[b]Cries in the Greenhouse[/b]

Amid a low rumble of distant thunder
and the howling of wolves
under skies
as slate diagonal,
sandwiched in shades
and edged with gunmetal gray;
we go down to Willow Palm
where lives Leviathan
in irregularly joined inkblot swamps
of colloidal silver,
ringed by jade fountains
spewing forth bold, gleaming foams of gold.

in a pristine meadow,
an Avatar
with marbled arms outstretched
as though to receive,
clothed in a fine linen shirt…undone
a crystalline lightning rod
in one sculpted hand;
in an Emerald Python’s cool, iridescent coils.
Gently enfolded,
the Avatar dreams of…
Shining purple grackles trapped
in silvered panes of isinglass;
Nearly transparent figures
stepping forth from row upon row
of still life watercolors hung in the Louvre;
Souls slipping out of dreams
and drifting as glittering dust
into dense compressions of collapsing stars…
the metaphysics of slumber states.

From his dreamscape,
the Avatar sees
the curve of your perfect foot
that so confounds the wise:
a smooth contour of its gentle arch
gleams in full moon bright
climbing a ladder of night,
you rise gazing
into steadily increasing light: a radium dawn,
and he notices
the Holy Fathers whom in Latin chant
— Gregorian —
of calculus in ultra violet,
carnival shills,
seashore shells…scattered
across deserted sands
and great millstones
which grind exceedingly fine.
With eyes wide open
yet tightly closed…
shimmering Aurora Borealis
dances across smooth lids
and his face of peace.
The Avatar sings in a lost key
of fabled Chryse,
love’s arrhythmias
and the very last Christmas on Earth.

The Emerald Python who cradles him
in muscular, gleaming spirals,
dreams too
through a view
from a rain softened window…Of:
A hundred life-sized dolls
–perfect in every way–
encircling a blazing campfire
–awaiting the gift of life–
built upon the graveled shore,
which hugs with a death-grip
the Sea of Absinthe…wormwood ships
in its harbor;
Fleeting vignettes of angels
waiting quietly in the shade;
Great obsidian ravens of winter
perched among pine boughs
laden with a first snow;
The softness of an Ohio June
and robins by the wood;
God’s mysterious ways and restraining hand;
Glimpses as though from a passing train
of the Knave of Hearts
amidst a glistening green velvet fernscape
of an antediluvian greenhouse…
buffing a young King’s boots.

Here we stand in Willow Palm,
where lives Leviathan
among inkblot joined swamps
of liquid silver suspension
from which
a giant theater screen rises
as if a massive salamander from flames
and we observe now…
Mother-of-Pearl taking note
of footprints on the main palace mirror
over which the feet of ten thousand geckoes
have passed;
As Royal Guardsmen transfigure themselves
into wild geese
migrating at jet speed
into a fading fireball of a sunset;
A psychic in Texas wearing engineer boots,
heavy makeup and fitted with a cocktail gown,
glimpsing a U.F.O. and pausing
in a surreal field of monstrous tumbleweeds
to meditate;
Finally we notice the Avatar turning
to study giant Cecropia moths
gathered in phantom pale, lantern light
Now in a vision of you
I’m amazed and tremble
as your gaze penetrates my flesh
and shivers through me
like mists of horizontal rain.
Cathode rays transmit to me …your picture-thought:
statuesque starlings stand in hushed rows
like soldiers at attention by your bed and stare unblinking
at your radiant cobalt blue skin
and black opal eyes.

In the Twilight Tavern
from which long ago you departed,
magnificent old elms still arch
as if hands at prayer
over Highway 9,
which leads to your family tree
and that weathered farmhouse
where you once lay still born
until God breathed you
back unto life.
On the timbered wall behind the bar,
hangs a photograph of deer hunters in below zero
and a wizard-like pianist plays softly
by the smoldering fireplace
at ground zero,
caressing ivory keys…causing them to cry out:
creating the strangest of sounds
to distract and hypnotize
inside yet outside this twilight alehouse at dusk.
A metronome “tocks”
back and forth up
on the smooth mahogany bar
while a Praying Mantis
– – arms raised in petition – –
watches from the mantelpiece
above the flagstone fireplace…and softly rasps,
“Has God imagined you yet ?
What is the sound of friendship
on an altar,
burning in sacrifice ?”

Cinemas within cinemas…
further unfold upon the gigantic theatre screen.
butterfly collectors pursue their prey
in a slipstream…
splendid specimens moving
ever further away;
The Gatekeeper looks for evidence of life
along the diamond-glass boulevard
leading to an invisible mall,
where there are to be today
festive holiday sales;
shirtless and draped with Indian beads
…hair as golden fleece,
stands in levis and sandals
upon the overpass,
the Gatekeeper’s every move;
Moles, albino and blind
from generations under ground,
race silently across red tiled roofs
of the deserted village below;
And Behemoth murmurs propaganda
as he imagines your vicarious pleasure.
noticing the tarnishing of silver,
you step out of an avalanche
and into warm waters of the Nile.
Then into your rear view mirror you glance
and observe Leviathan emerging
from frothing opalescent waves,
mouthing mealy metaphors and spewing out
a thousand figures of speech.
You may recall that petting zoo and
remember only too well the reptile house…
watchful eyes as though dark prisms,
of cyclopean, languid, sighing anacondas;
elliptical, jeweled staring orbs
of giant boa constrictors whispering
and those intense, baleful stares
of immense coal and cork
colored crocodilians.

with the sound of a colossal heart beating,
another horizon-esque screen forms…
as if alive.
The Avatar leaps to it,
landing like a fly upon a window pane.
with one hand and both feet firmly planted,
he swivels his head
to face us.
Wildly waving the lightning rod with his free hand,
the Avatar causes tremulous music to fill the air…
almost as though glittering rains of sound
rising up from the ground
and pouring in like wind from all around.
He speaks… (as if unto a void) thereby causing
hologram images to burst forth
from a hurricane of fire…
images of pterodactyls soaring
on leathery wings
across the Prozac skies
of a turquoise summer
in the south of France.

Our holographic visions shift.
It’s you !
By the Pool of Tears…
a Cobra’s whisper there
you looked for meanings and hidden meanings
surrounded by doors
and paintings of doors.
with flickering crimson tongue,
the Cobra gently stroked
your smooth gravity fingers
when all your friends had gone away.
Then one day
in Willow Palm,
standing in sudden
enshrouding shafts of sunlight
like beams from outer space,
– – chameleon-esque – –
you changed the color of your skin
stepped into a thin shadow of intimacy
your clich�s left me light years beyond alone,
your slogans strangled
every (bare) breath of life
and emptied out
every (safe) house I found;
all engraving daily even deeper…
the emptiness of an empty room.

I cried out for at least
Radio Hanoi, some ‘signal’ hidden in chatter
or a hint of recognition
in your foggy faraway eyes.

Sometimes shivering in tears,
I winced as Sphinx moths buzzed by in blurs
like tiny airplanes…
and often in sleep, I writhed and tossed
while vividly dreaming
– – in multi-dimensional Technicolor
and surround sound – –
of the crystal lightning rod
held up
to Sun, Moon and Stars
by an Avatar who sleeps
in a fine linen shirt …colors as
a Biblical Joseph’s coat…
with marbled arms lain outstretched
as though to receive,
amid the iridescent, rainbow coils
of an Emerald Python
down in Willow Palm
where lives Leviathan
among inkblot joined swamps
of liquid silver suspension,
ringed by jade fountains
gushing forth
bold, gleaming foams of gold.

by David Bate (c) 2003
([email]dbate [at] corru-kraft [dot] com[/email])

[b]Author’s Note:[/b]
David Bate lives in Long Beach, California. He writes primarily surreal poetry, which seems to well up from his subconscious in the form of dreams. Pictures, music and poetry trigger whole image sequences, which David translates into words.

David’s overall goal is to connect with the reader’s subconscious mind using words, with the hope of creating images that can be felt by the senses. His rarely has concrete linear meaning as a goal.

David’s primary influences many and varied: the paintings of Dali; writing by Pynchon, Ginsberg, Auden; music from Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream through The Beatles, French surrealistic music, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Ozzie Osborne, Kitaro?the list goes on. Filmmakers such as Gus Vanzant and Ingmar Bergman play a role, as do many others. David produces Spoken Word cassettes to music, and has plans to compose video poems. Look for David soon at Open Mike sessions in the Long Beach area.

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