Forsake yr storied past
& roam the wilderness in seven-league boots.
Ride the simoom to a faraway cathedral.
Send me a sepia postcard.
Zooming past the tollbooths the ‘32 V-8 Ford
Crashes. Cracks web the windshield.
Needing a boutonniere the soliloquist
Trolls for wildflowers. He sidles down a pathway
Unwinding from a spool, snaking thru a field
Past its disuse-by date.
Drops of blood shower from a vein
Like sparks from a train rail,
Are funneled into labyrinthine hallways.
Flow of sap in a kitestring.
Neon wreathe writhing, incising a rainbow
On a headstone the size of a drive-in screen.
Some go with the flow, some without; all
End up sliding down the waterfall.
A truck driver working the graveyard shift
Is haunted by a dream of being back in high school
& realizing he’s naked except for a moonmask,
Which waxes & wanes. Despite his zigzag gashes
A Nehru jacket embraces him like a lover.
Bodysurf the riptide; ride the sea turtle
Over the dry cleaners on the ocean floor.
Dog-paddle in an abyss of light.
Dream & waking life interlace
Iridescent as nacre; India ink
Oozes from the eyeholes of a mopy mask,
Seeps into The White Angel; monocle zeros
Cruise the tattooed, soon-to-be-holocausted ruins.
Sunflowers sprout from cracks in the pavement.
A lobotomy scar left by a Cheshire stiletto
Was lazing on me when I heard the church bells ring;
They sounded like a muezzin calling from his tower–
Like the cat-purr of seashells,
The murmuration of inchoate chaos,
Nocturnal moans in hotel hallways,
The dulcet tones of rain falling
On a not-unmotionless locomotive
Adorned with cryptic inscriptions.
Then I eked out a living with desultory bodysnatching;
I rifled attics for rare daguerreotypes;
I put electrodes on a bowl of Corn Flakes
& flicked the switch. I cut
Off my hand: it floated like an astronaut
In zero-g; a meandering pathway
Jetted from each fingertip,
Slithered thru skidrow.
Under black streetlights–flared nostrils–
I took a wild ride past fleabags, klaxoning everyone
Out of my way: somebody carouseling
Kaleidoscope-like, suckerpunched by a tumbleweed.
I’m dumbstruck by sea-sucked tits,
Shocked by the high-voltage kisses
Of George Romero zombies on a subway.
Leave a snailtrail, ooze flummery.
Sleeprove on a serpentine pathway
Where a dead wolverine with crow-pecked eyesockets
Lies. The breakroom vending machine
Lost, fallen thru a sidewalk grating,
Sunken into oblivion like a scuttled
Freighter. A deathray riddles the spinnaker
With holes. A ship with eyelid sails
Drifts on a fathomless pool of blood.
I have a rendezvous with a witch. We’ll tryst
In a field, under a harvest moon colluding
With sodium streetlights to cauterize alleyways
Shut, to trap fat rats.
The arsonist torches the boarded-up bar,
Slaking his thirst for flames.
Then he jumps on a jacket zipper–
A freight car trundling thru a maze of hallways,
Bound for the doorway to an oneiric world.
Nights when corpses of me besiege the house
I prowl with a cortège of robotic homunculi,
Rove from dark to dark–from all-night
Porno-flick theater to bar on precipice
Over ocean. In a seashell of crumpled paper
Eleanor Rigby alleviates her depression
With whiskey. Flung down an elevator shaft
She ascends to the ether–blown kiss lost
In transmigration from lips to blazing cross.
Beforethoughts pearl–streetlights in a hallway
Overgrown with forebodings, at the end
Of which a technicolor vista
Awaits you, luminous blue roses.
Vein-blue guitar strings flourish out of greyness.
My fingertips negotiate the zig-
Zagging neck of my guitar.
The timbre of a cement mixer
Clashes with the death knell of a seashell,
With the carny-bark of a scrimshaw skull,
With the Mozartian flight of fancy which floats
Up past the trembling steeples to the ether,
Which embraces an interstellar sea turtle…
Beneath the droopy eyelids of the streetlights

A dark carnival pulsates with evil.

One thought on “dark carnival

  1. I stole “dark carnival” from the punk band with Ron & Scott Asheton of The Stooges. But I suspect they stole their name from Ray Bradbury’s book of macabre tales. I guess it’s like the Maltese falcon: whoever steals it owns it.


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