Poetry

Posthumous

I kept your book
in the garden
where you’d left it
and watched day by day,
as the elements took it over,
sun bleaching the cover
rain swelling its pages.

From the right angle,
I could just make out
your hand drawn notes,
splayed across a corner of text,
the dog-eared page where
you had stopped reading
that sunny afternoon.

In time,
it settled into the loam
and there beneath the roses
framed and shaded in
hemlock and holly,
the book began to take root.

Before long
it stood as tall
as a sunflower,
sentences folded
into leaves,
spine extending
as a stalk.

And at the peak,
new pages began to form
as petals, stamen, pistol
gently folded origami
words not written when
you read the book.

Abstract and wondrous
prose and poems
from beyond the grave,
death having evolved your speech.

Fragments of memoir,
experience and tragedy
the travelogue of a dream
a journey into the surreal.

…such gifts they make of life here…
…blinding sun fractals bent at odd angles…
…Galore and Gore and Grammar…
…the pretense of time, alive and unending…
…my love my love my love…
…do not seek me here, for I am in the earth…

The thing lasted
almost a year
before succumbing,
despite my best efforts,
to the eternal,
withering, bent, and grey
I found it dead
on New Year’s Day.

Still,
I have the transcripts
those I could discern,
interred under glass
in a brightly lit corner
where sometimes
I simply sit and watch
and pretend that I can still
hear you out the window
in the garden below,
living, breathing,
and turning the pages.

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Poetry

What Walks Here, Walks Alone (Audio)

This is a quick reading I did of a previously unpublished poem, set to silent film footage.

 

Written, performed, and produced by Mack W. Mani

Video: Alice in Wonderland (1903) courtesy of Archive.org

The title is taken from The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

The phrase “black chests and high back chairs” was lifted from the poem The Prophet’s Paradise by Robert W. Chambers

Special Thanks:

Jordan Seider & Elizabeth Laws

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Poetry

New Eden

When I saw you creeping in the grass,
I knew at once, with just a glance
exactly what you were and were doing.

Painted red and sitting there
barefoot child, without a care,
yes-oh-yes, I know that you need something…

For I have come from a far off land
and I have brought my merry band,
of men who haven’t seen a girl since last Sunday!

But if you find my lot too lively,
we can sit and talk of ivory
and where your city sleeps inside the jungle.

Yes, take us to your far out tribe,
show us where your people hide,
it’s oh-so-far past the time of our meeting!

And the wild creatures you have here,
strike my men as passing queer,
full of meat, that tastes just like our salvation!

We will dance and pray to heaven
that your souls can be forgiven
of all the sins you didn’t know you were committing.

And if your streets are paved with gold,
we will not make the journey home,
we shall stay and make this place our New Eden.

Yes-oh-yes, with blood and sweat,
we will make this our New Eden!

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Poetry

Fairy Pieces

*

A fairy piece
is a variant or
combination on
the established chess tokens,
such as the Princess,
the Sargent,
and the Knightmare.

They are used only
in unorthodox chess,
where you might try
to force your opponent
into checkmating you
and in programming,
where a computer might
know over a thousand
unique pieces.

*

In 2012,
five hundred new
fairy tales were unearthed
in Regensberg, Germany
originally collected in the 1800s
by Franz Schönwerth.

He was highly respected
by The Brothers Grimm.

But while they weaved
romance into their stories,
Franz remained a historian,
his tales giving us a rare look
into the lives and times
of those who told
these stories first

*

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believed
the Cottingly fairies existed
and attended seances
held in a magician’s parlor,
he was even friends with
Houdini, for a time.

Arthur was convinced Harry
truly had some mystic power
and the illusionist was
never able to convince him
it was all just a trick.

*

Bridget Cleary fell ill
in the spring of 1895
and after several
worsening days
a priest was sent for.

Her husband was blinded
by grief and refused to believe
this woman was actually his wife,
and convinced himself that
she had been replaced
by a changeling.

With nine witnesses present,
her father and husband
poured urine onto her skin and
forced her, pleading
into a roaring fireplace.

They hid her body in a ditch
and went home to hold vigil,
so that the real Bridget
might come home.

To this day, in Ireland
you can hear
schoolgirls singing:

Are you a witch,
are you a fairy,
or are you the wife of
Michael Cleary?

*

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Poetry

Color Into Noise

Up until the 1990s,
they let the peacocks
roam the grounds here,
temperamental as they were,
they would follow you
around the courtyard
and through the gardens.

The birds would
come and go
as they pleased,
flying between
the estate and
the nearby woods,
densely forested
though they were.

In the summer,
you could hear
them out there
most nights,
boys calling out
to the hens,
translating all that
vibrant color into noise.

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