his clothes, behind was her rumpled bed, and to her left then was the bathroom. She felt along the door-frame, the sink, the toilet, and sighingly she settled onto its seat. Relief.
Rain drops on her roof were like the “shh” breathed to an infant. Warm blanket of rain over the cold farm. The breathy wind was driving the rain towards her house, cranky knees told of a storm to come. The boisterous wind had the sound of laughter and strife, of voices: the twins arguing somewhere, Edgar probably with them over-enthusiasticly ******* their footsteps. The bellowing wind made the house creak more than usual, but there was something else. A distinctive groan from the foundation up the east wall to the roof-tiles. Someone was in the kitchen. Constance, just like it used to be. Connie was here and the twins were outside: they had arrived closer to dawn than Nora expected. Heavy truck’s tires in mud, headlights had pioneered dawn darkness. Smell of soil. Massaged her own back, kneaded the the flesh on either side of her spine, then wiped and stood from the seat letting her nightgown fall all down around her knotted ankles. Washed herself, and a short shower before the water turned cold. Dried her wrinkles feelingly, smelling soap, and pulled her soft nightgown back on. Socks.
Always a joy whenever Constance came to call — less frequently these days it seemed — always a joy to be with her grandchildren though little Bastian was still mistrustful of her. Always a joy to see her daughter’s family… but she never got to see Matt’s. An image of her son’s face, a red haired ghost of the past, flickered in Nora’s memory. He couldn’t stand this place since he was young, hated his full name “Matthias,” maybe hated Nora too. No reason to stay after his father died. He fled to the city. Must have a wife, several children by now. Well. At least Constance kept coming by. The rain grew heavier, played on the roof like the roll of a snare drum.
Out of the bathroom and bedroom, feeling the planks of floorboard with her soles, hand by hand and foot by foot she traced her steps down the rickety stairs. Uneven. Nora knew the chandelier she once hung here was red; she pictured the color as hard as she could to envision its reflection on each surface of the stairwell. Smell of pine. Like the smell of his clothes safely preserved in the boxes by the window. Jagged nostalgia. Nora had met dear Rowan back in another world: a world of whirling sights and colors and beautiful ugliness and ugliest beauty all. To America when she was nineteen, leaving behind all Germany and studying her new tongue. Had still devoured books then, was able to become a school teacher. When twenty-three, met in a chance cafe Rowan who worked the docks. Red hair. Scottish but of many American generations. Nora grabbed blindly at a face just out of memory’s reach. Her hold on the bannister revealed the places where varnish had been rubbed away by her wringing hands. From the kitchen, acrid cigarette stench and shuffling. Inflamed knees hating her meticulous descent, but better this ordeal each day than to abandon the bedroom they had shared. When the two met, Rowan still sent money to his agricultural folks in New York (“Upstate,” he protested more than once, “Not that awful city, but in the countryside!” and he’d pantomime a deep breath) because of the expenses of running their farm. Nora’s now. From the cafe he had bought her an almond pastry, triangular, smaller than a palm, its sweet crisp flakes made her think of Mediterranean forests, and when the two were married they worked this hereditary farm. Nora knew all the animals, when they still kept livestock. Now Nora’s farm, whose after? When her little Matthias was born they had praised him as the farm’s inheritor. Unwise.
Last step. Sound from the kitchen of Connie shifting in her seat, rustling papers. Smell of strong coffee. Strong cigarettes. Composed herself, quietly cleared throat. Sauntered down the hallway, monitoring expression and tone. Nora said, “Hello Constance. When did you three get here?”
“Hey ma,” said the woman’s voice when the elder crossed into the kitchen. “For christ’s sake don’t call me that.”
“For christ’s sake, don’t take his name,” Ma scolded, but then traced her way past the table to the countertop and felt about for utensils. “I’ll make you something Connie.” The counter was in front of her, bathroom to the left, stove to her right and along that same wall was the back door. ”How about some nice eggs and toast like how you like.”
“No ma, I handled it already.”
“And what color is that hair of yours this time?” Ma asked, carefully inserting slices of bread into the toaster. “Seems like months you haven’t been by.”
A patronising, sarcastic chuckle. “…it’s orange, ma.
Listen—”
“That is so nice. Your father’s hair was just that shade of orange.” Felt around inside the refrigerator. The styrofoam carton. Small and cold and round, her fingers seized four of them. “Do you remember?”
Pause. “I remember, ma.”
“What I don’t understand,” said Ma swallowing a cough, expertly igniting one gas burner as practiced and putting on hot water for tea, “is why you don’t fix to keep it natural. I love our nice fair hair, very blonde, very pretty.” Back home in Germany Nora had been the favorite of two men, but many years since engaging in the frivolous antics she in those days entertained. “Best to flaunt your natural hair color while it’s still there: orange like Matt and dear Rowan, or fair like you and Lorelai got.” Memories of her own face as she remembered it. Relatively young the last time she had seen. What wrinkles there must be. What a mask to wear. No wonder Bastian. Nora ignited another burner. Tick tick tick fwoosh. Smelled gas. Sound of the almost boiling water complaining against its kettle. Phantom taste of anticipated tea. Regret. The contents of the vial hidden on the top shelf. Today maybe the. Sound of heavy rain. “And how are your bundles of mischief?”
Connie sighed. “I told Lorelai to get her little **** inside the house, as if she hears a word. She’s playing with Ed somewhere in the fields I don’t wonder, rain be ******. That girl is such a little — well she’d better not be down by the creek anyhow. Could get flooded in a downpour like this. Bastian was out with her, but he’s playing in his room now. You know we don’t have time to stay long today, it’s just that you and I got to finally square this business away. No more deliberating, ok?”
Swallowed. “Course, Constance. Just nice to hear your voice. You’re taking care?”
“Care enough. Last time I was — oh! Jesus, ma!”
Ma’s egg missed the pan’s edge. She felt herself shatter the shell into the stove top, in her mind’s eye saw the bright orange yolk squeezed into the albumen. The burner hissed against liquid intrusion. Connie made a strained noise and scooped her mother into a seat at the table. Movement. Crisply, the sound of two fresh eggs being broken and sizzling on the pan. Scrambled as orange as Connie’s guarded temper. The table’s cool surface. Phantom smell of pine wood polish and recollections of Rowan at his woodworking tools building this table once. Other breakfasts. Young Constance, young Matthias. Young self. Her left hand massaged her aching right shoulder, then she switched. The sound of plates being readjusted with unnecessary force.
“You know,” said her daughter, “living in one of them places might even be fun. Might be good for you instead of moping about this place. But like I’ve been saying, we got to make our decision today: sell this place or pass it on. I know you don’t take no walk, cause where would you go? What’s the point in keeping all this **** land if you’re not gonna do nothing with it? You can’t even ******* see it!”
“Constance! Language!”
“Come on ma, just cut it out! This is great property, and you’ve let it get so it’s bleeding money.”
“…But Constance I can’t sell it, not like your brother wants me to do. He’s always trying to get rid of this place and turn a profit, but someone needs to take care of it! You know that this is the house that your f—“
“‘That your grandparents lived in where your father and I raised you…’ Yeah I know, ma. And I get it. Believe me. But what you’re doing is just plain impractical, why don’t you think about it? All you’re doing is haunting this place like a ghost. Wouldn’t you rather live somewhere where you can make friends? Things can’t go on like this.” A plate was placed softly on the table and it slid in front of Ma. Can’t go on like this. Egg smell. Salted. Toast, margarine. A cup of tea appeared nearby. “Anything else you want? Here’s a fork.”
“What will you eat, Constance?”
“I ate, ma, I ate already. Have your breakfast, then we can talking about this for real. Ok?” Then, the sound of her daughter’s body shifting in surprise, a pleasant unexpected, “Oh,” before Connie said low and matronly, “Hi baby, how you doing? Are you hungry?” But only the sound of the downpour. Orange eggs still softly sizzled. The wind pushed the creaking house. “Sweetie, you don’t have to hide behind the door, it’s ok. Come say hi to grandma… don’t you want some scrambled eggs?” Refrigerator’s hum. Barking echoed, coming over the hill. But not even the little boy’s breathing. Grandma had met the twins two years ago, following the **** of Constance’s rebellious years and independence. Nora was reminded of her german gentlemen and her own amply tumultuous adolescence. She could forgive. Two years ago Lorelai and Bastian had already been too big to cradle and fawn over, but they were discovered to be just starting school and already bright pupils. Grandma hung her head. Warm steam from where the uneaten eggs waited patiently. Edgar’s approaching yapping. And, fleeing from the doorway, a scampering of feet so light they might have been moth wings. Down the hallway back into his room. “Sorry ma,” said Constance.
Shrugged. A nerve flared in pain up her neck but she didn’t react. Only fork scrape. Ate eggs. On introduction, poor little Bastian had burst into tears and refused to go near her. Connie had consoled: “It’s ok baby, she’s just Grandma Nora! She’s my mother.” But poor little Bastian inconsolable: “No, no, no! She’s not!” What a wrinkled mask it must be. How hideous unkempt with silver hair. How horrible unflinching eyes. “She’s not,” would sob the quiet boy in earnest, “she’s a witch! Don’t you see?” And he never would let Grandma hold him. Lorelai was always polite, hugged warmly, looked after her pitiable brother, but her mind too was far elsewhere. Edgar alone loved them all unconditionally and was equally beloved. Barking. Yowling. Scratches at the door. Downpour. Door and screen door opened, wet dog happy dog entered, shook, and droplets on her cheek.
And there appeared Lorelai, a star out of sight. “Hey mom. Hi grandma!”
Grandma swiveled for cosmetic reasons to face where the door. Grinned, “Hello Lorelai. Wet?” Envisioned yellow sunlight entering with the excitable girl in spite of the deluge.
“Oh it’s so rainy out there grandma, I found little streams through your fields and big mud puddles and Edgar showed me where your secret treasure was, we found it!”
“Stop right there, missy!” commanded Constance. “For christ’s sake you look like you took a bath in the mud and the **** dog with you. Come on, your filthy coat needs to be on the rack, right? Now your boots.”
Warm nose found Nora’s palm, excited lapping. Slimy fur, smelly fur. A cold piece of egg dangled in her fingers, then dog breath came hot and licked it up. Satisfied, he trotted off elsewhere, collar jingling out of the kitchen and down the hall.
Little Lorelai lamented, “I couldn’t help it mom, the mud was all over the place! When we got past the motor barn and the one alfalfa field that looks like a big marsh frogs went ‘croak croak croak’ but Edgar growled and chased them and then we made it all the way in the rain to the creek and it’s so much—”
“Now you just hold on. Hold still!” Sounds of wrestling. Grunts of a struggle. “That creek must have been overflowing! Didn’t I tell you not to? You didn’t take your new phone out there did you, Lori?”
“No ma’am.”
“**** right you didn’t, cause I sure ain’t buying you a new one. Didn’t I tell you not to go all the way out there? Didn’t I? Now you get into that bathroom and wash your **** hands!”
“But I’m telling Grandma a story!” huffed little yellow haired Lorelai.
“Well wash your hands first and then we’ll hear it, Grandma don’t listen to misbehaving girls who are all muddy and gross. Not a squeak from you till you look like you come from heaven instead of that nasty creek.”
A profound sigh, a condescending, “Fine,” a door closing and a squeaky faucet running. Muffled hands splashed, dampened off-key ‘la la la’s.
“Who knows what the hell that one is ever talking about,” said Connie. “It’s everything I can do to get her to shut up for five ******* minutes. You done with your eggs?”
Ma fidgeted. The plate was scraped away, and a clunk by the sink. Licked her lips, mouthed a syllable, about to speak. But then her house creaked three strong along the east wall. From deeper within bubbled a suppressed sob: “Mom,” little Bastian wailed, “Mom, come quick!” Constance sighed, Constance cursed, and Constance swept off down the hallway struggling to refrain from stomping.
Sound of washing. Wind. Rain. Alone. Cold. Picking out the paint for this room, listed in gloss as ‘golden straw yellow.’ Rowan hadn’t liked it and chose himself the bedroom’s color in retaliation. The loss of the home they had built together. The contents of the vial hidden on the top shelf: do they see it? Bathroom sink stopped flowing, door wrenched open. Smell of soap, clean smell. Grandma said to her, “Your mother went to check on Bastian,” Taste of eggs still yellow on her tongue.
“What a *****!”
Stunned. “Lorelai!” she snapped. “Don’t you dare take that language!”
“But mom does it all the time.”
“Then Lorelai, it’s up to you to be better than your mother. When I’m not around any more, and your mother neither, you’ll be the one who keeps us alive.”
“But as long as you’re alive you’ll always be around, you’re not a ***** like mom. And remember? I got all the mud off so can I finally tell you can I what we found? Well actually it was Edgar found it. Oh and I’ll describe it real good for you grandma just like you could see it: when we pulled up we were just wandering in the blue rain, Bastian and me, and silly Edgar joined us but Mom tried to make us come back of course but I told Bastian to stay with us at first, but later I changed my mind on it. It was he and me and Edgar were hiding in the old motor barn where it smells like a gas station remember grandma and he was so excited to see the sun when it rose and made the morning violet sky he started clapping and Edgar got excited too and was barking ‘bark bark’ and howling so I told Bastian to go back even
Dec 2015 · 1.1k
The Fish of Fish
Alexander Klein Dec 2015
once, there were two fish, because i needed them to be happy. but because of their happiness i had to make a change, for happiness cannot last forever. perhaps her little child is lost. it is a boy child maybe. she loves him, whomever he is. i love him too and i dont even know who he is or why i have just now accidentally made him. the mother fish swims through the underworld of the sea searching for the fish baby. maybe she will find him or maybe she never will, she has no way of knowing just like no one will ever read these words. it is ok though, because i have written them. maybe. the mother keeps the story going because she misses her lost little fish. there is an anenome, maybe. no, my mistake, it seems there was not. in a forest of kelp waved some fins that reminded the mother fish of her lonely boy: these treasures are important in the cold depths of the sea. maybe a memory is more important than the flesh, she thinks. she is lonely. once there was happiness. the memory of happiness floats aimless in the sea like her. she has made poor choices in her lonely life but it is important to endure these mistakes, for they showed the poor fish mother (not me) who she really was. i only wrote some words distract myself but now it has become an ocean and fish and the fish are sad though i wanted them to be happy. it is difficult being a fish. and then the fish think 'why am i sad,' and that ‘why’ causes even greater grief and that goes on forever, like the ocean. it is good that i am writing about something big enough to be written about. there i go again making poor choices: this story is supposed to be about the poor little mother fish but i have made a big mess of things by talking about my own problems, so let's not get more distracted here. that is the kind of mistake i will have to live with. 'find my fish,' she says now to someone or to me, so let us all return to that. i would not want to be a mother without her fish. she is mad at me because she thinks i have hidden her fish. i am sorry, i did not mean to hide your fish, but you looked so unhappy being happy and i love you. distractions are the nature of the ocean, any thing can shift at a moment’s notice which makes it difficult to find things that may or may not be lost. there was always a small son at the mother's breast, because love is in the heart. but the mother fish swims on right past her own heart for now, because that should remain the last place she looks. the son must be somewhere. the ocean is vast but every sorrow must somehow come to an end. where can her poor fish be, for he is lost (as i would be) and lonely (as i am). the sea hides her dangers with her beauties so that any might meet a beautiful end if they wish. the mother’s madness might drive her to a beautiful end. she thinks i am not helping her fish, and she thinks i have forgotten her. i’ve discovered that it’s not easy making fish who love each other. there is a so much ocean to traverse. you know what the ocean is like. maybe you are even there now. are you now breathing air or water, or had you forgotten? see how easy it is to become lost? did the mother fish have a son? is there meaning in the search for him, or only when he is found? will i just pick and choose my letters until i am dead? here in the ocean i accidently made i have tried to stay honest, and maintain an honest ocean. the mother is the ocean, and she is searching for herself. is something like that considered an important detail? you might ask me ‘will she find herself?’ and i might reply ‘will you?’ it seems i couldn’t control the flood and now we’re surrounded by these waves that are every question, every answer. when will i be you? when will the fish be found? the mother needs some hope if she is to continue her journey. another memory, maybe, compells her behind a blooming reef. but the memory of her son was not her son. she has so many memories, is one of them her son? has she even lost something, or is she wandering these lonely depths insane? are these words i wrote a shipwreck under which she looms? she knows she had a son, for she knows she has something missing, just as i do. maybe the mother will find her thing, and maybe i will too. the thing is temporary but the maybe is forever and gradually permeates so fully that it is no longer possible to perceive. you are the child of my dreams, if ever you live to read this shallow tidepool. if it has helped you i will be happy, or try. the mother should find her fish, i think. that would make me happy. i have not forgotten that once, long before memory, the mother and her son were one. you and i are one, if you even exist. the ocean is wide to search so at least the mother is keeping busy, but when she has explored it all where else can she look? what else can she try that she has not tried? perhaps she found the answer once and had not recognized it. maybe she will try everything again. or maybe i have lost my way and she has not. she understands her task; what do i know? i only made them. you saw how easy it was. should i never have made them? would they be happier unmade? ‘maybe some fish are happier somewhere, than this lost mother.’ my sister said that and i like to think she is right: far away there are happy fish. i like to think that where they are the notion of hardship is laughable. some of these things that i am making happen to you are not even happening, that is why this is so hard to read, but such are the tribulations of being at the mercy of the tide. it helps me to be a mother fish searching for her fish because i am searching for something to search for. have i found it? curse you neptune for being so perilous! jk though because we are friends. i feel bad when i procrastinate, as if i am keeping the mother from her son. i hope she finds him. am i even able to help her? if i were to say '****, here is your son,' would she be happy? if i prolong her misery, perhaps i can prolong her joy. it's the fricton she craves, i think, for that is what i crave. would it be terrible if i got carried away by my own universe? would the fish find happiness if existence did not exist? i could be evil and take it all away if they would enjoy that nonexistence. i nearly typed their destruction just now, but deleted because the mother fish might have liked it less. would she be happy if i finish this story, or is she happier now with something to search for? when i began i did not know the depths to which my fish might suffer. i am sorry i am not working to find your fish. maybe she thinks i have found him already and i am hiding him from her. maybe she thinks i am unable, even, to complete the simple task of returning her beloved son. just because she went and lost him it is as if i have stolen him from her. her confusion is as wide as the ocean. i’ll trade ‘should the mother find her son’ for a better riddle: should i care if she does? because i do, if only because by making those fish i doomed them to unhappiness. but does the mother care how to spell unhappiness? will extra letters help her understand my meaning? i think i’ll allow her son to be discovered somewhere foolish where she should sooner have thought to look, because if i were to withhold my mother’s son from her she might hate me, i imagine, as i too might hate my author from the reverse position.
Oct 2013 · 18.1k
The Tale of Kay and Gwalchmai
Alexander Klein Oct 2013
I

In eras weird with old mythology,
As if asleep the fabled country lay:
Her wave-like hills and faerie forests dense,
Her thorny brambles budding curling claws,
And ivy circling all the woodsey way --
The far swan's cry came soft and woke them not.
Forlorn, that selfsame call upon the gates
Did break; those gates of Britain's long-lost keep.
She too slept fast, the weary weathered stones
Of fairest Caerleon. O pulsing stream,
Thou vein of life in woods a-slumber, Usk!
Alone are you in knowing castle's face,
From years of timeless burbling at her feet.
What tales are told by water over stone?
What lark or wren can sing of sadness come?
Aye, answers are the beach-wet sand, yet hark!
Rejoicings spilled, proud hails, from Caerleon:
They cheered the ****-frost's melting with the Spring;
The holy Gwyl Fair y Canhwyllau
Had come at last, in foliage of dawn.

Within, their goblets sailed, wassailed, and crashed
Like growling Jove, their boasts and toasts like wine --
They drank it spiced and over-strong. Indeed,
Some stretched exaggerations: 'twas Sir Bors,
That spotless sheet, who tried to contradict.
He quoted purifying texts and spurned
The wine that nature raised and crafted sweet.
Yet "Loosen up!" uproared the host to him.
"The time has come to celebrate," said Kay,
Beloved knight, step-brother to the King,
"Aloft thy wine, below thy gills! Drink! Laugh!
Your stomach is a falsehood-spewing fool,
It must be drowned for you to feel a lord.
I speak a sooth, you need wine's fleeting bliss!
Know thee that man's tomorrows bleed him dry:
A wade through death and depths as sure as pain
That shall tomorrow light your brow. Laugh! Drink!"
Bold cheering spread with Kay's advice, though yet
To no surprise Bors turned aside the drink,
Unblemished bore, so celebrates alone.
Weep not for him, for soon he'll find a cup
More suited to his strange of chaste and grace.
And none to waste: his share was drunk by all.

Engaged in feast Owain ap Urien,
Engaged in tale now Bedwyr and Kay,
And Lancelot made eyes at Gwenevere.
It was a feast of great success and joy
As fitting of the season's robust gleam,
Yet two there were with shallow-rooted smiles.
Prince Mordred one, though ever-somber he:
Accursed spawn with bone in place of heart
And dreaded incantations for his blood;
His brooding perched like crow on him. Alas:
The other joy-bled man had beard aflame,
A bear-skin drape, and crystal eyes, the Lord
He was of Caerleon and Mordred both.
'Twas not the gleam in lover's gaze that vexed
Though it was seen; he had no heart in him
To chain his Queen as if in dungeon steel,
For Arthur lived believing to be fair
Was paramount, to even paramour.
It wreaked its toll, yet caused small grief this day.
Not even serpent son gave cause to mourn
That greater was than missing nephew's spot
Among the feast. His chair was naked bare
Returned though he should be from faerie quest.
At Calan Gaeaf they expected him
When winter storms had racked their shoddy hall,
Yet since, the months had rolled to Gwyl Fair
The milder season come, but not his kin.
The image of his maiméd corpse did taunt
And haunt the agéd mind of Arthur, King,
His phantom nephew slain anon by knight
That of no flesh was made. In year that died
This green-mailed knight arrived a guest and called
Infernal challenge. Trick it seemed to them
And trick it was, for subsequent the blow,
This seaweed knight did lift his severed head
And from dead lips he cried "Well struck! Now come,
Fulfill me of my game. The year to come
Shall see thee in my home, and as agreed
My turn 'twil be to answer with my axe."

So rapt in recollecting, Arthur missed
The growing clamor that beset his hall.
His ******* cleared the grief from him with taunt,
To bring him into grief. "What say thee, Dad,"
Dripped venom from his mouth, "No love for us?
Your hail we called, but disapprove your eyes.
Methinks that far away thou seest a dream
That visits oft the elderly: a place
Thou knewst when in thy prime, with love
Now filled to burst. Yet fear us not, away!
To land of youth far more beloved than we
Whose happiness with thine own heart is twined."
"My fellow, soft!" the King began, distressed,
Yet Lancelot rose to his feet and spake
"Blackguard is he who mocks our Lord to face!
Thou palest hide, thou Mordred, sit thee down!
This sniveling craven knight should be replaced."
A sounding of the table met his speech,
Again was hailed his toast, and Arthur glad,
Though burdened to his breaking point, and sad.

"Blackguard is he who mocks our Lord to face,"
Had spake his bravest champion and friend
With no regard to Blackguard wrapped in stealth.
See how his roughspun fingers coil in hers
And how some sweetened whisper 'scapes her lips?
The beams of color-stainéd light slip down
To play upon their blissful sin almost
As if King Arthur's King approved on high.
Sovereignty is ruthless, Arthur thought,
Well-wishings of my God grow ever-faint.
I must believe in good though I am ill,
Just as I find my countrymen displeased
Though I did calculate my every breath
To see that it did stand with God's own will
To help my common people from their murk.
I fear I am not what I wished to be,
And now my only solace peaceful death.
If up to me, I'd wish it in my bed.

What horn's blare? Hark! King Arthur roused from thought.
Court gatekeeper Glewlwyd Gafaelfawr,
Dressed plain in brown, took down the horn from lips
And loud as elk called to the hall "Have cheer!
Sirs, drink another beer and wreath your brow
With springtime blooms, for lost knight fair is found!"
Old Arthur trusted not his feeble ears,
But came a hush and Lancelot confirmed:
"What **," he boomed, "our brother has returned!
'Tis grey Gawaine, aye, Gwalchmai! Drink his hail!"
The uproar was enourmous: "Gwalchmai! Cheers!"
Was like to wake the sleeping wilderness
That hung suspended in the myth and mist.

II

Astonishment had come like breaking wave
Upon the thirsty sands of monarch's face
So long consigned to reap the low-tide's grief.
When Arthur's ursine hand clenched round his cup
And hailed his nephew's presence with a roar
Long lost to hibernation's hoary spell,
The hearts that beat in armor under him
Did swell to find their lord with cheer at last;
The toast they drank so hearty as to give
Sweet Dionysus pause against excess.
Though only two there were who did not drink,
And one of these were Bors, a sadness fell
Once more as tangible as any wrong
That chose to haunt a hall. 'Twas Gwalchmai grey,
The conqueror now home from quest to rest
Who would not lift his eyes to meet the King's.

"Has cheer so fled from you? Your life remains!
What black has inked you in?" the King did ask,
And silence overtook the hall to hear.
How strongly then did Gwalchmai wish to leave,
To blend once more his form to root or branch
Or soaring river. Wind, the songbird's muse,
Had been his fast companion on the road,
For known to him were many things. He was,
They say, some god that stalked the minds of man
In young enchanted places of the world
Though all his magic helped him not at court:
His shyness was a leaf obscured by rain.
Yet even gods of silence know to speak
When words of pain encircle heavy hearts.
He let them fly, birds in the sky, he said
"I failed. My quest was long and arduous,
The seasons changed while I in heather lost,
The moon its phases shed as fen-frogs called,
I floated through the endless cloying mist
That flows, a ghostly sea wrapped round our isle.
The path had nearly drowned me when I found
The chapel green enough to spell my doom.
When entered I, methought "It cannot be!"
So kind and courteous a host met me
That would have been disgrace to call him green.
He feasted me, and warmed my wounded bones,
Yet I betrayed him in the end; I failed.
I stayed his guest, and friend, and swore to him
That for his hospitality I'd share
Each thing I won while underneath his roof.
And all was well -- I'd rest, he'd hunt -- until
His wife played hearts with me. I did refuse,
But by her final trick was tempted and --
So lost all knightly honor and renoun.
Her lusts I spurned three times, but on the third
She offered me that which my heart desired,
Instead of love she begged me take her boon:
A silken girdle sewn with charms, and green,
Deceit I should have seen. She said the spells
Would keep me safe from harm and spare my life...
When on my rugged journey all I'd feared
Was twisting face of death that loomed so near.
I could not help myself, it seemed so tame,
Yet when the time had come I could not share
That gift, or else expose the husband's wife.
Beneath my armor tied when left that place,
My secret wore me down upon the bog.
It seemed the mist grew thicker, wind grew swift,
I now know under spell was I, but then
It seemed some vengence coming to a head.
My tale grows long, and past the point am I.
The Green Knight and my host were one in fraud:
An airy insect's dream. His "wife," a witch,
Had formed him out of acrid moorland soil:
Homunculus to carry out her scheme.
The blow he owed me carried little force,
Though still this scratch is plain upon my nape.
And so you see my folly plain as oak:
For though I kept the life I feared to lose
My lie grows in me like a cancer bloom
That in the span of time shall **** me sure.
I failed; I'm gone; to revelry return."
The silence, vast again, gripped all the knights
And king too dry to cry, who drowned his heart.

III

"Is there some madness come to roost herein?
Thy folly is ridiculous," said Kay.
"I valued mine own life past honor's flame,
A sin of selfishness, and blame, and wrong.
What of the world, if all would act as such?"
A weeping noise he made, but choked it back
And turned to leave in shame, and might have done
Had not the stout Sir Kay gripped Gwalchmai's arm.
He raised it in the air and shouted thus:
"Percieve our stunning champion stands nigh!
Though of a frail ennobled heart, we know
Thou art absolved. This trinket given free
To aid in quest I wager was for thee.
And as for sacred broken vows, this man --
You said yourself -- was conjured from a bug.
You owe him no alleigance Gwalchmai, sit!
This serious you need to be for wine:
Come sit with brothers now! We drink to thee!"
"Dispel the failure all you can, it stays
As weighty on my brain. It was a sign
To signify the kind of soul I am,
To me it showed my grimy ills and plain
Did tell my shaping, shape, and shape-to-be."
King Arthur to this nephew spake: "My child,
Is there no antidote to questing's woes?
What has become of jousts and silver swords?"
The anguish in the old man's eyes so keen
To those who knew him. Gwalchmai did reply
"Your majesty, there's not a grief can ****
My bird-like love of questing through the trees,
For only questing can redeem my shape."
"Then let us have this quest!" cried Kay beside
Him at the table, deep in drink he swore.
"Come with me, brother-knight, to clear thy mood!
You do you wrong blaspheming at yourself."
The wine was quaffed by Gwalchmai, yet he said
"I first shall stay, I need to rest my ills."
"Your ills are that which keep you ill, good knight.
I bid you come and we shall quest as birds
Who savor springtime berries in the mist."
"I shall not go, I seek my quietude."
"In sunlight you and I must bask. Comply,
Or else I challenge you by burnished blade."
All eyes on Gwalchmai, under pressure cracked
Into a grin and downed his kykeon.
"In stubborness persisting, Kay, you've won,
A river such as I could not keep stead
Against a boulder. When shall we away?
When come the summer blossoms, fair and red?
Or else not til the saps have lost their leaves?
Departure yours to choose, my brother-knight."
Kay beat upon the table and their ears
When called triumphantly "This very day,
This very hour! To help those who need aid
On holy days shall surely fix your heart.
No time to wallow in the swamp that's gone,
We now away, to break our swords with day!"
"You mock me or you heard me not, Sir Kay,
I wish not to away, I wish to rest!"
The fairest Guenevere, like silver bells,
Chimed in "You must forgive your heart's despair,
Or emanations of its guilt will plague
Your mind. I have a lunar garden if
You wish to sit in soothing calm and think."
"My queen is holy," Gwalchmai spoke in grace,
But Kay had cut him off with "Hear her not!
She will ensorce your mind to not explore,
To sit and think and mold with lunacy;
Beneath the sun we'll tred. It's known on quests
I favor Bedwyr, 'tis true, yet you
My fairest Gwalchmai, keep your wits -- and arms --
Two things in need of we shall be.
I mean you no offense, dear Bedwyr,
But I and Gwalchmai share a severed soul
And shall succeed; two sides of selfsame coin.
So come my cousin grey, to right our wrongs
We must away, to break our swords and say
'My heart is glad I did not stay at home!'
Consume your drink! We go," he trumpet-called.
Thus Gwalchmai was convinced, and so was forced
To nod politely to his Queen and stand,
Declaring to the court "I shall away,
This gloomy mood is dried beneath the sun
Though dearly do I wish some lunar grace
To lose myself in mysteries anew.
To bear this flesh is weighty, yet I've found
The strain to be rewarding in its way.
Think nothing of my former woes, they've passed
Like summer storm or wisp of misty cloud."
The hall at large did drink his hail, and then
Did thrice more drink for quest to which they went.
And Mordred scowled and drank the foulest wine
For his monsoon and fog would last his life.

So summoned then Glewlwyd Gafaelfawr
To hearken unto birds, as was his gift.
He said to all, "I shall now call my friends
And see what worthy tales of quests they bring!"
"There may be naught on Gwyl Fair," said Bors,
"A holy day, all wove with peace. Nor Gods
Nor men would stir their strife this day of days."
"We all shall see," the gatekeeper replied.
Beside his King upon the dais came
And played a serenade upon his horn
That rang throughout the keep and lands beyond.
A time did pass with no response recieved --
Slain silent was the raptness of the court --
But then through open pain in stainéd glass
A thrush did bob and weave in melody,
On finger of the Queen he briefly perched
Before he flit away upon the air.
His song so sweet, but then - what fright! No more!
A hawk had entered, just the same, and swooped,
And now the thrush was silent in his claws.
The cabinet of augers all took note
And sketched their calculations into books,
Though none, in this, more wise than Gafaelfawr
To whom the hawk said "Hail, you man of rank
Who speaks the tongue of wing-in-air. Now hark!
'Twas not in hunger slew this thrush, but fear
That what I have to tell might go unheard.
My family, we roost near Cornwall's sea
And late, the noises off the coast grew strange
As if some evil kraken raged at love.
My chicks; my wife and I; we're simple hawks.
We eat and some of us are eaten, yet
Beware the thing that slouched from out the waves.
His shape is something like a boar, but huge,
He dwarfs his kin, and hill, and oak,
This hall is large, yet he'd be stuck inside.
He does not eat what he has killed, instead
He smears the bloodied flesh on stones and trees,
What man could face a fear that bears this face?
If you could hear the rutting squeals he makes!
I swear this sooth by wind and waving plumes:
You men who craft with metal, hark!
Destroy the beast!" And then he flew away
Still calling after him "Destroy the beast!"

The court at large had heard the warbling hawk
But did not know the tongue, so only watched
Glewlwyd's unease upon his face
Until with stiff and rasping voice relayed
The content of the predatory news.
Unease began to show among the knights,
For many there recalled a beast so shaped
And all the blood and guile he took to drown
The first time. Arthur, grim, forbade Sir Kay
And Gwalchmai face these perils by themselves,
But recommended regiment of steel
To bolster ranks against the fearsome boar.
"I know this foe from days of old," he said,
His years of rule etched rough across his face,
"And so do most of you, though many gone
And this monstrosity not even slain."
But Gwalchmai said "'Twas hard indeed to win
Those relics that he bore. Remember I
That Trwyth was the name he chose, and we
Shall best him fair. Though not for trinkets now,
But with the zeal of mother guarding young:
This foe, Twrch Trwyth shall not raze the land
Nor wage a war against some peaceful ilk
While rounded table can beco
Aug 2013 · 4.5k
Bravery
Alexander Klein Aug 2013
And gusts a wind that never sleeps
When at the pond arrives a breathless boy,
Knees kneel within the reeds and muck
To glimpse distorted carp beneath.
He counts his boundless hunter's luck
As shiftless as a seaweed wreath,
Then baits the wand that bears his angler's ploy,
And gusts discern he plays for keeps.
This boy roguish

As fish are coy.
And silent in the swaying deeps
The drifting dance of carps who dream and wish
Is ceased by ripples from a splash --
Refractions of the surface shake
As sinks an enigmatic flash:
Allure from realms beyond the lake.
The one that hungers proves the bravest fish,
And silent, at the lure he leaps.

Bravery
Aug 2013 · 810
The Worth in the Stone
Alexander Klein Aug 2013
The blade held fast by stoic clutch of earth
Intended for a single man since birth:
Upon the hilt in celtic runes engraved
An epitaph for how the king be saved,
And since in canes below the lake was forged
The magic brand knew well which foes to scourge.
The king unsheathed his worth from holy stones
As all the boulders strewn are mother's bones,
And wielded it across the heaving lands
Until they'd all been conquered by his hands.

Say some the sword was loose by fleeting chance
Precise as judgement by a joust with lance,
Some other say that Merlin hexed the Lady's gift
Before embedding blade within the rift,
Yet druid told before to doom he strayed
That sole for Arthur was the weapon made.

Within the marrow-rock of endless time
The patient sword awaits Pendragon's climb,
Yet would the worth have found itself a hand
If kingly stranger gave the hilt command?
Or does the aether-steel unceasing sleep
Denied of dreams 'til safe in Arthur's keep?
Can worth that slumbers deep and makes men whole
Await arrival of a single soul?
These truths are lost, for Merlin scattered dust
That lets our minds remember what they must,
Yet after Arthur he returned the blade
And to its rest beneath the waters laid.
Aug 2013 · 708
Between the Surface
Alexander Klein Aug 2013
Some weeping in the silt of river grass,
A speckled black amphibian intoned
And lured blueberry girl with yearning groan,
She understood the plea as clear as glass.

Beneath the living mud she scooped him out,
The burping toad was cradled in her palm
And sank within a meditative calm
As she observed him rapt as one devout.

He humbly sat with wide-eyed child in blues
Who held him close and thought she knew his core
Unfolding from the water to the shore
Enclosing all the world in murky hues.

Her mother called her name from hollow home
But still she peered beneath his witch's eyes
And, twinned, the souls did glimpse each others' guise.
She sympathized, so buried him in loam

And ran, a spot of blue on open heath
To where her parents cooked a windswept feast;
Though she might grow, she'd not forget the beast
Who lived above the water, and beneath.
Aug 2013 · 501
Soft Places
Alexander Klein Aug 2013
They aren't real, these hills that fray
Like patchwork through the clouds of grey,
My footsteps trace the path alone
Across the land as real as stone
And over dreams as soft as clay.

The rocks made real by light of day
Subconscious realms do not obey,
They stand more firm than inner drone
But aren't real.

I wish for just a single ray
To take the falsehood hills away
When clouds exhale a windy tone
That steals the way my form is shown,
I wail and try to find the way
But I'm unreal.
Aug 2013 · 3.2k
Charity
Alexander Klein Aug 2013
The elderly psychopomp speaks his gullet words
Preparing me as charity for birds

I smelled snow and sweat when I drew breath
Though now I must give charity to birds

Juniper and fire become alms for the air
As I now must give charity to birds

The vultures are first, their beaks are the strongest,
They take the meat of my charity for birds

My friends come next, dearest to my heart,
Laughing as they grind a further charity for birds

What once I was is mixed with milk and bread
To fatten my gift of charity to birds

The speckled hawks and midnight rooks arrive
Hoarding their share of my charity for birds

I might be a wisp of smoke or softly chanted prayer
As I watch myself give charity to birds

Destitute and zephyrous I find my elsewheres
Having given everything in charity to birds.
Alexander Klein Aug 2013
sought
desperate
and double-sought. at last
inside embracing entombment
the skull-dome of earth my
mother
discovers the maiden intellect kidnapped by further
tomorrows and slakes my thirst on the
blood-brain beneath the hills of nemea.
am i the sa
vior the damsel or the beast?
curdling a slimy finger down the vaginaless brain
long veins delay my knuckles into nightingales between
serrated orifice-incisors made of thought and
all my hunting knives and bludgeons bring no unconsciousness to it. memories
they say
are as much like the present as a lion likes
cat food. The sleeping woman is about to become
cat food. cave shadows cloak what little of her is left
to imagination: nearly dead, nearly
beautiful.
does that brain-like lion stalk impenetrable as hungry
as intelligence as forceful as the crucibles of lust as
remote
as wastelands in the unforgiven breast?
i could asphyxiate that hurdle given resolve
i could lambast a mortal lion with my palms but not this
facsimile of fortitude forcefields intact. through
the nose of the wind and the mouth of the water i found my way
to the eyesockets of the very dirt; a veil
about my brain but
saw it still.
stillness
surrounded.
sought
some sign upon the smooth sphere an opening into
light or lifewaters or cold grey electricity but
no thing could penetrate that sheath of thought -- though it may yearn for fornication
some brains never breed but
condense in darkness
hermaphroditic, hunting through the silent greek city-states for
beautiful bloodrivers. there is no lion no trodden
angel weeping in a cave only
impervious struggling eternal meandering and the jar
of misdirection. thanks, hera
but it looks like you've been foiled once again and this time by your husband's headcold who said
only your brain can outthink your brain. she's a smart owl and
she's right:
every time i think i've reached my goal and
allow a little fortune or fulfillment to escape my maze eleven novel tasks
coagulate beyond my calendars of navigation. blood fills the veins of my
brain engorging it and pressuring it into questionable *******. for
if the sun breeds maggots in a dead lion
then i've emerged from the earth's crevice
victorious and spent. but there's more
to the story as i crawl off down the metaphor
wrapped beneath the brain's skinned hide its
vestigial thoughts arrest me thinking i
know, i know
eleven more sunrises until death.
thanks, brain.
Alexander Klein Mar 2013
"Neither heaven nor earth will be at peace if
I don't find it on my ******* desk
before six," snarled Julius Caesar into his cell
To the smell of ubiquitous coffee.
I was blended in line, and could see all:
Caesar's smart sharkskin-grey suit clearly
Some modern beguilement to help him blend, too.
Gone were silks linens and laurels,
I only knew him from the meridians of his face
And the crash of command in his baritone;
I had known that heartfelt stone and all its loss
Grown from titanic achievement. This man
Had scaled Olympuses to clasp his wreaths
And wore them well, though stonewise. Then,

She took my shriveled paper president
Apparently to fund her mascara habit
And I went to wait in the amorphous collective
For those done waiting in line.
From even across the establishment,
Opposite the opulent armchairs,
His muffled business-curses floated with aroma
And I realized the importance of blending.
(One of their machines had broken
Which is why I had time to wonder at all.)
Without a blended beverage, beans and water are
All I'd own: one taste would destroy the other.

I can become the air and sometimes do,
When I am sick from being bean or broth,
And this was how I saw so well
His snakeskin tongue and his eagle's claws
And plights of Gaul that his face told.
All this I saw while blended, so,
He saw me not. If a bean in his coffee,
No doubt he'd grind me to clay
To better insulate his office from the wind.
(It's not that I despise malleability
But that sometimes a gust can be helpful
When waging ****** campaigns.
Also, clay cannot sing.) I sing,
When I can. I wonder what a tactician
Could know of that fragile thing called music
That graces us best when half at-rest.
Though some say that Caesar shook, thus
He may have been mad; he may have had music.

"That's not what concerns me Karen,"
Intoned the Emperor of Rome,
"You don't take responsibility when you ***** up. Yesterday--"
But I didn't hear about that because
My blended beverage was ready. So out
Into the fresh of air with my cup of cardboard,
I snuck a farewell glance through the glass
At that gracious lionskin monarch
Unblended in the coffee shop.
It seems his damning sin was zeal
And possession of a mighty stature --
And deafness to Calpurnia's fear.
Her ugly dreams I carry with me now
And hope I passed none stealthier than I,
Perhaps some well-cloaked Cassius
Or Brutus lost in hidden bravado waiting
To penetrate Caesar in the parking lot.
Mar 2013 · 967
The Lighthouse
Alexander Klein Mar 2013
On heaven and a broken ocean-stone
The waves' blood churned in foam and faerie spray
About the bay where sacred oysters moan.

The moon, the merest smile among the bay
Reflected in the swirl as if to curl
Angelic clams from bed of coastal clay.

Some secret eel or snake or ocean-girl
Slipped slick to court the crash and dance and swell,
Illuminated with forgiving pearl.

Adrift upon the seas, a single knell
Does shake away the faerie salt and spray:
A cry from god to fear the ones who fell.

They build their tower over holy stones
And shriek through sacred waves their piercing light --
These men, who thirst, and worry for their bones
**** paradise to guide them in from night.
Mar 2013 · 893
Transmutation (haikus)
Alexander Klein Mar 2013
Who can sing his heart?
Garotted by sins long gone
I am a may-fly.

Creek flows ever on,
Yellow blossom drifts downstream.
What is permenance?

A snake sheds his skin.
A man sheds his face the same;
No pearl is alike.

A dream is a fish:
Whole life spent in murky depths
In search of context.

The sea seems a mood.
Only asleep do I swim,
When awake, I drown.

My bones are the shore:
Skeleton of vibrant ghosts
Lapping sorrow's tide.

A drum un-beaten
Is a life unlived. In spring,
The woodpecker cries.

Consuming the grown,
Spreading hopeful seeds to spring:
A sigh is a bird.

My breath was forecast:
The winds are a waterfall,
All the world is wind.

There was an oboe
Who said "Don't follow the score,
Let me sing your heart."
Mar 2012 · 935
Uncertainty
Alexander Klein Mar 2012
Casket-boards of our boat all creaking
Against the lapping tongue of tide,
A soft journey of heartache
Had my six swords and I.
Across the war rent oceans
And beneath the mellow moon
All crooned, we few,
We wash-aways, we had
****** our prayers away.
Each sword aboard
The vessel knew no food but thought
And mused through breakfast same as supper
Growing only ever more distraught.
When departed we to shrouded sea
From long forgotten long bemoaned
Setting of the sun upon the coast,
All sapient and strong
These swordsmen mine.
Not withered like the husks they are become,
Mere chaff to rustle utterly along
alone.
They are dry inside, they die,
Their own confusion laying waste to flesh
And mother-hungry marrow. I sigh,
A windy shiver running up my backbone
And escaping into the endless mist and flood.
The strangest glint amidst the heavens sets our course,
And the grim placid seas do not reproach us
For all know,
All the lands of the earth,
And the sea, and the sky,
And every monotonous row of my oar passing by,
All know these six swords,
Know them truly,
And know as well their coming fate.
If swords these six swords were
Instead of men,
Then great forges would I say
Lay upon that further shore:
An empire of magma where all blades are fused to one.
Poor dears,
O my poor dead dears you do not even know the truth,
And you let your brows be conquered by woe.
And that is why you are my merest passenger,
And why I have been bound to steer.
Nov 2011 · 1.1k
Wandering Wheel
Alexander Klein Nov 2011
So ride, soft-hearted child, over windy dale
And through the forlorn wood 'til ancient home
Lies far beyond forgetful dream of mist.
And by your riding seek new lands where hide
The truth of things behind the rough-stiched "seems"
That lie like faults in explanation's cloak.

The road is rough and may be chill, but on!
From rolling hills you ride to muddied cross
Of roads, at side of which there dwell the old.
Their shacks of wood like stubble on a chin;
There are some torches burning, most are out.
Yet from them learn that flesh is no concern
For there are worlds within too vast to know
That with a careful watering can grow
To dwarf the hardships of a life. But you
Must never linger: journey is your test,
And many are the hills must be traversed.

When find yourself at tower shaped of sand
On lonely shore astride a silver stream -
Yet holding court on every afternoon -
A knocking should you make, seeking the ones
Who guard ancestral wisdoms writ in ink.
On tales-that-stay drink heartily and sup,
For in their beauty labyrinthine there thrive
The hues and details both to paint the world.
Yet I implore you, feast but to your fill:
When greed grows in a man he must succumb.
There will be time to eat again, but go!
The weeping willows of the road miss you.

A spark from yonder forest gleefully gleams,
Some spot of grace in land of dying leaves:
The sapling children, all in flower dressed
With minstrel colors. Speaks with voice of lyre
To you does winsome child, and from him shine
The song-like airs of fancy, faith, and whim,
Un-understood in all your trudging road
Made clear in forest glen by wiser sight.
The knowledge of yourself can turn
Your sight to farthest reaching stars;
The knowledge of your land does bring
An eye-to-eye with all your kin;
But knowledge to **** knowledge lives,
Devoting life to seeking joy,
Windblown and free as songbird's singing breath.

O travel on, mine eldest son, come home!
'Tis fit that here from wanderings return
And rest your weary brow from all it knows.
Sleep deep, you eldest son of human race,
Sleep, sleep, forget your journey through the land.
And when the ripening sun does bloom at morn
All fresh will be your journey's start.

So ride, soft-hearted child, over windy dale
And through the forlorn wood 'til ancient home
Lies far beyond forgetful dream of mist.
Nov 2011 · 1.4k
The Fall Of Autumn
Alexander Klein Nov 2011
All silent in the months of grace
When frosty blankets fall across the hills
And fields where birds once sang their verse,
But melody of wind is all we know.
These lands to die are not yet dead
Though bee does mourn for blooms and for himself
When beetle joints go stiff with cold --
When funerary twilight season comes
To ***** the days. The final wren
Now senses slipping of the year, and so
Of tenant hill and glen deprived
Set in for sleep. If never to awake --
To never feel a verdant joy
Or exultation of the orb that breathes
Bright life into our skies -- at least
Released from hardships and her sorrows be.
But she has faith, she loves the sun!
The twinkling of his eye will come in May
Or else with April's gown he'll march:
Believing in her lover's rising light
The dream that takes her through the night.
Not far, a sickly naiad's wood
In seasons past so fair of face and leaf,
Yet creeping forest's yellowing
Like fingernails of corpse when skin recedes.
But then blush orange sanguinate:
The lover's sigh ignites when dies the vine,
Their bubbling veins in praise of life
When soonest to be severed by cruel scythe.

This phantom of their fate is grim,
More grim be sure than fate that falls in death:
The slings and arrows of the mind
Are those most potent poisoned, fear them not --
Illusory as winter's chill
That peels off maiden's wedding veil in spring:
A peaceful rest does come to all
Though private troubles drown the trees through fall.

Unthinking sleep does bliss the boughs,
In hibernation lose to learn anew
The sights proved true by waking world
That are the growing season's cause to feel.
When browns the brush and flies the thrush
Unanchored Daphne nods and starts to drift
In sea where beings dream as one.
Soft blizzard quilt on woods in slumber laid,
Demeter's daughter vanished into shade,
With knowledge that she'll never fade.
Alexander Klein Nov 2011
The crest of solemn ocean wave
So early breaks on windy beach
Where fairest Phoebus struggles sadly 'gainst
Triumphing clouds.
His horns, his blares to no avail:
Fall deaf on Egypt's Temple crushed to sand
To make this morning beach where sail
The looming gulls.
They hunger as they soar, their lonely cries
Are swept away by dawn's uncaring breeze.

That shore I wandered all alone,
Apart from you in restless dreams,
Disturbing sand-crab holes with stepping shoes
Sought lenses lost.
Possess'd of power to see without
Refinings of their frame, my need mere want,
I walked, a pool, and filled with doubt
That proud waves tossed.
Would sharpening vision truly help me find
That which I knew was only in my mind?

When then in heaven's light aloft
I spied a weightless patterned kite:
I called not to my glasses, but to Thoth
To aid my sight.
The soaring toy like silent hawk
Without the weight of sadness flew so light
Beneath the clouds now heard to talk
Instead of fight.
It seemed to catch a fleeting floating bliss
As pillars of the firmament it kissed.

The time was chill, the morning swift,
Where icy waves brow-beat the shore,
Impassioned blew the wind and kite did lift,
Yet hues endured.
What children tugged upon its string
Wishing to live capricious life, to soar,
Bemoaning birth neglecting wing
And all allure?
Yet came a haunting cry, in winds was clad,
Reminding me that still the seagull's sad.

I reach the crest of rocky fold
Beholding barnacles held fast,
Sea grasses over corals bare and cold,
And broken glass.
Sight has no sway of nature's spell:
I ponder Neptune's endless shoals
And whether glimpse of youths should tell
Me of their souls.
Can ever we catch sight of inner form
Reliant on the jelly of our eyes?

I turn to face my sandy steps,
Triumphant Phoebus clouds did rout,
I feel there's folly in my aided sight
So leave without.
Alexander Klein Nov 2011
She moves like she's one of the amorphous personalities painted somewhere
Along the angled framework of her body pattern:
Handcrafted with the vivacious energy inherent
In my far-seeing dreams the vision of a long-ago queen of the holiest swamps
Traversing them coldly, shining her starlight to dispel all my awful ugly nightmares.
Riding sidesaddle with the billows of morning
Hair wisped about by the wind and blowing watercolor across
The beautiful blooming valleys of her crescent-shaded eye frame.

And weaving out from the delicate anthers of slyly tangled lashes
Comes the glittering deep ribbons loosely noosed about me with suction,
And it turns out that I can survive for ever without food or water
From only one such glance.
Lost in that glassy prism container like an obedient insect, forced
To love himself because all his misfortunes are waved away and explained
By the invisible guiding lines raised in joy at each corner of her faintly blushing lip-land.

Well, Breath-Stealer, even if we can only meet softly now -
A vanishing semblance caught by cold air on our exhales perhaps - soon,
Our individual apparitions will flesh themselves out of the nowhere of time coincidences
And out thankful togetherness can coagulate like feather cracks in crystal:
Two human forms finally able to ignore the vase between them
Sooner than the closest oceans that wave to us,
And surer than sunrise.
Alexander Klein Nov 2011
Alas! The fair one has passed into the sea,
She has passed into the sea and never to return.
The silent rocks like sentinels watched her determined wade
Into the ocean unconsolable:
The ocean who beats her breast with every wave.
In days before when beauty was full-bloomed
There were none alive who saw aught else,
Who saw aught else but she.
Through her form they beheld the fronds unclench
And the first spry sproutings of jubilant berries red as sunrise.
It was her face that showed men theirs,
And pursuing her was lovestruck Time:
His passing spun the world at her behest.
All no more! She is gone!
The forests shall spend their days in winter
And ever in that dreamless part of sleep.
How was her departure missed
By those who loved her unto dying?
O Beauty, why barefoot march across the pondering ocean's bed?
Beyond her boundaries she was sought.
Over her, whole hordes of men have fought, fought and died:
Whole swathes of men so violently ended,
Their bodies drift like fallen leaves.
Over her shoulder so sad she gazed, with toes kissing the surf,
And the seastorm did rage at her passing.
Alexander Klein Nov 2011
So shy of the nettles but soft of the grass
The flower-sprite sighs and awakens like glass
That clears as it warms when it loses its frost,
She wakes all a-flutter and mourns for time lost.
Her long-dreaméd visions she pleads with to stay -
They vanish like vapor when night becomes day.
She rubs from her eyes twinkling sleep-seeds, and yawns,
And languidly stretches her diamond-dew'd fronds,
Embarking on errands of being awake:
The long sleep of winter in others to break.
The Rowan and Plum are the first to return
To greet their friend Pine, for companions he yearn'd
In long nights of winter when he kept his hair,
For Pine trees sleep not, and never go bare.
And then wakes the flower and then wakes the shrub,
And then wake the creatures, the mother and cub.
Slow pulses of life quick encircle the world
That flow from the magic of tendrils unfurled
By bell-flowered spirit, harbinger of spring -
She melts all the icicles and so tears bring
To nourish the saplings and all of the roots
That grow into strong trees and bear healthy fruits.
O Nymph as you draw back the wintery pall
I envy thy function and work not at all.
I do love the spring near as any who breathes -
The sweet-smelling nectar, the fast-growing wreathes -
But all this you've done and the sun's far from high:
He's barely set out on his sojourn of sky!
To wake at the crisp dawn of spring is not me,
The slow tide of dream seas is where I shall be,
So stir me not yet from this bed where I've lain
'Til roused I become by the sweet summer rain.
Oct 2011 · 1.4k
On Bemoaning Flux of Fate
Alexander Klein Oct 2011
Thou stars who burnést sore unto our realm,
Why lay such laurels cruel about our ears
And hail misfortunes from the noxious clouds
To break our will? Was it not thou, thou star,
Who shone the speech of Delphi on Aegeus,
Shone likewise on his simple mind when fail'd
To find the veiléd seer's second truth?
In deed, by words son Theseus was wrought
And carried newborn from the grasping surf
In soft-eyed mother Aethra's arms, whose face
Like sprite, which King of Athens knew. The boy
Grew warm and noble, olive branch and fig
Did blossom at his fingertips and fall
When hunger or desire reared their heads.
'Twas time of peace when shone your sister stars
That hang in clouds of gas or nebulae
Far from the grasp of Dodekatheon.
Shall not benevolent stars keep kindling flame?
Young Theseus did sail away, some spark
Of thee caught in the sky when Athens rul'd
By silent father missing roaming son.
Long passed the years when Echo was sole friend:
Repugnant Stars who drool malignéd light
Wax'd strong in endless cloak of mother night,
Bestowing jinx and turn of luck on man
And all his ways. Long pass the years till home
He sails! The slayer of the minotaur!
Victorious and bathed in Pallas rays -
Neglectful to the shade of trecherous sails.
O father, father! Where was thy patience
So long control'd when rul'd the world of men?
Chanced she on silver winds and flew to sea?
Or swallowed by thy famished heart in grief?
Or was't the curse of evil stars that led
Thee to thy end? O, there are none who know.
Pay heed, thou stars, for still Aegeus fled
To coast, and from the stony precipice
Lay ancient eyes on blackest slaver's sails.
On oracle had he but thought again
The pain of murdered progeny be dulled
In falseness and in truth, and he'd have stayed
Still breathing on that windy cliff. And yet
The meddlesome magic of vexing doom
By constellation born caused tears in him
Who had birthed kingdoms into fiery being.
His sandles part from lip of cliff, he falls,
Belov'd of all the winds while through the air,
Until Poseiden's realm at last he finds
The greenest dream he ere had known. The reefs!
The fish! What sweetest realm is kissed by him
Beyond the veil! Those two great fathers meet
At last, both loving boy in ship above
Still goveren'd by the waning stars of hate
But sailing on till morning come.
Oct 2011 · 711
Bubble Juice Like Sunshine
Alexander Klein Oct 2011
, and affix me with your radiance
to count all six of my fingers
(including the plumpness of my toes as they grow
on wide-eyed weeping trees) in the land of lakes
where the mountains are smooth like butter.

you see,
baby,
my lifeline connects to the cracks of my eyes
now noticeably deeper
and when i hold you my hands are just points of view.
and when we cant think of anything to say
you
Know
that
the raindrops of heavy expanses
are strained in our exchanges.
so sing to me with your fragmented lips
before the individual peels split into birds
flying away,
with
Oct 2011 · 1.1k
Quadraform Lifeform Blues
Alexander Klein Oct 2011
But then, in that instant of plastic smiles and disco rain, I strode away from my first cradle. The air was northern and sliced my lungs open into startling clarity sliced my brain open into startling clarity. And when I looked around, I saw, and when I felt around, I touched. My trunk was slapped into shape, and in a blazing radio tower of language it became un-unique. I fuzzed my skull and rejected the lull and became recognizably human.

And while school strobed by in a prosthetic ferris wheel, I jazzed to a different beat. 'Cause my friends were kids, but neon dashed through my veins; playing saxophone with irrational exuberance. I woke every sunrise with an occupation syncopation: they breathed air while I smelled bass guitar solos in the sultry breeze blowing by the office's oasis. And paper is a flimsy wall for desire, and I never could read a point twelve sized STOP. I spread my arms and heart-orchestrated yearnings in the moon-clouded evening in the mist-drenched night in the raindrop-fresh awakening, but grey can't do but see only grey. And neon doesn't come in that shade.

No food but life no air but life no life but life. That advertisement sky is still looking at me, but I can see with my off-beat eyes that it was never a smile, but a frown of grim satisfaction. I was just looking at it upside-around. But my hair is people-colored, and my breath is derby muted, and no one puts money in my can. And then I looked around and saw, and then I felt around and touched, and then I

Those glass windows melted and gaggled themselves across my tongue, spewing honeyed drops on my flaring trombone soliloquies! My vision spiraled into a black pond of bebop and my lids and lashed fainted: up up and away into the fading light of day.
Oct 2011 · 1.4k
About The Posies
Alexander Klein Oct 2011
It's a pity about the posies,
All ashen and planet-like, controlling
The leftover rubber bits of love
Erasing emotions of waking up warm with her
Solemnly slumbering form
When we pluck those mornings and sink our teeth into them.
And

Their wavy stems ballet up from the earth
Blooming into fragile pink tufts like *******.
But now their fragrances tell jokes
Without the punchlines:
Long narratives ultimately pointless.
(The priests and rabbis come to you from their bars
Collars choking and tallit suffocatingly wrapped round their heads)
And

The snake,
Slithering from thousands of years of pop culture
Roots himself in the apple orchards
To hide the answers in her *******
And

Dairy farms grow up from there
And their milk runs down your sloppy chin
And in your teeth as you violently suckle
And in the tangled paths of your veins as you
Ask yourself why you even bother trying
When enslaved by a free world
.
Oct 2011 · 2.4k
The Funeral Train
Alexander Klein Oct 2011
The devil's speech say they:
Rolling, clattering, frolicking, hungry.
Billows of charred skeletons embrace the air
Black soot pumped straight from the pyres of Hades
Congealing to clouds of evil intent wherever it roam.
That charred old shell so terse,
Black as sadness and dead as a hearse,
Darling to death as he brings on the rain:
The dry rolling thunder of the funeral train.

In the coughing desert
Not a thing dares roam
Neither wind nor creature
And neither stick nor stone.
But then the silence disturbed by a horrible shriek -
The railway screams in horror and the train itself speaks, saying
   "Tell me, thou innocent,
       Why feel you special and best?
   For when all is done I take you
       And return you to my nest;
   Your world is bright and happy
       Full of high spirits and song,
Though soon you too shall step aboard
       And join my faceless throng."

Hot saliva on the heaving engines:
Weeping, groaning, ghostly, parched.
Rusted joints spewed onwards grinding resisting
Movement spat out like a violently beaded string of curses
Sloppily uttered as incantations of a malformed mouth!
From that charred old shell so terse,
Black as sadness and dead as a hearse,
Darling to death as he brings on the rain:
The dry rolling thunder of the funeral train.

That dark train cries out and all around
A mourning whimper rises like slumbering fog-
Bleak and yellow it obscures the land
Seeping out insidious in strange locales all:
The old lonely fisherman
Sleeping on his wharf,
The frustrated hawker's
Windblown barefaced booth,
Silent streets crying for attention,
Dark places hidden at the corner of every eye.

That solemn train cries out and all around
Her mourning whimper rises like harrowing fog
Calling all to upright attention and fear.
Looming like a spectre but a breath-span from your window
Slowly closing cold dread claws-
Naked numbness dumb as ice-
Cold dread claws upon thy waist.
And you,
You poor old thing,
Shivering in your pitiful shack of bones,
You never had any chance!
You were only human.
You were only human, you poor old thing.

Barreling on with brimstone slang:
Clang clang! Dang dang! Beelz Bub!
Sputtering an ocean of curses from turgid goat-flesh
Born of sadness to cause even more, yawning great maw
Jowls clanking with fresh hot oil drool steaming stark and lewd, and yet
That charred old shell so terse,
Blacker than sadness and slain like a hearse,
Is all that gives meaning to our every gain:
The dry rolling thunder of the funeral train.
Alexander Klein Oct 2011
Lost lips part like the eye-opening sun horizon,
An advent recalling the misty memory of june's air
Brightening the hills in our bedsheets with autumn leafed patterns.
In the places where my vision lines meet His rays, there extends
A celestial sonic boom, peeling back the layers
Of what once was evening.

The darkening spheres of my face bathe in the sigh
Of your whisperingly swaying lily wrist
Wrapped ubiquitously in red and blue longitude lines in pale skin veil.
Wandering lonesome in one, I know, is blood pumped
From my own otherwise aimless arteries - beating the passing seconds
On their dancing pump-drums and announcing them
Like guests at a party.

And softly, beyond the cavernous mouth hole of our comfortless comforter
Two legs entangled like taffy, teased and stretched at Separation
And his cruel scythe-like thought summons. And
My eyelashes know they can only bow to you three more times
Before Apollo arrives and the two of you elope
Off down the mountain.
Oct 2011 · 997
Phrazoology
Alexander Klein Oct 2011
So:
I found the space where
- in "where" -
The letters meet each other
And giggle awkwardly because they don't get each others jokes.
You see:
The reason we don't understand our dreams
Is that language is a

Stunning blonde
With red pouty lips
And a seductive smile
That everyone knows is easy
And no one honestly cares how smart she is.

But if I stood up at the podium
(brushing away the sawdust and dandruff from
the last guy who talked about
tax cuts
or some other *******)
And looked deep into your eyes
So closely that our irises mixed
And I said to you
"   "

(well,)
You and I,
We'd be the sea and sky.

— The End —