Bad Poetry

DEADWOOD ZEN (2015)

Remnant of the orchard
Left alive to grow
Rising from the parking lot
Fruit upon the bough

Some came to eat
Some came for shade
Some came for the living
Some came for the dead

Unwanted by the Owner
Twisted by the years
Shedding useless fruit and leaves
Cut down I lie here

Stripped of Life's sick cloying mess
Dead stump in dry earth
Rotting into dust
I was: now I am not





PROCRUSTES (2014)
 

To this inn a rustic lad
I came on winding paths.
Walking crooked, aimless ways
I stumbled into bad.

The master took me in,
He warmed me at his wall.
Won with smooth civility,
I made myself his thrall.



BARBARIAN AT THE GATES (2014)

Savage beats the raging pulse:
It struggles to get out.
Rushing on the road to Death
It spills and churns about.

Streams of life that seek the sea
That scream and boil and break
Smash the dams with ruthless ease
Raising lethal wakes. 

Sick you met me coming here
Stirred deep by strong desire
To hold my life's fierce, flooding tide,
To tame its liquid fire.

Willing unto civil gods,
Couth cunning masterminds,
I gave myself, my mortal soul,
To learn the rule of Life.

Ravenous Olympians
My flesh they tasted raw.
My blood with potions purified
Swilled red in godly maw.

At last their feast was ended,
Naught left to educate
I pondered wisdom's lessons
White bones on silver plate.

My rage-tide all subsided,
But pools of black bile lay
Seeping stagnant silent stench
A rot of société.
 
Rome! I found thee once as beast
Wild rutting gnashing lout
I leave thee now in ashes
My lively fires gone out.

Where once I met Death hunting
Or fighting face to face
Now I smell her lurking
Embalmed in every space.

Where once I fled Death running,
A loser in Life's race,
Now I meet her standing:
I welcome and embrace.


PHILOCTETES (2013)

Apollo used to bless me
When I approached his throne.
The fairest folk on Mother Earth
Once claimed me for their own.

Fighting in the first ranks
I joined that cursed war
That Argives waged for Helen's hand
Who fled her useless lord:

Brutal Menelaus,
That grunting loutish swine
Leaning on his brother's might
And wily Odysseus' mind.

Bound by oath, my sacred bond
I followed Argive hordes.
I stood my ground in battle dire
When we took the Golden shore.

Many full lives I plucked there
With the bow of Heracles.
Many rich foemen I sent down
To dine in deep Hades.

I never made them suffer long,
Nor asked for special odds:
Mortal knees I undid swiftly;
Sweet spoils were left for gods.

How do you repay this faith,
Olympian and Argive lords?
Viper's venom taints my blood.
Marooned I rot undead.  

For them I gave up everything,
My life and then my peace.
To me they give back nothing,
Not even death's release.

Now the bastards find me
A wreck upon life's shore.
They find their cast-off tool;
They come and ask for more.

Not enough the war I waged,
Havoc my broken hands caused.
They want me risen from the grave,
A terror to unmake the world.

Stranded here 'twixt life and death,
A worthless lump of flesh,
Sick stench infects my nostrils,
I weep and then I laugh.

For those still quick I weep,
For Helen and my sweet nymph.
I laugh for those who fled,
Escaped foul life in death. 

You'd think the simple sight of me
Enough to seal my doom,
Quench my little flame of hate,
Close doors on my dark tomb. 

But such is not the mercy
Of sick life's generous lords.
They torture me with pity;
Would God it were a sword.


PEITHO (2013)

The man whose moral character
Needs others to know its worth
Will always end up making love
To the whore of all the earth.


DIOGENES (2013)

A bit of mud beside the road,
A little stand of grass.
Streams of water rolling by,
And in the midst a man.

Naked 'neath the eye of Zeus,
A human face he seeks.
Standing in the way he greets
The tribes of wand'ring ghosts.

Empty suits parading past
Wearing the roles they play--
Beggar, maker, king and priest--
From them he turns away.

"I do not look for beauty,
"I have no need for speed.
"I lack no shining flatware
"To serve insatiate greed.

"Keep your personal shelter,
"Your castles and your dumps.
"Keep whatever shit you eat,
"Your wine and its slops.

"I do not beg your pardon,
"I do not ask your grace.
"Take away your fools' praise,
"And let me see your face."

Hungry ghouls that come and go,
They put him off with lies:
Masks for dirty jobs mobs love,
Fake pearls in life's pig-sty.

"Would to Zeus it fell my lot
"To fight with heroes true.
"As it is I stand and bark
"At faceless punks like you."


REDBEARD (2013)

Golden harvests in the cue,
Rainfall soft upon the ground,
People dancing in the streets,
A party comes to town.

Blasted harvests in the barn,
Fierce torrents tear the earth. 
People falling on the road,
A plague stalks up and down.

Ever in my ancient ear
The weary noise resounds:
The people yell, the people cry:
The people live, the people die.

These sorry wretches come to me
With their little joys and grief.
They think what I can do for them,
That I mind when cravens weep.
 
Frost lords these folk never saw,
Nor the darkest halls of Hell,
Ragnarok deadly with ice and fire,
Grim sights I know too well.

My thunder they name laughter,
As though it were a joke:
A game to play with chumps
Who bet on hammerstrokes.

I never saved the world for you;
Mjolnir's not your tool.
My hopeless war to win Asgard
Fails with or without you fools.

I don't care that you suffer:
Get out of my way and die!
I stand against the Jotunn;
Vile serpents I defy. 

No way clear to victory,
Back against the wall,
Friends all hacked to pieces,
No promise of Valhal.

This is where I live,
Still hale against all odds.
This is where I die,
The last stand of the gods.



THE SACRED GROVE (2013)

Thunder in the woodland,
Lightning burned the steppes,
Wrath came hurtling down
And up from wat'ry depths.

Trees bent screaming in the wind,
The mighty earth awoke,
Speechless lolled the race of men,
As loud the wild brutes spoke.

Then a monstruous portent
Tore veils back from the sky.
Into the forest glen it rent,
And quenched its flaming ire.

That day an unseen power
Made our woods its abode,
And people came from far and near
To worship in the grove.

To me, a young man sitting
Around the village hearth,
The old men spoke in whispers,
And riddles, of the dark.

The sacred dark, the holy dark,
The lowering forest shroud,
Where dwelt the awful numen
That made my people proud.

None but pilgrims ventured
Within the darkling wood.
They went in weak and fearful,
They came out strong and good.

Then one day it seized me,
The desire to see the god.
I took the staff, the pilgrim's vow,
And went into the wood.

The forest way I wandered,
Through mist and gloom I trod,
And pondered in solemnity
Deep thoughts of ruthless love.

My joy seemed small and worthless,
But grief was grand and real.
Pleasures became a vicious rot,
But pain was strong like steel.

Stripped of all the clothes I wore,
Undone, unmade, unshod,
I wandered weeping in the wild,
An offering to its lord.

At last I reached the center,
The heart of those black woods.
My staff was broken in my hands,
My flesh poked full of holes.

I thought to find my solemn love,
The god of dark and woe,
To cast my worship at his feet
And pray that death be slow. 

A sudden light, like blazing sun,
Flashed blinding in that place.
My feet went out from under me,
I fell upon my face.

A voice I heard, it struck my bones.
My heart began to thrill.
I felt a hand upon me laid,
And all the world was still.

Peeking shyly through her hair,
Stark naked, fat, and free,
I saw the goddess of the wood,
And she was fucking me.

At first I felt a shock of grief,
My anger welled up hard,
But she just took it glad and laughed
As I writhed on the sward.

Heaving, rolling, belching, moaning
She fell upon me struggling still.
Laughing sweetly, wave on wave,
She stole my love and broke my will.

She stole the love I carried close,
My lust for pain and dearth.
She quenched my fire of youthful pride
In the oceans of her mirth.

And when at last she let me go,
She kissed me on the mouth,
One little kiss that cracked my lips,
And the laughs came pouring out.

I laughed to see my griefs were gone,
I laughed when they returned.
I laughed when people stared at me,
As I ran naked home.

I laughed to see youths pining
As once for love I pined,
I laughed to see men smiling
Who'd seen the goddess' shrine.

I laughed when to the forest
Fierce priests with axes drave.
I laughed when those fools slew her
Who made the people rave.

I laughed when my life's candle
Burned low in its small bier.
I laughed when death was coming;
I laughed, for she was near.

This little laughing wisdom
I carried from the grove,
That tears may glitter silver,
But laughter sparkles gold.

In every walk of human life,
Your way divides in two:
You can weep as you fuck the goddess,
Or laugh as she fucks you.


ZEUS SOTER (2013)

Seated at the table
Silently he lurks.
Pulling out a card,
He plays it with a smirk.

His clothes are all in order,
His beard is neat and trim.
An unassuming bodyguard
Hulks watchful behind him.

Other gamers at the board
Are giving subtle cues,
Signing, sighing, gasping, crying
As they win or lose.

Our man sits impassive,
Indifferent to his score.
He bets; another calls it in.
He shrugs and bets once more.
 
His phone lies on the table,
The ringer set to "mute."
Even when his wife calls,
He does not start or stoop.

Twice he calls, twice he loses.
Twice he sips his wine.
The last round finds him 
Calling again, caressing his glass: "You're mine!"
  


OTIUM TIBI MOLESTUM (2013)

Fear the peace that never fought
And the love that never failed,
The friend who never cursed his lot
And the heart that never quailed.

Pity the saint that knows no sin
And the ear that hears no lies.
Pity the hero who always wins
And the god who never dies.

An ancient saw comes sighing
Down the lonely walks of time,
That man learns best by losing
The prize he yearns to find.

The choicest rest, the curadmír
That greatest champions take,
Comes in the midst of battle dire,
An unsought stroke of fate.


MALEDICTA FORTUNA BEATA (2012)

Some she kisses, some she bites.
Some she swallows, some she rides.
Some she leaves, some she takes.
Some she woos, some she rapes.

Chase her, flee her,
Love her, grieve her,
But there's no man alive
Can ever leave her.


DESIRES (2012)

Some people hoard them like seeds
For a great harvest yet to be sown.
Others release them like flowers
That bloom in a day and are mown.
There is not one path that is better:
In the end of our time all are one.
 

HERMES (2012)

Stranger, please don't shoot me
Or hate me for a fraud:
I am just the messenger
Of your inscrutable God. 
  

KOLOB (2012)

There is no end to theory.
There is no end to lies.
The fruit that makes us stupid
Will also make us wise. 


ODYSSEUS (2012)

Cradle to grave God hated me,
A miserable dog of war
Who wandered lost in burning lands
Far from my native shore.

I courted peace, I wooed her
In Father's old home-town.
I took her to the altar there
And we settled down.

But this was no sweet savor
For the bloody Lord of Hosts.
He torched the farm, called in all debts,
And drove me to the sword.

The recruiting sergeant angled me
With words that sounded nice,
That I was a soldier born and bred
To save our way of life.

My honest clothes were thrown away,
My hair they cut to rule.
My hands were bled until they served
To work with savage tools.

Stripped of all my former life,
I left my native land.
I went to seek the WMDs
In flaming fields of sand.

But all I found were Trojan-born,
Smooth liars just like you.
And so for safety (as God demanded)
I became a liar too.

My lips reeked of philanthropy
And other high ideals.
I worshiped flags and books of God
With fierce, inhuman zeal.

Many a man I sent to death,
Civilians too I shelled:
Enemies of my democracy
Now cast their votes in hell.

Victory came, and came again.
The city of Priam fell.
But Hector's death did nothing
To break the Trojan spell.

Still the liars are lying
In that dismal, wasted land.
Still the widows are crying
And death remains the end.

Hector they hail a martyr,
That fool Achilles likewise.
Agamemnon's oiling his greasy hands,
And still I cannot die.


ARGEIPHONTES  (2010)

In ancient time lived here a troll, a monstrous son of man
Who glared upon the world with eyes that never sleep did dim.
To him the lady Hera gave the cow of Zeus in charge
And bade him close to watch the beast, lest it roam at large.

The shaggy herdsman stood his post, a mountain in the way
And stared the pregnant Io down, bated her night and day.
At last the will of Zeus was turned; he heard his poor cow cry  
And sent me on to save her from the troll's all-seeing eye.

I traveled far to find them at the dawn's edge of the world
And came upon them standing here, the damsel and the churl.
To her a winning smile I gave, to him a lot of words:
From garb and speech he took me for a fellow ward of herds.

From dusk to dawn I humored him, I charmed him with my wit.
I sang to him of anxious cares and things that make men sick:
Of inner lack and outer grief, the work of scheming fools
Who meddle in the wars of gods, and become Olympian tools.

Thereupon he stumbled, a great weight upon his mind,
And begged me give some solace with the power of my rhymes.
I sang to him of holy flocks, the kind the sun-god breeds:
They wander far from herder's glance, and of themselves take heed.

The import of my verses woke a light in his dark soul.
And inward went the piercing gaze that once did outward go.
Then in a moment of unrest, the watchful eyes were closed
Never more to waken from their last, eternal doze.

So was the lady Io freed, mother of Zeus' son,
And I became the slayer of the many-eyed one.