Poetry and Rants by DC McKenzie

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In Memorial~Linn Andrews

17 December 2k9

~In Memorial~

Rest now, be at ease, Linn~Matriarch of the Andrews Family.
No more pain, the long suffering has at last surceased,
Your flame has gone from us, your Spirit mercifully released.
Yet, you remain bright in our memories, forever at peace.

~*~

Linn Andrews with her son, Darby

~*~

Linn with Wingnut

photo by Darby Andrews

~*~

—end transmission—

On Samhain

31 October 2k9

~A poem for Samhain~

Once upon a time… A time before Hallmark Halloween and Hershey Bars; before trick or treat. There was a time when many cultures, particularly the Gaelic peoples, celebrated Harvest, and honored the dead on this night.
It was believed that the barrier between this world and the Sidhe became thin, allowing for all sorts of trespassing both from and into our realm of the living. Being the final harvest, it was also a time of hard choices to survive the coming winter.

In many hidden faiths, this day and night are balanced against the Spring festival of Beltane on the Wheel of the Year; Samhain is considered to be a time for celebrating the lives of those we love who have passed from this life.
Surviving down through the centuries, sculpted to serve each new belief system in its own way, this night nevertheless retains a powerful hold on our imaginations. For this one night out of each year we stop and pay tribute to the Unknown.
Considering how much we do not know, this should be a large tribute indeed.

On this night let us acknowledge the bitter Darkness that we might cherish the fertile Light.

Ouroboros
The Cycle of Life

Ouroboros

~*~

that cannibal poem

—credo quia absurdum

few of us truly believe
we will draw the short straw
and be killed for food.

or that behind sterile walls
hidden away from prying eyes
spiders are silently plotting our demise;
and even now creatures loosed from the zoo
might be amassing to stage their coup.

there may come a fine summer day
when this fuming parking lot
is a fair field of honey hay;
when sharks swim upriver
hunting in swimming holes
for an easy dinner.
and packs of piranha prowl poolside patios,
while here at this barren bus stop
there will be a grizzly bear buffet.

some things are so absurd
they must be believed:
that in this youniverse
there is room for a me.

the trick, it seems, is to know
—when to run
instead of standing around gawking
—when to dance
instead of sitting there talking

it does you no good to live in dread
of things that are slithering beneath your bed.
when morning comes and finds you still alive
just shake off that tired, old bogeyman jive.

now, it’s easier to will a comet
down into your loving arms
than it is to outgrow being a fool.
yet, in the end, it is far better
living round within square rules.

some consider it misfortunate and macabre
a sign of narcissistic hypochondria
to entertain the rather gruesome idea

that there might be a tumor
lurking somewhere inside us
a wild growth
we will never see
waiting to undo us.

yet, life is finer when you snuggle up
to the Reaper; the meat’s so much sweeter
when you make a friend of Death

so, here I stand, atop a heap
of defeated worries and bony woes
waving a stone club over my head
howling at the heavens to awaken the dead.

for it is easier to believe i could do the eating
then be eaten.
the future, you see, is certain,
minute by minute,
the only question
is whether or not we are in it.

 

 

 

DC McKenzie


—end transmission—

River and Rock

12 October 2k9

A poem for someone I greatly admire. Someone who, though disabled of the body, has a mind all the stronger for her many painful trials. Someone who, instead of retreating into isolation and depression, summons the strength of a bright, compassionate spirit, and formidable will, to help others every day. Many are often in a time of despair. Vulnerable to the demons at our backs, you show us that we are not the sum of our failings, or our illness.

And rather than trying to heal our wounds, she somehow finds a way to help us find healing within.

Sensei, you are to us as the patient river is to eternal rock:

slowly helping to reshape us over time, gently coaxing out the beatific within.

With gratitude, I dedicate this poem to you.

~*~

the bent wing

A convocation of crows has gathered,
raucous beneath an Elder riverside Oak.

Rough northern sister of the steaming Delta,
the mighty Mississippi River churns in Her cradle.
First road of the New World, She bears our burdens still,
Taking what the Iron Range sends Her.
—In our hearts, the word for patience is River.

We deny Her:
We measure the rain and pray against Her rising.
We build a stone girdle for Her, with deep steel locks,
and the bargemen sing that Her curves sway for us alone.

When we sleep we think the River is not changing.
—In our hearts, when we read the future,
the runestone always says River.
We dredge Her like a clumsy lover
and believe we have revealed all of Her secrets.

When the Lady of the Lake
fled the ruins of the Old World,
fled the smoke and plague of
the last siege of Avalon
She rose from the water
and looked to the West.

When the Lady of the Lake
fled the ruins of the Old World,
She came to the Mississippi River.

Yet we deny the River, with noxious veils of toxin,
with shackles of reeking effluence.
We deny Her suffrage and this can come to no good.

I dance among the cryptic crows, wooing my muse
from Her moonshrouded bed. I caw and croon into Her dreams
of the warm summer sun as She shuffles chunks of dirty ice.
Restive, in the corsets we fashion of sandbags and cinderblock stays,
She murmurs that the spring floods are coming.

—In our hearts, Love is a River and the embrace of
some bridges remind me of Consequences.

A bent wing glides above me
whispering black the River Song.

Scattered leaves at my feet,
brown from winter’s grasp,
have become frozen in the ice.

A piece of my heart there resides,
waiting for the River to rise.

 

~D.C. McKenzie

—end transmission—

Crossroads no. one

3 September 2k9

~In Memorial, Gayle Janecek~

~*~

more words on ashes and loss

Grief is the circling of our hearts against the unknown.
Devoid of boundaries, or limits of space and time,

grief cannot be “gone through”, cannot be fled from;
it must be allowed to permeate, then endured—no more.

Grief the Bogeyman waits around every corner
to remind us of the fear rooted in our chests.

Hidden within our lullabies, woven into our faery tales,
grief is the pitiless Taskmaster

teaching us to treat each day
as if it were our last chance to make things right.

We must make our peace with grief at every chance.
Because every day, often in each moment,

grief confronts us, assails us
with the terrible finality of its truth.

For grief is the acknowledgment that, at the last,
we face death alone, taking with us only memories

of those we love beyond the bright gates.
We who remain must learn to dance on the ashes of our loss.

~D.C. McKenzie
~090309~


—end transmission—

As The Nightingale Sings

13 July 2k9

“Oh, my dear boy, sometimes I know so well what I want. I can very well do without God both in my life and in my painting, but I cannot, ill as I am, do without something which is greater than I—the power to create.” Vincent to Theo~Letter no.531

In his definitive 1977 catalogue raisonné “The Complete Van Gogh” Dr. Jan Hulsker quoted Picasso in the overleaf, who asked, “Why do the Dutch mourn for Rembrandt? They have Van Gogh.” Dr. Hulsker continued, “Indeed, for many people today van Gogh’s vibrant paintings, created in torment and struggle, are more meaningful and closer to their own concerns than are Rembrandt’s…”

Without detracting from the true mastery of Rembrandt, I heartily agree. And it is as true now as it was in 1888, 120 years ago…some 44,144 days have passed since Vincent sat with Eugène Boch and painted what he considered to be but a “first sketch” of a much grander portrait. Time is the Judge, however, for as Dr. Hulsker wrote, and to which I would not add a word, “There seems scarcely any reason to want a more finished version; the portrait as it stands ranks as one of the most personal and impressive works Vincent painted.”

Hence I feel I must ask, with a heavy heart—had Vincent known the impact his work would have on the world, would he have perhaps been able to stay his hand? If only for a short time.
Time enough, at the least, to find some peace of mind, some ease of the soul.

Portrait of Eugène Boch~Vincent van Gogh

Portrait of Eugène Boch~Vincent van Gogh~courtesy http://www.vggallery.com

*

Letters 505, 531 & 546 revisited

Once, Vincent, you daydreamed into reality the portrait
of Eugène Boch, in Arles, during the autumn of 1888.

A ‘fellow artist’ you named him;
and wrote to Theo that—he dreams great dreams.

You wrote that he works as the nightingale sings:
because it is in his nature.

Compassionate, almost worried, you laid bare
his expression. Green eyes become hazel, keenly seeking…

You painted infinity for a background:
an azure void broken only by the palest

of argent and rose-gold stars.
Such beacons, like Spring blossoms

rising up from an ultramarine mind-field of muddy laments,
such stars burn clean through our hidden expectations—

Illuminating, and thus forever changing,
all that their delicate, eternal radiance falls upon.

~D.C. McKenzie


—end transmission—

On your Birthday

29 June 2k9

…a poem you have always liked.

I dedicate this tonight for you Gayle, with all of my love.

*

Blackwing’s Lament


I believe in miracles.
I stomp in mud puddles.
I let the wind have my hair.
I believe in love,
so I learned to dance from laughing Raven.

The sight of pavement still makes me cry,
so I carry a piece of bright blue chalk
to speed the passage of my feet.

I have seen cunning Fox abandon fleeing Rabbit
in the running swiftness of a hunt;
transfixed by the sight of a triple rainbow
we stood alike panting, rooted by sheer wonder.

I know the words to Imagine by heart—
I am not afraid of them.

I speak Coyotes secret name. I call to her
through braided runes of driftwood smoke
rising up to the Spirits; in the hushed night,
our song to sister Moon is a love ballad, a feral lament.

Once I met wounded Bald Eagle, long exiled from the sky,
who had only one wing. He lived in a round, steelscreen
cage to keep away chatty Magpies and jeering tourists.
Caught in the constant wind tugging at him,
forever whispering to him,
a piece of ivory down
floated from his ruined flank into my palm.
I carry it with my bright blue chalk.

If you can live without flying
so
can
I

I have stood in mute, salt despair
as human thunder rolled through a forest;
Goblin-greedy poachers had shattered mother Bear.
Her spirit left forsaken—
steaming, roaring
through boles of witness Red Cedar and Spruce,
floating woeful on raw, autumn mists.

There are days when I am a stranger
to my family, to my tribe, and I see Raven soaring.
Blackwing trickster above our concrete forest,
I see Raven soaring—
there rides my spirit.

~D.C. McKenzie


—end transmission—

Signal Lost

DRA is experiencing technical difficulties at this time.

Please Stand By

Signal Lost

Signal Lost

—end transmission—

on nefarious neighbors and petrol pandemonium

1 June 2k9

My Neighbor Tells All
—Rage city tales pt. 7

While taking a roll through the neighborhood
I happened on a roadgang raising havoc
with a gas-fired wood chipper.

Stopping to watch, I soon became mesmerized
by the verdant, leafy pile disappearing;
pushed by diligent minions
down into a metal gullet.

Mesmerized, yes, and excited as well
by my own wanton appetite
for destruction of the ogre machine.

Hardhat sycophants feed it the green limbs of trees
dismembered for their ugly appearance,
or where they happened to be growing.

From within the danger-yellow, dented maw
there comes pandemonium
the sound of doomsday slouching forth
a ruckus of Wood Nymphs enraged
the sound of civilization ending by rending.

While, from its diesel-driven bowels,
out spits nothing but chunks
and clouds of greasy dust
spewing up into an arcing fountain.
A drift lay piled up in the back of a waiting garbage truck.

…Grinder will gobble up everything one day…

the maddened ogre murmurs
within the mayhem of exploding dinosaurs.

“Man, you could pulverize a body with that thing!”

My neighbor bawls, booming into a silence
created by the sudden killing of Grinder’s engine.
It’s not silence really, rather it is an emptiness of sound
a riot of molecules screaming into the vacuum
once filled by a furious and vengeful demigod.

In the clamor he has snuck up on me,
is standing right behind me, this neighbor.
And I am perfectly certain that my heart
really will leap up out of my chest,
flee from my shocked, witless mouth
and fly straight into the waiting gob of Grinder.

“Yep! You could chew through a whole body
pretty quick with a monster like that.”

Quieter now, but no less disturbing,
his voice is hoarsealmost reverent.
We have rarely spoken, this neighbor and I.

He’s heavy-eyed this one, with a Gorgon gaze:
acting as if by his keen weather-sense
he feels capable of Judgmentof sussing out the malingerers,
of rooting out the unworthy, of meting out punishment.

His stare is weighted with thinly-veiled
contempt; as if I reek of weakness
and he can smell me wherever I go.

I have always given him dubious distance.
In this moment I am not sure why that was
only that I was right to do so.
He looks to me for some kind of response, and
sensing the patience of a bully in him, I realize that

I am not sure what to say.

He has a compelling face carved over a long age.
its surface is a lunar field of fissured craters,
belying an eternal battle with volcanic acne.
Ever the old soldier, he still worries at those war wounds
such that they are perpetually on the verge of eruption.

Seen up close, his eyes are chipped marbles of blue;
almost dreamy, those eyes give scant hint
of the heat seething inside the brain.
Iceberg eyes set slackly adrift;

until, upon voracious Grinder, a fond,
brutish stare is avidly affixed…
absently stabbing with one blunt finger
at an angry lava vent on his forehead.

Trying not to wince, I bobble my head vaguely,
neither up, nor down exactly.
Squirming slightly in my wheelchair.
Where to start with such an opening statement?

“Yeah,” says I, “but

Grinder, gnashing-demon of the trees,
roars to sudden life:
demanding sap
demanding tithe
shocking me like a cat out of one more life.

My neighbor, this Judge of Humans, stands
wearing a child’s smile, arms akimbo;
utterly free of guilt at loving such a terror.

“Sure,” he yells into my ear,  “the skull would bounce
around for a little while, skipping on the blades, it’s true…”

He whips one finger around in tight circles,

“But, eventually, you could shove it right through.”

.

~DC McKenzie

—end transmission—

Photo from a Friend

1 June 2k9

Photo from my friend Sharlie. A talented artist, a wonderful mother, and good friend…Thank You Shar!

Sandvikens Stradivarius by Shar

Sandvikens Stradivarius by Shar

—end transmission—

Poem from the Asylum~no.two

14 May 2k9

4 West pt ii. ~Invisible

Just a few sentences from crazy
She says,
that’s all any of us are

Working in a modern madhouse
she would know
about creeping crazy

about how the bogeyman gets inside,
about people
tied down at night

become shadows unknown
to themselves
hidden away from our sight

where they are vulnerable to any bully
who wants
to take a piece of them

You could be insane and not know
She says,
so many of us are

Crazy is as crazy does as crazy is
she shudders slackly,
they say it’s not contagious

but hang around long enough
to get some good
old-fashioned closet-therapy

some mental manacles tight,
chemical restraints
to ease your plight

and then you’ll see the truth
She says,
there is no safe place

to scream, or to whisper even
in the darkness,
a few unguarded words

~D.C. McKenzie

Migrainous Rex

~*~

—end transmission—