War Elephant


war elephant

pink elephant


an elephant walks into a bar

and lays waste to the patrons within


bad, cruel elephant


the infantry drank their fill of wine and ale

then came the battalion, marched in trunk to tail

and all who bled and the dead attend

Hans and Abel’s Wartime Circus


lumbering fortress

ivory spears

suplexing snout

and armor plated dumbo ears


charge, crush, stampede

serve your lords

your lords’ greed

the command from the heavens

charge and then awake and suffer it

delirium tremens


war elephant

pink elephant

bad elephant

war elephant’s wont



Jackal in Stasis


in stasis the ground below him erodes away

in stasis the other jackals turn to gray


the pack is gravity, they once stood watch

but fickle gravity, in time, depart to seek new mass


in stasis steady and brilliant like a star

in stasis the jackal watches from afar


stasis — a crime — snake in the grass

the pack is hunter

it destroys to remains

the pack is hunger

stay alive — survive

no crime — just feed to live

stasis is dying — there is no give


tastes them slay gazelle using his own teeth

slaughtered at the well — a scene devoid of grief


now outside the pack

now without the pack it’s growing wiser

now without the pack it’s losing teeth

now outside the pack time erodes away


in stasis he still feeds upon the land

in stasis he still feels grief





an endless plain, but a rise to the north where the earth catches clouds

he crosses the plain into the wood onto the rock covered slope

an endless plain made of rock that rises up into the clouds


he resists gravity

he resists the hoarder of mass — the darkness of past


the plain slowly fractures and falls and swallows his past

the cracks start behind him as he sets foot to stone

on Olympus Mons’ flank he sees endless stone


he is called to the peak and into the shroud

he is called to the peak and the captive cloud


for the stone beneath his feet — the gray

or the ash, the sand, the earth does sway

he won’t look down — he knows it’s giving way


now there’s no other place to ascend


he could fall with the mass

he could learn of the past


he’s called up to the peak

and on into the shroud

and the captive cloud



Old Head


man-sized cat nursing milk at the bar

purrs to himself with his ears down flat

large black eyes see through your scars


old heads bowed down over beers and rye

tears well in smoky eyes


take a stool in the back, near the cat by the wall

your fathers name spoken by the man tending bar

as he takes coin from the cat’s weathered paw


just water, not milk

I’d like to rest, reflect, revive

remember things lost for a while


“this milk expired way back in June

makes for a drink that tastes vile”

whispered in my ear

“my watch is in the shadows”


that sour breath

those watery eyes

he bears his teeth and says


“My watch is in the shadows

the voids within the walls and

in the minds of strangers and

in the minds of passers-by — we share eyes

the voids within the walls — the shadows

in the minds of passers-by — we share eyes”


this old head just went on and on...



Iron Pangolin


Pan said he has never seen the sky

and I insist he must have


“it is blocked by the mass

a great iron beast slowly lying down to rest”


he’d shake his head

clench his fists

fall and scream

“It’s the end! It has come! It’s the end!”


such a frail and wounded friend

I regret slowly backing away


so many lumbering tons attempts to block the sun

I soon forget his warning and then the shadow comes


it’s lain down to rest

how can we find it

it has lain down at last

if we try we can find it


we managed to find our way onto its back

seize the reins of the greatest beast of burden

steer its cast iron framed and plated mass

so many lumbering tons in acceleration

straight into the earth’s gullet

a burning molten stomach


steer its cast iron framed and plated mass to its molten end

steer its cast iron framed and plated mass down below its shadow


the iron age of iron men

birth and death of iron pangolin



Dead End Reckoning


lost at sea he clings to the mast

his fix his failures amassed

dead end reckoning

recall everything


the last was that reef

that had come from beneath

he lost this sinking ship

he feels condemned to grief

his last breath

life to death

recalls everything


in the dark of night he lacks the foresight

his faults and failures all he sees


one last look back with the light of dawn

finds the sight he lacked

he sees land, not the course he’d drawn


he let go of the mast

swam to the shore

hopeful and free at long last

to reach for more

beyond the sea

he let go of the mast

to reach the shore

he let go of the mast

to reach for more

beyond the sea



Black Sheep


shepherd minding his flock by the sound

blind — forced to see with his weathered hands

and always at heel is a black sheep

who grazes, but never too far

who stays close to keep warm as the man sleeps

the sheep rests, but awake with the stars

the shepherd rests with his faith in the black sheep


ever alert of a wolf on the land

the sheep rests but awake with the stars

all sight needs light


the only eyes of this sightless shepherd

the only friend of this lonesome shepherd


a starless night without the black sheep’s sight

when the wolves tore his flock to red

all that he knew were the wolves well fed

anger and vengeance the black sheep receives

although undeserved


with loyalty the black sheep accepts it

humility for love of this old man

with loyalty the black sheep accepts it

submissiveness until the end



Undead Cat


dark — it spreads throughout the sky

dark — the lack of being seen

dark — the lack of being known


they are strands that go unseen

shaping all that we see

only noticed by the pull

of their mass, of their massive grasp

they are weak but they are vast

they are strands that go unseen

shaping all that we see


they are strands that go unseen

as they run inside me

as they mold reality

as they motivate my eyes to see


this is Schrödinger's cat

but I see an undead cat

is this a quantum riddle

or a sentient hand

sage undead cat

left to patrol my strand


it’s deaf

it’s blind

it’s mute



dark — it spreads throughout the sky

dark — the lack of being seen

dark — the lack of being known


I made it up… undead cat?



At World's End


I had traveled alone to the end of the world

with the roar of the river and the still of the air

as the last of the leaves left the trees without care

I set to trail all set to fail to find the end

I sought whitewater heard it call around the bend

I made camp and set fire

at world's end I retire


I wake as costumed children carry off my tent

a bear head’s shadow fills my eyes

my life's been lent


©2015 Cetus