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It is not the sapling or bit snow
that scrapes the window, coaxing,
Come out little boy, come out -
Come out where the sting wind blows
Come out where the wind plays a sapling
as a rube to scratch it bidding on a window.
That little life left tight against the foundation
missed in the pruning now dim witted
accomplice to the sound of nails slow-scraped
on a chalkboard pane, Come out little boy.
And the spine shakes as the windchimes
rattle like keys, rattle like mother’s teeth
sharp above the crib, and taken to the breast
of winter, that cold milked ******,
that rippling drift and a lullaby sings
another to sleep while the smallest of rodents
dig deep and wait, wait in some self made heat
that little boys and little girls somehow forgot
when the first snow fell upon their tongues
and they tasted death for the first time -
wet and quick gone with eyes slow closed.
Three rib bones flush from the culvert pipe
after hunks of pelvis beside the tracks -
the tracks with no arms but rumble
rumble strips and red bell ticks.

Clang go the bones
where no grass grows

Bang go the trains
and the pink prairie rose

Rattles with the rush
in the same stiff pose

as ribs and hunks of pelvis whiten
and wash no further than the small
and shallow depression cleaved
by spilt rain through a culvert pipe.
We came upon the delta, we, brothers,
split out from the blue wide river,
contrapuntal and lost among cypress,
moss, muck and brute-teeth jangles.

And though I never carried a tune,
I carry the tone of your faded fifths,
your deviled tri’s and slip-foot riffs,
an octave less than finding you gone.

But in these stale bite-fly airs,
in this green moss-dripped fiction,
better hoped than hung as fourths
for a firm resolution - I know

You perch upon a stone, not lay beneath it,
and pluck the roots of black mangrove.
2d · 24
Water for Tea
They are not yours, those eyes -
those hazel eyes crusted
with sleep-thrashed release -
and neither the mind behind
thinking of toast on a new day,
soft-buttered and still yet crisp.

And those are not yours, those fingers,
curled smooth-knuckled on the cutlery,
waiting for toast and soft butter -
and neither the wait for the kettle’s
pitched steam or the dry tea bag
hanging beneath the rim -

And neither the milk nor honey - ,
never the milk or honey.

No, these are not our things -
these eyes, these minds, these hands -
breads, butters, tea -
not even the footfall that drags
across the bare wood floor is ours
To break the one true fast.

These are our grandmothers’ things,
and all the grands before them
that soon as sunk into sand, rise
and blink in the grandson eye,
takes the granddaughter hand to spread
butter on toast and boil water for tea.
3d · 18
Am I Thus Soiled
Am I thus soiled by envy and toil
or bettered in a blind groped striving?
I will blow a hole through a massif
not to defile its majesty, but to carve,
to carve and cut my own dark passage,
below the harrying slopes, below the treeline,
over which ice ever bars my way.

And as you push on to the summit,
short of breath and vague before the wind,
I will burst upon the nether *****
and stand, caked in the grit of digging
long and veered off from the clear true line
to find below, a mist soaked glen,
hunched beneath a hesitant dawn
while your eyes are stung white
in a naked unyielding sun.
I find
not many lighters and too many cheap shades,
lain against a loose-hinged trifocal,
Expensive, lost and necessary,
upon the flip-top notebook
bound with crushed spiral wire.
And within, the gibberish
of a young girl’s day -
there are holes above the i’s
and myriad loves to Matthew.

I find
a green squeeze coin purse -
an old man’s plastic strongbox -
scavenged of coin
that only three washers remain,
three washers and a button,
nested in the scarves,
in the acrylic scarves
and the coarse wool plaid ones.

And I find gloves,
brown, amber and worn,
and taking them for my own,
slipping them on, I find
my fingers curl in the fashion of yours
and the momentary warmth
of your hands upon mine.
What was it, that chocolate crust
scalded in the *** from yesternight,
leaning, off-burner, with the dangling
spoon, wooden and stained?

Best give it a soak, my love,
that tomorrow we may find
its nature framed tight in stainless,
framed tight in the soap bubbles
that have raced and cling
to the round squat walls.

Perhaps we may find, tomorrow,
among the gray pepper-flecked film,
risen to the surface, a few plump kernels
of our own yellow yesterday.
Jan 9 · 26
Hope Refused
Devon Brock Jan 9
From once to somehow to somewhere,
The brittle language of hope cracks
Between my teeth, much as ice
Cracks beneath my boots as I,
Unhurried on a wax gibbous morn,
Make my way to the car.

For what is hope but an admission
That what is is not enough. Take this -
The assertion that on this day,
In this winter, it is the care of a step,
The purchase of a sole,
The purchase of rubber on ice
That holds this teetering balance
Upright above the ankles.

I’ve little hope beyond that.
I’ve little hope for I know come April,
In the surety of swelling streams,
Each once somehow somewhere
Dripped from the mind,
Stripped from the hope-bound winter,
Will babble on to the sea and die,
While the earth sinks a little
Beneath my feet.
Jan 7 · 29
The Sheared-off Pin
Devon Brock Jan 7
The pin is broken,
And the wheel has slipped from the rod.
The mechanics of our passage
Are broken now,
And all our worldly ventures
Have spilled out onto the ground:
Her red backed Bible,
Your cast-iron pans,
The lens we used to burn down ants.
All there in the muck:
My bad corduroy pants.
Jerseys of just so much
Victory - and victories
Counted large though
Lying there in the brown ruts
Of just so much passing,
Garbled there in the treacle.

And yet we stand here,
Mute to repair with dumb hands,
Mute to the simple truth
That our eyes must now,
As they always have,
Wander vagrant away
From what is now untreasured,
What is now unburdened garbage,
Beside the still spilled cart,
Beside the wheel that dragged us here,
Beside the sheared-off pin
That left us here
On a muddy track
That will never lead home.
Jan 4 · 31
The Crumpled Snow
Devon Brock Jan 4
The orange slim line of the chopper overhead
Means only one thing here - certainty.
Certainty that northeast of where I stand
Is a near departure,
Perhaps wedged behind a wheel.
I will count the minutes
As I count thunders and strikes.
I can do nothing else.

For in the next thick hour
In the next thick breath,
A mother may weep a son,
A father may curse the winter ice,
Perhaps wail a daughter’s name.

We must all then pause and wait,
Listen and turn away from this moment
Of our own sure circumstance
And bow our heads to the certainty
Of another, out there,
Uncertain in the crumpled snow.
Jan 3 · 29
One Room Schoolhouse
Devon Brock Jan 3
It is red brick and steady.
Though the herefords tread the floors these days,
She is steady. And though the window frames
Carry little paint - it was white - and hold
Where they fell, and though
The creek has wandered, no carved,
Deep against the footing stones,
She is steady. Steady as the ma’am
That taught them. Steady as the hand
That scraped the chalks and simple maths,
Steady as the wind scraped eyes,
The chaff chapped hands
Tracing letters onto boards.
Yes, she stands forever
And only the bell is gone.
Devon Brock Jan 1
Otto rode filthy down the slumpline onto Cowpers - past Bleaker's Brick, Mole Rat Slim's and Dave’s Sour Onion , on down to quayside all hooked and hungry. Flyer said Gracey Mae Beam was hoarding the stage at eleven, hitting the planks of Varlot’s Velvet Rope with no back-up - no thunder drum brass or strung out string section to stifle the hoots and howls of them mongrel boys scrapping over leavin’s. He knew the drill. Gracey would lead with “Heaven” then lilt dissonant into “Hell and Lula”, spin down into “Luna”, swing out riffs of “Hypnosis” and barrel into “Gun Metal Blue” and run “A Lass To Mara.” Yes, he knew the drill cuz the set was theirs, arranged in a one bedroom walk-up shotgun with a Wurlitzer and bad plumbing. ****, has it been that long? But Otto knew, felt it in a rib, it was coded on the leaflet - Gracey was playing Varlot’s - the first haunt - going it alone this time, no Wurlitzer, no Otto, just a dim lit backdoor black-smudged around the ****. He’d wait for her there, three smokes left and rationing. Three smokes left and hoping for a glint-eye nod.
Dec 2019 · 286
Devon Brock Dec 2019
To become fluent
Is to walk with the hands
The resilience of starch
Dried on the steep ***** of the bowl.
And what may seem clean
Is a trick of the eye
For the residue of rice
Resists the towel and scrub
And clings there,
Known only to the fingers
That would seek this knowledge
And ignore the one thin hair
Afloat in the soup, yesterday,
As we closed our eyes,
As we closed our eyes
And savored the broth.
Dec 2019 · 59
Snow and Wind over Ice
Devon Brock Dec 2019
Come all ye winter brigands,
Strip these tainted fairland woods
Of their baubles and wares.
Take what plump fruits remain
In glistened fists and bind,
Bind the spruce tightly -
Such prideful beasts these trees.

Come mock these captive summers,
Taunt them white in the forest,
White in the glade and fled,
To the shrill and fluted wind,
To crackling beats on wire and limb.
Such a wagged and giddy pilfer,
Leave them lap on brittle leaves.

Come ye winter brigands,
Strip the burdened hoards,
The cone and gray gem juniper,
The blackened berry, the wild blue phlox,
The painted trillium stem.
Vanity in such soft profligate pendants -
What need have we of these?
Devon Brock Dec 2019
It was something else entirely.
It was not the ripped yellow t-shirt
I pulled from between the boulders
Where the lake met Chicago.
It was not the penny or the wasted
Gull feather. Nor was it the child’s shoe
That no longer flickered as she ran.
It was not the rusted corkscrew that
Faintly read Jackson Hole, Wyoming,
By the gold and chipped cowboy
Tall in the saddle,
Nor the green and brown shards
Of empty glass, nor the used
And smoothed shells of mollusks.
It was not the bits of blottered pages
Whose inks no longer spoke of hands
But water and dissolution.
It was not the lensless knock-off
Rayban’s - severed at the temple. No,
It was something else entirely,
There, hidden in the rocks,
Where the water beats upon us.
Dec 2019 · 33
Diesel Incantation
Devon Brock Dec 2019
Sun go down in boxcar blue
Swing arm crank go down them dew
Flash eye drag with horn and load
Coupling break for sorra’ stowed
Side dump **** and tank car ****
Jag the night-black knuckle jump
Jump the rise and run the moon
Next town down be falling soon
Loco Pilot spark them strikes
Wrest the ties out from them spikes
Second howl coyote song
Mayday brake air long ere long
Dec 2019 · 134
Which River To Cross
Devon Brock Dec 2019
Which river to cross -
The shallow brook of faith,
Tepid in the slow run to God, or
That which drains into the oily pits
Of loss, tormented though alive
In sure and certain combustion?

Give me fire and hard current,
Give me love and rounding stone,
Give me rasping scale and snag,
Jagged rapid bends,
And the black swamp moccasin
Bite into my fat ripe shin.
For that is where I’ll meet you.

And what is more sacred
Than knowing true pain,
The poison of it -
The broken limb, the broken heart,
The breaking rind and taking,
Taking that what is broken
And breaking,
Into a broken hand
And tying pain to pain
And thus healing
As long slow scabs
Conceal the wounds.

I will not confess my sins, no,
But burn them in the river to Hell.
I will struggle - with you -
the orange-tongued waters,
Grit-toothed and unburdened,
Dragged a half-mile down,
Until we reach the ashed
And muddied bank and fall
In the gray and muck of living -
Laughing that we tried at all.
Dec 2019 · 33
For Once...
Devon Brock Dec 2019
...Sleep conjured a small dog
with a granite eye, mats and mange,
Three legs and a vagrant tongue
That hung from the left of its snout,
A viscous drool that strung without
Shame, without breaking to the floor.
And I, though broken in a dream,
Shorn of hands,
Less a body than a thought,
Became a dream for a stone-eye dog
Who rolled belly up to offer its scars
And plump tumors.
We were one then.
We were one -
A broken man and a broken dog
For once thus calm in a dream.
Dec 2019 · 43
Cerebrum Mortuus
Devon Brock Dec 2019
Smelted down,
A pool of rendered gristle,
Slick on the floor,
That’s what a day leaves us,

After the tethered heaves
Of this most sought production,
Blendered the dawn news,
The hooved mews, cool dews,
And all that smelled like gravy.

A slump line to the drink
Of old business not attended,
Piles as laundry, clean and otherwise,
Crowding the table, the floor,
And all the chipped dishes between
The sink and my mother.

But now, after all is taken away,
The fingers curl
Between the heel and the ****,
And crisp leeks yield to the edge,
Celery snaps and rains -
Carrot - thin as harvest moon
And a fume of crushed garlic.

What next? You may ask.
The permutations of evening
And stew are yours to taste,
To take and wander -
To simmer and wonder -
To plunder what soothes
On the tongue
And melts the fat of wages.
Dec 2019 · 413
The Scent of a Leaf
Devon Brock Dec 2019
Allow there to be nothing.
No words. No sound. No conjured
Arrangements as string under boughs.

Allow there at last one crescendoed silence
To sing the sun elastic,
To crack the black heel of night
As a cymbal of love
And patient upheaval.

The subduction of plate is silent,
Much as the heart,
Bent beneath the dull weight
Of simply being breaks.

We will all know loss,
In our time, and in our time
We will know the grief of joy
Or the joy of grief,
And find ourselves mute
Before the scent of a leaf.
Dec 2019 · 29
No Never Alone
Devon Brock Dec 2019
For what, then, do we trod
The husks of dead men,
And for whom?
Is it the trinkets improved?
For we are no larger than the beast -
And there the judgement - the beast
That fashioned the first *****,
Turned the first soil,
Laid the first seed,
Sure in the touch
Of sun, water and repercussion.
No, perhaps diminished, reduced
Upon that self-same soil,
To seek, beyond the seed,
Beyond the shoot and bloom,
Beyond the very grain of dulling truth
That all is not forsaken.

I tell you this.
Bone has fashioned socket.
And in that socket - an eye.
And in that eye, and in those eyes
Each a burden falls.
Look not to the lover or fool, fair prince,
But gaze upon the beggar
And find there inheritance -
Find there, centered in the iris,
The black pool of our communion.

And no greater is the elm
Than the hand.
For the one that prospers light to soil
Is the same as that which turns it,
Is the same as that which yearns
Beyond the follies,
But takes one into another -
Cupped and held -
Flesh over bone -
Calloused but braced by the other,
Alone, no, never alone.
Dec 2019 · 34
As We Wither
Devon Brock Dec 2019
Must we sing the round ecliptic?
Must we suppose a star immortal -
Must we trace these patterns of us - up there -
While we, down here, know death?

What a noble self-loathing -
To presume upon the unthinking night
Our disdain for cloud, to swell
In our own black vision when a new moon
Unmasks oblivion, when a new moon
Denies a shadowed path.

Stars must die in their time,
Must crush upon themselves
As we wither and lust eternal.
But what can never pass,
Like a low and clever fog,
Is the mute unknowing
Bestowed upon a log.
Dec 2019 · 34
Endymion Shrieks
Devon Brock Dec 2019
Endymion shrieks,
For what is beauty if hidden,
hoarded, if posed in youthful sleep?
None forever in plump symmetries
Held a stone and cast it thus
Upon the cool and clouded lakes
Below thunder, and sought
The bridled stain that looms
From under. But there, there
In fragile dispurpose cut
Below the eye - the frailty -
The red gleam indistinguishable
From the fly that laps upon it,
Indistinguishable from the crust
That makes a scar, ripped
From vain slumber to bend
Before the wind, to break
Before the white lightning hand
That takes each our pink clays
And molds a chasm
For the drain of days.
Dec 2019 · 29
What Must Be
Devon Brock Dec 2019
Dormant in dry divots,
in the basins,
what I am, what I will and what I will be
is rained, is whetted,
by what is, what is not and what will not be.

There blooms the green resilient,
the sulphured algae,
hot spurned by weathers -
the must of us.

There plumes communion -
chance and wide endeavor -
flush and fumed -
above the gathered ponds.
Dec 2019 · 32
A Portrait
Devon Brock Dec 2019
We called him Mr.Chins cuz he had four of ‘em.
We called him The Chizzler and he hated it:
Always chugged a brew before playing the rube,
And taking the *** for himself.

He whiffed a’ porkrinds and blackjack,
And his lip ticked for the snow.
He ****** down the Jaeg like a hunter,
Too loose and obtuse with a bow:

Missed his mark -
Like he missed his mom -
And his dad was good for the whoopin’s.

He was straight-shot in the flatters,
But took a cab home alone.
He said he gambled for the ladies,
The ones he’s never known.

He had a keen eye for the rail run,
Cued low for the buck and the lie,
He was a stacked-quarter hustle,
A con that went glibly awry.
Dec 2019 · 47
December Pastoral
Devon Brock Dec 2019
Sun-dogs lope over the bloat of a rise,
and the nocturnal kills freeze in the ditches
waiting Spring’s decay, crows or an inmate’s *****.

What is strewn there: husk in the fields,
cans in the fields, bags in the fields,
stiffen as strata before next-Autumn yields.

Smoke plumes flat from the chimneys
of those at rest for a season at best,
and all the green tools are put away.

Long-fingered frost blooms on the limbs,
threatens the wire, renders each
these gaunt and barren things
a hard-crust and promise of fire.

The harrier glides down close to the ground,
Long-swept with hunger to catch there a sound.
Dec 2019 · 39
Devon Brock Dec 2019
You ain’t no butterfly.
Forget them wings.
Ain’t nothing but worksore,
blister and things.

Ain’t nothing but cane -
we ain’t nothing but cane.
Come out that cocoon, baby,
come stand in the rain.

Come out from the womb.
Come down from the bed.
That Sickleman needs us
in the barrow instead.
Dec 2019 · 48
It's Fifteen Below
Devon Brock Dec 2019
It’s fifteen below
And a fat buck lurches,
Spindle legged, four pointed,
And cardinal -
Fishtail and brake.

I don’t trust this road.
I don’t trust these tires.
I don’t trust these ditches,
Smoothed and driven with snow.

I’m a six-layered pig at the wheel -
Unsleek unchic -
But I’m warm, **** I’m warm,
And the road slides like pinstripe
On white gabardine.

And the waning moon,
The waning moon,
Low in the rise,
Gibbous and garish,
Scabbing a cloud,
Spills the whole thing blue.

I don’t trust the red eyes of mailboxes,
Always willing to dive the grill.
I don’t trust the farmer
That lives on the hill,
Behind the blue spruce line,
Behind the blue flickered window,
Counting on futures,
Clumsy as mittens,
Still as the finger drift
Thudding the glide
Like dull scissors
Snagged in gridded giftwrap guides.

I still taste the coffee
Down under the tar.

I trust my smokes.
Yes, I trust my smokes.
I trust my hat. I trust my boots.
I trust I’ll never find my roots.
I trust the jumpers, there in the trunk.
I trust every single roadkill thunk.
I trust every knuckled ill-advised ride
To tell me yes, oh yes, I'm alive, I’m alive.
Dec 2019 · 109
Devon Brock Dec 2019
She chucked herself from the library,
Five stories blind and hung briefly.
I heard it from a friend.
                                    Laura’s dead.
She found three dead boys,
Hung from cable
                                    and that broke her,
He said.

We threw empty sixteens
From the roof where we gathered,
Spoke each a shattered dream
rushed upon the pavement,
Upon another.
The sidewalk gleamed
In all the shards of Laura,
Green and Amber, Blue and Clear,
And ever farther than the eyes of her,
Splashed out in every blink night town,
In every flick night river where
Everybody drowns.
Dec 2019 · 50
Devon Brock Dec 2019
Come, O Love for down the vale,
Where moonlight frocks the lovers’ tale,
Where moonlight mulls the staves of trees
And shreds the fuschia from the leaves.

Come, O Love for down the vale,
Where cleave and stumble long prevail,
And woolen grass reveals the press
Of all that slept there shorn of dress.

Come down the vale for it is known
The miller’s grain was never grown
Here below long-shadowed stone.
Come, O Love, and come alone.

Put down your labor’s winnowed sheaf.
Lay down in heaven’s gentle brief.
Dec 2019 · 49
Snowblind at 5 a.m.
Devon Brock Dec 2019
Whiteout on 250,
shallow shouldered,
deep ditched,
though straight as dope
and piped icing.
The wind knows the way
but canters,
canters and drags
this crate south,
south into the beams
of some some other
sad **** bent to the clock
and near death for a dime,
for a mortgage,
and some other
******* adherence.
Dec 2019 · 296
The Tethered Moon
Devon Brock Dec 2019
To give us naught but bleak display,
To say, to say,
Love has never tethered moon
That way,
That heather never blooms but brays
To drop the stars in sage and grays.

And in this flash hewn verdance sent,
Aghast the sea in violet vent,
Abhors the ******-singed regret,
This skirmish lost though never met.

And where upon a furrowed leaf,
The miner enters as a thief,
To take the blood but not belief,
Was not the time to span a grief?

But given naught but bleak display,
That tethered moon has gone astray,
And pulls not tide but skin away,
To slink beyond a son and pray.
Dec 2019 · 131
Devon Brock Dec 2019
It is the peeling that breaks me.
It is the skin once a thin bastion
against dirt, against mandible,
against the boring small things
that blister the flesh, brown the pulp.

And as I slide a blade into the onion,
wincing in the sting of sulphur,
these fumes of disdain, it yields,
again and again, to the rocking steel,
humming unto the butter and pan.

But it's the peeling that breaks me.
Thin papers loose as sunburn,
loose as ribbon unwound
from the core, loose as young men
bound for the shore, loose as a living,
a living no more.
Dec 2019 · 37
Devon Brock Dec 2019
Cowled and eyeless,
the slouched friar on a slow mule
Dispenses Gospel to the road.
In the shallow fords and mountain clings
He loafs, the hooves of the mule
Sure, certain as bread and crisp water.

And after a bend, a scent - a smoke -
Affording comfort, at least for a moment -
A shack to weather the evernight.
And there, before fire, with crackling eyes
The deaf one blazed in a spectrum,

And what was a matter of course,
Became the matter of hands,
Testing the blisters of a moment,
The friar engulfed in the palms
Of the deaf one’s guidance.

And there in the flurry of fingers,
“Here is the tongue, here is the ear,
And here is the way forbidden to the blind.
Give me your hand that I may place the hammer.
Give me your hand that I may place the stone.
Give me the Word as exchange for the World,
And each we’ll find our own way home.”
Dec 2019 · 115
The Felling
Devon Brock Dec 2019
When the last
and the bluejays - the bluejays -
rolled out;

When the mangled nest
spilled out
these mouths,
these bent

When the chainsaw stilled
its shriek and whir;

When thick air closed
about us;

When the larger jays
swept off the elm
and veined away -
blue lines on a blue sky,
blue abandon in a blue

It was then,
in the clearing of dead wood,
in our new fell garden -
in the making of us -
our one and green tomorrow -
blue and five tomorrows
Dec 2019 · 193
For A Day Not Yet Come
Devon Brock Dec 2019
I’ll send daisies
because they’re already dead,
bias cut for a few
last capillary pulls
of aspirin-tinged water -
soon to cataract, milky
in a lead

These are no “love me’s” or
“Love me nots”.
These are from he who knows
not love, but beauty - decay.

My darling little Aster,
this is the day of your death,
another year counted,
backward from a birth,
as each petal falls as love,
as paper,
as dust,
onto your dining

Pull deep these gathered Springs
there, pull deep the wisp
of meadows once dreamt
soft beneath your feet,
and gaze into the yellow eye
about which all these

Think not me grim my darling.
Think not me cold and thin.
I am nothing but a florist -
the florist birthed within.
Dec 2019 · 40
The Sojourners
Devon Brock Dec 2019
I dream houses.
I dream small rooms
behind small doors
in which small wardrobes
lead nowhere but trappings
of our mangled time -  
of yours and mine.

I dream chimney fires,
tongues between walls
and curtains hung like tar.
We were never long
in the vapors, strangers yes,
but a lope of gray shoulder
and a turning was you, I am sure,
everturning and blue.

I find you in the floorboards,
scuttled in dust and debt,
heaped for a match,
for a flicker,
but nothing is scorched in this.
Rather what crushes here,
the burdens of rooves on cinder,
the cracking of small rooms,
small scores
never carved from a plan,
compress what should be at rest.

I cry “Wake”, each morning,
I cry “wake” to find you,
tragic in the sheets,
bound before the fan ,
mumbling something to someone,
flexing your hand. Yes, I see you,
tangled, but dreaming I think,
twitched of some else tomorrow,
stitched to your own land pink.
Dec 2019 · 64
Small Fishes
Devon Brock Dec 2019
I saw a picture of you today,
that crow's foot smile, your eyes
blue behind wisps of bang,
arm around his shoulder,
same old still,
and I felt nothing.

But then again,
I was small fish to fry,
and you laughed and said no,
you are a whale and went away
that Tiananmen spring.

And there was fear in your voice,
strung out, evacuated, long on the line
and coming home, unnerved.

I missed you at the terminal,
you didn't wait.
But that was no nevermind.
You met me at the station,
red on your breath,
giddy with a gift.

You pressed that sterling
Shandong bell in my palm,
that small Shandong bell.
The bell I keep in the never box,
behind the broken watches
and shells.

You called me a whale once,
but when you returned from away,
you pressed a small Shandong bell
in my palm and held it there,
impressed it there with a finger,
that bell with the small fishes,
chasing each other's tails.
Nov 2019 · 33
The Wilderness Fed
Devon Brock Nov 2019
In this winter called Leviathan,
gorged be the meddles of men
lurched there, rustbound in ice
and enzyme.

And all that arcs over, whether
the crust limbed trees, or the white
tresses of sleet pinged on our heads,
mocks like a maul.

Roused and thus cursed by the makers
of beasts and things craving anvils
and the nails of undoing, undoing,
undoing us all.

And though it was said "Thou breakest
the heads of Leviathan in pieces..."
it is the heads of all men that break,
it is the wilderness fed.
Nov 2019 · 27
Angle of Incidence
Devon Brock Nov 2019
What can I say?
I was a bad sunrise,
quick scudded to cloud
and withholding.

Look at it this way,
it was a great day
for pictures,
no hotspots
to burn away
in a dance.

We were a function
really, a shallow
angle of incidence,
a glancing blow,
not prismatic,
no split beam,
just one garish
morning thing,

and a slow
to a setting.
Nov 2019 · 23
Devon Brock Nov 2019
I can smell my own pits,
my night sweats,
****** up in my week
unwashed robe.

I am disgusted.

And yet, there,
in the garment bags,
lingered in your suits,
your suits I brought home
from your funeral
in the sands so long far gone,
remains these same
and bitter musks.

And there, in the bags,
the pastes of rose wallpapers,
struggled up but aligned remain.

And there, in the bags,
a spruce topped Goya,
thick hipped as forests
and earth angels remains,
there before a sniff.

And though I sit here
in the acrid smoke and
coffee fumes, wondering
breakfast and baths,
you stand stiff as dry-clean,
tall on the hangers,
held and never squandered
for a tear, there,
thankfully there,
the scent of you remains.
Devon Brock Nov 2019
The roads here,
*** tongued, black toothed
and pitted, lead somewhere.

I am sure that over the peak of it,
splayed out like toes in dry sand,
tractioned for tide, a florescence,
maybe, maybe down in the abalone towns,
the oyster shot towns - in The Mother of Pearl,
where I met a guy,
a guy named Reason,
slim fingered and wrung
out at last call.

But there it was, he said "if" first:
"nothing really closes,
I just exchange doors for
carpets, throwbacks and
occasional tables - leaf down
and close to the wall."

He said his name was Witness,
but I knew better, I knew better.
This cat was leather on tweed,
a pick-up line on a business card,
call me anytime. He had shacks
for eyes and his temples pulsed
like Patsy Cline.

He said he had a flounder's way of lying,
flat at the bottom of things - loose silted.
If I needed, he said, the skipjacks
split at dawn, but that's rarely the way
for land legs. And he grinned,
wide like a seiner.

They're always there - these ones -
slumped for a schmuck
dipped out for a just a thud away
from home, down the *** tongued
road to Blacktooth,
where the Water and Sand
shutters before The Mother of Pearl,
where the windows flicker like barbacks,
and a girl named Treason ticks...
Nov 2019 · 24
Devon Brock Nov 2019
If I gave thanks yesterday,
must I do so today?

If I gave thanks that the tires
held traction, there on the black ice,
unthrottled toward the jack-knifed
semi, folded in the median,
thumping through clods
of thrown and frozen earth,
would that be enough?

Would it be enough to be grateful
for the physics of glide,
steer with the slide, after all,
it was only mustard I needed,
coarse ground for the sauce,
for the sauce that will remain
untouched on the table,
peppered with panic and ****.
Devon Brock Nov 2019
Espaliered vines hang like convicts,
strung out in the vineyards as portent
to passers by.

But the tasting rooms are open with cheeses,
retribution and grim justice -
verdicts of wine.

I see them, the tasters, the gawkers,
giddy on the road for sips of vengeance
and sublimation.

I see them, glued to the glass,
glued to the crushing of grapes,
calling it justified.
Nov 2019 · 30
Means Put Away
Devon Brock Nov 2019
S'always gonna be there,
that stain like a slitherin' dog
done nabbed a cookie.

Let's call it spilt milk,
if we must, but ****
that was a rabbit punch.

Let's keep in it the hutch
with all the chipped bowls
and riddled towels.

I know. But forgive
don't mean forgot,
just means put away
with split chinas
and red linen.
Devon Brock Nov 2019
Weathermen are pushing the storm.
Nobody noteworthy died today.
Eight to twelve on the Twins.
Havoc on the plains and cancellations
pending. No travel advised.
The schools flaked out before
the first wind blew, and the office
is gutted parental.
Milks are shoveled in carts,
pricey waters too. Croutons
got hoarded like hardtack,
and only the lettuce remains,
only the lettuce, the leeks,
and a few fibrous cereal grains.
Nov 2019 · 41
Hard Weathers and Grime
Devon Brock Nov 2019
What can I beg of tomorrow
that hasn't already been denied?
Am I a cup in hand, an avoided eye?

If I yearned for a lung not shallowed
with tar, would you grant it?
I thought not, I've asked before.

If I fought for one black minute
to toss the shovels aside,
to use my hands to dig,
to sift my own grave for riches,
would you give it?
I thought not, I've asked before.

And if I spit in your face,
take all the days unnumbered unto myself
and squander, would you take it?
I thought not, I've done it before.

I'll meet you in the morning,
yes, we'll face each other again.
But I'll want nothing this time,
I'll beg nothing but hard weathers
and grime. For that is all
you are want to give.
Nov 2019 · 32
Light Without Hands
Devon Brock Nov 2019
If the sun rose without you,
thin-lipped and petty,
a day would slump over me,
either frigid or thick-steamed.

And no cool wind will pass the trees,
And the sun, a mere mock of warmth,
will tumble west that is sure,
certain as rock in a dry creek bed.

For what is a light without hands
to hold it? And what is a day without
a warm return to a hazelled iris,
chiselled long and arced as horizon?
Devon Brock Nov 2019
Outside the house that's never ours, down-***** and foundation, the faceless one in violet jacquard slid the stone away. And he was strong, by God, for he did it with a touch light as breath, light as fingernails and not a callous revealed a trade. Exposed and streak, some long and rodent thing, large as gator, sloth-faced, skunk-haired and toothed barracuda leapt out, then paused. Flicked its wide fan tail. And looking back at me with eyes both black and brocade, it urged my eyes down, down into the pit where the young and unnamed things flickered like moons on sewage, dull but hungry. And I, in a fit begged the faceless one to unhinge the stone and roll it back, but he laughed. He laughed without mouth, without eyes, more vacant and grimace than squalor. With the stone unmoved, he lifted his hand and pointed to a window not ours, slack-paned and green. And with a flash of jacquard, I was there, in the kitchen. And you were there in the kitchen, my love, crouched native and scooping leopard frogs like water in your palms, then sliding them into a box. You said they didn't belong here, in this kitchen not ours, and you sought a relocation, down the hall, where dust settles like rain and cool clean sheets. But those other tenants, more heard than seen, slow to rents and vagrant, held the doors shut and blunt with chairs and no rattling **** gave way. And at the end of it, where a green window spilled vague shafts below, down-***** to nowhere, a faceless one in violet turned. Turned and walked away.
Devon Brock Nov 2019
Outside the house that's never ours, down-***** and foundation, the faceless one in violet jacquard slid the stone away. And he was strong, by God, for he did it with a touch light as breath, light as fingernails and not a callous revealed a trade. Exposed and streak, some long and rodent thing, large as gator, sloth-faced, skunk-haired and toothed barracuda leapt out, then paused. Flicked its wide fan tail. And looking back at me with eyes both black and brocade, it urged my eyes down, down into the pit where the young and unnamed things flickered like moons on sewage, dull but hungry. And I, in a fit begged the faceless one to unhinge the stone and roll it back, but he laughed. He laughed without mouth, without eyes, more vacant and grimace than squalor. With the stone unmoved, he lifted his hand and pointed to a window not ours, slack-paned and green. And with a flash of jacquard, I was there, in the kitchen. And you were there in the kitchen, my love, crouched native and scooping leopard frogs like water in your palms, then sliding them into a box. You said they didn't belong here, in this kitchen not ours, and you sought a relocation, down the hall, where dust settles like rain and cool clean sheets. But those other tenants, more heard than seen, slow to rents and vagrant, held the doors shut and blunt with chairs and no rattling **** gave way. And at the end of it, where a green window spilled vague shafts below, a faceless one in violet turned and walked away.
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