PHILLIP MATTHEW ROBERTS
Illegal film developed
badly in nocturnal emulsions
stained beneath umbrella shadows
with a bitter aftertaste
Sometimes I believe nothing remains
of myself for these famished pages.
Blankness a cannibal
who drapes voices over bones,
conceals blood behind syllables
saturated by past generations.
The first understood sound
a lonely echo lost as the context
in which it was spoken;
probably pain or ecstasy
when one is vociferous.
Am trying to plagiarize the future
with shards of broken mirrors
and their reflections
arranged into new countries
without flags or commerce;
continents where lions and lambs
share a fearful symmetry.
Inventing rituals for the unborn.
Crossing guards at every turn
who anticipated documented passports.
Wandering through a war not yet named.
Can no longer distinguish between fiction
or any other genre--every word
a meager replacement for
the inevitably forgotten.
Read somewhere the mentally ill
murder to prove they're real
--less frightening than those
who made the propaganda.
I witness Durkheim's anomie
parading through day lit streets
prosaically dressed and uninterested.
Apathy that will not speak up for itself,
the quintessence learned
Herds of the so called lesser animals
running steadfast toward extinction.
Hordes among those who name things
and laughably distinguish good from evil.
Every time I pass by those fancy homes
I imagine how I'd drink their households
into merciless ruin--massacres
against the sedate humdrum;
sans wig noblesse oblige
still donning affects
of effete acceptance
until currency is involved.
Age descends lightly as nightingales.
Death more like birds than angels
who lack talons
and avoid human stench.
Dreams where I defecate
in front of defaced iconography
--saints with eyeless faces
hung from blue winter evenings
where Dark Age beasts roam
and devour their own eroticism.
The bitter taste of lukewarm brine
swirled oceanic in my mouth distinct
as Mother's freshly fallen placenta
reminiscent of gnawed manna
spat at oblivious passersby
who do not hear the anathema
whispered softly from darkness.
Memes reduced to memos
regarding possible tomorrows
Hollowness garbed in voices
worn about the mouth--disguises
for every occasion and season
except from oneself despite
wielding chiseled themes
honed upon enduring canons
east and west;
writ across canvases
extravagant or cheap
as wine stained bar napkins.
Pale days blank as carte blanche.
Nights darker than spilled ink.
I costumed in borrowed pronouns,
pretend glimpses from another's eyes
lived briefly as imagination's
ethereal allowance portrayed
first in the heart's melodic cranium
beating its motley throng and ardent thrum,
casts waiting for the newly written.
Each masterful generation
and their literature imbued
with its own lingual panache,
acerbic critiques and
Hang unused words like abandoned suits
in omnibus closets dim and luminous
as everyday consciousness.
Uncertain questions unanswered
strewn into long crooked corridors
leading toward ubiquitous back stages
crowded with remnants
random as remembrance:
sets for the Magic Flute,
Kafka's queer entomology
and Macbeth's esoteric cauldron
stirred by weird sister prophecy.
Returned again as an echo to silence
patiently anticipating breaths
wreathed in fire.
A beggar's return to an endeavor
always ongoing, never completed
written between now and not now
Awaken hungry for expressions.
Drowsy eyed inventory:
bare room, undraped mattress
variously stained beneath
soft sodium pale bulbs--
hung miniature suns,
luminous embryos warmly ripened
from electric stems--a lone voice
addressing light and its antithesis.
Darkness but a meager
background or stage
bereft of players.
The windows an escape once
open only over fictional scenery
and no longer reveal
subtle hours or seasons:
exterior a meaningless term
--houses erected eyeless
seated blindly on cosine hills
like overgrown homunculi.
What isn't imaginary if
a gestalt consciousness exists?
Omniscience that has no exits
met already on the other side.
Soul is no less an idea
than roads are footsteps.
Travel without a passenger--
carrying omissions inside metaphors
idle upon moon eclipsed doldrums.
(Deducing Jupiter formed first
among the planets--colossal tawny god
across a galactic nursery
barely one billion years old.)
Stories painted along cave walls
lit up by fire long before allegory.
Words posses a reliable persistence
I've learned to trust intimately
though they don't always resonate
the way self gets lost in mystery
--will gaze at my own reflection
until the stranger returns
to the common present.
Unknowns are my truest companions
steady as temperate metronomes
or the relentless muscled drum
beating rhythms in red temples.
(Logos imbrued with blood.)
Tear at jaundiced yellow pages
as though my own flesh.
Thought unleashed resembles silence
shaped into aesthetic contours
the way angels are limned
or the cosmos is boundless.
Abysses and ascensions--
spirals described by parabolas,
my life reduced to studious hyperbole.
En garde! reiterates ephemera.
Gardened skies drawn by children.
Awareness born in fever
ending in char and silhouette
quiet as distant stars
through empty doors.
PHILLIP MATTHEW ROBERTS.