Haunted Passages: Three Poems from MINERAL PLANET by James Pate

[In the garden of gray latex foliage]

In the garden of gray latex foliage / mouths eating out and eating in / trembling hands in front of the broken, seeping masks / a static emerald memory lodged in the back, reflecting the partylights / the bulb at the end of the hall at the end of the feast blinking in the graydawn light / lovesick sweet cannibalism /

We drank the wine in the den, among the mounted heads and depthless glass irises / a glitching river of lava current beneath the oceans underneath us / mouths with little gods chewing inside the mouth of big god / shaven figures struggling among themselves, chewing through the middles / bones of the teeth pressing through / nightflood spillage / in glass pupils /

[The parade roamed through, toward the longer shadows]

The parade roamed through, toward the longer shadows and the scent of fires / passed glittering roadkill and shorn doorways / night buried in the throats of day /

They passed patchwork tents, lungs of black leather inhaling /

Walked under trees with brutalized trunks /

Through hallways of bittertasting shrubs /

The woman by the stream, her eyes dark and seeing / chorus of ironwork angels / calling forth and from out /

How rock calcified into bone and wind into speech / no one threaded in the everyone and elsewhere / a number station counting backwards toward the end /

A parade of frost-sharp flowers, of gasping fish with staring eyes /

She slit them open, gutted the inedible portions / her masks our masks / her mouth always at our lips / stamped tin, cold gold / crumble-eyed

Dreaming in their bellies / violet hints blooming in their nightpockets / in steadfast and imploding descent /

[Angles of salt frozen along the shoreline]

Angels of salt frozen along the shoreline / grain and grain blown Elsewhere / garbed in moss and desiccated shrubbery / hips without legs, shoulders without chests /

Unwound, unstrung / holes in the flesh through which the wind burns /

Through the stony bluff the precession wound / salt breeze chafing / halo oilflames along the viaduct / high beasts of rust from which ivy clings /

Heights of each pit, heavens of air in the caverns /

James Pate is a poet, fiction writer, and book reviewer. He has had work published in Black Warrior Review, 3:AM Magazine, Tarpaulin Sky, Ligeia, Coffin Bell, and Occulum, among other places. His books include The Fassbinder Diaries (Civil Coping Mechanisms) and Flowers Among the Carrion: Essays on the Gothic in Contemporary Poetry (Action Books Salvo Series).

Image: reddit.com

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