October 1, 2014

Poetry: A Selection of Poetry By JW Drake

JW Drake lives and writes poetry and other things in North Carolina. He has had work published in "Nefarious Ballerina," "Red Ochre Press," "Line Zero," "Red Booth Review," and other small but extremely intelligent printed and e-publications. He will always appreciate more. 

Face Paint

Getting the face right depends a lot on the colors,
black may make for cruelty or laughter,
white can be happy or hateful or dead,
and red raises hopes or burns them in the fire.
Light pinkish orange and rose accents with golden highlights
make virgin faces, purple shadows bring up cafes
and the occasional absinthe,
and the redder tones against the blacks and tans add
the touch of murder under stairs.

Some cheyennes make black eyebands to go above
a white face below, and some add red streaks across the
eyes because their shaman told them so, remnants of
ancestor faces from the plains,
useful for the bearded buffalo,
useless against mustachioed pale

A scot can be all blue with righteous revolution,
killed and killing for muddy tarnsides
and a wee o respect, but the same blue on
prince titus might cause the fall of gaul,
himself painted yellow and red where war
hammers struck deep pits until the yelling
stopped forever.

Best to mix the yellow ochre and the crimson
Indiana Voice Journal
with a little ultramarine to get the fleshy face tones
caravaggio sought for his nasty boys,
a little chiaroscuro goes a long way with vices.

Getting faces right depends a lot on the features,
not just where you put the nose but also on the kind of nose
you use, one that fits the known or desired individual,
maybe by type or kin or damage done, boxer or patrician
or leper.

Eyes are important too, eyes that wink or know,
that glance or stare, open, closed, aslant, abulge,
red rage, dull dolor, bright desire,
and the colors, the northern blues, the southern browns,
the greys and hazels, or a green, or black spots like paint drips
amedeo preferred, and lines, slanted;
a little kohl can bring a certain bronze age
look of love, often accompanied by stolen golden earrings
still tinged with some other hyksos blood.

Blue scot chins jut in revolt, the white cheyenne’s disguises death,
a bearded chin can be mistaken, pointy ones can lead to lies,
quivering can convey disaster, carbon ash can blacken chins
that hunt their food or sing false notes.

A red mouth in the lower face, red lips pushed out to pout, sucked in to
grimace at bad jokes and pain, or turned up in smile or open laugh
saying so much and so little at once, (watch for the flicking tongue!)
(watch out for the sharpened teeth!)(watch for the slitted smile!)
sweetsweetsweetsoursoursoursingsangsung the mouth is always painted
in earnest, cheyenne white clown-and-country red politician grey
lover crimson, glistening, pucker up and whistle, mouths make a face work.

BOINNNGGGGG! winking across the room,
snarling through broken branches,
aloof across streets, suckling red nipples,
slanting down some star satellite feed, faces make meanings,
the deepest feelings, the broadest inclinations
taken from the widest grins,
the many looks of love or hate, the pity and the power looks
that drive our hearts and other body parts,
the real, imagined, painted and painted up,
what we show the world and the world shows back.

Video caveo.A

Hell Yes

There aren't too many places you can get a good view of Hell
unless you're in it, down there, and can see the black river
and mountains - I think there must be some mountains,
at least one where the guy is pushing a big rock up
and every time he gets it to the top
it rolls back down and he has to come down again
himself and start over. He might have built himself 2 camps by now,
seems to be an energetic sort, 1 at the top and 1 at the bottom,
places to stay and rest in between rolls.

Maybe he gets a long break in between rolls, though of course
he can't just say fuck it and leave, but maybe
he can do something else for awhile, run a little guide service,
make some money (or whatever passes for money in Hell)
he could call it the Hell-Top Tours and take other burning souls up with him
to the top to see what's there, and maybe get a few to help
push, I don't know if that's allowed, but there could be
souls there who would trade Hell jobs with him, if only for the change.

Like that guy who rows the death ferry, now he may want a switch
now and then, or permanently! Or the one who sits in the pool of water
under some fruit trees, maybe Sumerian pomegranate or
greek apple, but he can’t quench or sate and so stays
tantalized and unfulfilled, maybe watching the other guy push the rock
or spending a little time trying to dodge the firecoals
dropping on his head from the dark smoke clouds, many hissing into
his pool or knocking burning pomegranates down on him, too,

metaphorically, I’m sure.

Socrates in Thessaly

old man stands alone
at end of sand rock road,
arms at side, barefoot, silent,
twisting hands around and around,
around and around,
wrists wrinkled and brown
fingers disjointed in release,
body bare and burnt from straight-on sun,
back bending and straightening,
bending and straightening,
hard feet dusted with broken sea-shells,
milky eyes glaring at the empty western sea,
ferocious mind throbbing with questions
never to be asked,
soul strangled by words
never more

~JW Drake

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