Sestina

 

Sestina

by Cam M. Roberts

I remember: Et in Arcadia Ego. Once I was a Shepherd remote, screaming for daybreak.
On the inception of declaring all lexicons obsolete: Ubi sunt. It all simply plunged –
A trite beast quivering out of the ash & leaves, while the smoking wisps of nocturne fleet
as if Bathsheba were bled out of a reopened wound, clotting diabetic red – Starkly gothic
it appeared within its flaccid ministry, retching in the dry sniveling tree: A limp willow.
Then, I kept on wondering what altar I saw but no stars for it was pitch overcast.

The violent hacking, the baldness of those wilting eyes made the sheer overcast
procure; a deep iron conducting algidity, but the nearness of Apollo’s lyre: Daybreak
still tarred in darkness, wet dermis of sod underfoot – Arching its back wearily as the willow
tree had once done, though t’was pruned in spring, I remember: Absalom – sounds, some plunge
of stagnant hairy air all belched out. Then the vane’s vertebrae rose in spinal contortion, a gothic
cathedral: il duomo – Such sharp angles; those dry spires heave – Empathetic buttress yawns flew fleet

over into the next victim, involuntary parabolas. O’ reassemble our passing fleet,
but the moment dissipated. That coughing phlegm unbreaking, the inflamed overcast
clouds gathering thicker of nimbus instead – So devoid of light as if some barbaric Gothic
from the Dark Ages was hellbent on carnage. I prayed in paranoia for a Kilroy sun of daybreak.
I waited for the lark and loon to sing their anthems of invocation, but the nightmare plunged
through the cold death-rattles of breath billowing from whooping cough thus tittering the willow

tree some hundred yards off, it fluttered like diaphragms of nausea, burning willow
lungs and aching belly. That tormenting moment wherein hope whiplashes, halts in fleet,
where time and space of one’s breathing seems contrived or absent. It plunged –
In this instant – This distressed feline. It released shadow before sun. Thor’s overcast
Flickered like delirious expunged stasis. The disillusioned feeling during daybreak
was so barren as if thunder came before lightning like in Faulkner’s Southern Gothic.

Go down, black bulimia – Sequester this stillborn paradise of all those bubonic gothic
legacies. This cat, you shadow figure: What of the silence & stillness of the willow?
In the last sordid ruin left tired on the bastard ground, the glowing commenced daybreak,
and the bird went to chirp & cheep while the decadent smoke of night went to fleet
and assert.  The assembling of faint light came oblique through that rising overcast
curtain – The retching ceased, and the brief moment felt the air as sparse light plunged

through a partition of clouds, but to no avail; grey layers bore my failure. Disgust plunged
not the ashen veils away – The high ceiling sung a shattering hymn in gothic
echoes of release, the purging of stained-glassy rain fell in the early morn overcast
and dampened my crown & creature to misery. And from the halo of wisteria willow,
this bird choired upward to the dome: Reverberating – The harmonium mordent fleet
filled as slackened sails to bosoms bounty – Once again, I prayed for a clement daybreak.

Newfound: Sudden tranquil reverence, daybreak excels us all – Yonder Sun, my breath plunged.
Life recollects the power of surprise, compelling the willow to revel at the now vanquished overcast.
Gothic traditions depart their dominions – The beast turns towards the light, and like shadows, it fleets.

© CMR, 2012

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Suffer the Self

Suffer the Self

by Cam M. Roberts

All I’ve ever learned through breathing
are the limits to walking on land
as are the parameters of water and wind.
Striding along the crashing waves
with the tide pulling my coattails
in some old-fashioned hope
that I will submit to embrace
as it chokes the air out of my every follicle:
Those frothing bubbles impaling the surface,
O’ that muffled cry of panic
Released as gaseous orbs
Shuffling towards the bosom of sky.
That fear of splitting into foam
is closer to the brink than the scuttle
of twitching limbs
drowning and lost:

I wish to never be
What keeps me alive –

I cannot say what my purpose seems.
It only occurs as I lay dreaming of a new birth
through every savage eon of elements.

And like Eliot, I ponder
Do I dare… Do I dare…

Should I simply sink to the depths
Of my memory
When the descending darkness
Shrouds my eyes
Like a veil, a stigmata?
The marriage of time and absence
Strikes the hours of daybreak,

And I realize my solitude
In this unkempt bed.

And is it so tragic
That I should forget
The reveries and visions,
Or that I could care less
that every time
When I awaken
… that moment…
The threshold of firmament
from earth to heaven,
That I should sink through
the ocean floor,

And then I wonder if a gargled
scream would do me good.

I look up
From the sink
And stare harshly
into the mirror like some
wounded animal in absolution,
And say without a shred of evidence
That I am present, or in control of my wits:
Endure, just endure, stay still and silent, and endure…

I had no nightmares on that night, and slept quite profoundly.

 

© CMR, 2012

Once Upon a Blue Collared Man

Once Upon a Blue Collared Man

by Cam M. Roberts

What have ye done? Man of spider webs and dusty hands.
Wrinkles of gravity on the amicable and cheery space—
Northwest of nostril seasons—Autumn’s graces—Old man’s
disgrace—One pending on the youth’s arrival from the belly
to the womb of the world’s intake—The breath of life in crates
of warm industrial pistons of motorized clout—The haze and sheerness—
Born into a system of innovation—Standards increase and expectations
of ease and free riding crescendo upward towards infinite growth—
Where has the simpleton gone? He stitched my knee, he patched my jeans,
he greased my tractor, and cleaned my pond of algae—Self-sufficient tides
of skill—The jack of all trades—Self-made million use man—Aires of nothing,
but himself—Inhaling tobacco’s smoke of the garden he grew himself.
Eating from the tilled and red dirt, the corn and tomatoes that all produced,
God, nature, and his hard work. You see? He pleases his own survival.
He builds not for the compliment of squirrely men, but for the shelter
from the wet and cold—He’s no animal, he’s sane and has foreseen a tidal wave.
Stupidity of complicated advancement: The Science of Living Beyond Our Means,
albeit Green—Afterbirth of the American Dream—Now solipsism and catastrophe.
The time for trivial pursuits now lay in a time of apocalypses in suits.
Where do you see him at a time like this? A dying breed of overall men.
He’s suffering for the nonexistent frontier’s sins. He has lost the war to it.
However, his style in the manner of battling—He’s nothing short of a—I forgot—
A genteel man? Fairness was his code of lifeblood. But wired man knows of
no such principle, only the defeat of its obstacle. Of course, the straw hat man
was ill-equipped, but he’s extinct now—An artifact from a time much calmer—
The stormy weather of circuit folk is now the throne of worldly greeds.
The gravestone marks his gander—The kindness of his pure and simple manner.
Now the maintenance required of its infrastructure is needed—Oh, dear.
The flannel shirt man is called—His lost voice finally heeded. Ironic scenarios,
most inconvenient. Too unfortunate. Told you so… so very long ago.

 

© CMR, 2012

Bee Keep Her

Bee Keep Her

by Cam M. Roberts

Upon your release, you raise bees.
You keep them, so to speak —
Pressing your ear against the white
Boxes, their droning reminds you
Of your immaculate prison,
And also the new one you are in
With homely carpets and curtains,
And modest couches and chairs,
With iron cookery and kettles,
And the tidy revelations found
In the bees — Now coupled
With two children screaming —
You release them, and swarm
With your empathy and reflection,
You, the worker and the Queen —
Where is your Honey?

You release yourself this time —
Again, in a much smaller cell,
Dark and womb-like,
You’ve prepared it well,
Like the tiny hole in the honeycomb.

 

© CMR, 2012

Modernist Techniques

Modernist Techniques

by Cam M. Roberts
Take that spatial and temporal plane
like Virginia Woolf’s glide,
and see it through to her delicate
wet death – Septimus still
in shell-shock, the footsteps heard
growing louder, coming, and closer,
up the stairs, summoning escape,
no proportion will heal those unseen wounds,
so he resolves to fly, and he goes –
Clarissa, the party is over,
and the flowers you decided to buy
all on your own are wilting in
the heat of the sun which bleeds
through your private window. 
Also, Mrs. Ramsay:
The Lighthouse beckons you
Towards your ninth child at fifty
years of age – Bless you ma’am,
the water breaks, and your fate
is enduring under the eroding portrait
of sand.  (Lily Briscoe puts her final
stroke on the canvas) – “I have
had my vision.  Something tells me
you’re finished; [Time Passes] –
Her note to Leonard was the final one –
Pockets packed with stone,
She calmly disassembles the soberest elucidation to ever
flicker through her mind, through even the deepest, starkest, most
inaccessible space that not even darkness could cling to – 
And, she savored this particular inhalation where the smell of earth and sun
was like a last bite of some dignified delicacy, pure ebullient prewar fun,
and so then she releases her stream-of-consciousness to the zenith of eternity:

Alone. 

 

© CMR, 2012

Comeuppance

Comeuppance

by Cam M. Roberts

From a prophetic litany of the repressed’s return,
out of her confessional hyperbole
cauterizing the air from catharsis –
To that great testimonial pledge, almost sacred,
as if it were a creed to be repetitiously chanted
like those syncopated songs, what some consider:
The fire cadence of the tongue,
sacrificing the very innocent, calmed and curated
Nirvana, bliss epitomizing silence
as paradise, at long last, saints
be later praised, all with vandal trinkets
of words which provoke colors
with flayed manged brushes to our very derangements
within a dream, presumptions departing
with agony as if it were possible, so much the better,
I’ve digressed again: Yes – With gaudy shades
wherein spectral harlots frolic
by means of misinterpretation,
then expressed so unnervingly in her disembodied voice.

Truly, an oracular persona which disquiets and compresses
on the mind as if a haunted afterimage spoke sooner than its belated arrival.
In the same beautifully terrifying vein as my Muse, I forget her name,
and from whence is charged with the polar attitudes of, of, I –
prescribe another name, my memory serves no one, least of all my self 
So is, nevertheless, personified & performed
with superlative sincerity & enough virtue to suffice me another year.

 

© CMR, 2012

Unnatural

Unnatural 

by Cam M. Roberts

The rural dark varies
from time to time,
It’s quite distinct
from regular darkness.

It don’t sit well in a heart of hearts
cause of handed-down morals,
how the evening can raise a person
while evil happens all over the earth –
Your secluded acre and a half.

But what if I am a Bastard?

No one ever came,
and I have gardens
in my mind that will
never amount
to nothing, not a hill
of beans.  Yes, and I’ve also
got secret hiding places
in my soul that
will never be sought out.  Yes, but the
effort, none have time for all
that and come out now
where ever you are.  Yes, now tell
me, where is the rest of you?
All our burdens laid down upon their reveal.

Never enough, are my original
sins forgiven yet, the years
are bleeding out,
They are indebted like I am
to the horror that is for now
your blessing –

The missing parts of me are all strewn out across your normal world

 

  © CMR, 2012