Rule-Breaking, Round 4: Entropy (although this one did legitimately get published in Plains Paradox, so I don’t know for sure that I get to claim I broke any rules this time)


Phantom ship on a pitching sea.

Waves that pop and leap with glee.

Waves that rise upon the sea,

Phantom ship, sing to me.

See the life that is not there.

Not a tail, not a fin, not a hair.

Not a fossil from the deep of a watery lair;

Not a wing in the air.

Ship of fools on a boiling bed.

The keel, the rim, the neck, the head;

The flying cap of blood red,

The silent echoes of what never was said.

Windstill breathes a mighty wave

But sends none down to their watery grave.

They toss the hull, and clack and scave

Broken shards of rock, and silt and sand. The remnants from the hollow of a cave.

Phantom ship, riding Neptune’s trident,

Sails billow from Aeolus’ air vent.

He carries a message Hermes sent,

Never knowing for whom it was meant.

And Aegir’s halls on the ocean floor

Echo with silence. Not a god, not a soul, not a knock upon the door.

Seaweed, and kelp, and barnacle spores

Long crumbled to dust, and washed upon the shore.

Sea nymphs, and venti, and the cry of a gull

Once poured into the ocean, full

To the brim. And rose to the rim of the hull

And shook and rattled the mariners to their spine, to their knees, to their skull.

The ancient mariner, trapped out of time,

Sat on his rowing bench, heaving a sigh.

And watching the Albatross fly,

Washed in the rhyme that never will cry.

Sharded fragments of sight and of sound,

Lost in the quagmire; pitched all around

The seashell shattered and scattered beach ground.

They no longer matter. They’ll never be found.

Phantom ship of fools.

Without life, without death, without disorder, without rules.

No following of whales, or porpoises in schools.

Phantom ship, did I play the fool?

The last ship of the sea, the last ghost of the moor,

The last bottle of rum that rolled onto the floor.

The last gull, the last tern, the last owl and condor,

The last grain of sand on the shore.

The last battle call,

The last horn, the last pipe, the last lute; the last dance at a ball,

The last written word, the last symbol

Of a life long ago run into a brick wall.

We toasted the days to come.

We toasted the days set under the sun.

We toasted the days that still were young

And the days of which there will be none.

Once upon a time, a long time ago,

The earth was a fiery hot, burning red glow;

The earth was a luscious green, vibrant lifeforce flow;

The earth was an ashpit, buried in coal;

The earth was green and vibrant again,

The earth was awash in a rocky terrain,

The earth was a wasteland, buried in sand,

The earth is an entropic, grassless sea plain.

Ship of fools on a white washed foam,

Cursed forever to wander and roam.

Trapped on a dead sea, all alone

From Siberia, to Greenwich, to Panama, to Tijuana, to Nome.

The peak of a pyramid rose out of the gulf

Reading, ‘All Hail! For I am Ozymandias!

King of the deserts, the seas, and the bluffs,

And my name shall reign, till the earth is lain ruff!’

But nobody sings his praises.

Ozymandias existed as one of many phases

Of the grand scheme of history, which raises

The lowliest, topples the mightiest, and views all as merely a passing craze.

Entropy! the slow and gradual decay of things;

Of termites, and squirrels, and tigers, and kings.

Who topples gods and empires, ground to sand in the springs,

Leaving concentric rings.

Rings in the sand, blown away in the breeze

And dragged down under on the tide of the seas.

All life and death sucked out of these,

Like a giant’s death rattle and wheeze.

Phantom ship; earth’s last living soul

In solitude. Will this take it’s toll?

This solitude, which wears a hole

In our final entity, with a force no entropy can engulf.

When existence ends, all that will remain

Is a final ghost ship, drifting on a sea plain.

Once salt water eats at the rocky terrain,

And existence is swallowed to the pit of the Spanish Main.

A million years ago the last living creature cried out,

And fought and struggled, thrashing, and glancing all about

For a savior and a rescue. But nobody heard him shout,

Being pulled to the heart of a waterspout.

And out of the deep rose a solitary bubble.

This is life and this is death; of existence, this is every last stubble.

Never again a smidgeon of trouble,

Till we see the world decay and crumble.

This is the onset of entropy.

This is what it would look like to me.

When the world and the universe ceases to be,

All that will remain is a ship on the sea.


Rule-Breaking, Round 3: Winterlust


O, under open white sky,

I’ll watch the grey kaleidoscope

dusting and swirling, like the hope

of a white winter, cold and dry.

The icy sharp bite brings a slow

cutting blow, where the birds no longer fly.

Steaming cider and hot tea;

The people walking glance, and pass

by the windows, huddled like cats,

Shivering and grinning. Pleased.

Nothing but barren trees and dead grass

on the corner of Pennsylvania and Thirteenth.

Lit log-piled hearth fire,

I see a shadow tango in the firelight.

I feel an ember smolder with delight,

And hear the long-lost plucking of a lyre

who echoes; breaking through the sight

of a cracked, and trans dimensional mirror.

Rule-Breaking, Round 2: Full Moon Fever (I swear I named this poem before I knew Tom Petty had an album with the same name)

Full Moon Fever

The full moon is a glowing wheel of swiss cheese

that shines on the starlight night

like the great flashlight in the sky.

The full moon is an optical dose

of acid, peyote, mushrooms

and angel dust;

that seeps it’s way through the cracks of the world,

and enters the sanity of all she finds,

and she finds all.

The full moon is a bacchanal of madness

and crazed lunacy,

a time to don the mad-cap

and go bonkers as a mealworm burrowing

in a wheel of cheese.

The full moon is a mirror.

She shows us the best of us,

which we never would reveal

to all our friends in a crowded room.

She shows us our darkness inside,

which we never would acknowledge

while cocooned within our bedsheets,

Alone in our head, in the dead glow

of a new moon.

The full moon reflects us;

The cream of who we truly are,

illuminating it for all nearby to see.

O sun. O fiery clementine of day;

roast me in this leathery shell

and send me fleeing, screaming

for the shelter of a dark and cool, starry

moonlit night.

Rule-Breaking, Round 1: Heroes and Goofs (written while waiting in line for two hours to see Elephant Revival at the Boulder Theatre two nights in a row)

Heroes and Goofs

I saw Lenny Bruce in a dream last night.

He wore a black, long-sleeved shirt and

a full beard.

I followed him through the

strange streets of New York,

Passed the gutters, the coffee houses and the bars,

Under the traffic lights and the overpasses;

I followed him across the country

to Los Angeles.

I saw him drink single malt whisky

and shoot heroin with

a two inch needle.

I heard him joke, and

I heard him swear.

“Why are parents so afraid of their children being taught by a gay teacher? It’s not like their child is coming home and saying, ‘Gee Ma, today we had five minutes of geography and ten minutes of cocksucking.’”

The crowd was hysterical,

And the crowd was appalled.

And the police came to throw him in jail.

And he died with a needle in his arm.

I asked him “But you died.

And now you’re standing here

alive as all your legacy?”

“My life is more than a heartbeat,

More than brainwaves and bloodflow,

More than hands and arms and legs and feet

and a head,

More than the eyes, the tongue, the chin;

More than the tits, the bellybutton,

the asshole, the cock, and kneecaps;

More than skin, more than bones

Life is more than life itself.”

I saw the ghost of Graham Chapman last night

astride an ethereal horse, with excalibur

raised in his right fist,

smoking a pipe.

He was surrounded by hundreds of thousands

with no pants on,

Who stood on their heads, howling,

making up names for him, and praising them.

And then began pissing in his general direction

for no apparent reason.

He fought his way through the crowd,

waving his sword in one hand and

a bottle of gin in the other.

And I followed, forcing my way above the mob,

crawling over heads and shoulders, calling to him with a dazed and drowning sensation.

“But you died. And now you’re standing here

alive as all your legacy?”

“Go away!” he shouted.

“I died, and still;

nobody can leave me alone!

Why can’t you all just fuck off!”

I saw John Belushi in a dream last night.

Alive as you or me,

with a black porkpie hat,

and two Ticonderoga pencils stuck up his nostrils.

I asked him “But you died.

And now you’re standing here

alive as all your legacy?”

He cocked his head, and wiggled his eyebrows;

And poured whisky over my shoes

and smashed the bottle on his head.

And squirted my eyes with cream pie filling

And dashed away sideways,

scuttling like a crab.

I saw Robin Williams on stage last night,

wearing coke bottle psychiatric glasses

and expelling gibberish faster than the human ear can register.

He finished reciting next years presidential inauguration speech

in perfect nonsense,

And asked a faceless crowd for comments.

I stood up in the back row and called out

“But you died. And now you’re standing here

alive as all you’re legacy?”

He stood still for a moment with his head

tilted to the right, and

he took off his glasses.

“What ist a man, who’s life

doth extinguish in a luminescent implosion;

Who proceedeth not to linger

like the unwelcome poltergeist,

Whom all wish would taketh a flying toss

off the Sears Tower?”

And with John Wayne’s voice, he began shouting

“You been bird-doggin’ this plane of existence long enough!

It’s high time you was movin’ on, sonny!”

I turned my back to leave, while

he expunged the air in front of him

Of everything appropriate, or socially acceptable.

But he paused when I reached the door, and

looking back into his grinning face,

His eyes were laced with a hint of melancholy.

Rule Breaking

We’re not allowed to post any of our writing that we intend to publish on these blogs; that sounds dangerously close to a rule, but I’ve so far followed it. But since 4 of my poems were published (-ish), I will declare a loophole and ignore this thing called a rule. Mwa-ha-ha.

I applied for T.S. Poetry Press’s Poetry-for-Life scholarship because I had poems finished and edited, I needed tuition money, and it was running. Turns out, it was some kind of a big deal. I… finalist-ed? finalized-ed? placed? Whatever. I was a finalist, of one winner and two finalists.

(The poems from the other two are also pretty cool)

…poems to follow…

Too Many Books

Here’s a phenomenon: Walk into a bookstore with no plan to purchase. Walk out with no money to buy food.

People have no self control (and by people, I mean me). I was in the middle of reading Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, also Blueprints For Building Better Girls by Elissa Schappell, and also St Lucy’s Home For Girls Raised By Wolves by Karen Russell (and I still am) last night when I decided to begin Tom Robbins’ Still Life With Woodpecker, the copy of which I ordered finally arrived.

As if I’m not schizophrenic enough already.

Thank you for not believing.

When recognizing a literary hero on their birthday, I’ll often try to say something reverent on their behalf. But on the topic of Dr Seuss, the most reverent thing I can think to say is “DR SEUSS!”

In such a way has he become an literary giant, that his name is as iconic as his writing.

Happy Birthday Dr Seuss.