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Costume Party

In Notre Dame, there’s a bookshop
where they stick stickers
over every price and barcode,
marking each book up five, ten, twenty euros,
because it’s famous.
If you buy a book,
the lovely till lady, who looks grotesquely literate asks,
“Would you like a stamp”?
And every customer gets a look of worry
and quietly asks,
“Does it cost extra?”
It doesn’t, and so every person says
“Yes, I’d like a stamp please”.

It’s always full of beautiful people
wearing their very best writer’s outfit-
Shawls and scarves all cleverly draped,
like the wind in Paris had delicate fingers.

Up the stairs to the left
there’s a little old piano
in a small enclave
and you’re allowed to play,
if you’re able,
but not allowed to take any photographs
in case you disturb someone’s studies.

Opposite the piano is a wall of post-it notes
with bits of prose, and lines of poetry, and songs, and messages;
all written by the patrons, all in different languages.
Each one assiduously chosen by their writer as the
champion of their portfolios. The line that communicates a pure essence,
and if some wandering publisher reads it,
will storm the world in search of them
to publish every sick and sweet word.
But they just sit there in a sort of dogged rest,
looking somewhat cemeterial,
twitching each time somebody opens the door,
and perfectly ignored
by everyone that walks by.

I picked up a book, read a page, put it back, and played a note
for the dead poems
as I left.

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The Glow

Death, I picture is much like

walking toward

a single street-

light

from a path,

black deep.

And noise

isn’t noise

but notes.

And the light isn’t light

but the absence of

the dark.

And shivers hit you all over.

Not from cold,

but strange joy.

And once more you remember

the burden it was

to cast a shadow.

 

And it’s something like

the impossibly quick

frame

between dreaming

and waking,

that is so fast that

it’s hard to imagine,

but must exist all the while.

 

Then if you die with priests at your bed

the venue will swarm

and pick your bones clean of a soul,

pray and regurgitate.

So angels like baby birds will devour you once more.

 

And if you die by your love

your soul will travel in them.

For that is the heaven you know

 

And if you die by your enemy’s hand,

at least

you’re not alone.

 

And if you die alone,

then

I am

sorry,

and so should we all

be.

 

We were never one,

though people like to say it,

but desolate,

isolated

things.

Unless we

found each other

in the dark.

 

I’m sorry

I never

found

you.

 

The Snakes Were Hushful

When we got together

people wanted to talk to me.

People who never wanted to talk to me before.

 

Snakes

 

Slowly, I’m starting

to think,

there aren’t

many

who aren’t.

 

Still, we were together,

and i was something.

But she watched too much television,

and I stared too deep

into the window,

and with little to

say to each other,

it expired.

And the snakes were hushful again.

 

I wanted to hurt,

but in honesty, I felt better

than I had

in a long, long time.

 

We just stopped and went on alone,

unscathed.

It was nice.

 

We were like ghosts

that stumbled through each other.

The Argonauts

Moved down the hall
of an upscale
shopping centre
in Paris, where they worked,
like
berserkers cut for the modern,
uncompromising men.
They had it all.
What did they need to stop for?
To contemplate,
to claim,
to pray for,
to perfect.
Not even for the girl
in a sun dress
sat on the floor in the shade
against a polished marble pillar
that so many would stop breathing for,
and on their way past
made her stand and hold her bags,
but she won out.
She had
Strong legs,
and hair as long as her.

And I know that such a thing as the soul exists

because those men were each
so clearly, and
fatally bereft of one

and had a lot of things and objects.

Leather of the Minotaur’s neck
and those good, good looks
like Hylas, had he loved
his wet nymphs for a night,
then murdered them all
in their sleep,
leaving pond life to nibble
at their opened throats –
Sailed away with Hercules.
And nice suits and watches and socks

and this
and that.

and themselves.

They’ll never look at the moon,
crescentic, and stained
and say
it looks like orange peel.
They won’t see the moon at all.
They’re not looking for the moon.
They have it all.
They’re so sure.
Everyone is so sure.
They have it,
and they move
as the bloodied
Butcher
For his pig.
Cool as killers
Inviolable.
Deathless.

They were closing in on
some tiny body
dressed in deep blue
overalls.
A man with a spine like a shepherd’s crook,
and purple apostrophe eyes
mopping the stairs.
The smallest man I’d seen in Paris.
He must have looked like a bug
to them.

They came close.

No
said the bug.

But they heard him not.

They came closer.

About to stomp him

Closer still.

NO!

said the bug

loudly,
looking up,
raising his arm out
with a flattened palm.

And lo,

the men
were still
and scrunched their noses and
looked around,
as if for some glass wall they’d mistaken
for air.

They glared down heavy
with eyes like knives,

but the old man was gone back to his art.
They growled and flapped,
but the man
never looked back
up,
not once.

The men stooped off
cursing and defeated
a different way,
to some distant staircase.

And you know
there’s such a thing as the soul.

It lets a bug
be a lion.

And a demi god

bleed.

Poetry Is Dead

There’s a place nearby,
a bar part way up a hill
that hosts spoken word
nights. And you
can go there,
and say your piece
for one free beer,
and no one there to hear it.

Sometimes
on a good night,
there’s the old man
who smokes
his cigarette naturally,
and you feel it was never placed between his lips
by hands, or
devices of any kind.
It just grew
out one day from between
those cockled red yellow slugs,
and glows there,
like a burst of daisies
from cracks in a wall.
And you’re not so sure he hears
much else than
the wind,
and the bells
to call last,
the sound of women moaning
madly
in his memories.
And softly,
cracking and persistent below,
the sound
of his initials being
etched
immovable into
the wood of the reaper’s sickle.

When he talks
it’s to himself,
wrapped in smoke
toiling in serpentine coils,
but if you’re smart

you’ll listen.

Calmly,
you’ll listen.

To how he’d steal roses
from cemeteries
to give to his sweetheart.
Of his grandfather who
died of a heart attack
making love to the maid,
while his wife laboured downstairs,
working on tea.

Then too,
he has these un-closing,
smashed window
eyes,
deep in, under sad brows,
a face like
a gravestone with no name.
All pissed on,
prayed for.
With no flowers been set down.
Just that one daisy that’s grown.
And you can go there
and say your piece for
one free beer,
and no one to hear,
while fools
say poetry is dead.

Lovers

The pen
glides, spilling
its heart
in loops and lines
on a tattooed page of illegible text.
The pen-craft leaving each letter bowed,
as if courteously leaning to kiss
the hand of the next.

It’s placed in the cleft
of a craterous
pillow and left
on a bed
well used,

like the only couch in a cafe
to the brim with wooden stools
with no backs,
and too tall for the tables they’re at;

a bed all worn out,
like a great,
great, great grandfather’s
house shoes.

©zacharyd’mitripoetry

Since The Birds

A train went past ours breathing,
and bawling, like a drove
of bulls goring
each other
from the inside of a storm cloud,

and no one blinked.

Kept on staring through one another,
out windows.
Deaf.

Beethoven listened
to the nightingale sing,
and the way the cuckoo,
and the quail did,
on long walks.
He used the way they spoke
in his work and loved them very, very much.
It must be the saddest thing in the world
that birdsong was the first thing
he noticed he couldn’t hear.

Sadder than a funeral with the world or no one there;

a cloud of crying moths
dowsing fireflies with tears;

or all the jigsaw puzzles
in every din-less old folks home missing
just one piece.

Another train punched through the long
shadow, sounding like a
a God dying,
and no one flinched, or missed a line in their book.

Like the end of the world,
that’s how it sounds,
the city.

Cars pass with diminishing yells,
like bodies
falling from great heights.

And the streets seem to yawn to fit us in.

Planes boom overhead,
but below they wash dishes,
and fit shoes, bake, and shake hands.
People on board sleep, almost
peacefully,
and their ears pop.

The city sounds like the end of the world,
might be,
and no one thinks
or frets at all.

One day it will truly end
and I don’t suppose anyone will notice,
and charred dead people will just keep walking
and working, and fucking, falling down cracks in the earth,
numb still,
no more broken than now.

Dauntless,
Lonely.
Deaf.

On, on!

We must be the saddest
thing In the world

Since the birds,
since the birds.

On, on.
Coughing, drinking,
murdering.

Dragging.

On,
on.

Forever.

The Left-Behinds.

Night draws close.
It’s cold but to get colder still.
We’ll all be breathing
smoke like we’ve a fire inside,
but we don’t,
and when we piss a dirty gold,
steam lifts
finding nostrils,
and forming a fine dew
on hollow cheeks.

Those that die tonight
their souls will go,
but their bodies will rot,
bloat then sink.
The skin sinks beneath the bones.
Those bastard bones that linger.
And the left-behinds
will spend their last nights
cursing the Lord’s ecliptic,
licked and pinched
thumb and forefinger.