T. Blake, Sisyphean Rhythm, 2019.
it was a story as old as time but the morning after i couldn’t remember it the soft swerve of an open mouth episodes of everlasting love and a star-studded disco in the sand in my mind, the lost pains of sunrise and a sea of tadpoles redder than the moon as it happened, i was a woman on the run still dizzy with whiskey and ambition heading north with a busted stiletto and a field of dandelions and smoke rings in her hair when i came across the rusted lips of an ancient fire pit, a dirge in the desert sands the muddy remnants of a deep tribal funk it was there, out of nowhere, as i expected it, that i felt myself suspended as if in the eyes of a wolf the sand whipped up over the dunes and that old copper pit began to rage with a rabid fire that shook the skies like nothing I’d ever seen and out of that shallow fortress of flames rose a man, some kind of villain shaman ghost certain of his own madness a hazy Merlin with an unbuttoned suit coat and a set of eyes that burned with an emerald fire like the sudden light of a new planet all hail the king of everything! he reached out his hand and with a snap of the fingers and a flick of the cuff links, turned all the trees into glass and the sands into string don’t ever flatter yourself into thinking you can escape the clutches of your own experience, he says, shaking himself a heady martini, your soul’s character is destined to haunt you like a bad reflection and that’s the truth of it, the other side of illumination you’re not odd or mad or sick you’re human and it’s a problem of definition the meanings of lost words can be invented *stabs a starfruit with his pocket knife and turns a cactus into stone* but be careful of anybody who’s willing to do it for you all hail the king of everything! my my, hey hey, he says, tapping his toes to the fire while a coyote stops and lights a fresh cigar, look at me now *hands thrust in the air like some kind of still-born savior* a man who turns trees into glass gone but not forgotten you know, we’re all casualties of a thought revolution, little lady, and everybody here’s waiting for a hero but you gotta look past the messengers, the icons and the gurus illumination means learning to take yourself with you wherever you go *** he became a legend in such a short time they stuffed his shirt and filled his eyes with diamonds all hail the—
This poem was inspired, in part, by the painting above. If you enjoy my poetry (and T. Blake’s artwork), you can find lots more of it in my recently released chapbook, Seven Road & Other Poems, available now and handmade to order on Etsy.