Autumn
  • Summer dies, the long days wane away.
    The heat in the sky melts like lead to liquid pools.
    The hills beyond are as white as clay.
    Now creep in the gentle autumn ghouls,
    Trailing behind their silken shawls of Lethe-
    an mist. Shadows warp, gourds enlarge.
    And now what is always there but not
    Quite clear — that blot lurking on the vision’s marge —
    Emerges with the year: unresting death,
    The slow blood sloshing with every breath
    Upon the bone-carved door. The senses clot.

    Blue, blue days, windy days. The brittle clack of
    Leaves and their soft collisions in the dust.
    Dusty smells, leaf-fractured streets, the trees above
    Hissing thinly, like a pit of snakes. Must
    It all be quite so beautiful yet so hard to bear?
    This softly killing air with its furnace blast
    Of fume, its whispered currents of decay,
    Must it seep into my bones? Must it come so fast?
    One by one the rib cages of the leaves tear
    From their stems like wax. Big trees go bare. The glare
    Is great, extinction certain. Life won’t let life stay.

    Now the morning grass lies flat, blanched and cold with frost.
    The sickles swing in the apple trees
    Whose limbs are stiff and leak like ink across
    The voided sky. A chopper fleet of bees
    Sack the throat of my friendly hollyhocks.
    They sweetly sway, but at what cost? At what cost are
    These people-sized flowers born? Why bloom
    At all? To what end? There at the field’s far
    Edge, where scarecrows spill their guts and the pale shocks
    Of corn glow white, the thud of fruit sounds like rocks
    On the hardened earth, and a goat coughs in the gloom.

    Now the hunt sweeps out. Stag are bled, hung from their hocks
    In the boughs: throat-gashed, reeking, with antlers chipped,
    Disgorging chunked gallons into the groin-high stalks
    Where late the grasshoppers arced and flipped.
    Sweetly sour fall, with all your puffball that glow
    Like alien skulls in the lemon-lime glades,
    Glades choked with moss and mold. Yeasty earth, rains
    Distilling punky tea as color fades
    And hoof prints are raised intaglio
    On the forest floor. Across the ground below,
    Vapor hangs above the stubble plains.

    And scuffed-up apples, so supple and convex,
    Come raining down with coldly muted
    Clops. The cottonwoods are spending gold. Complex
    Odors — woodsmoke, crushed grass, denuded
    Bark — cast a pall. The sun is warm, the water cold,
    Streams die quiet in their empty beds.
    Stout-chested robins with their wind-mussed
    Hair, like shabby Halloween décor, jerk their heads,
    Leer. Last gnats everywhere ignite gold
    In the long last rays of the sun. Old
    Flies fall off. The summer moths have turned to dust.

    We live a little while, a little while
    And we die. Our wings are mutable. This blown-
    Up shadow of me, hinged across a pile
    Of bone-white rocks, and once so small, is now grown
    Tall and unclear, in danger (I fear)
    Of slipping into nothingness. It’s slouched
    And leaning toward the extreme sea wall.
    The eternal surf is booming. Insects crouched
    On wobbly knees stare into the sere
    And melon vault. And do they, too, sense an ending near,
    Or care? Like me, both love and hate this lovely fall?

    The year grows old. A wan crepuscular light.
    Time now for thought, time for bloody autumnal wine.
    Time for walking into the complicated night
    Beneath molten skies and moaning trees that line
    Like sentries the heaved-up, humpbacked, clicking walks.
    Pretty warts of lichen are tattooed all about.
    The squash exudes an oily musk. Gaudy gourds
    Bloat fast, tubers weird and curved like trout
    Beside these utterly lifeless rocks.
    Among a murder of crows, one groks
    From the deathless firs, where crickets strum their chords.

    Is this my soul, then, expiring whitely
    Into the unanimous dusk? The clouds beyond
    Look similar. Harvest moon is lifting lightly
    Within — gorged and pocked, a lobeshaped flaxen-blond
    Or a skull of ice, soaring up new at the dying
    Edge of day, while simultaneously streaks
    Of a burgundy-and-purple sunset slaughter
    Bloom like flowers over the western peaks.
    Snows to come will come soundless, hushing the crying
    World. Full season’s here. The geese are flying
    Like arrows across the icy water.









    October 4th, 2012 | journalpulp | No Comments | Tags: , , ,

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The sawed-off shotgun of literary pulp.

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