Sniper on the 10th Floor
Every time I’m on the tenth floor,
counting the freezers storing life,
I turn and look out the window.
I watch other lives being lived,
but most of all I look for you—
the hunter who hates me.
I know I’m in your crosshairs;
they burn my back when I turn.
But you never shoot.
I walk alone down the same streets
thinking the same thoughts
as every night before.
But on this night a scent
cuts through the clouds;
it’s the smell of a million rose petals.
It is feminine, it is beautiful.
It beckons to me with a hand fair and mild.
I eat the air like manna.
But then, as suddenly as the scent appears,
it is gone.
Reminding me that it is for someone else.
Cathedral in the Mist
February exhales fog—
it covers every corner
with a damp film.
It cannot be scrapped off by mortal fingers.
But the claws of God pierce and project north.
Stone spires signaling the end of the fog’s empire.
And behind the final curtain of mist,
against the soundtrack of rain,
are the stain glassed windows
dyed a mournful yellow.
Hate cuts through the trees,
limb by limb.
The grass and bamboo are replaced by steel
Cold bricks and blocks of stone
rest against the mountain.
Where once was wind divine
is now the plague bacillus
bred in the iron temple.
Priest-gods in white robes are masked.
They come with scalpel fingers;
they want to touch your inferior body.
Do you let them?
If they offer you cold,
do you agree?
Maybe the horror of it all
is that there was never a choice.
All of nature’s order could not beat back
the encroachment of a new religion.
Pale rider, riding an iron horse.
Calling out in single-note warnings.
They drone from tower to tower,
touching all the glass all the way down.
You have no defense—
the rider is for you, but it’s not stopping.
You get to hear the warning,
but not heed it.
It’s time but it’s also too late.
The Misanthrope’s Philosophy
The worms eat at the periphery of meaning.
There is no center;
there is no holding back the march of insects.
Civilization? A civilization of bugs.
A civilization of disease worshippers,
with their hungry bodies cut wide open.
Blood, heart’s blood, gathers infection
for maggots to feast.
Watch how they dine so elegantly.
Once there were entrails,
but the seers went home early
for battered brains.
This is how the world ends.
Grotesque and apathetic.
Directing the desiccation to a new ocean.
Camp on the Cold Lake
Come up, conjuring.
She chants over the orange and red flames.
Resurrect and reassure
that this world isn’t boring.
Turn the cold water hot.
Bequeath ghost children,
ready to eat away all the Mondays.
She sings the blasphemy.
She hums the upside down hymnal.
She does everything to fill the nothing.
By midnight, the mass has ended.
No demons dared answer.
So she goes home to commit more pedestrian sins.
Bells ring behind houses,
sounding the end of days.
An empty tram scuttles on steel claws.
A yawn escapes into the night.
The city belongs to the walkers,
destined to go nowhere.
To Face Itself
Rather than sunshine on the sleeping swan,
these eyes see the moss on the cellar walls.
No pretty face or well-pressed dress
can impress like a miasma of menace
or the scum between the slats.
Pale and pallid are the figures
of this aristocratic form.
The rhymes rhyme with blood,
and have no trade with love.
The songs I sing are dirges all.
The notes hate the summer;
worship the Fall.
They are dirges all.
On the night we went to Pietro’s Castle,
the will-o-wisp on the lake
asked for souls to take.
We’d gladly offers ours now.
However, we were then recusants;
our knees un-bended
although our bellies were distended
through no fault of our own.
In madness not yet love,
we chased their yellow eyes,
all the while under the guise
of mocking their martyrdom.
The saints said nothing to us sinners,
but we know in a diseased way
that the little death lay
just beyond the hills.
I’ve since seen it as a suicide garden,
yet few memories remain so awake—
so eager to make
this old heart collapse with melancholy.
We both left too much at the castle gate.
Some that cannot be discussed,
with unmentionable feelings.
I wonder if you feel the same.
Can you recall the night in the fall
when insanity conquered all
and we just lived?
Benjamin Welton is the author of Hands Dabbled In Blood (Thought Catalogue, 2013), a study of twentieth century British literature and its relationship to revolutionary fervor. His poems, short stories, historical writing, and journalism have .
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