Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Looking heavenward, I see only the earth.
The stars align and the planets turn,
But what of the holy?

Archangels sit and smoke and weep on tenement rooftops,
And the collared cherubim bleed into the rainswept gutters
Like cut dogs in cardboard boxes by the highways of New York,
Or the roadsides of back-alley Brooklyn or Paterson,
Where the demonic masses lie naked in the streets,
Their souls bared raw to heaven
And their hair as messy as sidestreet dumpsters.

The misted rain fogs on the busted double glazing,
The bare limbed trees outside fallen victim to a long winter
And a late spring.
The air that blows through the streets of these mundane cul-de-sacs
Has passed through the lungs of cancerous dodgers
In those hell-indulgent cities,
Where children find their kicks by freerunning
Across buildings of bricks made from c-grades,
Or by standing atop high-rises in the grey wind,
And biting their tongues only to feel their own consciousness
Burrowing into them
Like parasites from the condemning schoolhouses or university halls.

You’re alone when your skies turn grey,
And the rain falls with all the purposeful intent of a neon god.
You’re alone when your smashed milk bottles and broken plates
Are like music on those drug-dampened dawns,
You’re alone when your cold, ash-stippled roof gardens
Are your only way to heaven,
You’re alone when your fingers are cut on your own writing
And you are dizzy from spinning yourself sick
Alone in your splintered art lofts.

Your stars are misaligned and your planets need engine grease to turn,
And you sit and smoke and weep on tenement rooftops,
But you still look heavenward.
You see your madness in the same silver moon
That compels the tide and transfixes wolves,
You recognise yourself in newspaper clippings proclaiming ******,
You acknowledge your expression in broken syringes
And powder remnants
On the glass-topped coffee tables of water-dripping apartments,
You feel your heartbeat in the gasolined engines
Of stuttering Cadillacs
And taste your own warm lifeblood in the burgers of roadside diners.

You see cosmological galaxies bursting like Van Goghs,
Horrible, bitter-cold starstorms underneath white skies,
Raindrop-dripping garden leaves in shrubberies and verges
And earthy rockeries,
You dream of enlightened, ***-smoking boys in beat-up trailers
And the cluttered box rooms of sky-high apartments,
Of screeching atop stone-cragged mountains of green in highlands,
Of bell-rung harbours in the white seaside towns of England,
Of the salt-chapped lips of fisherwives
And the bone-skinny children of sailors,
Of visionary angels in stained glass cathedrals,
Of the cobbled thoroughfares of lamplit cafes in a Parisian purgatory.

And yet you lie naked on floors,
You lie high on floors and let visions spill from your hands
Like the whiskey you drink.
You are under us now,
Under the earth like meat sacks.
But your vision lives on
In every piece of self-indulgent fuckery written for you,
In every copy of your collected works
Or your novels.

For you are immortal, in the end.
**** ending, but endings are hard.
Andrew M Bell Feb 2015
It is an ancient Poet
and he stoppeth me.
“Beware of poetry, my son,
She’s a gold digger.
She’ll chew you up and spit you out,
leave you penniless and lying in a gutter,
drunk on absinthe,
while the rich novelists and scriptwriters
step over you, laughing.”

“Hold off! unhand me, greybeard loon!”
Unheeding, I slunk off to my garret
to compose a villanelle,
heavily derivative of Dylan Thomas.
I only wanted to get girls,
but before I knew it
I was roaming with the Romantics,
bopping with the Beats
and cruising with the Classicists.
Popping some Pope, shooting some Stevie Smith
or hitting up Heaney,
I was hopelessly addicted.
And I never did get the girl.
Copyright Andrew M. Bell
Martin Narrod Apr 2014
angry men who do not know I do not have a dollar or a cig to spare. Ugly irrefutable contagion-handed howlers. Angry mischievous heathens that pantomime on 6:00a.m. sidewalk, Wicker Park gallow stop-sign, choreographed gutter-punk drunk walk. And of all he wants and could ever want splits down his gooey membrane brain in the outline of a noun shaped fragment of a clause, "Couldja spare 80¢ for the train," but of course I don't spare on the ellipsis or the period. Semi-colons I won't! My rubber-bottomed leather boots lash out, heavy scraping sounds trail this mirrored shadow half an angle behind me.

*****!! Blonde framed sunglasses from American Apparel, a gift from my sister in a folded Ray-Ban case is scattered on last nights bedroom floor, my girlfriend has certainly not noticed, the gloom-coated morning sun spray has not noticed; but I have unzipped a fissure in the ocular lens. My heart skips a beat. Her bedroom might as well have swallowed them whole. Now the house can halt and have the shade, swaying in Spring air in 10:22a.m. shadows. The aviator himself Howard Hughes would strike me with his 488 aircraft. Edwin Starr in his invincible sinister calypso of War would turn me round. I was sturdy as a rock until I began to forget my forgottens. These unknown unknowns I knew I needed. I'm over a quarter-century on to noon going nowhere- and quite blindly.

But then, still she could stand upright and find me. Her neck crooked, looking onward through the East, the gristly roots of rhubarb buried in her searching fingernails. She's threaded worse, and of course if I could just tell her- this is the kind of nursing which requires acute temperament and flexibility. I am thus on a journey to strike nonsense and fear from the idiotic vocabulary that put this nonsense in my head. Split through me like a butter knife into my apotropaic. Perhaps tar water could cure my ails. If not, certainly a sliver of vanilla would set me straight. Or if could just rain rain rain all day, then I'd make do without, but she is at school. My pistons are racked and nervous, and I'm not going anywhere but my rucksack stoop. I am camped in midwestern Spring soup. Fog, rain, and shade. The nightmare of day.
Inspired by William Butler Yeats 'Beautiful Lofty Things'

— The End —