Honey Locust Postmortem

September 27, 2016


How bright
death lies upon
once green blades – concealing
in that fleeting glamour how bright
death lies.

Ann K. Schwader

Graveyard Liles

September 27, 2016


The morning’s pages are stained
with sugar, flakes of skin,
the very breath of the stars.

A ghost dressed in dust and grasses
dances alone
in slow motion


There is that chiming.
A fall of hair,
golden ashes of pure thought.

The crickets are fainter, there.
I imagine a rose of glory,
a poem,
a suicide’s note,
just past dawn on a Sunday.

Cold dew, silence.
The muses are everywhere,
dying, dying.


I hear voices
where there are none
yet dark words are spoken
between these streets
and the moon of memory.

Late afternoon.
Already I want wine, another poem, sleep.
I want the word cusp made grey porcelain.
I am ready for November, sleet, eternity.


I sip the mist,
crush peaches and steep them in cinnamon.
I can hear a distant wren, a rill.
Last night, the katydid songs were so huge,
I thought I was a dream in a folktale.
Today, a white breath chills my heart.
Shadows and ghosts swallow the world,
bells start ringing,
a blue light settles on the page.


Fallen like webs over the red grasses,
words drip like dew
from night’s black tendrils.

And poetry, that dead angel,
sleeps next to me
every night.


August morning.
Thoughts of red satin.
Whitegold of insect music.
Stillness of ducks on the river.


At first coffee
these oracles and silences
of rooms within rooms
from all the kitchen years.
are but shadows that come and go,
like clouds, like clouds, like clouds.


Time of the crickets.
Velvet fantasies of the afternoon.
I faint for awhile into the tiny sounds
of birds, gravel shifting, leaves touching,
hoping this is how soft and sweet
death will be.


Red ink is everywhere.
The sumac is before me,
the pokeberries, a thousand years
of ironweed. I see the clouds
reaching for September,
I think again of the vodka in the closet.


There are some days now
like slow flowers in a slow breeze,
the world edged in soft-focus lace,
clouds of drunken butterflies dancing,
time itself turning clear violet
in the winecups of our dreams.
In my head, I fling my arms high,
into the sky, the cold grace, the future.
Gravity and surface tension remain,
like old friends from Earth.


I crave the heady wines of deep autumn,
the gold and red trees floating in the mist.
My head is filled with freight trains.
The unbearable beauty of the stars drives me mad.
I return inside to lamps, thoughts of red pears,
these words that disappear as I write them.


Ivy in moonlight, her limbs,
her silences,
tendrils of sugar,

A whispering pinkness
on my green bones
like a mermaid’s gills, a breeze at midnight,
the sound of Rapunzel’s hair falling.


These white morning glories
are still wet
with a mystic dew

I look deep into them
how deep can whiteness be?

I am dizzy like a boy
seeing breasts not his mother’s
for the first time

falling and falling
into that bath
of milk and cleavage


All day long an insect cries
outside my window

Sparrows with wings of dust
dart past into the shadows

The light is a strong wine
on these aging eyes

I write in gold powder
and quickly blow it away


Another empty day to fill with poems

I dream of water and persimmons

The taste of iron and whiskey permeates everything

G. Sutton Breiding


The other one, the one called Borges, is the one things happen to. I walk through the streets of Buenos Aires and stop for a moment, perhaps mechanically now, to look at the arch of an entrance hall and the grillwork on the gate; I know of Borges from the mail and see his name on a list of professors or in a biographical dictionary. I like hourglasses, maps, eighteenth-century typography, the taste of coffee and the prose of Stevenson; he shares these preferences, but in a vain way that turns them into the attributes of an actor. It would be an exaggeration to say that ours is a hostile relationship; I live, let myself go on living, so that Borges may contrive his literature, and this literature justifies me. It is no effort for me to confess that he has achieved some valid pages, but those pages cannot save me, perhaps because what is good belongs to no one, not even to him, but rather to the language and to tradition. Besides, I am destined to perish, definitively, and only some instant of myself can survive in him. Little by little, I am giving over everything to him, though I am quite aware of his perverse custom of falsifying and magnifying things. Spinoza knew that all things long to persist in their being; the stone eternally wants to be a stone and the tiger a tiger. I shall remain in Borges, not in myself (if it is true that I am someone), but I recognize myself less in his books than in many others or in the laborious strumming of a guitar. Years ago I tried to free myself from him and went from the mythologies of the suburbs to the games with time and infinity, but those games belong to Borges now and I shall have to imagine other things. Thus my life is a flight and I lose everything and everything belongs to oblivion, or to him. I do not know which of us has written this page.

Jorge Luis Borges
Borges and I


During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher. I know not how it was – but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. I say insufferable; for the feeling was unrelieved by any of that half-pleasurable, because poetic, sentiment, with which the mind usually receives even the sternest natural images of the desolate or terrible. I looked upon the scene before me – upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain – upon the bleak walls – upon the vacant eye-like windows – upon a few rank sedges – and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees – with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveller upon opium – the bitter lapse into everyday life – the hideous dropping off of the veil. There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart – an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime.

Edgar Allan Poe
The Fall of the House of Usher

forest-darkened sepulchre…

September 27, 2016


The vault to which I refer is an ancient granite, weathered and discoloured by the mists and dampness of generations. Excavated back into the hillside, the structure is visible only at the entrance. The door, a ponderous and forbidding slab of stone, hangs upon rusted iron hinges, and is fastened ajar in a queerly sinister way by means of heavy iron chains and padlocks, according to a gruesome fashion of half a century ago. The abode of the race whose scions are inured had once crowned the declivity which holds the tomb, but had long since fallen victim to the flames which sprang up from a disastrous stroke of lightning. Of the midnight storm which destroyed this gloomy mansion, the older inhabitants of the region sometimes speak in hushed and uneasy voices; alluding to what they call “divine wrath” in a manner that in later years vaguely increased the always strong fascination which I felt for the forest-darkened sepulchre. One man only had perished in the fire. When the last of the Hydes was buried in this place of shade and stillness, the sad urnful of ashes had come from a distant land; to which the family had repaired when the mansion burned down. No one remains to lay flowers before the granite portal, and few care to brave the depressing shadows which seem to linger strangely about the water-worn stones.

H P Lovecraft
The Tomb

whom we cannot see…

September 27, 2016


I believe when I am in the mood that all nature is full of people whom we cannot see, and that some of these are ugly or grotesque, and some wicked or foolish, but very many beautiful beyond any one we have ever seen, and that these are not far away when we are walking in pleasant and quiet places. Even when I was a boy I could never walk in a wood without feeling that at any moment I might find before me somebody or something I had long looked for without knowing what I looked for.

W.B. Yeats
The Celtic Twilight


To put it in a nutshell, he was afflicted with a love of literature. It was the fatal nature of this disease to substitute a phantom for reality.

Virginia Woolf