Empire Sunset – from the archives

At the end of time
sunset will seem
to last forever –

a thin red strip
on the horizon,
thinning, flickering

in its futile attempt
to stay, to widen,
to reverse time itself –

but we all know
that time only reverses
itself in poetry –

and in Superman movies
when Lois Lane dies,

and the Man of Steel
reverses Earth’s rotation
to forestall, reverse
her death’s circumstance.

In the end one might
even be persuaded
that that sunset is itself
a beginning –
a dawn, not a dusk –

but that would be
a deception.


a summer solstice sonnet – from the archives

A migration, a journey by moonlight,
from one holy state to a different one.
Move fast though, ‘cause the well-lit night is short,
which means no time for reading signs – and prayers
for good fortune – on the road. The shortest
distance between two points is a straight line –
or a tesseract for time travelers
among us. Another year won’t kill them,
and the cotton crop demands their presence.
But this particular convergence comes
once a generation, so their next chance
will be less fortuitous – as will ours.
A long day, a bright moon, and a lost year.
And a journey to bridge a gap in space.


Note: The summer solstice each year coincides, more or less (that is, by a day or two), with Juneteenth (June 19th), the observation of the day the final slaves were emancipated in the U.S. (in Texas, specifically) in 1865. Of course, human slavery continues in the U.S., regrettably, though no longer race-based. So enslaved people still need to be free, still need to escape, still need to break the chains that bind them.

This coinciding of dates may be just a coincidence. If you believe in coincidences . . .

Os Meus Livros

via Os Meus Livros

cross posted from Arca das Palavras Perdidas

Oração da Noite, ou, Instruções para o meu funeral

via Oração da Noite, ou, Instruções para o meu funeral

Ernest Rankin: In Memoriam – an elegy in two sonnets for Father’s Day

my favorite uncle had no children
of his own – he lavished his attention
on his nieces and nephews – my father
was one of those. Ernest Rankin. Iceman,
they called him – he sold ice in the summer,
coal in the winter. He drove a green cab
by the time I came along, his ice days
long gone. He kept a red fez in his house,
and a sparkling sword, polished, in the trunk
of his cab. 33rd degree. My Mom
would call him when Pop’s drinking got too much
for her to handle. He’d come over, talk
to Pop like a father would to a son –
it never did my father any good –

but for some reason it had an appeal
to me – I saw how two grown men who cared
should communicate with one another.
Uncle Ernest lived in town and moved in
his niece and nephew so they could attend
high school and college away from the needs
of the farm. He made a difference in their lives,
shifting their trajectories, opening pathways.
Old men in the Grove would ask me,
“Son, whose boy are you?” “Iceman’s my uncle,”
I’d tell them, and they would change their tune to
one of reverence and respect. That meant
a lot to me, that shared identity.
White-aproned men performed his final rites.

an allegorical journey (still under construction)

I learned to swim with the sharks at a place
called Hammerhead. The training lasted
twelve months. I graduated to the next level –
Neptune’s triple spear. I hid my dolphic identity
from my classmates. No one found me out
because I became carnivorous – even though
eating meat gave me headaches.

At the next training stage I met the Angel
of Light – who fell from grace and became
the Prince of Darkness. I followed orders
to murder him with Neptune’s spear
in my right hand and that’s how I know
Satan worshippers are all bullshit artists –
that dude is dead. But back to the story.

I transferred to the instruction manual factory.
My boss there tried to sell me a bill of goods.
I wasn’t in the market, but he wouldn’t take no
for an answer. The first wizard I met helped me
bury him by the sea. We dug his grave while
the tide was out. The wet sand was easy
and we buried him deep.

The second wizard taught me how to wage
a losing battle against a corrupt bureaucracy –
but how to always keep enough in reserve
to return with power for the next day’s fight.
He made me his chief of staff and wizard helper.

When the second wizard died, he gave me
all his powers, along with the books he wrote,
making me the next wizard. I plotted my escape
from the instruction manual factory and got out
by the skin of my teeth. I became the keeper
of secrets and the possessor of armed memories.

drop the top: #1MinFiction

We buried a man by the sea. He was a bad man. We dug his grave on the beach while the tide was out. The wet sand was easy and we buried him deep. He would never take no for an answer. He tried to sell us a bill of goods. Me and the wizard. 


Monday’s One-Minute Fiction: Week of June 4