ditch,

the poetry that matters

Anthony Brenton

Anthony Brenton’s forthcoming publications are Morning, Noon and Night in an Apartment; Music for Youngster’s Minds and Greedy Little Animal along with other writings collected over the past years. He is the self-published author of Triskaidekaphobia in St. John’s Muzak and A Book, both reflecting on his environment. Brenton lives in St. John’s Newfoundland where he thinks and loves. 

Anthony Brenton's latest book is Daybreak, Saint City (Trainwreck Press, 2008)

 

Architectural Morphology

 

 

A woman stands

with her head

and most of her body

veiled in clay.

 

The stump of her right arm

is exposing the moist

circuitry of blood.

The left is a spiral

staircase that winds

to an earth hut

burrowed into her shoulder bone.

 

Her genitals

constantly running sand.

 

Every joint is represented

As various varieties

Of apples and plums.

 

A candle burns in the

grip of the staircase

drying the clay

and her muscular

reflex to the changing

state

begins to crumble

the veil.

 

And fecundated stomach

glistens through,

jaw with constellations of freckles.

 

Until she stands naked

screaming at what’s become of her arm.    

 

 

  

 

 

 

Bat Larva

 

 

There are rodents ground into the floor obviously trampled down

by a large man’s feet left to rot in this room of exploration for something to eat.

And outside in the snow two bats lay on their backs dead claws sprawled

encircling a larval sack.

 

I put it in a jar…bring it into the warm…put it next to the stove, not too close

                and give it some leaves to eat.

 

My black case holds a scalpel, small maggot surgery…to quietly fault the skin

and let the young bat free. No anesthetic needed there are no nerve endings I can see

though it still squirms and wreathes

from pain or ecstasy.

 

Wet outside its skin shell…I give him some blood to drink…urge him to use his wings

they still have to dry.

And he grew big through the weeks getting stronger teeth cutting instinct squeaks my martyred wrists leak sliced to the bone to feed him ’til he’s grown.         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Itching

 

 

Eventually all the pills they sell look the same and the friends are cartoons, flailing and dripping ink, slurping and splashing. Monsters with white paper eyes,

hollering,

fingers sagging. Ecstasy or Middle Eastern wartime mother grief. Tearing through watery sunless skin with black fingernails, a ribald ballet, the Ode to Newfoundland breaks on the shores of my feet followed by the news.

A k9 throat,

a ball of ash, a bowl of chow and a stuffed nose. Reading 8:00.

Pencils overflowing in a tide of orange, sand and black forests grid and brought to their knees.

Screaming at the news, the statistics…numbers, a homespun yarn, a tingling body.

 

Winged screeching quadruped marionette thud and bump at windows closed for the weather, long soft black hair whipping and thrashing with the great exhale, bloodshot eyes spinning and viewing every calculated move, a valor battlefield where the victors bask in domesticity…newspaper weeklies carpet for the porch…teething soothed by television…noodles boiled and fried with vegetables and sauce…screaming at the news breaks on the shores of my feet…the worms that nest and sell pills to anxious customers

who bang on every door with pleading words, who ache and shiver spitting on the sidewalk, who don’t remember crimes or why they’re beat up.

The marionettes hobble around the base of my house dripping venom from hypodermic fangs scratching their claws against the pavement and weeds…black strings glistening in the moonlight. Knock at the next door, laughs and greetings beat on the shore…five minutes and they’re gone.

The four-legged munchers chase dogs and shrews (something to get the stomach working) eyes gleaming and poison pooling at their footpads. I daydream, up here, 

grand schemes of maddening terror and the pink sky forever rolling over on itself…the math behind time…the champions who wrote history. I see demise and ruination,   the loser whose placement is scribed by the new kings…the stringed death approaching, mulling over their plan, the coven of munchers who crawled over    sand wastelands…thirsty in the dust bowl…mirages of healthy humans down with mental illness squirming in their own private hells.

Images of great oilfields ablaze skin charred and flaking like the result of racial research…the final physician debris…or to be held by high courts, the dissected brains of psychotic youngsters, until their killer is dead, upon the face.

Crawling upon four spiderly blood stumps imbedded with sand and glass shards,

bullet casings and knives with the blades missing…the skeleton of small old trees ghastly against the horizon.

Small animals coming out at night to feed with the terror of their killers standing calm with blood soaked into their uniforms, while soft flesh walks according to orders. They slew 500 men, soldiers well trained with swords and shields

but four legs proved too much…venom too rich and pure…slaughtered infants and screaming mothers in dry villages strewn with hair and sopping blood.

 

And upon the popular stage of congregation, naked and wounded, defecating feast of hate and perversion the creator of their reality sits with his scribing machines and onlookers casting the future across the great wasteland of the oncoming army, swaying on strings glistening, on skin blistering and black mane bleaching.

And they are upon the house, 

winged and screeching, thudding and bumping at windows long locked for winter.

Black hair savaging the air, with bloodshot marionette eyes spying in. panic on all sides! Tumult, god speaks it! And a bright shattering of glass introduces the four-legged into home. An arm is opened upon a shard and blood splatters across the floor creating frenzy.

Like a tranquilizer the skeletonizers enter, like static throughout the body out from needlepoint. They feed him tea boiled from water and the roots and fungus of a four-hundred-year-old tree for numbing his senses.

They eat off the skin muscle, leaving tendons, veins, bones and hair the brain is still active as he is skeletonic, remaining receptors dumb, pain is a memory…There is some pure thought, no hope of coming through okay.

The last thoughts…“Maybe I should have picked up some candy canes for this     Halloween.”   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                 

So Perish All Babblers  (A Fragment)

 

 

Of the ice that contained the skeleton

ancient waters with primitive bacteria and viruses

held deathly vows in their passing years.

A considerably younger multi-year.

‘Prehistoric creatures’

according to the sons of explorers.

And this year like every other is the remains of a polar bear feast old enough to outlive the frozen ice.

Fishermen baiting pots over several winters and springs.

Just speculation,

but it almost looks like they are not sure how they were decomposing before they were frozen.

A medical Sunday night is the kind of night when carrying people,

six members making painting possible, all images automatic,

ashes in Michigan distant in the afternoon in fantastic pill orange and salmon authoritatively shrieking in ponds,

reflections becoming memorable,

holds terrific weight

and meaning.

As many realize that the sun and sky are seen in the searching wakes of one another and you look for five or ten minutes at them, too exact…thoughts long enough to accept the same shriek followed immediately by a transport plain that never actually happened.

U.S. federal go out for a walk around the pond.

Waves folding back into laughter, all hanging in the air like members of an exclusive university.

Spoken chances are the evening but for Sunday night.

And just a minute!

You went down Monday come in a creep down into the simple night and surface again like a different sort of flight team in search of the new plague.

General Milt harking through gray gunmetal…one of the few times they were liars after all.

Signaled an emergency in the Black Port with the water not doing the ballet exactly right. ‘near perfect’ observers said.

Time wasn’t doing anything but bleeding into the black sky just hovering

divers were standing in time at the airport

a sullen nation of peach groves

within a fence like a child forced when the sky (actually it was a breath) opened up.

A dozen divers declared that it would be all wrong, this return to water.

Tears not dark enough to accept thought.

Immediately the kind of night of some shriek following Sunday.

The skeleton sky is gone to ill health

a state infusion or emission transplant.

Behave fantastic painter

draw it, it will be all-wrong.

Simmons Harbor lobster fishing…thoughts of longing.

The photos in the evening a wood smoke haze.

Mission flown from an idea spoor.

Spurting mental phallus cracking the seed of a new reality.

  

 

 

 

 

                 

Sneezing

 

 

Dried bones on the keys with powder lined upon the desk

living the mortal words of hell, desperation

and empty glass next to creams and lined paper

great webs of crystal string weave through my brain

electricity of thought and observation, filing what is and what is fancy

the rubber band of sentient intake and the abstract

sneezing and coughing with 1960’s poster of naked Om

 

brother’s obsessive placement of portrait seeds

my gnarled hands shake too much for your work

great munchers gnaw on the sinew of my consciousness and the gradual fading into morning

swarming bees sting and seal the body up with wax

the incessant, maddening chirping of grasshoppers

mongrels yelping and screeching at the break of the sun for food and attention

coca-cola tin can dump into the sidewalk shrubbery

the crash and creaking of large trucks lumbering under hulking weights

taxi drivers snorting and cursing knowing the streets well

harbor tumescent with excrement and the jellyfish are a dim brown

I hear bells…can you hear them?

I hear the horns of boats leaving the dock and the faint rumble of the drinkers on board

great chimes held by monsters and ferries with dainty and dreadful hands alike

held by soft nails and talons alike

sifting dust to the ground to be eaten up by the pathetic and starving needy        

to be sniffed by the vast nostril into the brain

to be cooked up and shot in the mainline

knocking on doors 4:43 AM…on the wrong door to scared occupants, nervous of aggressive strangers

to shake in the morning with chemical head and reaction body

watching the cat dissolve into cubes.

Then the ultimate stay of convalescence

where the floors have no patterns

the windows are grid with steel

and the doctors and nurses treat you with cool detachment.      

 

 

   

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