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A cold caress feels skin intact:
protection altaring misgivings–
messages flown down on rails.
Cool heads prevail, endure this visit,
egged to double-burn the wax,
dishonored: chided for syntax.
They shift their tremors out of park,
engaging flywheels, sign on lines–
error that binds the river gray
to bones in titles, floating loans
to scant subscribers who to signal sync:
clique here and link to strength
in number. Textbooks waver not–
no units cover aberrations.
Shred such practice with a blade.
Hold in abeyance hit parades–
insist the linguist's hand decline
our ending: dative frosts
that stagger out from what is lost.

And through this pity plays the Modest
Grim Quartet to crowds that haven't
listened yet–presumed to rise up
faithful by the sword, but buried
under long receipts and bills
for dull retreats, hearts centered in
the sou·r stacking wrong. We wrench
a living from what's left of laters
severed, but so long.
Defend? Why would I deign to it?
I fend off fences best—
the only fight from which I never
really want to rest.
Cold incompleteness comforts me
at levels yet unknown
to my posterity—most fitting for
the last to take the throne.
Does it end here? Do all the madful fights
for balance ‘midst the wind
fought by your fathers end here,
or will something else begin?

Beginnings happen daily from
those younger still than you—
further along, Spinner of Song,
in what they want to do.
Where are you? Is this why you hide?
Hide from your struggling heart?
Hide from the chances fiction
you denied ever to start?
Know you from story? Person?
Motivation? Roles? Beliefs?
What about production? Making something
happen? Glory? Grief?

One thing is sure—you know from heartache.
Dare I say it’s made a mark—
if not on yourself, on those who’d
only shoo you from the dark,
wishing they could ease the pain
the cruel tidings still allow:
the monster kills at every turn.
His name is Now.
One was weightless, wasting time on set.
Two was chimers, champing at the bed—
And three, all three, laid hands on me
for theirs were turning red.
I can’t for fight it—
rhyme-based sigilance that beams the base to Mars.
Just try to capture fractured upspeak strains in jars.
I too.
The will wants you:
this presence over bards,

their high-***** armaments stack bombs,
out-chamber trespass calm.
Wild regions, inner-sanctum being,
ship-wrecked, godless, toe-by-sack,
reel catchless rigs on fish-day markets—
error blamed on ***. I bet
******* is off-limits
(0 for contemplating clues!)
Toes clench erratic in their shoes
and press on over trenchant want.

You see us floating down the Frontenac,
the after-fades all black.
Stone pixel bliss on ‘tainment tracks
and fortune—not aesthetic—
keeps a wave and jeers us from the sea.
Fall flat and let us be,
us, living evidence of free.
Your time, its trepidations:
arrows sailing ever lee-
ward to your sail.
Now come and post the cosmic bail.
Wakeful zero, peerless March,
longbow that bears the seasons’ arch,
when mist and windstorms pelt the blank slates
of cold-stupored trees.
Do I wake up yet? Dare I to unfreeze?
they ponder, short of language,
brains abuzz in taproots, dormant xylem
filling phylum with a flash
of namefulness past gray despair—
who grows? What draws them there,
gathered before they sprouted
in the epoch mire of waste that feeds them,
nurture dense distraction from
the trod-upon.
Stay put! They rest
a lot upon your back,
from holding nests to lightning’s crack—

yet time forgets you.
Hashtagged, color-marked you’re not,
a name once only March forgot
now baffles subjects of
a sheltered, sweaty throne.
Good thing you hold your own
whate’er they call you.

               Naming stirs
you from the sleep you keep,
six thousand nicknames ere
you rest again. And man,
forget you as he may, looks to
your silent cue to stay, or migrate to
some panicked place you never knew.
What came before was rough—
you’ll grow through people, too.
Healing hold begone. Bring on
the pain that clings to eager, stringing
hopes along a chain of darkness.
Nigh upon the rise, we tear
his tune apart, stir humming in
his heart. His anxious hands below
conduct wry tests of letting go
of each unbidden grime and razor
down marks left behind. Some level
showmanship empowers routes
to air—exhausted climbing there,
he taps his recourse from the mouth—
unruly words, unforged, surmount
what flickers onto lives of rain-slicked
hurry. Words depart and see
him fade away—horizons to
replace the outer frame of what
we knew he saw: some rhyme, some scheme,
some law. Some deluge infiltrates him
now, brings up the level, groating
all in dirt. Uncertain who
sees next assault, we unleash bullets,
pepper wisdom to a fault.

Debride such stolen earth. Unclasp
his locket, see what he called home.
The fire is limitless. All passions
foam and soil and solve the fear
of prime depletion. What deletion
from the rolls means not the loss
of souls?
He'll scratch at starts of fretting words—
tease fracture, prime the battle grounds
for pride obtained. His fans file in
to bleachers, cheering on his crumbling
look, delayed desi·re. Miniscule
diversions check the "up"
he squared, and see no timeless evil:
passion plagued by livings. Lev'rages
her fighting stance to balance
danger there, and carve out if we care.

She breaches past and pores
over the staid solution, masons
filling out their bricks with what
was worn away. Her dreams combative
to his growing-light—once tossed
his turn, he slashed through living
wood—severed the Marchness from it.
Zeroes stall, embedded in
a leaf, awaiting green. Conquers
repetitive, from coast to kingdom
come. What emptiness is won?
Captured at last. My quiverful
did shake your ransom loose—vain price
of novel circumstance, rebounding
up the mudhills of the past,
up mires that swallow shoes and grief
us for a thimbleful of how
it really felt. You dealt your doings'
deal, wound up a scattered reel
of torments: roses on the vine
that fell on thorny wrists to leech
the somedays from your spreading wings.
Bare respite in the hands of kings
who deign to manage what good things
go wrong: one laughed and out went song.
Two stood and shook out lies. Three spoke
and gouged out others' views of yours
as empty summer eyes. Recapped
in major ways to generally fawn,
yet flip a nonsense-script
to hammer bad words home and sire
a signal-damning tome to scratch
ancestors' heads (as we would do
if we could meet them)—Mysteries
to greet them, burdens on the sleeve
of he who dared dig mud: I linger.  
What I free will sting or sear
or singe, but noise is what one makes
when stranded on the fringe.
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