Poems for Samhain
the skull behind the sky
the imbrecating winds, the desolating sun.
the shock of the other: the sun
moves; a turn of phrase wakes it,
you see the skull behind the sky.
mare’s tails split you open,
spit your heart over the fire;
suddenly sober, watching a raven’s
aerial dance: a hole in the sky
everything will always come to nothing:
children laugh in the distance,
there are birds, and freshets in the leaves:
still the hollows fill you, emptying you,
leaving nothing but your plucked eyes
and the unvision that fills them,
seeing nothing but vacuum beyond the blue.
only the desert never lies:
the bones beneath the brush.
I give up, great christ!,
I give in.
if you still want me, I am yours.
I have spent so many years
beating my way out of your church
of bones, only to find myself
again at your altar of blood.
I would turn this way and that,
fighting my way to an exit,
and, bloodied, succeed.
and then the door would open
only into your own cathedral.
now I grow tired,
unwilling to battle on;
if you still want me, take me,
hard master, or discard me,
or chastise me, or fill me.
it is all the same, I know,
(The illustration here was developed from acrylic paintings and technical pen drawings I had made as a teenager, in the 1970s. Apparently I already knew I was destined to make visionary/shamanic art and poetry even as a boy; apparently I have spent most of my adult life coming to terms with that, and undenying it.)