The Figure That Is None

Words are meaningless
As colors on swatchbooks, dead
On a page, so distant from the world
Of the living, of breathing.

Suffocated taxidermy, a taxonomy of structures
Building infinite thoughts with
A finite palette of colors to portrait the entire universe:
Beautiful to admire, impossible to live in.

12-point font characters, in single-spaced stages, cages for captive
Beasts with no wits— surviving in a world of human
Eyes, who browse, search, and peck through seas of seeds that never fully sprout—
Discarded as soon as they’re rendered, moused over their putrid carcasses.

Never trust human speech when spoken,
Only when written, and its creator has become nothing but
Strings of sigils printed in lifeless-black:
Lines, dots, angles, curves, and crosses.

Learning to read to learn to ignore—
When the author is alive, he is a heretic, a liar,
When he’s dead, a prophet and martyr—
A perfect god making an imperfect world

Inhabited by vulgar people
Speaking bastardized languages
Far from the time when speech was like birdsong, grunts and clicks that said more than any
Unearthing from the bone-white pagination: his miscreations, his aberrations, his abortions.

Drink his tarry nectar with your eyes,
Allow it to cocoon in your mind,
Metamorphose in your mouth
And butterfly in your voice:

To speak as you write
And to write as you think;
To think as you act
And to act as you speak.

Words evolve, ink bleeds,
Hearts change, bones turn to dust.
When you take away the letters,
What is left of the word?

Photo by Brodie Vissers from Burst


Inquietação – The restlessness of young love.

Come to me and find rest;
Delight in a sky eclipsed by my smiling face.

Combing hair behind your ear,
I pluck a white flower and plant it in your hair.

You seek the reddest, most beautiful strawberry— as a hart a pool of water— to clothe its fuzzy
Nakedness with the motherese of your lips on the bed of your tongue.

They live in a secret island near my heart,
In a valley where all emotions gather after sorrow’s rain irrigates my landscapes;

Their delicate, seed-spangled flesh gleams a gloss not yet defiled by human gaze,
Embracing it with a guillotine of teeth.

At first, you nibble only the tip of the berry
Leaving me the round stump to enjoy.

The sweet-savory of your breath
Encrusts in the juices soaking my beard’s coffee coarse strands.

Each bite elicits a sensation hot enough to warm two bodies,
But once you taste the blood of my fruit, you bite hard and deep.

You gorge on the strawberries of my misfortune,
Poisoned not with death, but love.

Their perfume intoxicates the bees singing their buzzed motets to the gods
Those who sprout with the compost of parental neglect,

Their sweetness from the bitter memories of the “what would they say?” and the “what did they say?”
In an adult language that I learned to speak when my child eyes stopped being so,

After seeing God’s absence from my short life.
The fruit from my vines was as big as dreams dead,

Heavier than Persian pomegranates in late September.
The silk of your naughty fingers pull strawberries of all the colors living inside the red.

You pollinate my lips fresh with new wine, not yet fermented in your eyes,
The most delicious song your throat has sung echoes in my mouth.

I take the last strawberry and squeeze its muscled form on your nape,
Trickling thin on the petite of your back,

Down into a feline smile that grins its way into your buttocks;
Its battered body of tiny eyes watch mute as our bodies lay in the waste of its green crowns.

Lay your head on me and rest;
My chest is empty, my throat full of heart;

It weeps with the wind bouncing off the trefoil leaves, concealing our faces from the sun,
Warming our satiated stomachs,

Groped by its jealousy that does not settle for just caressing your white breasts full of maternal milk:
Moaning for the children we will never have.

You want more, but I am barren.
You want other fruits, but I am strawberries.

Photo by Brody Vissers

Innocuous Noctuary

Arise early.
A body architectured for toil, engineered for pain,
Worked to death until it’s delivered back to the dirt
From which God’s breath had its humanity cast—

A rose plucked from soil: petaled with a soul,
Prickled with a mind that defies its Creator and creation;
Created last, but first in His image.

Truss the give of the bedsprings
With those tortured instruments of berth—
Striated, cracked mud— given to build a hearth out of the same
Earth you were made from.

Allow its bounce to buoy the dearth of strength in your empty limbs,
Your secret affair with sleep, unrequited and short-lived, was ended by
The elusive mistress that once gave you a whole night, now only a taste of her
warm embrace.

Eyelids hang over your grey eyes and fat over the vanishing svelte waist,
Coveted in times past by Lucifer— the apple of his eye, puppeting your
Desire to spill your essence into a willing vessel; young Krishna seducing the

Wanes on the spine constructed to walk in grace,
Deconstructed by drudging the weight of years;
The handsome chiseled off your face by the hands of the clock.

Beauty surrounded your Ionic frame, graced your cathedral cheek bones and
buttressed shoulders;
The solidity of your muscles gave the illusion that you were
concealing stones under your skin:

Cascades of cliffs and ridges, bluffs of tightly knit muscle and flesh
woven on ribs,
Cobbledstoning a fairway for wayfaring eyes as fingertips
Stroking the tuneful strings of a harp;

A melody belying the stout of your hips,
Their V-shaped canal sprouting of follicled verdure by the shore of your vigor—
Hackles crowning as laurels the sharp of its protruding beak and coddled wattles.

This morning, they’re sandy debris of dislodged rocks and displaced sediments
Eroding into a body you no longer recognize in the mirror—
A guest in a strange house, missing the thoughtless
Comfort and familiarity of a home gone forever—

Neither the wild carnations of the pillow,
Nor the cool breeze of wavy linen can shed the fatigue that burdens them:
Calcified as pebbles ripping through withering parchment, written off by
your blood-ink.

The river that flooded your body with immortality has dammed,
Damning everything that flows from you— canals of blue mapping out of your
Heart, branching outstretched beneath your caramel-bronzed skin—

Recalling infancy’s simplicity
When you took the Edenic curse as an old doggerel
Told by your mother to rock your restless body to sleep.

Bones that wouldn’t break regardless of endless
Falling, now quiver from the cold,
The fear that the next stumble will be your last.

A reminder that the tale of first man became your own,
That time’s running out, that there was never really enough of it.
The springs of the bed roar antiphonally to the screams of your joints
For a Spring that will only equinox in memory.

Photo by Scott Murdoch from Burst

Animal Mother

You love and give, and want it all,
Expecting nothing in return.
Your kind’s love is full of the angels’

As ours lacks of kindness.
Though you’re flawed in more ways than you’ll ever know, your place is at
The right hand of the Son of Man for suffering at the hands of sons of bitches.

You took on a name that wasn’t yours and made it mine to call you by,
Misunderstanding your nature, we created a language of blasphemy in your name
Treating you as if you too were human, but in every worst way.

Man’s greatest creation, at times, treated the basest beast of all:
Not eaten, but beaten; trifled, not treasured.
If your tail could tell a tale of its own, would our ears be keen to its entailing?

You are there and not there, around when I need you most—
More than you’ve needed me— slumbering sweet on my rug,
Next to my feet, and under my heart.

In the silence of your innocent stare you always know what to say,
Knowing me best by the tip of your fount nose than your densely foliaged irises.
You live your life, basking in its shortness, not caring

About its insignificance, but clinging to its fullness.
The pain you caused the mother who birthed you into this world
Impregnates deep within my heart as you exit its grey-clouded skies.

Your endless affection, learned by wild rote than by noble rite,
Extinguishable flame— one that burned bright during my mind’s
Darkest affliction, whose flecks of fur warmed places spurned by human concern—

The heat that snaps off the fire must, as your life-kindle,
Love its warm heart to ashes.
Embered memories, simmer still in kindred minds meant to hunt

Together, forever our flesh craved the empty heat of the moon
Branding silhouettes on the silent grass blades:
Cutting, unmoved by the breeze of our speed, steeling before their trampling,

Bent, broken, ripped from the root as the heart whose grip
Your weathered paws never trained me how
To release from its leash.


Image Credit

Dog Paws [Photograph]. Dan Gold. Accessed on 03/09/2018


You distract me from all that is
Virtuous, dozing in the home you built me
By the nooks of your warmth
That keep me up all night, and in your

Bed all day— a fly humming itself to sleep eternal,
Gorging on the dew of human comforts—
Original seine, a waking-sleep
Nothingness where I can conquer the known

World, explore the unknown and question
The things that I’ve done and haven’t
Yet with the length of my days— messiahs seeking
Sinners for whom to immolate.

It pains me denying you of unpredictable whims,
childlike cravings for unrepeated joys; gouging a rib
From my side to murder my younger brother,
Exposing what’s left of a body you’ve claimed as your own,

Protecting it from age through knowledge of good and evil,
From senility by incessant worrying,
My soul from a hell lurking in the looming darkness we can’t control.
Your navel is the essence of a Mississippi slithering through a land missing of names,

Wild, unhindered by progress, swayed by forces beyond its body, but brimming within it—
A mystery I miss, misplaced in the things I’ve learned to find important—
Outpouring its thirst in me; restoring
Silence serene, my sweet siren of sleep.

You are bad for me, my heart,
My sanity, my strength are no match for your coquettish craft; dying
Simply in this instance eating fruit forbidden with you, for an Eden
Lived in endlessness, joy, perfection.


Photo Credit

Wu, Samuel. Apple Polisher. Los Angeles, 1947.


Faded will be published in the upcoming issue of:

Meat for Tea: The Valley Review – Volume 12, Issue 5: Hemp

You can purchase a printed or PDF copy by clicking on the following link:

Purchase Meat For Tea


A Spirit That Seizes

All is noise;
Everything under the sound of purest sunlight,
The budding of petals,
Thoughts prancing over the mind’s crevasses.

Silence is noise, in harmony
They live as one, their essence
Human ear cannot discern—
Dark from light, clay from flesh, exhale of life from inhale of death—

In all that is done and undone, spoken and unspoken,
Seen and unseen,
All that is and isn’t
Alive here or in the hereafter.

Narcissus seeking serene beauty,
Seducing his coy mistress
Echo, who in turn, became the mistress of Silence, never
To sing from her heart, but from her ears.

Noise is all;
An ocean we seek to drown in,
Yet refuse the lungs of its nurturing waters—
Casting out demons when the ghost seeks communion—
One with the rippling waves.

The noise without to silence the noise within
Noise on top of noise; one to drown the second,
As blood shed on blood-soaked earth
So innocent blood will not be shed.

Rest does not reside in silence—
The sound of nothingness, noisier than the sum of everything—
To seek it amidst blaring stillness is foolish;
Accepting it echoes our ability to love ourselves.

Only by swallowing it can you find silence’s inner peace;
Only then will you be alone.
Only then will the tumultuous sonance that attunes life’s meanderings into perfect tension
Lull your weary soul to rest.



Henry, Matthew. Water Surface Close Up. Toronto, Ontario. Date Accessed 02/08/2018.