width=61 height=87> Voracious Verses


Scott Malby
featured poet




Do not construe what cannot be deduced.
Think instead of acacia and cedar wood,
that energy of aura like the subtle perfume
of an invisible guest going or coming 
from the land of Punt where meaning
is perceived as away from or toward
an unknown length of distance curving
in upon itself. Here, we rest, stiff as a board
covered in ink while on the walls of our ark
we sail among vowels as if on a boat
of fragmenting flowers in Springtime coming
in from the sea where the breeze off the waves
is gray as a wolf sniffing up skirts, evaporating
into beautiful aches of confusion.



What am I looking for?
A definition—life.
An intuition—death.
Be still. Too short.
Imperfect harmony.
In blooms and trees
untold expressions
of an inexpressible sadness
like alter egos of lost children.
Unfair. Sad. Grieving.
When a sonnet is a Neanderthal
with a grudge and a lyric,
pure fantasy
what can be said?
Life grazes on perihelion’s of ice.
It crashes through permafrost.
In attempting
to encompass it all
we risk sounding
like player pianos
playing the same song
over and over again
until we kiss the last tango goodbye.
Frank O' Hara is gone
and so is Pollock
and Auden and Yeats.
We've got to get back
to the beginning.
Start over again
trolling through darkness
for light until we're trapped
in its net
thrown into the face
of the inexplicable
drinking our breath,
seeking its sustenance
inside our depths
even as it sweeps us up
in the purity of flow,
witness to the ritual
metaphors of life
all love embraces,
awakening revelations
that life is a dream
we need healing from.


Mrs. Church

Father, I have sinned.
Well, as I was saying,
Why this? Why now?
This long talk with myself.
An undisciplined prayer.
Apparitional, snaking inside
the mouth of a gun gray mental 
heroin confession I'm climbing 
toward on a ladder of cringe
while the beak of telling you this
nips at my tongue.
This could be about sex or the immutable
fire of holocaust, I don't know,
when I laugh the goddess of time
makes me bleed over and over again.

Why this? Why now? 
A hunter approaching his quarry.
In journeying to and from land of Punt
the mind brings close
what fades in the process
of approach.
A motion eyes pick up, 
a text, a narration on the text 
all at once from beginning to end
narrowing through a distortional tunnel 
choosing from the randomness
that sound, that smell, that taste, 
aiming at the name of something
opposites create.

So much heaviness 
in a name.
The weight
and bearing of it.
Animalia Annelida 
Romantic vowels 
like worms curl 
around the tongue 
in a synthesis
of movement 
or parting of shapes
slowly closing
beyond sight or reach.

In front of a door left open
don't ache to solve the mystery of it.
You'd think crossing thresholds
easy because you're ten
and because disaster
has a history of whistling up 
someone else’s shadow 
like Mrs. Church, next door, 
whose legs won't carry her 
to the mailbox anymore.
So, I get the mail for her.
Her door is open. I call her name, 
no answer. I move through
the curious silence of open doors 
into her kitchen 
and meet Mr. Death, up close
kissing and fondling Mrs. Church
on the cold linoleum floor.

The enigmatic communion
like a powerful 
translation evolving 
from the obscure
seasons of indistinctive
collage we can't help
but inhabit.
A vague resistance 
of voice
echoing out 
before date or venue is set
as the observer is caught
observing himself.



With the stars as a map
the shadow of the moon's passage
glides along the earth
reflection to reflection reflecting back
and then down like some hieroglyphic script
among the trees and path
ending here, in the sculptured intensity
of a 12 inch section of vertebrae.
Looked for signs. No hint of fleshy corruption.
No scrapes or scuffs, pristine as a glass 
of fresh milk, cured dry and strange
as an alien encounter.
Could be my own, I think.


Fishing the Rogue River

Shot in the head in the war
a sonata leaked from his mind
as he parted the liquid 
to retrieve his gun
and found instead a steelhead skeleton
and a faux raccoon hat
wrapped around a rusty hook
dangling from a Sunday past
when little things were big
as fire crackers on the Rogue
and the great world out there
didn’t matter at all.

The best part of sickness
is the floating, 
but then the mind fries
as you sicken
and your toes turn to sand
paper and you feel like 
hurling forgiveness
as far away as you can.

In his mind tall grass
a gesture 
of unraveling
that can't be held
mysteriously moving
before something
is seen. He returns.
The Rogue River
welcomes him in.

There are too many memories to hold on to.
Like a bullet ridden coke can, the background
fades. Some will have to go.

Beyond Reach, in Deceit County, 
was a village town of sea, wind,
and honey. They didn't see 
change come as love poems
were traded in for war poems
and the building of tombs
became a primary industry.
Foggy mausoleums crowded 
out the broken statues of Peace
and Prosperity, original papyrus
scrolls by Sappho were used
to clean mortuary tables and wrap
dead bodies in. Young men
were buried at night, the wounded 
hidden from sight. The day 
defeat came, the rich
politicians of Deceit County
decided to declare victory 
and the patriots of Beyond Reach
waved yellow ribbons and cheered,
unable to see what was lost.

In death, there is nothing like any other thing.
The distant shore is too vague
to remember. A child conceives a mile
as a year on paper whose clouds are always
too heavy to lift where a crayon burdened
hand may draw a gate but never pass
through it. We dissemble 
our neurons into worlds, into villages,
and churches but do they really ring bells
when we pass through them? We are,
we are all liars to ourselves
who carry on our shoulders the weight
of our own ultimate defeat.
Sunflower mantra the world awake.
Fry its parts. Better to run naked but clean.



Where California ends and Washington begins,
cloudy Shampooey storms like a smoking cigar
up an Oz land sea coast, casting visionary eyes
fondling voluptuous intrigues of erupting space.
A tall tree adventurer and rogue, face cut 
by opalescent rivers where whiskey times roll 
through salty spin drift dunes groining its sandy weight 
forward into an empire of green jade firs
luminously holy in the light of haunted moss and fern.
Shampooey. Flying on its own wings, 
a land of drunken trappers, missionaries,
Indians, fisherman and gun toting whores.
Shampooey, at war with war, singing the Wayne Morse sutra. 
Land of castor canadensis momogamous, 
flat tailed and teething on beach, birch and alder, 
rooting up willows, buds and roots in yellow throated
meadowlark valleys of sweet flower nectars
attracting scat of bear, otter, coyotes. Shampooey.
Independent, skeptical, wide eyed as a sunstone. 
Oz West of coastlines where Tom McCall stares
down from the stars and meets your eyes with his wink.

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