Saturday, February 21, 2015

John Guzlowski

Are you dead dead or walking dead?

Do you still brush your teeth 

and chew your fingernails 

or are your teeth in the dust 

with the rats and the holy?

Will you respond to questions 

from the people you loved and left?

If I send a hail mary to you 

will you smile and offer up

a miracle of love?

God's own fruition?


  1. Very nice --

    And I will carve my commandments

    On your teeth, and make of them

    An ivory tabernacle

    A rat-gnawed reed

    A haze of stinging

    Facts, a swarm of dust

    And I will make of your mouth a monument

    Of light

    & broken doves

  2. and I will live all the days of my life in the glow of my afterthoughts -- and yours too.

  3. But if you trudge
    Among us still

    All answers swallowed
    Behind teeth we never see

    Here is my pass

    To shake some saying
    From what's left
    Of your jangling carcass

    Run with it

    Whether wisdom, sooth, benevolence, humor,
    Lies among the sinners

    A miracle of grit?

    1. These teeth are sharp
      made of stone and wire

      the first men used them
      to kill the first women

      sorrow descended
      like sundown
      on the sweet world

      wisdom became

      humor became
      the lies we tell
      our mothers

      killing made
      the dying man lighter

      a feather in the arms
      of his friends

    2. So burn then
      The ashes of digits
      That once grasped our throats

      And float the foment
      Extolling the end of evil

      And friends
      Until the settling
      That cannot root but reminds us together

      To lift the greasy quill
      And tell

  4. Tell them
    We have met

    On the plains
    Of summer

    And left there
    What we loved best

    The heavy hammer
    The wooden claws

    The aprons that kept
    blood from our throats

    Tell them
    Dying is a virtue

    A song without words
    Hummed by

    The first child
    Of the first man

    Who killed
    The first woman

    With his stone
    And wired teeth

  5. And when he sees them
    The genesis of us all

    His singing, ascendant,
    Soiled self

    Stalls before the altar
    Where their kisses heal or shred

    And we, between release of winter's wrappings
    Naked, touching in the sun

    And the redress of revenge

    Wonder of our mouths

  6. From Mike Jewett

    gnash their teeth

    at frigid air that leaks
    from florid pores.

    Bloodletting makes us weary
    so we sleep and bleed

    and dream
    of Fuji's winds.

  7. Here there
    Are no winds

    No blood or letting
    Or frigid air that leaks

    From flowers
    Torn from our pores

    The skin in your palms
    Will not save us

    No witch
    Will count our dreams

  8. From Mike Jewett

    The skin in our psalms
    Our saviours

    Is the skin that night
    Peels from our bones

    When stars refuse
    To glisten like dew.

    Our crossbars bear weight-

    Adding up
    To the density

    Of hearts.

  9. Hearts remember
    The psalms in our palms

    The prayers that gash
    Our eyes, open the skies

    Send us back to the rocks
    And trees where we hide

    And wait for the storms
    To end their breeding