Face the Table and Bend a Little Bit (a prostate exam villanelle)

The moving finger probes up where we shit.
Listen: the doctor stretches, snaps his glove.
Face the table and bend a little bit.

All choices come to this, don’t forget:
Save face or save our asses. So we’ll speak of
The moving finger’s probe up where we shit.

Elbows braced to ready ourselves for it,
Eyes rolling to the emptiness above,
Face the table and bend a little bit.

Pulses thrum a hummingbird’s rapid flit.
Nervous flatulence sounds unlike a dove.
The moving finger probes up where we shit.

The rectum palpated a full minute
After the initial slow thrust and shove.
Face the table and bend a little bit.

While we lean there feeling the word submit
Perhaps we’ll learn its cross-reference with love.
The moving finger probes up where we shit.
Face the table and bend a little bit.

Posted in Art is lies, Art is theft, Atheism, Biology, Cliches, Death, Epistemology, Gender, John MacKenzie, Language, Medicine, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetry, Prostate exam, Science, Social Commentary, Tropes, Villanelle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Restless Particles (revised Halloween sestina variation)

Near the bottom of the street a crow’s nest
rests high in a linden. A loose stick tap-
tap-taps in the wind that oboes its moan
through October evening eaves. That wind wept
rain all day into the nest and through it
to fall on the house below, this construct

derived as a function of time, need, luck.
As to who entered here to pace or rest,
do we need or want to know? Decrepit,
dark-curtained, shuttered—the slouched roof a map
of rusty-green moss, with black feathers swept
into crevices—someone called it home.

Perhaps the roof’s topographical zones
code, by moss shades and heights, the secrets tucked
beneath, or the undreamed dreams that have slept
long among restless particles of dust
a sun might show if it could pry a gap
into shutters and curtains, rend and split

the dark within—if such dreams could permit
light and warmth to settle flesh around their bones.
No. Light could only show how shadows lap
with eager tongues from corners, into ducts,
leak damp cold to spread and pool around chests
of drawers where rings and locks of hair were kept.

The crows have flown the nest. And no one steps
beneath the linden. The dogs do not shit
where its leaves impress wet earth—faint, pale crests.
Only that stick moves here, a clock unowned
and wound by wind. It ticks on, ineluct-
able, the escapement is gravity’s trap.

When tonight you feel autumn’s first cold snap,
hear the knuckle-cracks as it mulls precepts
of winter drafted in skewed lines of flux
striating thin-skinned puddles, will you let
October’s wind breathe its bold treble tones
into your lungs and linger in your chest,

stand in this west wind and try to adapt
to its murmurs of those you’ve known who’ve leapt
away across night’s cryptic viaduct?

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Restless Particles (a Hallowe’en sestina variation)

Near the bottom of the street a crow’s nest
rests high in a linden. A loose stick tap-
tap-taps in the wind that oboes its moan
through October evening eaves. That wind wept
rain all day into the nest and through it
to fall on the house below, this construct

derived as a function of time, need, luck.
As to who entered here to pace or rest,
do we need or want to know? Decrepit,
dark-curtained, shuttered—the slouched roof a map
of rusty-green moss, with black feathers swept
into crevices—someone called it home.

Perhaps the roof’s topographical zones
code, by moss shades and heights, the secrets tucked
beneath, or the undreamed dreams that have slept
long among restless particles of dust
a sun might show if it could pry a gap
into shutters and curtains, rend and split

the dark within—if such dreams could permit
light and warmth to settle flesh around their bones.
No. Light could only show how shadows lap
with eager tongues from corners, into ducts,
leak damp cold to spread and pool around chests
of drawers where rings and locks of hair were kept.

The crows have flown the nest. And no one steps
beneath the linden. The dogs do not shit
where its leaves impress wet earth—faint, pale crests.
Only that stick moves here, a clock unowned
and wound by wind. It ticks on, ineluct-
able, the escapement is gravity’s trap.

You’ll stand in this west wind but never adapt
to the thought that people you’ve known have crept
away across night’s cryptic viaduct.

Posted in Art is lies, Autumn, Crows, Death, Epistemology, John MacKenzie, Lindens, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetry, Sestina, The Rain, The Wind, Time, Tropes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Now as the Larches

Even the asters
let their petals fade and fall,
succumbing to frost
now as the larches ignite
the thin flames of their needles.

Posted in Asters, Autumn, John MacKenzie, Larches, Micropoetry, New poems, Poetry, Tanka, Time | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pissing Contest

At the edge of the cape late in August,
with thoughts of autumn and school just starting
to curl about their ankles—as the first
thin, dark tendrils of the incoming tide
begin to lash around the rocks below—
two boys (still only the first loosely-tied
strands of memory time will stretch and knot
into the ragged nets we all become,
casting ourselves weighted with hope and doubt
in search of writhing gleams of certainty)
stand, shoulders swayed back to counter-balance
the thrust-forward hips sending golden arcs
hissing into emptiness. Their liquid
laughter, too, describes such parabolas.

Posted in Art is lies, Autumn, John MacKenzie, Mathematics, Memory, Neuroscience, New poems, Physics, Poem tweets, Poetry, Sonnet, South Shore, The Brain, The Sea, The Sky, Tide, Time | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why

Because this and that sperm and egg happened
to be reasonably compatible,
and the gestation period
passed without major complications,
and our conditions at birth allowed
each of us to continue breathing.

Because of random mishaps avoided
or not through decisions made by choice
or by default, depending upon
our degree of interest in the day.

Because whether or not we leave this earth
better or worse is mostly determined
by our attention to what we make;
the line’s flex, the brush stroke’s grasp of shadow.

Posted in Art is lies, Consciousness, Creativity, Epistemology, Evolution, John MacKenzie, Language, Memory, Neuroscience, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetics, Poetry, Process, Science, The Brain, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Grew Hungry

Sitting with you, I grew hungry
again—though not the way starved men,
weak, trembling with ravenous pangs,
hunger, gluttonous past reason—

my hunger was for the after-
table quiet when slow tongues taste
coffee, chocolate, blackberries
in their warm darkness, bitter-tinged.

Posted in Art is lies, Blackberries, John MacKenzie, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetry, Quatrains | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment