A Pocketful Of Wry

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Songs of Eden

Take the fruit
Stroke its side
Take a bite
(It's suicide)

I've bitten power
I've tasted might
If I'm your girl
You'll take a bite.

I saw You coming
I heard Your call
I'm underdressed
right now, that's all


(Psalm 139:14)
(Isaiah 64:8)

I am fearfully and wonderfully made
      encoded and structured
      shaped by the Artist's hand

The Day After Eden

In the beginning, Chaos was all, 
	only the Hardy survived
Chaos reigned on, in all its might -- 
	until the Mechanic arrived.
Combing his ape-hair, adjusting his cap, 
	scanning the Waste all around,
The mechanic pulled out his axe and his wrench
And set his tools on the ground.
		"I can bring order from all of this mess,
		 I'll make all these trees into towns;
		 I'll build a castle on top of that hill
		 And then find some kings for my crowns."

He Structured the Chaos, paved many fields, 
	sat down and set out the Law
Order took over -- he knew it was right -- 
	he structured all that he saw.
Planting the hedges, cutting the grass, 
	putting the trees in a row,
The Mechanic captured some rabbits and wrens, 
And on his lawns let them go.
		"Chaos is captured, he's bound by my work,
		 The right-angle now rules the day.
		 But now I am lonely, there's no-one but me
		 And Chaos doesn't care anyway."


The stars frighten us;
We who have seen only the
Greater and Lesser Lights
Through the liquid sky --
And now the sun burns
And now we die


We are sorry
	(my God, my God, why have..)
Your call
	(..dead, and we have killed..)
Cannot be
	(..only on the firm foundation of unyeilding despair..)
	(..accidental collocations of atoms..)
As dialed
	(what forest? I can't see because of all these..)
Please hang up
	(..we're waiting for Godot..)
And try your call
	(..there is no good nor..)
	(this is a..)
Recording. Have a nice


(Psalm 22, F. Nietzche, B. Russell, S. Beckett)


(With Regards to Beckett)

Someone stole my thinking cap
In mid-sentence (a case of snatch-and-run)
And now my fragile sense of faith
Bakes in the desert sun.
All I have left is some week-old angst
Now my scholarship is done,
So if you're feeling empty
You're not the only one!


I reached for my cup
But realized, as it came to my
Mouth, that it was empty.
I finished the motion and
A sweet and unexpected drop
Touched my dry lips.
It reminded me of you.

Trick of Perspective

I saw the Northern Lights
Playing among distant scattered stars
Like vague shifting thoughts
Just before sleeping.
I watched the stars,
The clotted path of
Our galaxy spanning
The wide darkness,
Until my neck got sore
and I was forced to watch
the City Lights
which seemed much brighter
because they were so close.

"Love Poem"

Your skin is soft and tender
As the surface of a muskeg.
Your eyes are like the leaves of tall trees
Lying in a MacMillan-Bloedel clearcut
Drying, dying slowly in the sun.
The soft touch of your slender fingers
Burns on my skin like cool rain
Tainted by the smoke-belching American factories
My love for you is endless
Endless like an ocean
Of salt, sharks, oil spills and brown frothy water.

And I see you in a sunlit meadow
By the rusting corpse of a car
The sound of birdsong in the breeze
Punctuating the highway's low hum.

Sing me a song from the radio
My darling one
Teach me a theme from T.V.
For the soft fluffy clouds
Will cover the sun
And soon you shall not see me.

Your ears are like delicate pink shells
Picked clean by hungry seagulls
Your hair is warm and soft
As the fur of a wolf
Standing on my chest, fangs bared.
Your lips, when we kiss,
Are slow and yeilding
As worms when they are stepped on.
And when we part my quiet girl
It will hurt like throat cancer,
Like a sharpened kitchen knife.

And I see you on a rain-wet beach
Among the driftwood and garbage
The tiny sandpipers dashing quickly
Among the Shellfish Contaminated signs.

So sing me a song from the radio
My darling one
Teach me a theme from T.V.
For I've spent my whole life
Preparing to die
And it's you that I least want to leave.

A Song of Sustenance

  Sing of song of sustenance
A pocket full of sighs;
My song is very short, my friend
So please listen to my cries
    So many people
Roads filled with cars
Evil builds up
And so do the scars

The earth cannot hold
The weight of so many
And the songs of the spheres
Are seldom heard by any

  Sing a song of sustenance
A pocket full of wry;
The briefest life of pathos
And then we surely die

The Coat

Hanging in the closet,
The dark coat shifts
Revealing emptiness
Beneath its folds

I turn from it
But I shall not undress
For fear of finding
Beneath my pious smile


I have turned my back to
 And not my face. Though
  Taught me again
  And again, I
  Would not listen
  Or respond
  To discipline.
  I have provoked
   By all the evil I
   Have done.	
                     (Jer. 32:32-33)

I suffer always
From the creeping malaise
Of slow-breeding pride.
  Like a leech,
        Distended mosquito
It sucks me dry of
Fill me up Lord,
  Make my cup over
With the glory of
 In me, your
 Rivers of living water
  Cool to a dry
     And thirsty

Those Were Never Wings

Those were never wings
My darling, Only the
Shimmering possibilities of
Potential flights. You never
Took them seriously anyway,
Always thought them tricks
Of the light or dust in
Your dark eyes. So be not
Alarmed as I pluck out
Their tattered remains
From my shoulderblades.


As the sunlight fades
And twilight fills the air
Like cool water
The insects invade,
Their tiny wings carrying them
Over the twilight threshold
Into our warm, yellow rooms.

But once inside, they become lost,
Confused by the rugs and chairs,
The lights and lamps
Their fluttering wings
Failing to find purchase
In our stagnant air
And their clever camoflauge
Becoming pathetically useless
Against our white plaster ceilings
And pastel-painted walls.
Finally they fly off to some
Dusty corner, their soft wings
Curling up to join the dust
Imprinted with our footfalls.

Sometimes I feel like a moth
That's wandered into a world
Not of my making
Or my understanding.
A tiny fluttering alien
Whose camoflauge isn't working
Whose lungs labour
In the recycled air.


Crammed into claustrophobic crevice
Crushed in crowded crannies
Kicked by countless crawling creatures
Constant cacophonous, keening cries
Splitting and cracking skin
Tears cannot come
As searing suffering
Rips raw red mind-holes
In torn and tattered conscousness.

If This Was A Movie

If this was a movie
We'd look into each others eyes
And fall in love.
If this were a novel
I could turn the page
And know your thoughts.
If we were the two main characters
Of any given romance
We'd be destined for each other.
But life isn't scripted
Things don't happen
To achieve maximum dramatic effect,
God doesn't care about
Plot considerations,
And Happy Endings
Are found only in Fiction
Because in Real Life
Nobody cares
And The Credits


Knowing only dryness
I cannot comprehend the rain
(Yet art thou still but Faustus, and a man)
And I have been half in love with easeful Death
And in the darkness, the incomprehensible rain falls
And I hear all that moves between the quiet poles
The tremulous songs of the spheres, yet still
I am a man and this is sometimes Hell nor
Am I out of it; I cannot learn your
Manly fortitude, Faustus
In this dryness


(with regards to Coleridge's medical advisor)

Welcome to Zenadu, your
  Total Entertainment Centre
your wildest dreams
 fufilled and your
in chaser lights --
   we'll help you
     the gritty world
using our
   Automatic System
 in its sleek black casing
and low powerful hum.
    Watch the hollow plastic
               dancers but
  hug them - that's the
Luxury Package
        (on sale this month)

This is Zenadu.
  Our proprietor is dead
        (we think he was murdered)
but his son is
   A Superstar
        (we think he has a beard)
lost somewhere among the
 maze of circuits and sequins
  with John Wayne as his
        ("Surely this must be the Son..")
and a cardboard sunset
 painted by our diligent staff
  ready and waiting for his exit.

Marianna Still Waiting

your pillow remembers
your restless dreams
with the tear-stains it cradles.
  and long is the night
the moon hanging weary
and you are half in love
with easeful death;
the horses of the night pace slowly,
past your moated grange

and there is no firm standing
  against the wind, hair
and dress blown sinuously
back, not on this blasted heath
where the air
and there is nothing to fight
  but yourself
   and your memories

  and the sibyl's undead moan
longing, longing with
  ancient ancient anguish
    through the padded mists

and i try once more to cross the moat
  but all this bright armour
is heavy unto drowning
  and I'm not the one expected


I envy your
bitter, gut-wrenching sobs
of heartache
pain unrelieved
the agony tears that soak
into your pillow
as the dry-eyed uncomprehending world
moves silently on through
the heart of the night,
knowing only darkness

The Blind Man said
"I envy your ability
to see disease and death;
to know the sight of
a child in pain --
for with those eyes
you can also see rainbows
which I have never understood
knowing only darkness."

One Of The Ugly

("one in three people are ugly" - my psychology teacher)

Go ahead! Spin the wheel!
Let's find out what you win!
Intelligence? Talent? A Rich Family?
Sorry kiddo... (Audience groans)
No clouds of glory for you...
Yer one of the ugly.


Seen microscopically
Its obviously biology
Seen macroscopically
It becomes pornography
Hung in a gallery
Its artistic photography
A cover fitting snugly
Is all it ought to be


I want to be a dinosaur
  lumbering ponderously
   through humid forest
  casually chewing a leaf
   before I lumber on
I want to be
  a big, unthinking
    mountain of moving
 dinosaurness and I want
  to love a green leaf and
    the steamy sunlight
 and the thunder of 
   my foot-
I want to have a hide
  of toughest lizard-
I want to be
             a dinosaur.


Barefoot, with jeans on,
a hole in the knee
You brush your long hair back
and smile back at me

And the sun filters down
through the leaves of the tree
And we're talking quite softly
of all that we'll be

How we'll live for long years
on chocolate and cheese
And we'll go where we want
and do what we please

We'll play all the day
along river banks
And we'll swim at the place
where the blue lions drank

When the buttercup sun
sets fire to the west
We'll curl up soft-snugly
in the cave we like best

And we'll pass all our days
finding clover and quartz
And climbing tall trees
and building log forts

As the sun brushes softly
the grass 'tween our toes
We spin our wide dreams
where the deep river flows

One Day in the Nursery

Adam splits the atom
Yet cannot help but sin
He understands the universe
But he's all messed up within.

He shakes his mighty fist at God,
He builds a mighty gun,
Then stubs his mighty toe on Truth
And sucks his mighty thumb.

He firmly states that God is dead
And snuggles Reason's creed,
Then finds that he is quite depressed
And smokes a rolled-up weed.

The hand that guides the rocket ship
Has hit his wife at home;
The mind that knows the speed of light
Must get drunken or get stoned.

Who says that Adam's all grown up?
Who says that he's a man?
I say that he is still a child --
Oh Lord, please hold his hand.

Terra Seductis

  No, my Lady, I will not be thine.
For all thy courtship and offers fine.
Thou woulds't treat me false; I know thee well --
Though your loves, seduced, will never tell.

    Come to my arms, my time-worn child
Let my gentle embrace soothe your eyes most wild.
Oh run no further, come lie with me --
I shall enfold you; one flesh we'll be.

  I cannot succumb, my flesh rebels
My feeble strength thy pull repels.
My tremb'ling legs hold us barely apart
And I fight your hold on my beating heart.

    Do not fight me, love, from me you came
And do not doubt, you'll be mine again.
Of all time's loves, mine is the best,
For it is eternal, and it promises rest.

  Oedipus tells me my mother to wed,
To cool my flesh in your dusty bed.
But we both know this is nothing new
For many great men have slept with you.

    I am most patient, and long will I wait.
For my beauty you'll fall, despite all your hate.
I'll whisper sweet love, I'll have the last word.
Your protests all silenced, and my whispers unheard.

  Oh wanton mother, what shall Father say?
We both know He will take me away.
He'll lift me from thy clotted embrace,
And I'll forget your touch when I look on His Face.


Concrete Land

The land is blighted
With concrete cancer
A sickness that consumes
Uproots and buries
Living growing nature
And thrusts dead stony
Fingers of iron and glass
into the murky filthy air

The disease feigns life
By lighting a thousand
Rhinestone stars embedded
In the lifeless stone

What spreads this sickness?
What foul thing carries this disease?

The little creatures
Cursed with knowledge
That slaughter and burn
All of God's life
To build the glorious towers
That are their tombs

Roughing It

We come from the city
The yellowish smog and the
Endless traffic
And escape to the

Or at least to the
Cottage suburbs
A thousand rustic
A-Frames, all with
Satellite dishes and VCRs
And brand-new 4x4s
Parked in their paved

"Let's roast marshmellows!"
"OK! ..What do I set the microwave to?"

Let Us Go Out

Let us go out
when the others are
cradled in sleep
and their weary eyes
are peacefully closed

We'll take the small boat
the one with the broken oar
and paddle on the peaceful water
with the shifting borealis
dancing among the stars

The moon will rise late
and the gliding loon will
eye us warily before
dipping silently beneath
the moon-bright water

And the water will fall from
our battered wooden paddles
like mercury or diamonds
under the moon's silver spell
(and I'll take the broken one)

Let us go out
and float in midnight moonlight
to count the falling stars
to dream about tomorrow
and hold each other's hand
Among the Ruins
I shall never walk again
The dusty streets of Constantinople
Nor shall I stand again
Among the cool green shadows
Of Babylon's Hanging Gardens.
The houses now are silent
In the shadow of Vesuvius
And I shall be
Never returning home.

The cruel Achilles and merciless Odyssius
Destroyed the empire of Troy,
The topless towers of Illium
Lighting the skies with flame.
They in turn lost their homes
To the ruthless Romans,
Every stone removed
So they would be
Never returning home.

Where now are the Ottomans?
What has happened to Moorish lore?
Too many homes are lost;
The ancients are made vagabonds.
Who shall house the homeless
Wraiths and relics of time?
We wander, ever wander,
For we shall be
Never returning home.

For have you not seen?
The Styx dried up and let us
Loose among your glass and steel.
You have built your Sheol,
Where even the light
Is another shade of darkness
Of dark forgetting
And soon you too will be
Never returning home.



The applause is the worst
      it ends.
After the backslapping, Congratulations
Good job, You're the best, Great stuff,
      The lights go out,
          the roar dies,
              and the people,
          wrapping coats and cares
          tightly around themselves,
              talking about
             and tomorrow,
                       walk away.

       Then the harsh critic laughs
      Strides the dim, empty stage,
     And, grinning, begins his
    Loud, leering litany
   Of failure
  As I sit

From my Pocketful of Wry collection.

2002: This site and all poetry by Alan M. Bruce
Please drop me, mr_abruce@hotmail.com, a note.