A Heart After Childhood


Grainy snaps show her circled by smiles,

sons and local spirits, with ample hoist

through the hot effulgence of summer light.


Photos did no justice to her knotted neurons.


She quit childhood too early with a heart

like an empty sack.  A girl, she abjured thought

of her future, as short on time as expected.


A photo cache weighted forgotten albums.


Marriage scarred her edges: her dissonance,

her children entertained her.  So often weather

lilted curls, muted voice, or silenced evening wings.


History in song and pictures passed around her.


After barren years, she saw better how

things should have gone, but she did not act:

new generations grew smiles amid the old.


All around her bore the pall of somber fate.


She sulked.  She raised intolerance in status.

She bored her friends, off center of respect.

At last, she lined her walls with mollusk shells


sent her to excite the hollow breath of song

and sat alone until her body in disuse ached.

She wanted much more, but pretended less.


Until she dies, this account is unauthorized.


by Keith Moul  



Painted Face


Like a planet in a cold orbit, rarely

did he need the sun.  Stay on course,

rotate at an awful pace, shed your ice


into the unlived silence of black space.

He fished catfish to see them dangle

helpless on a line.  Waste their fish souls,


eat them panfried, wash them down with beer.

At private moments, with his lover in his arms,

he dreamed punishments for enemies.


Pile them on a heap, take your spoils,

mark your face with battle blood you won.

Passing within a whisper of home he did not hear.


Coming into old territory, he did not veer.

Leaving his mark on bushes, he felt gods in stars.

Steal children in pairs, in ritual gag them, then watch.


by Keith Moul 



Rebellion Takes Up Conspiracy With Mankind


Howard Thomas had grown engagingly human.

He nurtured Harry S. Truman, his heretical cat.

Howard, who had many, often invited

friends to visit him for bracing conversation

about what it meant to be engagingly human.


Howard provoked his friends to act feline;

occasionally, his friends engaged with claws.

More than ten feline friends are hard to herd.

But Howard rationalized that his humanity

could resist even the bloodshed of rebellion,

that as long as his friends stayed in his parlor

and did not spread their cat insurrection outside

the rest of Mankind would embrace their differences.


Harry S. knew better.  Harry S. would have preferred

that his instincts led the cat skirmish, from atop a cabinet,

a favorite place.  Harry S.Truman got exact terms

he wanted when human rebellion

took up conspiracy with Mankind.


Afterwards, Howard came to believe

that humanity will not be engaged

nor be well served by soothing purrs.


As a hermit, Howard expanded

the biography of notable cats.

Harry S sought other comforts.


by Keith Moul 


Keith’s poems have been published widely for almost 45 years. Recently two chaps have been released: The Grammar of Mind (2010) from Blue & Yellow Dog Press and Beautiful Agitation (2012) from Red Ochre Press. He also publishes photos widely. In fact, in 2010 a poem written to accompany one of his photographs was a Pushcart nominee.

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