five shards of the ancient and the antique

by strannikov

the timepiece of Zeno of Elea


impatience could well overtake your day:

might sneak up beside you just to crawl

on multi-tasking hands so full of deeds.


what if you can't respond to it in time?

what if moments arrive so crowded full

with choice you could not squeak one lone response?


moments in hours invisible to time:

observing no sequence of sight or sound,

what is it that tells us events occurred?


chronometers lie to us all the time:

lone moments are never counted by clocks.



odyssey from nowhere


I'm better off lost without the pretense

of knowing whether I've ever arrived:

“Outis of Utopia” my found name!

I'll inscribe it soon as the tide goes out.


my mighty name I carve into this beach!

examine the skill of these serifed fonts!

they chisel black dread into snoring souls!

(you can tell from the jolts and shrugs of sleep.)


we'll torch those sleeping eyes awake today—

we'll wake the day with burning sacrifice!

you've much to do to park those bones asleep,

one resident per hell the limit here.



cultivating demons' tastes


may demons delight in eating me dead!

my carcass for them to gnaw and chew:

my carrion—me, carrion—a treat!


red devils will learn my care for their tastes

the moment they taste a lip or some tongue:

“tasty! garlic—with laziness infused!”


they might want to make a relish of me:

I suggest they add a dose of cayenne

—it must be great when spread on leavened toast!


who knows what flavors soon might flow

from mastications of our souls?



the martyrdoms of Maximus


when Maximus had his tongue plucked out

Earth wondered at obedient tools:

Byzantine pliers and pincers in hands

instructed to extract not faith or love

designed with skill to kill an old man's tongue.


when Maximus had his hand cut off

his stump cauterized or ligatured tight

too late to lock his writings in his arm

centuries of grace kept up their flow

the dark inks of his blood made sure of that:


to the penitent mind God's radiant grace

the sun that obscures all stars where it shines.



the Telchines' treasure, the Dactyls' dream


on this side of those sliding sands:

my timbers all ashiver quake

my gast is fully flabbered.


if poets could fix you who'd want their cure?

repair your tongue to taste spiced blood?

ears slammed from sleep into waiting dirt?


your nails never clear of smeared gobs of grit

your nose inhaling watered earth dry dust

in sequence past your eyes squeezed tight slip sights—


each excavated generation dug—

“—but where's the skill in knowing where to look?

horizons I've not walked for many years—”


considerate of horizons you are:

what is the spectrum of word-will-deed?


re-forge your tongue and horseshoes for your jaws

chisel channels new betwixt your ears . . .


with ancients and immortals take a stroll

down crests of ridges up adjacent troughs

climb descend steep slopes attaining views


forsaking views another ridge astride:

perspectives change in moments counting steps

in hours of climb hours more of descent—


this earth's locales allow but this world's views

regardless of our every vain intent.


our globe now squirms in reddened grit and dust—

our dreams of Telchines' spoken skills forgot

stay buried remote and filthy forgot:


let bones relax when you don't retreat

when attacking the remote alone.


once lodes and veins play out dig more

to find the mouth of that mountain mine . . .


Telchine treasures lurk in buried shafts

Dactyls dream their songs deep from their depths . . .