"What Stratagem is This?"


O insulting superciliousness

Of the soul,

That scornful look

That checks my festivity,

That hinders my mirth,

That bridles my impertinent composure,

Or worse

That dominates, or agitates

My thoughts into jelly;


What stratagem is this?

A humble repentance

With self-preservation?

A bit of rapprochement?

A design, an invention?

A gadget? a mission?

A machination, a plan

Of wayward conversion

From the far shore?

From the enemy or friend

Let in the front door?


How to contend?

How to weather this storm?

Apply quiet temper

In synchronized step

With spasms of assistance

From beguiling suggestion?


Aghast! The skeptic

In torment and anguish

Concedes the affront

Of my diet and fare

That quells the agnostic

And vexes the devouring

Mischievous bearers of hellatinous wares,

With radiance and splendor

Of gewgaws and frippery,

The dainty and dapper

With fever and force

Now squeamish and foppish

Now polished and close.


It's what a brave heart would stand up for

When faced with a debauched graceless fate

Of wanton dominion

Of shameless oppression

Of gray isolation

In dreamy seclusion.


We partake in combustible matter

Consumed to generate

Uncontrolled anger

From a furnace imbedded

In our deep wrinkles within,

Under layers of skin

Designed to ward off

Unwanted guests-

The corkscrew and helical,

The flat and the thin.


Arguing, bothering,

Giving no attention to detail,

Melting in combat

By the heat of the fusion

Into hot fat and hot oil

Condemned with hot butter

Into a simmering amalgamate

Of blended diffusion,

Giving rise to great fumes,

Plumes of gasses with vapors,

Before sending an ineffectual rescue flare

Hopelessly succumbed by a dish

Of any fried food

Stuck to cracked walls

In the doorways of hell.


The quality of futility

Is in its feature not unlike that

Of a group of persons

Frolicking around the feathers

Of a goose-down pillow,

Or taking liquid measurements

Of the rusting alloys of fear

Induced by the knowing glance

Of our failure

To socialize regularly;

Or discharging a number

Of cone-shaped guns

In a narrow trench

On the surface of Mars

In itís solar time,

Filled with wood and coal

And the apparatus

Of chemical action.

This be I may methinks somewhat not.


In beds that fulfill our sensitive thrusts

With lamps that enhance our convulsions,

On chairs that cradle our burning sinews

Or tables that mottle our fissuring gaze-

This is the meaning of excellence

Exclaimed with joy

By a burrowing African animal

That resembles an anteater,

Or a hyena-like mammal

Feeding on carrion and insects;

Or even a plant from the Philippines

Whose unfeeling leafstalks

Become the denuded source

Of Manila hemp.


Itís all startling, confusing,

Not being caused by bacteria,

But by a frame holding parallel rods

Used for manual computation

At the bow of a flat-bottomed ship

With sails

Found in the South China Sea

Trading in pirated cargo

On a voyage with members

Of the genus of gastropod mollusks

That cling to rocks

And have shells

Which are flat

And lined with mother of pearl.


To put an end to this debate

Of unstable passion

Residing in the temporal dwelling place

Of an infected sore

Oozing with pus.

To sever, to separate

That desire to scratch

The irregular surface

Or the lines on the cartographs

Of unstructured, immovable worlds

Of color

Governing those tendrils

Of the human thorax.


Such an edifice of unruly fiction

On an acetate card

With a brush of brash confidence,

Amusing, and comical,

A visage of forgery

Illegally taken

From an instrument of pleasure

Flexibly pliant, and twisted by fate,

Yet unexpectedly happy

Like smooth imperfections

In the waterfall of ruin.


A frail, absurd descent

Into a mendacious bazaar

Of illusory tents and tables of deceit;

While the lower ranks

Of our well-defined layers of consciousness


And find it difficult to fathom,

And steer clear,

Then collapse without arguing

Onto poisonous snakes

In a deep crack

In the earth.


So I endure the steady pain

Of inflammable gas

Flowering on the branches

Of a thorny bush

At the base of an oak tree,

In the middle of June,

With my nostrils upturned

And my ears on the roam,

Or my chin in my hand

My head on the moon,

Now young and agile,

Now aged and old.


Clearly unreasonable,

At best unseasonable,

I wrangle for a furious grief-lashed instant

Then groan and lament

In the dim, dark fog

Of the unvarying loam

Of wasted discord in jostling crowds

Of subterranean and diminished ideals

Caught under my nails

And stuck to my feet

In the twilight of dawn

And the morning of eve.


Are you a person with a strong habit

Of voluntary sexual intercourse?

Or just an alter-ego

Adjusting to the new conditions

Of being a female dancer?


Whattotherefore thoufor

Art thee?


The barble daups?


Addled splendor such as this

With an adhesive-like surface

On the sediment

Of nature's fertility,

Soft, tender,

Cruel, heinous,

A malignant morass

Of untamed wilderness

Behind my eternally furrowed brow

Peering out and vainly striving to appear

Well timed, though savage,

Auspicious, yet barbarous,

Celestial, but bloodied,

A brotherhood of dregs, all.


So floating freely

Without a purpose,

An uncontrollable happening,

An act of God.


Thus grieving with pain

From these trying wounds

Unbandaged, and open

To adversity unabated

Endured with a flight

Of panic and terror,

Issuing an archaic, bygone

Plea to compassion

In the guise of a spirited

Capricious array

Of domesticated

Cute little

Rabid prairie dogs

Filled with cunning

And a strange desire to please.


The labored, perpetual

Creation of apprehension

Assailed by the awakened yet awkward


Defined by the look of

Honest subterfuge

In suspicious authority and control

Over our actions and being

Awaits us here.


So a machine that flies

Away from the Earth

Bids me farewell

And serves me ice cream

With a beverage similar to beer;

I had an abnormal reaction

And was afflicted with a great candor

Made more terrible

By the large amphibious reptile

Lying in wait on the shore,

Having a broad head

And hungry teeth,

Which was nervously excited

By the nitrogen-containing

Organic bases obtained

From our moonlit immorality.


"Alleluia", belched the saurian,

Alive with alien AIDS

While moving forward to dine;

Who added albino allusions

To archways of rainbowed warmth

In artichoke hearts

As he devoured us.


Such is my strain.


So the onlooker

Raises his Machiavellian glass

In a satiric toast

To the opacity and doom

Of unacceptable minds.




And their stratagems are lost

In the vacuum of time.




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