RetreatI have abandoned battle, savored peaceand lost my weapons deep in sacred ground.I have sought sweet mercy - God's own releaseand prayed for his swift justice to abound.I have walked past the soldiers in the streetand heard their cries run shameless without sound -the tired, shuffling resonance of feet.And in the morning's chilled and angry blast,I recognize the music of retreatas if I saw the ghosts that knew my pastgathering at the tables for a feast.Then God allow these thoughts to be my lastfor I have hopes my blessings will increaseand the dark symphony of war will cease.
ShroudShe weaves a dress upon the loom,her neighbors knowing it's a shroud,window dressing for a tomb -she weaves a dress upon the loom.Forbidden fruit has scarred the womb,a stranger's face amidst the crowd,she weaves a dress upon the loom -her neighbors knowing it's a shroud.
MaelstromI smell winterin your bloodline,the thick throttle of crimsontrapping the snowand the crows' last laughstretching out the wirestaut and high over me.I smell the coldin the treeswhere your face still hangscaught like antlers,weed-boned and blankin the thin sunshineof a drowning man.And your kissesstill reek of snow -frost chewing through my tongue,cleaving to your smile,blemished and beamingin the surly lightleft dying under your thumbcaught in my maelstrom.
Sometimes The Clothes Do Not Make The ManI am not the manleft hanging in the closet -the patterned plaidof slip knotmother sent for Christmasor the herringbonecaul of woolthat shrouds my skin from winter.I am not the grey flanneled stridethat steals the sidewalkfrom children jumping ropeor the cable stitched fishermanstalking the wharfand crumbling pierwhen dusk comes calling.I am but a bonescrapand a dream,a pluralof nerve and tendonthat keeps a distant profile,coaxes livingfrom these garmentsand owns the face of many.
StonesThese stones, once enchanted, now leave no traceof a distant magic in a foreign tongue -just dream-prints left to carve this place.A stranger breed has now begunand left its tracks amidst this space,the souls left blinking without a sun.History spared time's rude grace.We leave our prayers among the bones. Bittersweet and green, simple in its mien, it grows. Potent bloom and sheen, pressed on lips so clean, life slows. Poison felt so keen hangs her life between.Now let winter's spellseek out the newly hung moonand transform the sky.
LingerThis languorous lust left lingering beneath the bed frame keeps us dreaming, draped in the helpless hope of longing for love's song. We sleep in inches, morning's mayhem robbing our rest with our senses softly drowsing, drowning in this sun swept bed. As we turn, trembling toward the pillows pale retreat, limbs lock again as if to claim our clandestine secrets and keep the careless haste of hours hidden, hushed and sweet.
MinotaurHer minotaur bows lowand dreamsof a deft approachsome way inwithout thornssome tiny giftof need,or perhapsan offering of rainleft killing on the grass.She senses him,the bristle of jawjarring the forest,and the long white of her armsteaching himthe value of fear.But his eyesgo blank at her glance,the snare of heata braceletat her wrist,and his warm flanktelling her new mythsare for bleeding.
CreeperPeel the glass backfrom my cheek -my eye hanging like a lazy fool,watching the air,slippery with whispersdescend upon this room.I said I would grow on you;my last wordscurdling the milkleft in your cupas the curtains yawnedand walls weptbehind your chair.Trust comes easily -flat and distended,disturbing the dustleft growing on the porch,pulling up the rootsrotting in clay pots.And you just watchdusk roll over us -Virginia Creeper and blind menwith a slice of grey -holding up the ceilingwhere the paint bleedsand startles the moon.
AbsintheLeave me then to dream in wormwood -those malignant little demonsspilled in the mind-drift of my nights -and steal me from my fitful rest.Those malignant little demonsslip nightshade through the windowsillsand steal me from my fitful rest -the cruelest jest, a poet's fears.Slip nightshade through the windowsillsand leave the emerald juice to rest.The cruelest jest a poet fearsis madness come home to roost.Leave the emerald juice to rest.Spilled in the mind-drift of my nightsis madness come home to roost.Leave me then to dream in wormwood.
AcheIt was an old ache -a rough remindershe was not perfect,a notch in his backbonethat creased his shirtwhen he moved the wrong way.There was a certain charmabout her faceand he liked how she could climbwhen she had toand how her spine lined upperfectlywith his bookcase.(But he wondered whyher jokesbled into his flaws)Still, he had to admitshe couldlean across a tablewith a gracethat bordered ongodlinessand he could learn to believecoincidence wasjust a dying art.
A Mother's LetterDear Son,I'm afraid it's just as badas was reported -that your Uncle Sven has been deportedfor unspeakable crimeswith the neighbor's cat.Also, you should know thatyour fiance was found undressedwith your sister's boyfriend, Fred -no one but the family knows.I hope this letter finds you well.Oh, I forgot to tell youthat your father has to sellhis gun collectionto make bailfor Uncle Tim,whose chasing tailwill be the death of him.And your sister, Alice,has grown so thin.We think it's all that herointhey laced the Girl Scout cookies with(it's just an urban myththat they're a leftist group).Your Auntie Kate has found a hobby -collecting body parts in jars(we hope they are not ours -your brother has been missingsince last Wednesday.)They had to have your cousin, Gwendolyn, committed.She'd been appearing so dimwittedlately at her joband there was that messy little incidentinvolving her and the company president(something about a prostitution ring in Mexico).
All Hallow's EveThe pale keening of cicadasechoes in the sun's lingering hueand on the horizonsmoke unfurls its wooded glorythrough the glen.Pumpkins crown the curling vinesin triumph,waiting to be claimedin greedy graspsand turned like changeling goblinsafter dark;and this bright crushof maize and barleycarves the crisp eveningand singes our eyesin the fine glory of a psalm.
The HighwaymanThe highwayman with dread-dark eyes,his stolen coat a wanted prize,will covet treasure, great and small.His wicked heart shall claim it all.He'll roam the woods and hidden glen,the emerald loam, the fetid fen.He'll shun the hunter's warning call.His wicked heart shall claim it all.He'll take the daughters of the houseand steal the husband's loving spouseand leave the corpse beneath a pall.His wicked heart shall claim it all.
BlinkBlinksaid the boy with the cameraand this momentwill never know our names.It will take your best parts -the smile you saved for Sundayswith your good dressand handkerchief,knees pressed tightagainst the resurrection,hoping mother never guessedwhat prayers were leftupon the altar;the kisses gathered for your lover -passion's flagrant promises,not the chaste monstersschool girls dream ofwhile sweaty palmspin wilting corsages to tulle.The surprisesdelivered to the front doorat Christmas and graduations,circuses disguised in boxesand envelopes stuffed like dates,all wrapped in heady silk;and the tearsyou thought everyone knew -steady friendssince gloves were small,secrets that swore to leaveat pillow fights and seancesbut never let you breathe.All capturedlike flash in an iris,glorious imprintsand the grain of paperyellowing gently in the atticlike your heart's montage.
BrotherMy reluctant brother -grey suited hairand that scarbeating on your liplike an unfortunate rhyme -long have I thought of you.Your pockets are shallow wastrelsand in the crisp foldsof your trousers,I find that timeis a leper -an ill-fated starthat pocks this dream witted nightand turns my tearsto sober music.For I have found your hopesa hollow thing -your promises a cold frostfor my supperand all your pretty wordsthe still birth of my misfortune.
MorphHe pinned the butterflyto the card,the dry rotof blue wingsso profoundand loudin the warm room.Under glassit seemed a stranger,not the imagounfolding in the jarthat dreamedof the wet season,but a legless pupacommonand forgettable.
FishermenThey fishfrom tiny boats,sampans and coracles -red sails threading the skyand bobbinglike poppies in the autumn sun.Whales slip through waveshunting silvered krilland the spiny duskof urchins clinging to the sand.And they waitfor lines to pulltheir hands underglistening with eeland abalone,hauling the afternoonback to marketin hempen nets.
MedicineThis wasting illness,her belly heavywith my indifference,weighs upon meand sleep is a strange landwithout a suitcaseor room to call its own.Her skin tastes pallidlike something kept too long -brown bottle bitterand frail.She stains my fingersevery time I reach for her,her love medicinaland thin,as if wondering howI put my shoes onin the morningor knowwhich air to breathe,and hoping silenceleaves this pregnant spacebetween usunbearableand unknown.
Sour CrayonsMy hands are tree-minded twigstwiddling wooden thumbs; pencil-fingers scratching pulpy paper;pushing letters single-file intolingual constructs.I am revisiting recurring childhooddreams; thoughts of stone tumblingthemselves shiny and sleek; oils ofvoices, tranquil and frictionless,reflecting rainbows when mixed withthe water of conversation; rivers ofsynergy flooding behind dams.Now I live with disconnection anddisassociation, dripping into everyrelationship, dull or sharp; cuttingvocal cords to make room for audiowires carefully wrapped in swirlingcurls.I taste memories of sour crayons,their colors defining their savorysting. Chew on this stubble; strewnabout, leaving a small trace ofvisions of a time long before now;living tales of ancestry, linkingsteps in a spiraling ladderdefining each individual.And now, with the exception ofpurpose, and the denial of the sun,we make our farewells.[23:09|12.9.011] ©c.thomas.carter
The shadows are fallen
As theyThe shadows are fallenAs they come crashing uponThis dim lit roomNo place to hideIn this blacken wombUnsung memories of the pastCome creeping backWaving on a flag poleHanging limp half mastFlying with broken wingsIn this nightmare dreamWhere everything is notAs it seamsMy only hope is youI need a life lineCome quick pull me inFor am going underDaemons clawing on my skinAhead I see a doorPlease let me inVoices are cryingInside my mindTick-tock soundsIn total re-wind.
Never Forget This DayI am trapped insideFour walls around meWith a screen of blueCan’t find my wayOut of this placeI am being sucked dryNeedle pin pricksOf pain deep insideTell me am aliveFlying demons ofBroken leather wingsKeep flying overheadMy insides wantTo explode foreverYesterday’s lunchMy lips frozen shutThat can’t scream or shoutTo warm others aboutTumbling brainsSpin dry full forwardGoing around and aroundBlack smoke chokingOutside of townBlack rain coming downThis moment in timeIs standing still andJust goes on and onEveryone will rememberThe number 911 foreverWhen this day is gone
My Old SchoolCrippled by shadows, wait in the dusk for nightPlayground ghosts move the swings gentlyTrees bow their heads and sigh goodbyesThis is how it is, here, nowPale moonlight rises to show nothing newIts been this way for so long, far too longPinebranch fingertips drop needles, stars twinkleThe moon turns its attention to the tidesOld bricks, overgrown with weeds, murmuramongst themselves about children now oldNightbirds keep reverently quiet and dreamThis is how it is, here, now
UnfoldI stepped out of my skinToday, and it snowedKnee caps and shoulderBlades. I spotted a fewMoons and oleandar too,Jangled and jarredAlong my collarbone; IWondered at the finches,The swallows and warblersMoulting like fledgelingsBetween my seams.I stood there for a moment,Caladium-leaved, waitingFor you to unfold, dislodgeFrom my spine, butOnly a flicker-whiskOf your fey smileSlid round my ribs.
Let go ControlPiper honey, play me a songfull of hangnails and heartacheand a promise broken on every notethat walks away, to leave me wantingCaterpillar sweetheart, show me your wingsthose spines of snow and silk not yet so fullof lust and colour, too vibrant that the massesbeg in awe, for the relief in locked doors.Lover darling, teach me to dancewith powerful strokes and tender tips offingers glancing and dancing and teasinglead by the lips of an angel, a tasteand a smile, of saccharine love,that hangs Adam for being a man.
Sky EyesDesert hands tell talesof a hundred arid summers, butyou are no longer as cloudless as they(there is a stormcreeping through blue, blue veins).But tell the sky to keep her sorrow,that grey cascade blurring againsteyelids and horizons;and suppress her misbegottendroplets, seeping into the soddenground underfootfor there is still sun in your sky eyes.
The Hawk Still FliesIt matters not that I now breathethe wind still blows its kissa gentle touch to teach the flowersto wave away the days in blissIt matters little if I crythe saddest rain still sings in keya babbling voice of newborn brookslife's precious sound of melodyNone will recall that I once loveda maiden fierce of heartwe dappled in the cherry treesbut blossomed while apartIt matters hardly that I walkthe paths of life's despairthe vines will overgrow the wayarms flung out wide embrace the airIt matters nothing if I dieor live a life sereneThe Sun will warm her child MoonA half-shaped smile is sometimes seenNo one will know the emptinesswhen innocence is goneinstead the larks will serenadeand sing their mating songWhat matters is the hawk still fliesupon the painted skyits spirit soaring evermoreas one we watch the Earth roll by
DriftwoodDriftwood -skeleton mawwraps talon-likearound the dawnas if beggingfor a favor,so smooth and sharpworn bare by August -a mermaid's ribrubs salt from sand,the battering lilt of seagullsbeating timeagainst the summer sun.