Negative Earth

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.

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4 thoughts on “Negative Earth

  1. This is filled with so many excellent visuals U!
    Flick of the cuff links…like that one a lot! Other side of illumination, rusted Lips of an ancient fire pit, stupendous! Your writing is a placebo acid trip laced with wisdom!… Star-studded disco in the sand of your mind… there’s the proof! 🤭😃
    Pat yourself on the back for the delivery of another amazing write!

    Liked by 1 person

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