Humanoid-666 is a crossbreed species consisting of native Third Stone life-forms inter-laced with a dash of our own divine Avarian genes. It is my contention that the non-inclusion of feathers, resulting in flightless-ness, has caused this experiment to be such a horrendous botch.
The destructive, violent tendencies of humanoid-666 are well documented. "These featherless freaks," to quote a colleague's recent address to the Elder Council, "are the only life-form in the Universe that delights in wanton slaughter – even of their kind!" In fact, very strange to report, all humanoid-666 languages contain a word to describe their own unnatural behavior: they term it "murder".
The savage proclivities of this experimental species are thought to be the result of the design-feature of intellect out-weighing emotion: humanoid-666 possesses one-tenth of the average Avarian intelligence with less than one percent of our intuition. Thus, these pitiful creatures, having no relationship with their environment, each other, or even themselves, fall into bloody rages.
Next, the sexual wet-wiring of humanoid-666 is naught but a tangled nightmare. The fundamental problems are 1) rampant, uncontrolled reproduction (Third Stone resources are currently at near breaking-points), and 2) an entire catalogue of sexual deviations and abnormalities. To be humanoid-666 means to be obsessed with sex – and that obsession is likely aberrant in nature.
No Feathers! My fellow Avarians, I here lay it down as a Universal Law: Any creature without feathers is naturally doomed to idiocy.
The disturbing trends adumbrated above find crystallization in the rapidly declining humanoid-666 social system. Several millennium ago, these godless beings worshipped Fireball-21 (which they term "the Sun"), and then, in what was their one brilliancy, they represented this celestial rover in the form of a Bird-God (e.g., "Horus"). By the present time, however, they have degenerated to worshipping god-men (a ridiculous contradiction), or, in many cases, nothing at all.
Humanoid-666 is a dismal, pathetic failure.
Happily, however, we need not worry ourselves in terminating this experiment, as, in all likelihood, these creatures will soon exterminate themselves.
The Third Stone, however, is wonderfully resilient, and will be entirely salvageable. With rosy anticipation, I look forward to the development and introduction of feather-based life forms.
I awoke with a sinking feeling that followed me all morning. It hovered over me as I brushed my teeth and slurped my Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It gnawed at me as I looked up at the photos of my big brother on the refrigerator... Michael clenching a baseball bat in his purple uniform, Michael with his arm wrapped around Mickey Mouse and another of us lounging in a pool.
Ignoring the bad feeling, I began to prep for rollerblading. The neighborhood kids were already out, flying past the window on all kinds of wheels. I didn't waste a minute.
Out in the garage, I armed myself with knee pads, elbow pads, wrist pads and a pink helmet. And somewhere in the process of strapping them all on, I noticed that my brother's skates were missing from the red wagon where we stored our gear.
My mother, hearing the heavy door close behind me, poked her head into the garage to make sure no bare joints were showing. Her face relaxed a bit when she heard the soft ripping of Velcro and saw my brown bangs smashed against my forehead.
"Is that tight enough?"
"Your brother is already down there."
Our steep driveway swept me all the way to the top of the cul-de-sac. I skidded to a stop. The circle was at the bottom of a steep hill. Two sidewalks framed the road like ladders to the top of a tall slide. Kids of all ages piled at the top with skateboards, rollerblades, bicycles and wagons, waiting to fly down again.
My brother Michael was one of them. His long hair flowed as he skated backward in effortless figure eights, unhindered by plastic padding. He flashed his big, buck-toothed smile to one of the older boys and flew back down the hill like a professional skier down a black diamond slope.
I admired my big brother. He knew all sorts of facts--like what planet Luke Skywalker was from in the movie "Star Wars." And he wore the coolest styles--high-top sneakers and flannel shirts. But most of all, I admired him because he looked out for me. Once, when I swam too far out in Lake Ontario, he even saved me from drowning.
My bad feeling returned. It was my turn. My toes rolled over the edge of the hill, and there was no turning back. Faster! Faster! Faster! I rolled. My wheels glided smoothly to where the hardtop leveled off. I'd made it!
My head twisted around. My brother was lying on the blacktop, rocking back and forth, hugging his arm. As I inched closer, I could see the tears streaming down his hot cheeks. I looked down at him and was panicked by something strange in his bloodshot blue eyes: Fear.
It was my turn to save him. My whole body froze.
"Go get Mom! Get her! Go!"
The rest of this day is a little blurry. I can see snippets of my mother racing to the bottom of the sidewalk and bracing Michael as he walked home. She would slip between sympathy for his injury and anger over his lack of pads.
An hour later, in a dim, cramped hospital room, I watched a doctor wrap my brother's arm with a slimy white bandage that would harden into a cast. Michael's face was still red, still vulnerable.
My brother's arm eventually healed, but after that day he never stopped being fragile in my eyes. A year or so later he would be diagnosed with mental illness. But this was the day he stopped being my big brother and became someone I had to look out for.
The days of skating with the neighborhood kids became a thing of the past, just as seeing my brother during the day became a thing of the past. Daytime was now a time for sleeping, not playing. I would tiptoe past his room, careful not to wake him. Months would go by before I'd catch a glimpse him. And for those who wondered where he'd disappeared to, we'd say he "just happened to come down with something." This simply meant his manic depression had locked him in his dark room once more.
No new photos of him ever appeared on the refrigerator again.
At risk and diverse degrees of caution, the
Scream of a banshee and a moaning cur in miseries of prayer,
Unto the quiet airs of ancient and mourning souls
In transit, the struggle to relay the ethereal
Sustenance of evidenced desolations and
Real dreams of release, a presence in passions of
Grace, in dire wont and endeavoring sorrow
Societies in sources of ribboned pinwheel round, a calm
Circle of roaring silence turned by the hands of children in
Pose. An understanding in May flowers and spring rain,
By the ways of adorned history and ancient ritual, the speedy
Sun and blossoms in unfolding umbrae of spirit. The
Surreptitious scent of still lilacs and the flutter of silken
Wings against the frayed twilight horizon, a conveyed skyward
Want in the flight of sparrows and the dreamy tendriled wisps of
Dried dander and seed, in rushing baptisms of mercy, unto the
Birth of a poor traveler adrift in seas of sleep. By maypole arrays
And truth told by the will of the hereafter and shouts of glee.
Concrete following the distant tides of steel and concluded
By anything in evidence of hustle and fray, a disturbed
Exile announced by the bound reserve of tigers' in glass
And alabaster alters of stray lament, a flurry of country
Beyond the edge of civilized coquette, in souls of shaded
Harvest, in polite cathedrals and granite graces of
Dwelling secret acquiescence, by the rules of decorum and
Unspoken consciousness, a pleasure inwardly chilled by the
Winter of necessity and beginnings told unto the shadow of
Resurrected dramas' in stone
Arrays of natural wonder, by briar and shadows chafing
The journey. A fond forever in flawless spoils of
Awareness. By curious seas of unhesitating trust,
A dandelion in respite and pregnant tales of raving welcome.
By fever and dreams of light, by tears and the company of
Spectacle, a simple indication in desert apparel. The
Goddess jangle of torn silhouettes in paper escape and priceless course.
By alters of advice and creatures in vestured ease, by wolves and
Deluge, diaries and love, by the distance between yesterday and ritual
Reflections in worship. The magic of serene wombs and perfect
Bathed in the satisfying wines of consuming love
And affectionate playthings, a perfect passion performed
In part and passage unto the drama of terms set forth by the
Gods and turn of tide, by the advance of enveloping
Romance and ripe harmonies in tested affection.
Indulgences awakened by the riddle of humor, laughter, smiles
In clever designs of warmth, an essential rain born in the intimate
Dare of betrothal and hungry
He wanted to tell that woman behind that glass window she had failed: morning supplication on the edge of her tongue had been worthless. Tell her she was wrong about his brothers from the barrio; they weren't in his bed because of the engravings of Andrew Jackson in his wallet; tell her he was worn out from praying to Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz while immigrants were shamelessly gunned down on city streets. Show her he grew wings on both sides of his temples, and unless something was done about the ban on same-sex marriages in California, he wasn’t voting in another election.
at welfare office
His Social Security benefits were not enough to pay next month's bills. He wanted to break the piñata. Write rengay about pancakes and frogs in fish tanks. Write about his lover's naked body imprinted on white sand. However, he was sixty-five and barely managed on his own. Sixty-five and afraid his bed was no longer a battleground.
beneath the full moon
she hogs the covers
Excrucior, that last, broken descent,
So blithely just rehearsed in sleep;
Last words, last thoughts, last hopes;
What was said was never what was meant.
Eternities through those few seconds march
Towards that dread arch, the door.
Stadium of silken-velvet petals,
Curling pink opaque-translucent seats
That overlap in scalloped circling tiers;
Fit for bee queens to rest, and gather sweets, and ponder,
Soft enough for infant ants to wander;
Every rose a royal city
Organized for insect comity.
Imagine this exhausted leaf a leg,
Cracking under the solstice sledge,
The curve not a drooping stem but a back,
Arched, excruciating, to the never-yielding plant.
If not this hell, a worse--an island, now frothing with resorts,
Then pocked with death camps sucking in a teeming cargo of screaming saints.
Oh god, expunge this vision from my eyes.
All men are equal: under this sun, they faint.
The van, so vain, of Abraham
Speeds along its cratered path;
The passengers are gray and drawn;
Their brains and hearts are long since spent;
They clench their teeth against the dawn,
And wonder how they'll pay the rent.
Three million years, the human race,
And nothing ugly, evil, wrong,
But finds a place in Lot's wild eyes:
No vacuum absent from this space
Where chaos screams its random song,
Against which only terror vies.
Oh let me screw these sightless genes
Into some circuit in the sky;
Let every molecule be shrived,
Transformed into a seeing eye.
It is as if
Color and line can play
The sounds of Mondrian's metropolis
New York in 1943
His boogie woogie dance of prayer
Eight beats to the bar
A syncopated melody
In squares of yellow, red and blue
Perfect squares of sound
Movement without motion
In contrapuntal lines
Sound and paint becoming one;
It is as if
The music of the streets
The gin joints' jangle
Honkytonks and honking horns
Could measure color
With a metronome of light.
Want to lie in the tall grass
in the soft dew
watch the sunrise
the sun reflecting
shining in your eyes
want to kiss you at that moment
at that first newborn burst of light
so like the burst of light
in my heart
when I see you
when I hear you
when I feel you
put my arms around you
in that instant
like an ancient wisdom I've known
I've carried around in my heart forever.
Watch the spider.
He has spun his web.
And those strands are strong!
From many feet away
He has built his base.
And those strands are strong!
The spider crawls along a strand he has made.
He violently bobs in the wind, helpless- not quite:
Those strands are strong.
He crawls along a thin line.
He crawls along so sublime.
Working all the way,
Making more strands to be connected to earlier spun ones.
Over from the drain pipe,
Where the water floods in;
And then, swings and slides down-
Those strands are strong!
The wind invades
like a bunch of hooligans,
door and window no safer
than the throttled oaks,
it's all frail barricades to the
mischief in the air,
silhouettes, fruit trees,
curtains, trash can lids-
blown aside as if they're nothing;
but the horizon, calm,
the mountains, solid,
and that crimson-streaked yellow,
flag of one more day
making its getaway
to the other side of the earth;
another heartless mob,
the sky is bedroom,
the forest is ten thousand
and the wind dies down of course,
but not because of mumbled prayer,
its work is done:
blow in devils, blow in fright,
blow in cupboard monster,
blow in creature underneath the bed;
yes, the late hours
are the wind incarnate.
Publish! Publish! Publish!
And one day
when the sands encroach
on long-perished Chicago
looming lifeless above
the dried up canyons
of the once Great Lakes
and alien archaeologists
decide that railroad roadbeds,
iron and wood,
long converted into dust,
were the trails of donkey carts
or Roman chariots.
And glass telephone pole insulators
ceremonial drinking cups
for some long-forgotten
the vagrant winds will whip across
the decaying, dried up pages
of your most passionate
life affirming poetry
or erudite articles
and be rescued from oblivion
by scientists who will see it
properly pickled and preserved
in a museum for all to gaze upon
in uncomprehending wonder.