Zeriscape

If I have already
gone insane
but I want to get
crazier yet,
what’s my move?

Go outsane?  
Crazy outside means

Attack of leaf blower,
mind wound down
like weedeater string;
the smell of suddenly
snipped neurons;
amphibious on gasoline,
when two strokes are
none too many.

How many RPMs?
How much throttle?

Green guffaw, 
zero turn.

In the end,
I throw myself 
to the ground
and roll around
on freshly mowed grass
until there’s nothing left
to cut.


Note: This poem first appeared at The Literary Bohemian.

https://literarybohemian.com/poetry/two-poems-by-john-randall/

Fervent Ye Faithful

by Phil Williams

 whither you come from
  -or-
the magic eight-ball

i venture into something, it's a mind-blower, but i gotta keep it under wraps for j-rand. 
see: i had envisioned a wry conversation/transcription that was intertwined. red-vines 
and mr. pibb; chronicles.

adjacent antecedent (i.e. addendum): the spatial discrepencies had been a problem, but 
the chronological shifting was downright vexing. first it was 2004, then 2007, then 2003, 
the years and specific dream ramblings resemble a rorschach test; it's another brick in 
the wall.

the wood desired chasing, and the family desired spaghetti. sorry, but my thoughts get 
confused, like waves in the midnight surf. german balloon aka led zeppelin: it parks its 
dreams @ ground zer0. eros may have called, but failed to identify himself, leading me 
to this shell of thoughts. it could be an atkins of fiction.
 
outra-verted, a word i wordlessly think when i encounter 'yar.' i consider the rivulet to 
my s(l)ide, but conclude she's w/ the tall man. i'm obviously hallucinating. the police 
have arrived and i've simply said the word 'plant.'

realizing i had entered a house of mirrors and drugs, i texted j. still and nick s. they 
were part of my cleaning crew in the mid 90's. i suddenly understand that i'm alone and sweating, 
in a basement, no shaman. the disorientation slowly dissipates and my carb-stricken mind intuits 
the next phase may require an umbrella, inverted.

Goes Away

Where one leak seemed fixed, another springs up.  Well, isn’t that the way it goes?  Stained wood, stained mattress.  Damp kitchen, scary room.

Stove going.  I was in the dirty attic.  Three-legged chairs, canceled checks, dauber nests by the hundred.  I go up there because the attic is my place to intercept the rain that finds its way through the farmhouse’s old, fallible roof.  Like me, the rain keeps returning, keeps coming back to this remote piece of cattle country in the middle of the state.  

A mist rises from the pasture, hangs there like a cloud.  Above, the sky is clear.  There is, thank God, no wind.  It is still.  I can hear nothing but the nothing that is, the nothing that once will be everything.  If you would be so kind as to scatter my ashes here.  If you would allow me to play the part of the sandstone, to let the water through.

The mice are back.  Two traps, old cheese, picked clean.  Leave the droppings where they lay.  Wise rodents.  Re-bait, try again...


A short missive from Farm, from late last year...

All Roads Are Crossings (2020)

Where did I put that thing? It has to be in here somewhere. I’ve never brought it back into the house. Maybe I threw it behind the seat? Or maybe the kids were playing with it, even though I’ve asked them to stop. Perhaps I stashed it in the console, along with the sunglasses, the pens, the motion sickness tabs, and this notebook. Or maybe it’s hanging on the rearview mirror, hidden in plain sight, like a rabbit’s foot, a pair of dice, or an air freshener that wore out many moons ago.

~

Things that are crumpled: bedspread, sauteed greens, the economy, mask on the ground, the hours of last night in my memory, recyclables once tipped into the collection truck, an old friendship, the silence, a grounded butterfly’s wing, used latex-free gloves, plastic bag in my pocket that once held oatmeal raisin cookies, my stash of reusable cloth bags now outlawed from use at the grocery, deleted email, used coffee filters, my previous laptop after an unfortunate run-in with the suddenly vital videoconferencing app known as Zoom, various articles of clothing that are now just laundry...

The full essay is here

A Little Dauber Do Ya

1

The only thing here in the traps was a very crisp frog. There's a bit of a breeze. Only some of the grass has grown, only some of it needs to be mowed. The rest is fried—if it isn't dead it might not grow again this year. So there's one upside to the heat, to the lack of rain: less mowing. If I can stick out the balm, I can spend my time here the next two days doing more of this, and maybe a little reading...


The rest of the story...

Don’t Forget the

Don’t forget the mountains.  Nor the glow on them 
as a desert’s winter sunset unfolds in the west,
the mountains in the north latching on to all that light.  
Warm, fibrous, resinous—cactuslight.  
Altitudinous, the light of late bird activity, 
of irrigation drip lines; light that skims golf course greens, 
pools, and patios; light by which the bobcat
begins her night of scratch and claw;
light that seems to brake the turn of the Earth
before ceding to the dark once more, 
letting loose squadrons of javelina, bands of coyote, 
wily packrats, and scores of Sonoran moths and bats.  
But this is light that will return, soon enough, 
to climb the tall saguaro of morning.


The link to the poem's page is here...

Time’s Beach

Lunch rooms
in old department stores. Or
on the ground floor
of the office building downtown
where my pediatrician practiced
upstairs, that sterile waiting room,
booster shots, dropping my pants
so I could pass the physical but then
lunch with my mom in the bustling
café downstairs, like something
from the fifties, the glamor of my
own personal history, a café that
must be decades gone, its existence
now inexplicable, part of the long
beach of time that will somehow
also include the rest of this, my
unraveling life


Note: This was among four of my poems published in February at Parhelion, an online literary magazine. You can see all four poems by following this link. I also wrote a short essay about my writing process to accompany the poems. Poems by other writers published in the same issue, along with an incredible painting of a farmhouse, can be found here. Thanks again to Parhelion for including my work on their site.


Thanks for reading...

Beckon Brush

A single bract
With a nutlet at its base

A flowering branch

A beech with its smooth gray bark

“It was more or less darkly mottled.”

Every vein ended in a tooth

It sent up suckers, so you see
Large trees were often surrounded
By little ones

Deer tiptoed at the margins
Browsing on coppice growth

Deer, most evenings
At the forest edge


Poem page...

Flock Like a Nuisance

In the gloam,
mirror on mirror,
shot glass memories.

Wild turkey, you’re a dinosaur.
Subtle grouse, you’re the heart.
New bird, I’ll never know you.

Sixty-six million years ago—
How long ago was that
In technology years?  In robot seconds?
In the exhaust of wingbeats
Thudding like clickbait
Into the online brilliance
Of original flight?

Long live the crow,
Who abstains from all of us,
Who flocks like a nuisance
Until none of us is around
To scorn him.


Note: This was among four of my poems published last month at Parhelion, an online literary magazine. You can see all four poems by following this link. I also wrote a short essay about my writing process to accompany the poems. Poems by other writers published in the same issue, along with an incredible painting of a farmhouse, can be found here. Thanks again to Parhelion for including my work on their site.


Notes from the Invasion

1

Limited weapons, allies needed, where’s NATO?
Martial law, severe sanctions, “we don’t afraid of them.”

Sand bags and camouflage, separatist troops, conflict building.
Disrupted supplies, industrial metals and other commodities.

Interlinked energy, dependent demand. Hard assets up, soft ones down.
Leverage.  Leverage the Saudis.  You got Russia in your head.

See how Libya went?  Ukrainian wheat shipments fell twice over,
the stomach of the Middle East left growling.

It’s the Donbas, dumbass.  The president is a comedian.
They’ve been fighting in the east for eight years now.

Full-fledged operations in the Black Sea.  
Amphibious landing in Odessa,
and I don’t mean Texas.  

Shoot down the drones...


Continue reading...