good night moon good night father

while you snore I spend the night traversing your mouth like a derelict vagabond on occasion resting by a jagged molar noticing how your breath smells like turpentine and death noting how your tongue resembles a salmon-colored dragon its flame stilled for the evening slumbering sweating prepping itself for another day of blowtorch slaughter

on the beach

on the beach they’re all eating sand handfuls of grit the tide a retreating monster surly and selfish starfish curdle and bake beneath the huge orange boulder a marmalade star pus-colored and infected grown obese and too proud for the sky I write a message on the low-hanging arm of a cloud and watch the wisps shred into ether one question too many another prayer begged too late

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instead of a bible verse I had what you never said tattooed on my wrist some think it’s a corsage others a camp stamp from Auschwitz it doesn’t matter nothing does but that the moon follows me every day like a jealous stalker bent on revenge as I take a wrong turn pedal to the metal down the on-ramp

his best pick

at the wake there’s a séance in your eyes when I ask what you’d loved and who you’d kill and why you lied even though father favored you as no child should ever be favored

caught

there’s a power outage on your face everything ripe and disrupted as you wait for the tree to fall holding out your arms as if to catch a plummeting babe or a tooth that god spit free without even noticing

9 Comments

  1. Robert Vaughan

    Hi Len, these five ‘slivers’ are all so fabulous- love the lack of punctuation (rather e.e.cummings’ish!) and the poetic prose. I’m unsure if you intended these as all stand alone shards, or as I read them, if one leads into the next and they are five multi-shards of shared experiences or essences. It feels enmeshed, as if it’s a gourmet, a cavalcade of indelible words and mash-ups, a fly-by-the-seat or come-what-may deliverance. Much like life or at least this speaker(s) life (-ves). Also feels as if the flotsam and jetsam of dailiness seeps its way into our shared experiences. salmon-colored dragons/ marmalade star pus-colored/ camp stamp from Auschwitz/ father favored you as a child/ a tooth that god spit free. You know that most-quoted line in When Harry Met Sally? I’LL HAVE WHAT (S)HE’S HAVING!!! Brilliant work, friend.

  2. Roberta Beary

    This reads to me like a surreal braided haibun, which always includes a poem within a poem:

    if ‘goodnight moon goodnight father’ – is the title, then the poem within the poem is:

    on the beach
    traffic
    his best pick
    caught

    if not, then the poem within the poem is:

    goodnight moon goodnight father
    on the beach
    traffic
    his best pick
    caught

    Not sure which you intended that, Len, but both work for me!

    I second Robert’s ‘marmalade star pus-colored’ as a standout image, among many worthy contenders.

    Keep going where you going, and take me along for the ride!

  3. Roberta Beary

    This reads to me like a surreal braided haibun, which always includes a poem within a poem:

    goodnight moon goodnight father
    on the beach
    traffic
    his best pick
    caught

    Not sure which you intended that, Len, but it works for me!

    I second Robert’s ‘marmalade star pus-colored’ as a standout image, among many worthy contenders.

    Keep going where you going, and take me along for the ride!

  4. David O'Connor

    Len, I love how unleashed this is… on the screen, in sound, image, and idea. It feels different, fresh, totally unique to the controlled exactness of your other work that I have read. This definitely blurs the line between poetry and flash and I love it. Wild ride, keep on bucking!! Forca!!

  5. Koss Just Koss

    It doesn’t matter, nothing does . . . but the wake and seance in your eyes . . . I want more turpentine breath, more slivers, wonderful darkness, I don’t want to stop.

  6. Benjamin Niespodziany

    “eating sand handfuls of grit the tide a retreating monster” !!!!

    “at the wake there’s a séance in your eyes” !!!!

    Some of the lines and turns of phrase here are fantastic. I think the lack of punctuation really helps here. Feels like a free-flowing dream in the best of ways. Wild and vivid and dense.

  7. Meg Tuite

    Hi Len,
    Master of the word, the phrase, the description, the simile, the metaphor. This one’s a wild ass ride!!!
    ” beneath the huge orange boulder a marmalade star pus-colored and infected grown obese and too proud for the sky”
    “while you snore I spend the night traversing your mouth like a derelict vagabond”
    “at the wake there’s a séance in your eyes”
    “it doesn’t matter nothing does but that the moon follows me every day like a jealous stalker”
    “there’s a power outage on your face everything ripe and disrupted”
    It’s fucking brilliant and colossal! LOVE LOVE!

  8. Lisa Alletson

    Len, this is a stunning, wild ride. So much movement. Memorable images. I’m eating handfuls of grit right with them. Absolutely brilliant.

  9. Ryan Griffith

    Len, this is gorgeous. I am amazed not only by the language but by the form—each stanza cresting like a wave. Remarkable work.

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