The Complete



The science of sin is a sallow scheme

that causes one to feel so rot and shame---

ultimate tragedy of a frozen cosmos.

Smooth stones rotate round in a ring,

stars whose song is Ceasless Trance,

while a fit girl twirls in a skirt of sorrow

and teardrops trickle in Moonlight City

and the surface of her skin shivers tight,

illuminated also by a streetlamp,

and vibrates through to the magical core.

She journeys through Concrete Valley

to Big Bridge where she goes for calm

and dangles a pair of pretty sandals

over its endlessly shimmering silver rail

and gazes down to the dim river rush.

Blonde strands of hair curl in her vision.


V--- sits there unthinking and unblinking,

wobbling absent-minded in Winter Chill

upon the risky rail; the dangerous distance

pulsates below like a magnifying strobe.

Her heart is a punching fist from within.

The sunflower sandals finally slip off

and fall like monstrous leaves into void.

She is stirred by such subtle sensations

and snaps straight back into awareness.

V--- violently shakes her delicate brains

and all but loses her sustained balance.

She might have plummeted and died.

"This is drugs---can't be here---time to go."


She hops back onto the old cracked sidewalk

and starts to saunter her way across Big Bridge

toward what the locals coin as Haunted Island.

V--- sees no wagons roaming the foggy streets,

no people, no creatures of the night save her.


She listens to birds begin to chirp,

as the same fierce sun rises red again,

and feels serene hushes and blushes.

She visits a deserted park to rest

and sprawl in grass as soft as moss.

A squirrel scurries from off an oak,

stands upright on its friendly paws,

twitches and flicks its fluffy tail

and cradles acorns for nibbling feast.


V--- pulls a pipe from her woven purse

and packs it fat with Purplegreen Weed

(an herb she bought the other week

from a strange travelling gypsy market

who had advised V--- to be careful,

preached purgatorial consequences

and bundled the stuff with a mantra).

V--- languidly puffs ethereal clouds.


V--- is a mystery, a misled mess.

Plague whispers unknown emotion

and she will sift her imagination

to try to figure out what it's all about.

"Who am I and why must I live a lie?"

She chooses to forever surrender---

once met with a Cactus Breakthrough.

Rows of tombstones symbolize

an illusory infinity that sprouts free

by crawling from earth soil buried.

V--- shutters between altering answers.

Perhaps she's lost in extreme degree.

She curiously follows a pebble pathway

which presents her a shut garden gate,

residence of Mr. Hermit who prowls

so morosely through Devil's Trumpet

and scowls at everyone that passes.


Mr. Hermit and his fiery crimson glare,

like the vicious glare of surreal beasts,

seem to pierce the world with hot arrows

and are beautifully enhanced by blend

of a tawny tattered yellow shawl tossed

over a shaggy beige woolen coat with

a modest collar popped around his neck,

framing his supremely stern facial frown

and his bushy abysmal hair and beard.

His faded and soil-stained pair of jeans

drape past the tops of workman boots.


V--- gasps in frightful amazement.

Mr. Hermit turns his head but instead

of straining his brow and shouting

"Damn you, get your filth gone away!"

like he will always do with humans,

he is tantalized by the stunning girl.


V--- is overwhelmed; her coy eyes

reflect the Rainy Rainbow Blossoms

and vivid dance of various plants.

This Dude is like a peacock flaunting

awesome aspect painted in feathers.

She has never seen this back in city.


They both stand there still and silent,

like cobras being charmed by a flute,

separated by the elaborate black gate

wicked and terrifically Gothic and

aiming spikes or spears to Heaven

with figures carved into the metal.

A heavy rustling sound from beneath

dull orange layered leaves disturbs

the long moment of lovely discovery.

Mr. Hermit is beckoned by the noise.

He says, "Come back no sooner than

noon, when Our Sun is its brightest.

Meanwhile I have much toiling to do."

His veins surge with hope to know

what this Glowing Girl might mean.

She hesitates and then walks away.


V--- weaves through weeping willows

and comes to a lush little meadow hill.

Gleaming heather thrashes in pure day.

She climbs to the pristine peak to find

a perfect pond sparkle its calm secrets.

She exclaims, conscious of delirium,

"Oh vivid dream, I must be hallucinating!

Is this--- this Paradise the real deal?"

She breathes deeply, places her purse

gently aside, strips her pink cardigan,

lays it down to sit on and views the land.

"Plenty of time until the Sun is high...

I shall certainly stroll along the sand."

She suddenly remembers her bare feet

and grows very giddy in anticipation

for those sensual caresses she adores.


And so she joins the candy shore

and explores the waves' serenade.

Her relentlessly wandering mind

thinks, "Wait a sec, what in heck---

He looked at me; I looked at him.

Love was found but a rustling sound

became a chore---most peculiar."


Meanwhile Mr. Hermit digs right up

an oozing corpse, and he stabs

the shovel into the festering mound

of maggots and gets on his knees

and drags the body from the ditch

to see the face of eternal enemy.

His body stiffens with a grim rage.


The Undead One is mostly paralyzed

and his sky-blue eyes are wet with fear.

He tries to scream but it is only seen

as if angry sapphires hold ocean storm.

His born flesh quivers and is gory torn.


Mr. Hermit fetches a wheelbarrow

and settles it next to the Sorry Soul.

He wraps a grasp about limp limbs,

like he is trying to hug a lifeless doll,

puts the person in the rusty barrow

and rolls thru the arched doorframe

to lock the zombie in a dark cellar

so it will make no disturbance when

V--- comes along to visit him again.


As he makes his way out the house,

he notices in a mirror that his garments

are tainted with nasty puss and blood.

Simultaneously he hears V--- humming

a little lullaby, signifying her arrival.

He pounces upstairs to change clothes.

He puts on a hooded lavender cloak

to make a fine impression on the girl.


They meet eagerly back at the Gate,

not necessarily knowing what will occur,

but excited to pursue these fresh hints.

It's unnatural to trash new opportunity,

tired of meandering thru mundane mist

of a reality diminishing into emptiness.

But V--- has a fragile, vulnerable youth,

whether she cares to accept it or not,

and fails to consider the Consequences

though the Gypsies foretold of this.

Contrary, Mr. Hermit is yet confident.


He glides into sight in his costume

with arms outstretched into wings.

V--- giggles cutely and comments,

"You look absolutely ridiculous man,

like a Crazy Clown in some Circus!"


"Humph, I am majesty personified

and delighted that you have come."

He then unlatches the Black Gate,

swings it open, and gestures her in

like a gentleman who holds a door.

"We should share tea in my Garden

and chat among relaxing activity."

V--- nervously steps thru the portal.


V--- sips her tea, which the lunatic

has spiked with a sedative potion.

She lounges on white wicker pillows

and sinks into a pool of confusion.

She hears her mind a-frantic chant,

"I don't feel that good... I'm dying."

The Madman paces back and forth

and flails his limbs like a jellyfish.

His spree of soliloquy echoes thus:

"This marvelous frequency found!

Shortly she will be on the ground."

The roses panic, stirred by a wind.


V--- loses complete function of herself

and droops steadily forward in her chair

to then tumble face first onto the floor.

It takes a big effort for her to turn over.

Her nose has been broken by impact

on the tiled patio and is gushing blood

that mixes with subtle bronze lipstick.

She tries to cry out desperately for help.

There is no one who could anyways.

Her eyeballs roll up and search her skull.

She blacks out and forgets the world.


Mr. Hermit crouches to pull off her skirt.

"This is what happens to those who flirts.

You deserve nothing but the worst."


V--- awakens among dim lanterns

adorning the cobblestone walls of

a chamber dank with putrid smell.

Naked and bloody with much pain,

her head shocked and throbbing,

she looks down at her hands and

fails to recognize them, tightly tied

and trembling in scratchy ropes.

The foreboding flickers of flames

taunts tremendous terror insane.


And then from within the darkness

comes a hidden and harsh whisper:

"Cardamax done got you now, eh?"

"What? Cardamax? Who are you?"

she says sobbing and gasping breath

as her voice shakes like her so cold,

badly battered and bruised nudeness.

"Where am I? What is this place?

What the fuck is happening to me?"


A gross, horrid man slowly crawls

into a better lit section of their cell.

He looks like he has been dead for

at least a few months but instead is

still functioning as a living entity.

He croaks, "Please remain calm ok?

My name is Damien... The villain

that has done this to ye is strange.

He is a warlock and believes you

have been summoned here today

as a vessel for his experiments...

which I have sadly succumbed to

also, long ago, and I have been

kept here and tortured by his, ack,

his amateur spells. It is very bad."


They hear footsteps come down

stone stairs with omnipotent echo.

They turn their necks and await.

Momentarily Cardamax, in purple

gown, appears beyond iron bars

with a sinister smile of sharp teeth.

He brings his prisoners some food,

a few figs each garnished with nice

white roses, thorny stems and all.

"Keep your sweet dreams away and

save them for another life... You

and you," he said pointing to them,

"no longer have a choice or strife.

Relinquish your will, Girl, to me...

Tis the single thing that shall be."


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Starward's picture

This extended version, or

This extended version, or compliation, is very powerful.  Its almost relentless drive forward insists on a full reading; no pause points appear as we move through the supple lines and amazing descriptions toward that final stanza.  This is also a poem that encourages---even demands---more than a first reading.  It reminds me of a ghost story film I have recently been watching, entitled "Shutter."  I watched the film, first, for its gripping, and somewhat disturbing, narrative.  I watched it a second time to pay especial attention to the artistry with which it was made.  I watched it again last night to listen to the music that accompanies it, especially the ghost's theme.  And I am still not done with it.  I have written all that in order to write this:  your poem is like "Shutter"; it operates the same way.  There is the narrative it provides; there is the artistry of your composition, as you deploy lines and stanzas; there is the musicality of your word combinations.  All of this cannot be taken in all at once.  Other readings must follow; and other poetic delights and satisfactions will reward those readings.

Enjoy effulgent days, and exquisite nights,

unto the exultations of Heaven.


Pungus's picture

Can Always Count On Ya

Thank you from the bottom of my heart, the depths of my soul.

Starward's picture

Thank you for the kind reply,

Thank you for the kind reply, and yes, you can always count on me.  And I can always count on your poetry.  I once said to Patriciajj, and now I will say to you, that, during my undergrad studies back in the days of the dinosaurs, I used to study great poets (Vergil, Eliot, Stevens) and wonder what it would have been like to watch them assemble their great collections.  Alas, I could not see this happening in real time; only in the past.  I often felt frustrated until I realized, in 2020 and again, this year, that I have been blessed to live long enough to watch to magnificent Poets, living Poets in real time, putting their great works together right before my eyes---Patriciajj and you.  This has been, is, and will continue to be one of the great experiences of my usually mundane life, and I am very, very grateful for this privilege.

Enjoy effulgent days, and exquisite nights,

unto the exultations of Heaven.