In ancient days, men followed monsters home,
and knocked on doors to netherworld chambers —
went kicking over the beast’s garden gnomes,
went barging around back like close neighbors.
Who chases monsters now-a-days, I ask?
Now, people let their demons come to them.
We’re too much prisoners to time on task,
and trips to the barber or the ATM.
And have our demons gone so far away?
Or have they vanished as we’d always hoped?
Or someone else is closer to the fray?
But have you seen them die on days they moped?
To meet or greet the demon at whose door?
It’s a question unknown in days of yore.
In this land of tropical green,
there is one tree timed to north lands.
Its leaves turn red from deepest green,
and fall as if to season’s plans.
They fall not by mere ones or twos,
but in wild, fluttering masses.
Inside, it gives one the bronzy blues
to starkly feel the year’s passage.
To see sunny-side branches nude,
and know the numbered days still left
for ever-redder multitudes
who suffer time’s — and wind’s — great theft.
No land is so foreign to me
that I can’t see home in a tree.
Savage winds hit like a ramming shoulder.
Pelting rains sting like sand-blast on pink skin.
Dipping ships drop from sight of their beholders.
Soft sounds compile into a raucous din.
Nothing stands still; everything is moving —
Sound and Fury signifying Calm’s death.
Minds conflate the confused and the confusing.
Mouths gasp open but they can’t suck a breath.
Angry gods find newly pious converts.
Sinners sin like they’ll not get one more chance.
While disaster plays the consummate flirt,
dunking sailors, but pulling them back to dance.
Every soul knows each storm must – in time – end.
But one can’t know whether time is one’s friend.
The rain bands slant across the narrow track
between the leaden clouds and churning seas.
The vastness, standing before ocean’s edge,
is boxed by rain, low clouds, and rising waves.
My view of infinite space shrivels up.
The water curtain hides what lies behind —
the lost horizon lies, disguised by lines
of squall that crawl with all the time allowed.
What brought me to this shore is now mislaid:
some sense that I could never be contained.
I’m sure that storm intends to push me home —
back to the box where it thinks I belong.
But then it passes by; blue skies beyond,
and I can see out past the trawler’s shapes.
I’ve seen these fleeting glimpses of the world.
They dissolve — memories of dream soon lost,
and leave me longing to see raw, rich truths —
the craving lies — a deep itch in the mind.
The ghost of cosmos future threatens me.
It shows me worlds with all the wrongs righted,
and asks if I’d push a button of change,
and feel my suffering grow in exchange.
And would I walk a road paved in torment,
if the tormented souls were thus made free?
I know not whether I’ve such heroic bones
to take that change and pay the entry fee.
Is virtue stuff from which heavens are made,
or is it yet another kind of dream.
I’m fond of monsters, modern & ancient,
but only monsters who know their nature.
It’s not the wild eyes, but those that’r vacant
that signal the most dire kind of danger.
I tracked one once across a snowy heath,
and when the winds did shift, it caught my scent.
It could’ve wheeled about, baring claws and teeth,
but it had a sniff and moved on – content.
Did I dare stalk the beast any further?
Was I being led into an ambush?
Did it seek concealment for my murder?
And then the break — a gasping air inrush
A sudden realization, I’d been duped,
and was pursuing myself in a loop.
“To freeze or flee?” Asks creatures terrified,
when monsters stomp through forests, glens, or fields.
I know what it’s like, standing stuck mid-stride.
Yet, I’m more oft the monster than he who yields.
Maybe you wonder on the monster’s life,
if the fact never occurred to you that you’re
the stomping monster of the chipmunk’s strife.
when you have that most pleasant hike or tour.
The screech, that call, that’s screamed to each and all
is not some passing fancy or fevered
dancing of critters seeking daytime prowls.
They’re warning others they feel beleaguered.
“You must be this tall to be a monster,”
reads a sign no taller than a lobster.
In a meadow, amid a dark forest
grows a grass so green it glows.
Never sets foot a pilgrim or tourist.
Where it lies, only an old local knows.
Plus, the grazing creatures of the forest
who wander that way when dining time comes.
It sings but silence — no insect chorus.
No sound is heard, save one’s own thin heart thrum.
Burdened is the keeper of that meadow,
with a secret for which some would murder.
But paradise is too frail to be known
to the heartless hand of human herders.
Paradise trampled is paradise lost.
So, the keeper keeps his secret at all costs.
a tantrum caught on the face, but not thrown
a barrier unseen, like a mime’s “box”
a sprouting plant sprung from a seed unsown
and time shown on broken, not working, clocks
passing the test using knowledge unknown
farmer plows no field with an oxless ox
interest free loans and the silent moan
sale on magic, mineral-deficient rocks
train bound for nowhere at nought miles-an-hour
entropy decrease, the Second Law is dashed
try solving world peace with all-purpose flour
car jumps from a telephone pole uncrashed
i’ve seen all these, and oh so many more,
but i’m not some self-aggrandizing poet-whore
any city you enter after dark
will not reveal itself until the morn
you’ll see it like a scrawny sheep unshorn
vague blankness punctuated by landmarks
you’ll see nothing in the darkness of parks
not junkies sprawled out in clothes, rank and torn
though you see neon twenty-four hour porn
you’ll know not the dogs by their noisy barks
light makes it more pretty and more ugly
you’ll see it pick itself up and brush off
like shame walkers concoct a makeshift coif
turning focus from the bloody and stubbly
to see a city at its worst and best
catch it when it’s wearing last night’s dress.