Saturday, January 15, 2011

a taste of SIN & ashes

Here's a few excerpts from my new collection SIN & ashes...

After Reading Michaux’s “In the Land of Magic”

The night is ice

& full of eyes. Winds that will not cure speak of November.

There are no white halls in the hostelry. The tin ceilings are low, the

carpets an exaggerated foliage of blunt faces. The wallpaper is sick

with the smell of twilight spreading endlessly.

Even the shadows rot.

Up forty-one stairs that whisper like migraines to a door closed on

the rumors and fragile madness of the stiff warblers outside. Behind

the stained and chipped panel with the tarnished knob and the loose

bolt that passes for a lock, the smallest rented room. Below, the Tavern

of Ruin, where time & dreams happened a long time ago. Sitting

on the edge of the bed where a restless thousand have disintegrated, a

curled figure in threadbare clothes

—his consciousness no more fluent than a haze of aimless dust—

gazes at a flat spot on the wall where a soft avalanche of hollowness

reaches out. The man named Uphill isn’t paralyzed, simply too empty

to move. Lost to his ordeals in the abyss he’s even forgotten the little

secrets children consider run-of-the-mill, forgotten all phenomena

not terrible . . .

(C) 2010 Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.

8’s & Aces

No whiskey. No days at the track these days . . . Pool in the backroom

of O’Connell’s Grill, no.

No pussy.

Crusin’ all those nights, up and down the strip in the souped-up

Chevelle—hopin’ for easy and cash and speed and surprise parties

with dancing and honey and big comfortable summer with bells and

the top down and everything in the whole god-damn world placed at

their feet . . .

Misadventure ringing, lost that map.

Outta laughs . . .

They wander ended story to story run its race. Simon Bartholomew

Wormwood . . . Annabelle Buck . . . Starling, Snow, Cotton Fulton

II and Case and Joris and Porfats and Polliards and Barretts and

Burgess and Estrada . . . and 137 others. All have reached their destination.

Many were not whole when they got there . . .

Plank and the Belldog steal from the Lord. They get born, live for

a time and come here in the end.

In the old lives they robbed graves for gems and jewels and rings

and bodies to sell. In this incarnation—after a night, many, many

years ago, of drunken missteps—they steal from graves. They skip the

gems and jewels, pass on the rings or just throw them out, they’re after

bodies. Dinner.

No bones to gnaw on in the casket of Sarah Joris. Plank spits at

the moon for enjoying the defeat.

“I eat one of yer old boots if you hadn’t burned them last winter,”

The Belldog said.

“Reanimated in the odors of death and twenty years on I still

have to hear about them shitty boots.”

(C) 2010 Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.

huddled in rags in a Kingsport alley . . .

(for Julia)

The ebb and flow of lips twisted by gin . . .

Wounded tongues . . . Drifting, whispering . . . Needing more . . .

Fingers snarling with lust . . .

No hiding places . . .

Crying things that cannot sleep . . .

Mouths haunted by vice . . .

Ships that glide on currents of blood . . .

A drunken musician swallows a gutter of degenerate urges. Its

sunless silence severs the prayers from his open mouth . . .

There are no hiding places . . .

The scent of pleasures burning . . .

In their bridal chambers, new corpses lie bent by the dirty kisses of

blackness . . .

There are no hiding places . . .

The sea is rising . . .

Kingsport’s dark sky answers no questions . . . Its frozen breast of

rust is the flag of the bleak . . . Swollen beaks from the rim of death,

drape change over the scarecrow-husks hiding in the sludge of madness

. . . Wind, scraped with ghost static, delivers rodent eternities that leak

blackened colors . . .

Kingsport and all its voiceless boundaries of rain and scaffolds of

assassin-shadows are mad things. Its winter mouths—nests of blackblack-

black, cold as the ice of oblivion-eroded dead mother poems—visit

the throats

(C) 2010 Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.


Straight rain. Mean and murderous. Its eyes screaming for blood.

Denver faded three hundred miles back. Three hundred miles of

wet asphalt back . . . It could have been a thousand . . .

Rain. Mean and murderous—Engraving the world with sheets of

thorns. Rain. Screaming like the Old Man on a gin bender. Screaming

like the Old Man before the belt and the fists.

Thirty years back . . . Or it could have been yesterday.

This run was supposed to end in the desert, not in a ditch. But

the clock pressed. Tick-tock/tick-tock. Like a boss with eyes that

only said FASTER.

He needed coffee and a pack of smokes. Maybe some eggs and

toast . . . And something other then this Bible-thumping Forever that

poured out of the radio. A nice sexy waitress—not some upper-class

package with radar eyes searching for money, but earthy—knowing,

with blue eyes and a big butt that swayed. Not unkempt and worn,

but nice and maybe with a little extra. And she would wink all-sexylike

when she refilled his coffee.

Rain—full throttle, carrying violence with each slap. Like the Old

Man crossing the hardwood floor.

For the last fifty miles or every step he’d ever taken.

Broken. The knobs wouldn’t work. He couldn’t turn the fuckin’

radio off or down. The wipers working overtime, fighting off this

wallop of darkness.

He should pull over and wait it out. But he needed a smoke and

needed to be warm. Wanted . . . Wanted something to look at that didn’t

hurt his strained eyes. Wanted to hear something—someone other than

Rev. James Theodore Ellison’s promise to heal you if you sent him

money. To be healed by money. That’s what got him here.

(C) 2010 Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.

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