Monday, December 5, 2016

John Thomas Allen, To A Fading Apollonian and Beyond

Professor Pissypants, détournement by John Thomas Allen 

To A Fading Apollonian 

You are one movement,
though the world may 
not tell you twice.

You are not five roads,
no khaki symphony or
a new brand of lightning.

Your hand is sutured
with the barb ribbons
numbered with glue

and a few hops left
down the road. Paper

moons and paper hearts
are not far apart; razor

shiva, honeycombed
with the plastic barbossa
self love drops.  Do not exit

as a paratrooper stumbling
over the rest, only to count
a few left of his own.



Marlene’s rosary beads hung from
a flaked skin tone which seemed a
dark pap smear screaming
for a heretic’s grace. Handing me a tiny 
newspaper, “The Daily Bread”
she seemed surprised with rolling
eyes that I could quote Christ. 
She spoke in slurring avenues, dissipation
through which the martyrs seemed
to scream. Carding me with a hollow of her
eyes, she swayed back and forth in her 
chair like a chicken, gazing through
vistas of smoke laced divinity.
Maybe when she touched
those pipes she felt a little bit
closer to God. “She smoked herself
silly,” my roommate said with
fearful contempt. Perhaps this
is true, though her swaying
carried me between heaven 
and hell.

Somatic Lazarus Webs

All at once the cellophane bibles
and a great rifling of iridescent cells
burst in the heirloom jeopardies
of abandoned furniture

pink slips falling in chinoiserie
exclamation points: the ivory note
bodies heave like a voodoo

mamba’s breast in
pastel snake charmer,
the turquoise crush 
of the Gold Nursery
I will ruin myself to kiss these leather jewels

points on a crest point. 
A clown’s eye
torn as a silver dollar
aglow in moon algae
simmering with the slow drawl….

spinning in cauterized lizard eyes: 
a Krakon flails in a mud patch of ivy 
orbed lilies straddling a stopwatch

dyed with thermal time zones
in bending seismic heat in hematite’s
hour genuflecting the in noontime’s orbs

the pink slips in chinoiserie exclamation
points indexed in trochaic ink music bars      

in a seance’s shadows and corncobs
of split mirrors, aureolas of REM light spins 
in bent hieroglyph’s etruscan fangs,

gold in whispered staccato shadows
rivulets of concupiscent marmalade
kiss, inched together in bison spectres
rolling the supernovas in a tinfoil grain 
pitch a sketch spilling doldrums 

of hourglass sleeping powder sealed 
by the feet of red devils winding balustrades

miles in self cancelling hindu dots
each inspired rain jog meeting itself
in the bored fitness 
of a lectern’s hushed glow

the spirits open in a tear of smudged rain,
A compact kiss of indivisible asterisks
drooling rorschach blots on a moon ladle

wrinkling in increments
of overthought moonlight.

The Union Center

Nondescript, really, like a small series of subway hatches or the floor dimples one remembers as one rises for school again and again and one’s memories are boxed in a Law & Order queue opened, probably, at the moment of death and the firing of the chemicals in a rapid, impotent frenzy that lights up each cave before going for lights off: I was there for something that never happened, or only happened what feels like a lifetime later after I got married and died and all those obligatory miserable things we have to do call ourselves lives. I sat in a gutted (yes, even the chair was gutted) green upholstery chair and saw a strange light cauterize my pupils as the amphibious, ancient glass tips of the windows darkened slowly and began writing this, feeling as though class had started, that in the entirety of the world someone would rise from thousands of millions of lopsided tombs and float up to tell me that one extra thing I need to know in this life, or at least give me a lotto ticket with a passage from Numbers to remind that I once was loved. Jimmy Hoffa was there, and he gave me a caught in the middle look and I at once expected to be shot but he handed me just that scripture in a small billfold, and I heard Reagan the Money Priest begin again with his sermon and he did believe, and I saw the archangels lower their arrows and begin turning on the place, that is to say all of us, and destroy where we came from and one by one start signing Reagan’s checks for him. The checks that are more criminal than anything Hoffa could have ever have even imagined.  I did not stop these fearful marshlings—who I see everyday living HBO fantasies right to the end—from doing anything. I even half-smiled, instantly recognized as not-one-of-them as they revealed it for what it was, a Church of possibility and a dream, the American one, the one we have to destroy for the extra part to come out, for those teachers to guide us into some secret that isn’t there, who spat out things like coal so we could have what is burning now in this cacophony of Anglo Saxon desiccation, this last decadence, this none too stylish oompaloompa death march.

—John Thomas Allen