Gargoyle at Calle Molina 17

The gargoyle on our front door’s name is Giles.
I mean the gargoyle’s name. The front door has no
name itself, far as Lucinda knows
and she’s the expert here, say friend and foe,
about strange creatures’ names. What she has read
confirms my observation: Giles just hangs.
He never moves a muscle. He just hangs
his tongue out in that way he thinks beguiles
the girl gargoyles, who turn away and red,
and act as if collectively they know
Giles looks the part but secretly is faux.
His tongue, for one, is longer than his nose
and that, among his kind, Lucinda knows,
means we’ve a loser latched to where Giles hangs
which makes her count like James Brown two, tree, foe
and knock the front door silly with old Giles
or try to twist his tail to make the no-
tarial tables she says Giles has read
rotate his innards till he’s copper red
from stub of tail to sooty snout-like nose.
The thing you’d think a gargoyle has to know,
who’s passed his way, he doesn’t — ’cause he hangs
the wrong way up to notice. Poor old Giles!
She’d melt him for the metal but he’s faux
and possibly mâché, a paper foe
for stopping demons. What Lucinda’s read
to me about non-starter gargoyle Giles
would fill ten comic books: his cony nose
and fairly flat-arched long left foot that hangs
across his right so long the crease is red
with rust. She says she thinks, or’s read,
in a book by some lost soul yclept Defoe,
that demons fear confronting iron that hangs,
and Giles ís hung: it makes his eyes go red
while tears track rills of oxide down his nose.
Inverted he’s a sight that doth beguile.

Oh, gargoyle moms, before you hatch more Giles,
ensure that no foe hangs around who knows
that Giles ain’t hung the way Lucinda’s read.

Feather Duster

This falling feather flosses out my mind.
It’s quill’s fine filigree both stokes and quells
my fears, forgives the furor my thoughts cause.
At least imagination bids me think
this fancy true as any other held
by man and ape upon the watered rock

that we call Earth. Our cerebella rock
to reconcile impressions that we mind
forgetting. Stocked with false ideas we’ve held
since Odin was a pup, my conscience quells
at learning aught that’s new. I’m taught to think
tautologies, reject emotions’ cause,

progress the prelates’ calculus, show cause
in prissy predicates that place a rock
upon our wisdom’s grave. I truly think,
I think, existence is a grind I mind.
To forage in my heightened forehead quells
all chance of knowing truth. My hubris held

my hopes at knuckle height. In fact it held
me hostage to reliance on First Cause,
as if it mattered What it is that quells
the quintessential harmonies that rock
the rabid cave bear reigning as my mind.
My alma mater cringes when I think.

‘As well it should,’ I think I hear you think.
‘A shame,’ you add, ‘this “thinker” can’t be held
for eons in the maw of frosty mind
to nibble nuggets from raw ore and cause
a comic mudslide capped with falling rock
that hacks off gods ensuring that one quells

his run-on words, his Runyon swords.’ What quells
me quickest (I should know) is fear, I think.
So bind your thoughts, compress your sand to rock
and cobble walls like Hadrian’s that held
and gave the Romans pause (or did it cause
the Scots stay home? Whose haggis come to mind?)

The feather joins me hoping you won’t mind,
or muddle fairways taking up a cause.
The road to Hades’ paved with thoughts I’ve held.

A Short Piece

Of the night sleeps I remember none are short
as this one, stopping on the second line
of counting sheep to stare into the dark.
Outside, a baby’s screaming like a cat.
I pretend it is the other way around
and blank out themes I wrestled with in ‘Piece Work.’

One’s killing to save peace. It only works
for spans of time that are extremely short.
A chamber of the sort that takes a round
expels a load that tracks a laser line
from a man I’d called my neighbor towards the cat.
My eyes trace glaring red-blacks through the dark

into the trees. The morning starts off dark
and worsens with each step I walk to work.
On a tree I see a poster for a cat:
a child is missing. There’s another short
note penned below it: felt-tip single line
that the cat and child no longer are around.

My partner in our workplace shuns my round
of questions. Answers leave us in the dark
as they must for now; we only have the line
we gave each other when we came to work.
The lines of customers grow thin and short
and thinking comes in quietly as a cat.

We two, who once were proud of how we’d cat
around, when times were easy, have come round
to valuing what’s important now we’re short
of options, and we rage against the dark
together, as if rhetoric could work
a miracle. We want a party line.

‘Peace at all costs’ and ‘Do not cross this line’
compete, and we consider if the cat
survives its boxing; we ask whether work
will be an option if bad forces round
upon us and extinguish peace. The dark
unites us and cuts hopes and whining short.

We load our weapons for the coming round
of vigilance, hold lines against the dark,
and think our war successful. Peace is short.

Child Armies

I am not well. My soul’s not dead but sick.
It cries for leeches; bloating, would be bled,
or freed in modern fashion from the toll
extracted here by Caesar’s rule; and there
by children scratching at the scabs they grow,
or would, would warlords let them once just be.

These children! They should sit in school or be
away at summer camps: get cramps, feel sick
a bit from biting melons that still grow
along the edge of fields. (When these fields bled
young brother’s blood filled up that ditch, and there
lay sister’s hand, she’s eight years old: the toll

of yet another spat.) These days the toll
of burial bells rings every noon, let be
at dawn, at dusk, at night. And over there,
across the cove on neighbors’ ground, the sick
hunch down: they’re scratching out the stumps of bled
and blasted fruit trees blown away. Here grow

no more the shady tops and trunks. Here grow
instead cracked rocks, some not tilled crops. The toll
among the children’s even worse. Who bled
their eyes of tears, daubed out where there should be
a sparkling glint of healthy fun? Eyes sick
and cynical: lies Lucifer in there,

where babies harbored happiness? It’s there,
among these baby brawler minds we grow
(yes, “we”) as fodder for a farce more sick
than serious or grand, I hear the toll
of hope’s demise, of what these tots could be.
Their bodies grow in spite of us (who bled

resources, poisoned what was left; who bled
these children’s humanness away). Is there
no place they can retreat, no crèche to be
created in once more, and, cuddled, grow
in graciousness, avoid the warrior’s toll
that levies suffocation, makes them sick?

These children warriors we have bred are sick.
Beheading them lets us postpone the toll
that nature wants as populations grow.