I  The Art Of The Fugue

Mangled cuttlefish and fundamentalist angst.
Putty in the hands of rheumatics, and putty knives.
Romantics and nose rings.
Joseph Mengele and The Scuttlebutts, industrial
rockers who can cut it in any key.
Caulking guns when caulks are out of season.
A pretty kettle of fish, a kettle bulged with potatoes.
Over-Romantics and pierced nipples.
The art of the left-handed blow-job.
The Beach Boys doing Gustav.
The highest divorce rate in the world.
Soiled blue-jeans exposing the need for butt-
crack caulking-compound.
Boiled blackcod.  (Ask any Norwegian.)
An infinite series with unprovable convergence.
Mahler and rancid heroin.
Pragmatists as apologists for pierced labia.
The pneumatic palm hammer.
Sperm banks' advertised interest rates.
Circuits completed in the harmonics of hang nails.
A pretty kettle of cod-pieces, a gillnet heavy with potatoes.
Kettle drums boiling a symphony till tender.
Joseph, the lead guitar player, in over her head, pierced
penis, sinking in the gene pool's deep end,
slurping up cuttlefish.

II  Agnus Dei

         When the worm builds with the gold straws of venom
          my nest of mercies in the rude, red tree.

                 Dylan Thomas, ALTAR-WISE BY OWL-LIGHT

Beat it till it bleats.
Singing wind, crying beast.
Abraxas, hope as sweet as a milk-heavy breast.
Servant.  Cock-crow.  The reddened crest
that combs out light, the increased-
by-increment weight of light like cleats
glinting from a boot-sole.  What completes
gestures scribed by two fingers on a priest.
Hung from the sky where the sky pressed.
Hung from the sky when the sky praised.
Who sucked mutton, hooves rendered to paste
commodities brokers' toupees on shiny pates.
Like a girl, with silky thighs who rates
loves, who entered into denial and raced
around three cock-crows from the roost,
child of stars, give me a boost
up this fabled mansion.  Fable me blessed
to this line so I lay down my bets
that the slowly growing holy dawn begets
shepherds and brokers flocking and fucking like goats
who can't tell whence comes wind or Holy Ghost.
Nor can I.  Hence servant, tyrant, grist
for no book, a page fluttered by the Holy Gust
who enters low and proceeds up the guts.
Who was born in a cluster of cold huts.
Who was born twice, clustered cold hates
sharp as well-tooled steel.  The haste
blood pounds to breach arteries unlaced
to wind, unpray the milling and muttering lost
who, deflocked, who, casting themselves as lots
to be drawn until the last red clots,
who, into the girl with silky thighs, spurt the cost
of unfaith: mercies of lips kissed
four points for wind blown through an undone wrist.
Fuck you and fuck mercy!  Let hope rust
a long drawn agony the rude bread ruts
at the unhumble poor, faked joy of sluts
I present on knee and elbow.  Mouth open to sluiced
fire falling, washed clean by pentecostal lust
pent in my tongue like milk swelling a breast,
I enter the lair of my beast
and beat the fucker till he bleats.

III  Decompressing After A Near Drowning 55.54
      Atmospheres Deep In An S-Plus 3.2 Infinite Loop

           (coal sacks like Lascaux, where Raven on a pole spills
            night across another simulation)


hyperbole of electrons cursor

and the hyperbolically curving ivory in the jaw
for news good news o death where is thy sting goddamnit
i want to feel
                           something anything slavery the hyperbaric
chamber that is the lap top the modem the plasma
driven screen portable as three hundred fathoms
five hundred fifty-eight meters cocksucker depth
chambered hyperbaric creaking up the pressure
following a hyperbolic curve

dive fucker dive
dive computer dive
                                   all hands to battle stations
all hands agitate your battle stations passive bastards
dome sky surface depth deep dome great pressure
she is great with pressure agnus dei
ms dei prefers not to be addressed as agnes
even when swelling toward birth sweet lamb

the shallow end of the gene pool believes
The Government
rays direct to brains of those who survived
somehow denies all knowledge
i have it on good authority a federally
funded research scientist dr dei
her idea gestates
disgusting gestalt rate
reboot she is nearing finally
the solution

IV  Bug In A Loop  (statistician's lament)

Ablutions done, I turn away.
Will my iterations compute?
approach convergence?  I cannot say.

Interpreted code I weave betrays
my object, locks up, and I reboot,
bug-raveled, done.  I turn away

from oracles, help files, my display
disabled.  My function, struck mute,
converged on what?  I cannot say,

having smashed my RAM to disarray
as with a bullet to the head, brute
comma lost.  Undone, I turn away

from parameters I have assayed
badly, busted IF syntax, wrecked root.
Snail-paced divergence won't let me say

my assumption or let me array
data so ruptured.  I cannot impute
articles of faith.  I turn away
from the uncoverged I will not say.

V  The Art Of The Fugue, reprise

I wring my hands down fish hooks and gillnets
burdened by my harvest of kisses.  Release.

Infrastructure of bone.  Muscle.  Bowel.  Sinew.  Pancreas.
The mountain I tell it from was very hard to climb.

Head wounds and hand maids will not stay my tongue,
loud in the long oral tradition, pure sex, bestowed at birth.

Deepest dives of a hooked fish, the silent tons weighing
down, wringing the last bubbles of gas from the blood,

halibut and head wounds and a struck jaw, oral
tradition.  Some of us will do anything to keep alive.  Gnawed

fragment:  Scraping the skull-edge:  I used to be sparkly.  I have
a picture.  I carry this picture with me everywhere.

I have earned the right to speak of love.
Fuck the feet of them who pimped the little girl,

the Good News not withstanding.  The right to speak
of love is bestowed at birth, can be won

only at terrible cost and effortlessness.  Fist
fuck them who pimped the little girl, unkindly.

Others simply die, give up the ghost, as it were, though, personally,
I believe the Ghost has some choice in the matter.

The least tongue, the tongue of a whore, I wring
my tongue down the deepest jaw-broken dives, the least, my

tongue, the tongue of a whore is best
to bear such a burden, to harvest such a burden.  I

kept alive somehow.  Kisses and head wounds.  I used
to be sparkly.  I will speak:

Four years old.  A chain of orange and green snap-
together plastic toys around my neck

was my mane.  My lion's mane.  I was Leonardo the Lion
in this picture and I had a smile, even,

and I used to sparkle.  I will speak of love
if I want!  God damn it!  I used

to sparkle once and I had a mane and now
I will not be still.  I will shine out loud my roar

and carry on.  I am big.  I have a beard.  My voice
is big and I speak with the tongue of a whore

of love.  "You stupid fuck!"  I used to lash at myself.
Shut up and listen.  I have something good to say:

If I turn my back on this shadow I turn my back
on this life.  My life.  I will not do that.  I will

speak of love:
I want some.

VI  Unbreaking Bread Confession

      There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies;
      and the splendour of the heavenly bodies is one thing,
      the splendour of the earthly another.

I Corinthians 15:40 NEB

My tongue is physical.
Taste is my speech, cayenne, molasses, sesame
oil.  Simple truths.
Touch, my harvest of kisses.
Out of a brine I was a body
once.  I still am.  The garlic
roots of my swimmings, the divings, the thundered red
sinnings in my ear, are flesh.  Spread before
my fingers are crusts to roughen the hunger, pepper
and sugar, razors, food
for a whore.  When I pimped the little girl
dill weed, milk, honey.
The tongue knows, body of my body.
Thus, above all else, butter.  I rage
my way into body.  It took ten
years to bleat loose of the tang I had married
to near my molars like bouquet
or curse:

I am

How that came to pass I am not sure I hate
for.  Anymore, my kisses harvest clover
for the lost lamb, a smaller work in grace.


Peter Munro

If you've any comments on his poem, Peter Munro would be pleased to hear from you.