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May 2020 · 89
Multiple Choice
Edward Alan May 2020
Who tells the ivy, “Ascend the tall trees”?
a) Birds, for a cozier home in the boughs
b) Squirrels, who prefer some good footing for ease
c) Farmers, to clear off the ground for to plow

Do birds prefer maple or spruce for their homes?
a) Maple, whose leaves are like comfy green pillows
b) Spruce, for the needles groom feathers as combs
c) Birds take what they can, whether cacti or willows

Who built the wall between desert and marsh?
a) Sand, who feared water would turn it to mud
b) Water, who found frequent sandstorms too harsh
c) Delicate plains, fearing both drought and flood

Who piled sand into towering dunes?
a) The wind, who impresses soft trails in its wake
b) The long, tugging arms of the amorous moon
c) Sand did it alone, sans shovel, sans rake

Why does the moon still circle the earth?
a) To lure the seas to its pale, thirsty gulfs
b) It scans for a scar as the proof of its birth
c) To flirt with the love songs of clamorous wolves
Mar 2020 · 87
Nightlights
Edward Alan Mar 2020
She lies above me, wed to bed,
and startles when the doorbell tolls,
alights afloor, and softly treads
on dewy toes with heightened soles
to quickly close the bedroom light
that theretofore had from her panes
spread forth into the haze of night
that long had fallen on the lanes.

Stepping back, I raise my stare
to see, should any creature stir,
but in her window, nothing's there—
not a cat, and no, not her,
just books and papers on her sills
all outlined by the street lamp's glow,
which emanates and softly spills
upon her walls from here below.

I call to her with no reply
before I call again and go
back to the door again to try
the bell, but I already know
that she will not allow me in,
so I descend the steps at last
and walk to where I had just been—
my unilluminated past.
Feb 2020 · 157
Dec.
Edward Alan Feb 2020
You pelted me with sleet
when snow was promised,
leaving marbles scattered
for slipping. A steady hand
held me, so I never fell.

I ground my dunnage and
crockery to tiny bits, sent
them down the frozen creek
to my new home, from one
barren maw to the next.

You throw heat that echoes
into halls green and bright,
like limes taken whole. Or
red light drenches our
blurred smiles, waxy skin.

I wrap my hand as a snake
around your neck, cutting
through damp dead grass,
hungry till the lush certain
spring dawns on us anew.
Nov 2019 · 85
Nov.
Edward Alan Nov 2019
I held the first few wisps
of you from weeks ago at
the bottom of shallow lungs,
now breathing daylong,
fugitive and furtive.

You pivoted reflexively,
found all faults through
water-sapped air, lucid
but flecked with dust in
spindles of limpid light.

I feel the wind thin and thicken
as it wavers, confused
from south to west, again,
again, cold then fresh.
I close the windows.

You're bottled now and warm
still, the longer I hold you
in my chest. I practiced
this as a child, when
I first dreamt about you.
Feb 2017 · 655
my Chengdu
Edward Alan Feb 2017
plodding down the slow hillside
chestnut roots have made the path perilous

I've walked along the high trail
over the bridgeless creeks of Middlesex

from the manmade ravine, and the spring
where my mother drove us

to fill up our water jugs
till the car trunk hung heavy

this hill has only one side
and the grass is always green

...

from around the low end
where the hill and lake diverge

sun in his face, I see Du Fu
climbing this track again

says he's looking for warm weather
bamboo forests all year round

I mention Chengdu, and he grins
if I should find Li Bai

might I say "Du Fu asked for you"
and sample his elixir
Feb 2017 · 613
a new room
Edward Alan Feb 2017
we enter the forest
past Colliers Mills

as though it were a house
abandoned long before

each clearing, a new room
in a living mansion

the trunks of trees swell
and feel ancient

I sit up against one,
calling it my bedroom

I intend to stay forever—
we could be hermits

...

we wade in tall grass
bright young green

it smells fresh and warm
rises to our fingertips

when we emerge at last
on the path worn flat

we notice scores of ticks
climbing our legs,

brush them off in panic,
and never return
Jan 2015 · 1.7k
I Should Write a Villanelle
Edward Alan Jan 2015
I should write a villanelle right now,
without delay—no more ado will do—
I would, except I can’t remember how.

Indeed, my meter mastery would wow,
And always rhyming perfectly would woo—
I should write a villanelle right now.

I bet that I could even court a cow
With deft command of each and every moo—
I would, except I can’t remember how.

Soon, I’ll lose my grasp on “thee” and “thou,”
And I’ll be barely left with “me” and “you”—
I should write a villanelle right now.

But first, maybe I’ll try to find some chow.
I could make a hearty soup or stew—
I would, except I can’t remember how.

Before I storm the stage to take a bow,
Uncertain if I’ll get a cheer or boo,
I should write a villanelle right now—
I would, except I can’t remember how
Nov 2014 · 793
Oct.
Edward Alan Nov 2014
You’ve put leaves in piles
with ceaseless breath—
before, they were green
and dilated. I think they
knew they had to fall.

I’ve seen the grayed walks
lie under milkfoams of
fog you spear with flits
of once-in-a-while rain, as
Jupiter swallows comets.

You wrap birds in tight
black coats, slimming
their feathers. You don’t
let them speak. A dim
shadow is uncovered.

I find sheets over me,
all white or all sky blue—
remembering how clean
the cool dryness feels
and rustling in the wind.
Sep 2014 · 1.1k
Sept.
Edward Alan Sep 2014
I wrote you each August,
asking you to break the
tall, thick clouds into flat,
cold floes that vanish when
the sun vaults over them.

You bring your cool moon,
and it slides over my skin
from head to heel or hand
to hand. Cicadas feel it,
too. Like medicine on a cut.

I typically pause, let silent
vowels swallow the air
peeking around the curtain,
and until we feel fresher
by it, crisped, I stay still.

You test the leaves one,
two nights pulling with open
hands; I remember ice,
shattered on the pavement
and spread thin, whitens.
Apr 2014 · 1.9k
c'est les autres
Edward Alan Apr 2014
les c'est
c'est les

autre autre

c'est les autres

c'est c'est
autres c'est autres les
c'est
les les
les
Apr 2014 · 2.9k
Four-Legged Locution
Edward Alan Apr 2014
You mumblers and raspers
Of resp'rat'ry rattle:
Open your throats!
Forsake ye! the gaspers,
You quoters of cattle
And prattle of goats!

Or lay ye with horses
Whose tongue ne'er divorces
Those ivory choppers,
Those sibilant stoppers;
You lispers: beware,
Whether stallion or mare,
While you nibble your oats!

Stop your speech-stumbling!
Go suckle an udder
You dizzy, damp calfs!
Restrain your talk-tumbling,
And swallow your stutter
Nor utter foul laughs!

You outspoken nags
Mimic bolt-broken stags
As you bleed allegations
Down paths of my patience
And clatter your antlers;
What heavy-hoofed ranters
For no one's behalf!
Apr 2014 · 655
minigolf/rain
Edward Alan Apr 2014
I steady an umbrella
over your damp back
putting in the rain

divided raindrops flit
past the edges
drops cool my hands

rolling ball kicks drops
up from the soggy turf
into an unseen pool

traps, pools, streams
all dry for the fall
slick with dust and rain

I leave you in the dust
13 strokes on hole 12
waiting on a wet stump

an ego wet with winning
but all is small here
I return this half-pencil
Mar 2014 · 2.2k
Le Freak
Edward Alan Mar 2014
Thin and sober, like
evening air,

Le Freak brings its
benign curiosity

To her lips, some
Belgian monk

At a waffle press;
a meteor explodes

In the sky. A sent-
ient gas hovers

Cautiously, then ex-
plores the dim

Recess of my lungs.
Or it glows green,

Then vanishes. It’s
an aggressive brew.

And God bless Amer-
ica for its hop.

That’s something I
haven’t heard in a

While. It latches on
and holds its breath

Like it holds its
head. White and

Swollen, like you’d
expect.

It trippels on its
laces, and then I

Said: “My twos are
unshied” and I

Meant it. I grabbed
the bottle instead

Of the glass. Looks
like it only takes

Me two to get un-
shied these days.
This is how I write with an excellent craft beer in my hand.
Mar 2014 · 661
Pradziadek
Edward Alan Mar 2014
Old man's
old man's
old man
mixes

one part coffee,
one part port,
in bottles marked
Sun. through Sat.

No words for
the grandkids
who split
from

the cast-iron stove
with wood
for warmth
and coal
for cooking,
up

the
skinny,
shoddy
steps
to

the cold, black
room
and six-quilt
beds
while he

sipped his
cocktail
by the
burning barrel
all night.

And what if
one of them
woke and peered
into some dark
corner

and saw
the small
red specter
of a hand-rolled
cigarette
blinking back?
My great grandfather, whom I never knew. He was from Poland and didn't know much English. He's best-known for choking to death on a pork chop. The autopsy concluded he could have easily coughed it up if he hadn't been such a prolific smoker. It didn't feel right discussing this in the poem. These are my father's recollections about him.
Mar 2014 · 1.4k
fluoresce
Edward Alan Mar 2014
leaked
violet pulse
rapid electrodes
vapor

fail
electron fuse
tube light
ultra input
intensity

flicker
strain
power percent
breaker
visible heat

filament pins
ballast burn
shortwave

excited
electric
gas
I just took all the words I liked from an article about how fluorescent lights work and randomly determined their order. Then I added line breaks and posted.
Mar 2014 · 716
Francesca
Edward Alan Mar 2014
Spinning, spinning, madness winning—
Psychopathic thought beginning—
Butterflies to catch for pinning—
Spinning thoughts inside my head.

To twirl the net and bring it down—
To trap the beast unto the ground—
Its screaming terror'd not speak a sound—
I stick the pin and pin it dead.

Its writhing, grabbing on the netting—
Sounds I wouldn't be forgetting—
Tapping, flapping, clapping, fretting—
Gradually slowing to a stead.

A cold and sweating, mad reaction—
I sense the tingling satisfaction—
And this is surely just a fraction—
A fraction of the blood she shed.

My carriage wheels had quickly turned—
The case at court was now adjourned,
So early home I had returned—
Returning to my home ahead.

It was a cold and somber morning
When I first received the warning—
A beauty carriage, now adorning—
Standing still at my homestead.

Curious, I stepped out and gazed—
Its presence there left me amazed—
Then I saw my dogs were caged—
Cold and outside, barely fed.

Gingerly I climbed the stairs
And pondered what'd await me there—
And then, this sight, this dark nightmare—
My wife and brother in my bed.

My curiousness then turned to strife—
My temper flared against my wife—
I silently retrieved a knife
To turn her lusting into dread.

I chose to **** Paolo first—
I stabbed his neck and watch it burst—
His silent death increased my thirst—
I watched the ******* as he bled.

Suddenly, my wife awoke—
The ****** mess caused her to choke—
Her agony, in me invoked
A sense of anger, sorely red.

She stumbled, falling on the floor
And tried to scramble to the door—
She looked so sad, so low, so poor,
So shameful as she crawled and fled.

I pinned her down, still writhing, grabbing—
My knife was quickly, sharply dabbing
As my hands were cutting, stabbing—
Stabbing her from overhead.

When she was still, I calmed at last—
Yet vengeance soon would have me cast
To Caina, treacherous and vast—
But it was done. Her blood was spread.
A poem I wrote in high school based on Dante's Inferno. From the perspective of Giovanni Malatesta, who found his younger brother having an affair with his wife, whereupon he killed them both. Dante wrote them into his story, sending Francesca and Paolo to the second circle of Hell.
Mar 2014 · 742
A Note to the Hangmen
Edward Alan Mar 2014
A storm is brewing in my head—
my passion overflows—
the moment ceased and promptly fled
as fast as lightning glows.

The screaming thunder of my lust—
cries echo down the halls—
the resonance of dying trust
bids **** me with its calls.

My heart is not the blackest, nay!
Nor is it purest white—
nor does it shine the light of day,
nor spread the dark of night.

So why, then, should I pay the price?
I show no ill extreme—
my burning soul shan't tempt the ice
to trickle to the stream;

it shall not turn the tender heat
to cold and bitter rain;
it shall not cause the rye and wheat
to purge their precious grain;

it shall not cause intrepid tides
to cease their ebb and flow;
the forceful wind on which leaves ride
shall not desist its blow;

it shan't evoke the folk and lore
to terminate their rhyme;
but most of all, I do endure,
my sin shall not stop time.

Your lives will surely ramble on,
your tasks shall see their end;
your will for life shall not be gone
if Death, for you, shan't send;

you all will not hear angels' chants
nor hear the howl of ghouls;
nor will you watch the demons dance
'round hordes of fearless fools;

but I, my friends, if be my fate,
die at the hands of man—
yet no such angels, on this date,
had record of this plan.

I've not received a word from Death—
from God, heard no decree—
but on this day, I lose my breath;
my life be took from me.

Today, I find my body numb,
still fleeting from my soul—
my eyes are blind, my tongue is dumb
upon this gallows pole.

And if I rise to Heaven high
or find my course to Hell—
or do remain under this sky
locked in an earthly cell—

I surely shall not be perturbed;
my resolve will not disrate:
I will not waver to disturb
you who sent me to my fate.
A poem I wrote back in high school.
Mar 2014 · 901
Green Crash
Edward Alan Mar 2014
Green crash,
suddenly center signal
on strange, distant announcement squiggle.
Scenery dashingly
simple, single.

Wave shape,
hungering scented cower.
On top, beady dispassioned shower,
shaving or scraping a
wooden tower.

Stale grid,
static or sounding static.
Appear, pointedly under attic,
wailing forbidden, not
automatic.

Big screen
messaging: starlight scatter.
The end. Something but antimatter.
Trigger between, in the
ribbing: flatter.

Soft board,
terribly outer terror
perceives singular, stringent error.
Coughing accordingly
code propeller.
Stream of consciousness applied over strict meter and rhyme.
Mar 2014 · 762
clearing
Edward Alan Mar 2014
leaves
on
leaves'
backs
on
leaves'
backs
on
leaves'
backs
on
leav­es'
backs
on
leaves'
backs
on
leaves'
backs

.

elegant novel
white sky

impenetrable
white

tangled branches
scattered

novel white
impenetrable
novel
white
white

.

leaves
on
white
leaves
o­n
white
leaves
on
white
leaves
on
white
leaves
on
white
leaves
on­
white
leaves
An ode to Katue.
Mar 2014 · 1.1k
It Settles
Edward Alan Mar 2014
We felt the winter moving through the air
but didn't feel it sink into our bones—
as by and by it settles into stones—
and yet it did. I can't recall just where

we were when I first felt that we were cold,
but I remember how you shivered even
in our bed beneath the blankets, even
under all my weight that you could hold,

insisting it was coming from within
your bones, deep down, and radiating out
to make your hand feel chilly in my own.

And now I've got the shivers, too. My skin
is cool with winter, chatters in my mouth,
as by and by it settles in a stone.
Mar 2014 · 3.0k
Sappho the Housewife
Edward Alan Mar 2014
or "let's order takeout,"
or "small ineptitudes in the kitchen"


1.

butter
lop
it liberally
silver clinging

scrape it
pan side
sputters and hissing
smoky?

turn the heat
down
crimsoning
elemental

browning the
butter


2.

sizzling whites
diaphanous
stiffly whitened

bubbles surface
spatula stroking
poly—

tetrafluoroethylene
roll the egg
yolk

shattering
yellow


3.

****! the water
nothing—
evaporated

gasping
blue effluvium
windows
fanblades

blackened ***
the bite of a
char upon
it

tea for
tomorrow
Sapphic stanzas broken into free verse.
Mar 2014 · 836
To Feel It Pound
Edward Alan Mar 2014
I hold my heart when thunder claps,
I hold it when the courier raps
Upon my door—to feel the beat
It often hides—it drums so sweet
And then subsides to tender taps.

My heart is shy when only maps
Can dare expound what hungry gaps
Consume the ground between our feet.
I hold my heart

And tear the envelope that wraps
The lifeblood printed on your scraps
And feed my veins like summer heat
Is supped by rains. Until we meet
At last again when storms collapse,
I hold my heart.
A rondeau.

Song version: http://impaledpeach.bandcamp.com/track/to-feel-it-pound
Mar 2014 · 484
ensuite
Edward Alan Mar 2014
on awaiting an arrival,
on attend une arrivée
alone, all one, all on
nous allons attendre
ensemble, on sweet
moments pregnant
with nothing, and
Mar 2014 · 1.6k
l'Oiseau Jaune
Edward Alan Mar 2014
Canto I: Exposition

A dampened quill and wrist unstill
Dare gallop ‘cross the page
Scribbled lines in black do shine
With much and fervent rage

And without fail, they tell their tale:
A passage tried and true
Lasting years, through hopes and fears
On page of yellow hue

Epic tales and loss at sea
Are listed in its text
The hand that writ this hallowed script
Can be no less than hexed

It begged, it sailed, it led a crowd,
It took a lady’s life
It stole, it smote, and always wrote
In volumes more than rife

He took this hand to unknown land
To carve a profound path
He set the sail for times to come
Yet tore himself in half

He lay awake in warm Toulon
In misty-morning May
The yellow birds in shrillest words
Alert him to the day

For too long days and longer nights
He’s waited for the word
The morrow here will mark the first
Of correspondence heard

Bonaparte has rallied here
To Toulon’s bustling bay
Three-fourths a score of battleships
To Egypt make their way

Before the high and mighty men
Joined with the water’s ebb
A note was slipped beneath the door
Assigned to M. Lefèbvre

Finally, a true decree
Has blest his merry course
Soon, eagerly, he’ll set to sea
Lost time his one remorse


Canto II: Aleron

Out to sea are thirty-three
That with me sail the tides
With these men, I trust my life
They follow where I guide

And so we’re gone from warm Toulon
Just days from the decree
Noble men off far ahead
And me with bourgeoisie

Bonaparte has aimed his fleet
To Egypt’s sandy shores
Through pirate gangs and ill intent
His roaring cannons tore

We follow in this taintless route
As far as we can trail
But soon we’ll turn half-way to stern;
To Gibraltar we shall sail

Days upon the Aleron
Are short but riveting
My men maintain their cheery air
And working still, they sing

No more of cloudy restlessness
No more of shady days
The blazing sun and windy waves
Have chased off my malaise

We pull our sheets and head from east
To curve around southwest
Past Ibiza, whose northern shore
Our Aleron caressed

The choppy sea grows thinner
And our nerves become unstill
The pirates of the Barbary Coast
Could leap in for the ****

And now, a sign above the line
Where water meets the sky
A tow’ring plume of certain doom
Is growing ever high

The heavens choke with blackest smoke
As fires burn a boat
The raw, impending fear of Death
Is clawing at my throat


Canto III: Skull and Bones

‘Tis hours later and we’re chased
Beneath the star-dogged moon
We tried to break away to north
But broke away too soon

Unknown, we tailed the pirate ship
Then saw the far black dot
The crow’s nest signaled skull and bones;
We held onto our knot

We much too late had turned around
My Aleron spun slow
Sheets so white in plain of sight
Had sold us to our foe

Our heaviest of itemry
Into the sea we cast
Rusty tools and iron spools:
Submerged, and sinking fast

Yet still we could not make a pace
To lose the rotten crew;
On our backs, they sailed our tracks
And split our wake in two

And so the misty moon is here
And watches like a ghoul
As we divorce our southern course
For Pillars of Hercule

The flick’ring light behind us
Like a glimmer in an eye
Stares and preys upon us
In cover of black dye

It grows and throws upon our ship
A light of fear and blood
It digs into our drowsy eyes
With sharpness of a spud

We hold on to our frantic pace
Till night invites the day
When to our right, in bright sunlight,
An ally heads our way

With Godly sound the cannons pound
The scoundrels far in back
Our brothers there in ship so fair
Repelled the foul attack


Canto IV: Gibraltar

In safer seas, our Aleron
Met with Le Taureau Bleu
We buy and sell and trade our stock
And praise and thank the crew

For safety’s sake, along we take
Two cannons of our own
We’ll stand a better chance against
The skull and crosséd bones

On we sail, on more and more
On through the placid day
No longer faced with poor intent
We make our merry way

Finally, from the vociferous chum
Upon the tall crow’s nest
“Land **! Land **!” Enthused, we know
Gibraltar’s over the crests

I decide to park (good-will flag on ark)
At the British colonial base
With cannons in stow, civilians are we
Attacking is surely bad taste

Just then, as I stood face-front on the deck,
A shrill squawking was cast
To the back I turned, and quickly discerned
A yellow bird up on a mast

How dare it perch there! I’d **** it, I swear
But I’d fire not a gun
Britons who spy me would surely deny me
Fair entrance, if that’s what I’d done

Instead I’ll sit tight; my crew is all right
They don’t mind the bird at all
I’ll listen and bear it, and try to forget
That the bird is the cause of my fall

Closer we draw to Gibraltar’s port
The Britons are within clear view
With a wave of a flag, they accept us in
But my anger cannot be subdued

I ready my gun; to the bird I have spun
And fire my shots to the air
The Britons, upset, rush onboard and get
Me constrained; and ensued despair


Canto V: The Crimson Owl

Silver chains kept me detained
As questioning carried on
Was I a spy for whom I ally?
Or was I simply a con?

I kept face as the questioner paced
And the brute slapped me around
Lastly, I smiled, as after a while
They had no evidence found

With regret, they set me free
Determining I was no harm
But seconds before I went through the door
A fellow rushed in with alarm

Cannons, found inside my ship
As rifles point at me
Again, they had me cuffed and chained
And threatened hostilely

“Smuggling arms to enemy ships”
Was written in their book
Chained and gagged and stowed was I
No better than a crook

Between the pillars I was passed
But not as I had hoped
Both my arm and legs were bound
My fragile neck was choked

In the bowels of The Crimson Owl
I slept in dark distress
No other day, with truth I say,
Had I known such duress

The days had passed and I’d amassed
A hunger, fierce and true
All my thought was set aside
To find something to chew

When suddenly, the shrillest sound
Came flying from afar
A cannon shot had hit its mark
The mainmast it would mar

Sounds of death came all around
And finally toward me
My blind removed, I held in view
The pirates of this sea


Canto VI: Captain Riceau

I stepped aboard by point of sword
And left the burning Owl
“Bienvenue à Le Chat Fou”
Said a fellow through his scowl

But when I talked, they stopped and gawked
Surprised at me they were
A fellow French, I was embraced;
The Crazy Cat could purr

They brought me on, my captors gone,
And took me as their own
And for the time, I went along
And made this Cat my home

I was kept live, and was used for
My knowledge of the sea
For vengeance ‘gainst the Britons
I complied happily

For months - perhaps three seasons passed
I rode upon this ship
Captain Riceau valued me
He named me second skip

For cause unknown, we crossed the sea
Old Captain held his tongue
He would not tell us why we trekked
And chased the setting sun

He brought us ‘round the chilly tip
Of Chile’s southern shore
No reason from his crazy lips
Though long did we implore

Then at last, the day had passed
When Riceau caught a cold
His eyes were red, his limbs were dead
His breathing: hoarse and old

I became the skipper then
And buried him at sea
We cut up north to flee the cold
But at a loss were we

Confused and crazy we’d become
Just like the Cat, rode we
I thought to keep Old Captain’s path
And that meant mutiny


Canto VII: Mutiny

Two days it’d take for them to make
The foul and bitter plan
That I’d be through with Le Chat Fou
And they’d return to Cannes

I lay asleep, in sleep so deep
Dreaming of Calais
The maiden fair with yellow hair
Who one day would betray

In this dream, I heard her scream
And went to touch her cheek
But standing as a statue does
Her gaze was still and bleak

They dragged me back into this world
Then dragged me off the port
My lungs too filled with shockéd air
To object to this tort

They threw my pants and diary,
And sandals, as they laughed
For shoes could serve no purpose
On the ocean’s liquid draft

The flick’ring light before me
Like a glimmer in an eye
Stares but grows more distant
And retreats into black dye

An injury had placed me in
A lesser swimming league
Then again, it’d only serve
To cause me great fatigue

Three days, I had rode the tide
Of the western ocean’s waves
No shark, no squid, no slimy thing
For my flesh did crave

The crests came up like daggers
And fell like hulking trees
I prayed to God almighty
I survive the vicious seas

Finally, I set my stare
Upon the northwest sky
Far away, but clear as day:
An object in my eye


Canto VIII: Abyss

Although I swam me ‘cross the sea
As fast as my arm can
Dry throat and sun win victory
O’er me: a fainted man

Trapped in darkness once again
I spy my fair Calais
Screaming, shrill in bleakness then
With not a word to say

Over me her head hangs low
Her arm is slightly raised
Blood drips off her elbow
Her expression leaves me dazed

She’s gone; the air is hard to breathe
The wind is biting cold
A canopy of restless leaves
Is stirring uncontrolled

Lost inside this world of wood
I struggle to emerge
Feels like years have I withstood
While searching for the verge

No chirpings from my yellow bird
No noises all around
Not a sound is to be heard
But footsteps at the ground

No rodents gnawing at the bark
No insects in the trees
Alone I sleep in brush so dark
With nobody but me

In the drying mud I’m laid
Despondent of my fate
Looking through the verdant shade
The sun does penetrate

Streaming down, the light is rich
Bespeckled on the floor
Dancing ‘round without a hitch
Its presence I implore

I call upon the pouring light
To lift me from this hell
To nullify the chilly blight
Incite the warmth to swell


Canto IX: Land Forgets Itself

The burning light lends me its faith
Yet suddenly absconds
The dulling light projects a wraith:
My soul from the Beyond

The day retreats and turns to night
The moon in place of sun
Mute, and without touch or sight
I desperately run

Fleeing from my fading soul
Myself, I do berate
For no such being should extol
Escaping from my fate

Luscious leaves all turn to brown
They wither and fall fast
Suddenly, upon the ground
A dune of sand’s amassed

Crawling on the desert floor
And shaking from the cold
I hate and bitterly abhor
The night’s begrudging hold

In the distance, at the line
The land forgets itself
The beaming rays of light do shine
And warmth indeed does swell

Basking in the drenching sun
My coldness is expelled
Frigidity that night had won
Has fully been repelled

In the sands, I’ve laid to rest
To steal the heat of day
Yet no sooner had the sun caressed
Than sourly betray

Melted on the scorching sands
My body burned and scarred
I cannot lift my torrid hand
My feet have both been charred

The burning heat has ripped my lust
For life and will to live
My last resolve is brutely ******
Through Death’s unyielding sieve


Canto X: L’Oiseau Jaune

I coughed and spat the water that
I swallowed with my snores
Upon the sand my hand did land;
I’d made my way to shore

The beach was bright with fiery light
My skin was hot and red
I tried to get out of my head
Those visions that I dread

A novelist I once had been
Writing was my joy
With pen in hand, I could withstand
Each plot set to destroy

Yet Calais came and stole my heart
But also my free time
We wed and had a baby boy
Our life was too sublime

I raised my pen to write again
To feed the family right
I spent my days filling the page
And toiled all the night

When finally, she’d lost her mind
She needed to be loved
I tried to calm her shrill attacks
With no help from Above

My raging wife had grabbed a knife
And stabbed my writing hand
Yet somehow I had speared her eye
I couldn’t understand

At the elbow, I was chopped
And no more could I write
The widespread fact I’d killed my mate
Had augmented my plight

I beached onto an island;
This was no Chilean land
I walked around the grainy ground
And found nothing but sand

But soon a rescue ship had come
I was not too long gone
I read the name upon the port;
It was l’Oiseau Jaune
This was my senior thesis in high school, primarily inspired by "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Coleridge.
Mar 2014 · 514
Who I Am Not
Edward Alan Mar 2014
I. Orpheus

My dog flees from pluckèd strings;
her fleas command my tune.

What hollow body holds a rhyme
as long as my neck’s breath?

I could domesticate myself,
but in taming our lions
we tame our pride.


II. Abel

My brother is his brother’s keeper.

I am uncle to no abomination.

As we lie in the Garden,
(our hair in the earth)
I question:

Is Heaven above
because our heads are the seat of doubt, or
because our feet are the root of evil?


III. Hector

I was not breast fed.

I am not a fountain.

I will not hector you.


IV. Adam

Even if He and I practice Our secret handshake
in the Sistine Chapel;

Even if He sends me an angelic bath basket
with ambrosial soul cleanser
and holy bubble bombs;

Even if I am the round reflection
of an ever-changing God;

I still have to ask:

Is Heaven above?
Because my head is the seat of doubt.


V. Odysseus

Poseidon hardly even knows me.

An idle king in heart
reigns with a swift lead open hand.

Life’s lees are far too bitter,
far too deep,
and the wine is corked.


VI. Atlas

The sky may fall;
the stellar sphere may crash with all its weight
and music;

god(s) may smite;
the clouds may freeze and bury me;
the sun may swallow me whole;

leaves may drop and leave me bare;
the mist may soak my skin;

I raise my arms only to catch
that snowflake that dares drift upward.
Mar 2014 · 626
Wafted & Splayed
Edward Alan Mar 2014
I
                                                                                                
there is no greater, more
constant exchange between
ourselves and the world
than our breathing

no sooner have we
sown the skyey seeds
in our lungs
than reaped their fruit—
discarded their chaff

breathing is an agriculture


II

but to what lofty tides
we subscribe!
the sky remains infinite—
too proud for form


III

we have outgrown the ocean
outgrown the earth—
perhaps we will outgrow respiration
and become like the elements
the dead seas
the unmovable mountains

breathe consciously for a moment

breathe as slowly as you can

you are a petrified forest
you are the ocean floor
you are Fuji


IV

but with my deepest breath
I cannot swallow the sky whole
I cannot crack the edifice
or bend the arm of a single tree

I am but the fleeting scent
of a spice wafted
and splayed
on the endless
wind
Edward Alan Mar 2014
This is no spring that wakens at the dawn
what should have been awakened all along.

I feel the warmth of winter through the breeze
stay buried in the bone of sleepless trees,

whose buds are fat and seasoned with the salt
left waiting for a snow that did not fall.

And should they waken now, how they would find:
capricious spring has left them all behind.
http://impaledpeach.tumblr.com/post/19848972254
Mar 2014 · 546
Alluvium
Edward Alan Mar 2014
Boggy dark peat buoys
atop hot

swells of blackening water,
under a pale froth

of warm, bitter oils.
Feb 2014 · 482
To Swinburne
Edward Alan Feb 2014
Dear Swinburne, how fell you if Death felled himself?
Did the wind not last, had the running sun stumbled?
What knocks the stone from the clifftop shelf?
What rocks the sea still since the high tide humbled?
If all that remains remains all that that dies
And immortal soul lies forever relieved,
What am I left that your lyric decries
But bereaved?

The same words grow from your garden grave
Where the thorns of the wrought lead roses jingle,
But rocked by the roar of the wild wave
The words disperse and forever mingle.
Time can unravel the thorns and the weeds
And the wind and the sea and the sun and the rain,
Unravel Death and destroy his seeds
And remain.

I pray that your song stands stable and true
Through the covers I turn, on my lips when I sing
As the first day your meter upon the page drew
And your rhyme first ascended on nimble a wing;
If not, let you molder with meadows of roses,
As lovers are buried by solitary men,
Till I, upon every couplet that closes,
Read again.
Feb 2014 · 469
Option 5
Edward Alan Feb 2014
Kiss upon my lover's nose:
It is for you the blossom grows.
Notice now it fans itself
Beyond the bough and hither flows.

Or else the scents came forth aroused
Not by those lips but by their boughs
Who shook and left them to the lake
With whose waters we are daily doused.

But could we shake the scent from trees
And drink the petals' milk as bees,
We might not lead our lips astray
And plant wet kisses where we please.
Feb 2014 · 588
Option 4
Edward Alan Feb 2014
Single hair left in my bed
Remind me how the rain is shed;
When in old age, do cloudy tufts
Surrender from the skyey head?

"No, no; the drops like rice are stuck
Upright into the paddies' muck
And being pulled from one hillbrow
Are in another gardenbed tucked."

I disagree; when clouds are blown,
They hold their weight as seeds unsown.
It's when we let them lie with us,
The clouds, the locks of love are grown.
Feb 2014 · 499
Option 3
Edward Alan Feb 2014
Tender feet, who hither sneak:
It is for you the floorboards creak.
Notice that the swollen wood
Is made to shift, but not made weak.

This summer swelter seals the drawers,
And dampness locks the bedroom door;
It keeps inside the sound of feet
Padding on the humid floor.

No cold fingernails can pry
The wood we warp each time we cry;
We, the doors of different shape,
Can open only once we dry.
Feb 2014 · 410
Option 2
Edward Alan Feb 2014
Fancy in my lover's eyes:
It is for you the cricket cries;
Notice how he sinks to sleep
Each morning when her eyelids rise.

Or else the sun chars off his legs
And sends him drowning to the dregs
Of consciousness, whose cup is deep
And fits him with ethereal pegs:

Alas, they let the cricket fly
But cease to sing our lullaby,
Or drenched with dreaming, resonate
Not while we sleep but when we try.
Feb 2014 · 660
Option 1
Edward Alan Feb 2014
Eyelash on my lover's cheek:
It is for you the sparrows speak.
Notice when I brush you off
It bends their beaks from bold to meek.

Or else the summer nimbus swells
And rains and quiets—and quells
Their chirping hunger with the humid
Breeze we, in our slumber, smell.

What shy, tired words all softly utter
To the weeping of the gutter!
Hunger buried, moved to thirst,
Our eyes, our hearts, the sparrows flutter.
Feb 2014 · 673
Little Bough
Edward Alan Feb 2014
At the soot-shoed ridge where a foot falls south
Rise the brows of a hill,
Flows a fluid mouth,
Which foams as its lips kiss a stalwart crag,
Whose legs now still
And will ever drag
Up the slow glacis where a hillbrow breaks,
Whence the soft soil spills
And a tree bough rakes
At the cold dense clouds and the heavy haze,
Whose brisk bath fills
The barren white days
From the quaking cliffs to the balmy bays.
http://impaledpeach.bandcamp.com/track/little-bough
Feb 2014 · 930
On Sprouting
Edward Alan Feb 2014
Again the clay, again the seed and womb
And cradle, pregnant by and with herself;
Again the shell: the ****** in bloom;
Again descendant from the leafy shelf.

The seedling, memory in shallow birth,
Sprung only from the tree she will become.
Roots where she bent her elbow from the earth:
The hardy hand that holds the apple's thumb.

Again the root, again the stem and breast
and pram; what loves the tree if not the sprout?
The hand-me-downs again are hemmed and dressed
Again the boughs will flourish up and out.

The poet, reaching skyward now as then,
Is just a little bough again, again.
http://impaledpeach.bandcamp.com/track/on-sprouting
Feb 2014 · 1.0k
On Cemeteries
Edward Alan Feb 2014
I. Erosion

I could ***** a monument to death
And carve my name and epitaph in stone
But words are just as fleeting as my breath—
My monument is made of flesh and bone.

Indeed, like granite, filed by the rain,
Whose names and dates will ever be unfound,
We leave them lying here who we have lain
As headstones toppled wanton to the ground.

But while their names will wash away in years
And melt into the soil with their flesh,
We, left living, welcome weather's tears
And let the showers wash our bodies fresh.


II. Plots

What rope is this, tied round a plot of land
To separate the sacred from the plain
And make uncomfortable on which to stand
These grounds that, like all others, suffer rain?

The plots on which I make my daily rounds
Are no less sacred than the breathless fields;
The same grass grows in fair and fertile towns
As in the lands from which we draw no yields.


III. Ideals

What ideal immortalizes dying
With figurines that celebrate decay,
Which stand ironic of their subjects lying—
Staying while their subjects waste away?

What ideal shapes stone to mask the slough
And sculpts a youthful bust out of the sickly?
One human form is monument enough.
I hope it crumbles quickly.
Feb 2014 · 418
Imagism or Else
Edward Alan Feb 2014
I.
Dust ascends
almost up to
the lamp and

curls around:
absconds
like cold embers

II.
unseen.
Feb 2014 · 432
Logos
Edward Alan Feb 2014
As lips and flesh on chilling cheeks are cherried
   With the morning's touch,
   Although they wrinkle in the twilight's clutch,
So let day fade
   And night parade;
So let the sun be buried
   But march its fires on the moonlight's crutch;

And if the sun in summer sky burns sere
   But in the winter white
   Can't but reflect itself in icy light,
Then let it burn
   The eyes that spurn
   The turning of the year;
Then let its fires singe all ling'ring sight.

As lips and tongues in chilly cheeks defend
   Their shape in shallow plots;
   Seem capable of speaking as they rot,
So peace is sought
   Though war is fought
   Not till all battles end;
   Not till we cremate those we last forgot;

And if our sons in some strange sinking hour
   Find their hunger slain,
   But avarice and rivalry remain,
Then let our ashes'
   Cinders' flashes
   Dilate and devour
   That surfeit our expansion sustains.
Feb 2014 · 4.5k
For Zeus (Some Say Poseidon)
Edward Alan Feb 2014
That statue of a god, with godly state,
whose clenching fist and arching back expand
to free the thund'rous trident from command,
will hold his step and ever warn and wait.

That statue of a god dares uncreate
that Sculptor of a god, Whose waxen hand,
in image of Himself, prepared to stand
those ankles, feet, and knees that spell his gait.

Gouge out his eyes and skyey senate seat;
his absence reassures Us, Men, the stellar
blanket warms but nameless moons and stars;
that fire that rises from an earthy cellar
lends itself and names it solely Ours,
so that Our liver is Our own to eat.
Feb 2014 · 718
halfway through 12:47 p.m.
Edward Alan Feb 2014
keyboard's
ball-point pen's
tip's
right swing

sleep's
flirt

paper's
index finger's
knuckle's
loud tear
behind
pen's
collision

nerves'
nervous jolt

pen's
plastic's
veneer's
collision

another's
next
forgotte­n
Feb 2014 · 682
The Ultramariner
Edward Alan Feb 2014
A heavy sea
So clear to see
A choppy crest and sky

And as they merge—
Right at the verge—
A longboat slides between

O how they crush
The ******’s rush
Across the photograph

And now the paint
Falls soft and faint
In strokes—that shade of blue

The clouds are hushed
Beneath the brush—
The seas are hastened in

Horizons rise
Against the skies
And try to trickle up

Then halted shut
So mountains jut
And tread upon the waves

They harden now
Across the brow
Of ever sinking sea,

Sit darker than
The frozen span
That dries upon the page

Ultramarine
I’m sure, I’ve seen—
Dry now upon the page
Feb 2014 · 3.6k
Mourning Doves
Edward Alan Feb 2014
Without the April wind to send their song,
The mourning doves of Middlesex are singing
And will be heard never again from long
Away, if graduation bells are ringing

And now November rains erode the nests
That mourning doves assembled in the gardens
From where their mild and wind-warm coos caressed
My ear, to quiet earth that cools and hardens
http://impaledpeach.bandcamp.com/track/mourning-doves
Feb 2014 · 392
The River
Edward Alan Feb 2014
Learn
that feet may mar Juturna's spring
with trampled dust debris,
but wind will move the tarnished tide to sea;
that though she flies, the cooing dove
will never know to sing;
that no decree
from up above
can save our love;
that weakened, we
can't but a string
in Cupid's crowded quiver
shove

Know
that I step once into a river
but cannot again,
for waters now were not the waters then,
and I and myself past are different men;
that if you douse the flame of care
I'll greet you with a shiver;
that even when
the stream runs rare
or flame lacks air
in Neptune's den,
they still deliver
till there's not a thing
to spare
http://impaledpeach.bandcamp.com/track/the-river
Feb 2014 · 468
Laureates
Edward Alan Feb 2014
Were we split or shaken by qualms and quarrels,
Quaked from boughs in bushels no longer cherished;
Were we rocked from resting upon our laurels,
Laureates perished,

Sense would part from substance, go unattended,
Try to sense itself, but not sensing ever;
Substance lacking sense would be left unmended,
Parted forever:

Blue apart from sky, for the air was looted;
Red not rock nor flame nor a beating bloodline;
Grassless green, the sod and the seed uprooted;
Light without sunshine;

Heat without the sun's heavy tide of summer;
Sweet without a tongue nor a licking lapping;
Beat without the blow of the drum, nor drummer
Steadily clapping.

Could you bear to tear our ownselves asunder?
Rather, let us bend at the laurel lightly,
Quiver little to strain not the bough whereunder
Fasten us tightly.
Feb 2014 · 1.2k
Hangover
Edward Alan Feb 2014
You wake upon a carpet soaked in wine
to feel the walls around you stretch and shrink
and press against the pressure on your spine,
unbed yourself as tucked upon by drink.
Unwind the vise that clamps around the head
and loose the ***** that tightens at the jaw.
You twist the tendons, heavy as a tread
and strip the bolts that drive into your maw.
You wobble, wisen upright with a yawn
and warble, crooning, swooning to the floor
and crumble on the carpet with a coo.
Your cogs are locked; your curtains let the dawn
abound, secured unfirmly as the door,
as bright and strident skewers ****** you.
I've never had a hangover.
Feb 2014 · 1.9k
Raven Odin Dream
Edward Alan Feb 2014
I walk along a path
I do not know
But falter left nor right,
And, welcoming the light
Of birches, still and white
As sleeping snow,

A raven, coat that shimmers
Soft as coal,
Beside me flutters square
And, drawn like to a snare,
Alights upon the air
As on a knoll.

A ripened chestnut, trapped
Within his maw
And hard as ancient ice,
Is tightened by the vise
And shatters at the slicing
Of his jaw

To crumble into dust,
Which quick cascades
And settles, as it slows,
To carefully compose
The shape of raven toes
Where he parades.

The raven flies ahead
And, with a stamp,
His talons take a grip
Atop a wooden tip
Of birches, dead and stripped
To form a ramp.

I stumble after, fixed
Through field of black
As in a telescope,
And, clawing at the *****,
I climb it with a hope
To touch his back

And ****** a hand ahead
Just as he slumps,
Both limp but stiff, to lie
Upon his side and die.
I meet his cloudy eye
Upon the stump,

Then lift my head to find
A willow sprig,
A tendril hanging free
For me to grip. Indeed,
I climb the strip of tree,
The little twig,

And swivel in the air,
As if by choice.
I hear a humming, low,
Resounding from below—
The raven’s eyes, aglow
With Odin’s voice.

Like lightbulbs flicker, dim
with yellow light,
They sharpen with the tones
That bellow from his bones—
This god and poet moans
His heavy spite:

He damns me to the lifetime
of a bird.
My sin, I do not know
But bear the bitter woe
And close my eyes to focus
On this word:

Saṃsāra. So I feel my
Senses spill
Upon the ground
And flood out all around
And swallow every sound
Till all is still.
For Ragnarok. A dream I actually had.
Feb 2014 · 430
Pressed
Edward Alan Feb 2014
Steam cools in cobbles
on thin glass

above dead pressed mulch,
coarse and boggy,

near dry silt laced like foam
on salty sea.

Between one coffee and
the next,

forgotten grounds fire
their broken dust,

remember a hot, earthy cellar,
a clay oven,

in cold water clearing
the cold cup.
In memory of Seamus Heaney.
Feb 2014 · 585
Murmur
Edward Alan Feb 2014
ONE

A dense forest, from some
skulking angle, is a vista—

Even this wildly colonnaded temple
has its nave—

If only in dry times
with shrunken leaves

A distant sun, the closest star
or hot words of light surge

As living blood through the
harmless hole in your heart

TWO

As leaves with tapering green fingers
scratch their sisters' backs

Or hard breath rustles them
through a tattered woodwind

Not only friction slides between
these skins — immutable green

Phrases indeed pass: howled
notes of irritated flesh

Or the tissues through which
some sick blood red beats blow
Feb 2014 · 464
Old Sea, Old King
Edward Alan Feb 2014
Old sea, old king; your crowns have crashed ashore;
The barren crags your current cut remain
But glisten with your sea-born sheen no more.
You dried; and so you died. But ramble on,
And outward from your idle isle pour.
Let your sons, the lazing lakes, which drain
Through settled nooks and lettered levees, stay
While you, the king of cursory kings, stay gone:
Around them on all shores but gone away.
Well supplied with mighty tide, you swill,
And drunk with fight or wine's delight, you sway,
But rocked too long, your pate grows hoary white;
Stirred too strong, a crest is crowned with foam.
Treat every coast of man with spite, and spill
From cliff to cliff; in travel, find a home.
In death, secure an ending to your plight;
In name, if not in life, forever roam.
Odysseus = Poseidon

— The End —