Sanctuary

A poem by Randall Smith


Whitetails spoon in brittle frost,
In the peat bottom,
Sharing gut-born heat,
Shunning cracked static wind

Like new lovers swallowing
Hours in tangled refuge
From the feckless snap
Of strangers’ insults.


Randall currently collects his mail in Brooklyn.

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The Pale Patriarch

A poem by Randall Smith


In his twilight
In his fevered fetal position
He can’t untwist himself
From an unholy revulsion,
A Satanic vertigo.
Fighting a night sweat vomit bucket lurch
He tries to keep the gorge down
But his justice
Demands a release
Feeding the sense he has while dreaming
Of striking a blow at that dark nausea
As though a flash
Of violence
Could turn back
The tick of a clock
And untwist his cradled knees
And unclench his cramping bowels
Furiously lunging
But never quite reaching
The thing inside.

His veneer of faith
Adorning terror
His shining elevations
Framing self-absorbed dreams
His measures of nobility
And concrete virtue
Concretized in his physiology
Argue in their grandeur
That he must be well.
Still the night is upon him
And the night sweats
And the lunging dream
And the morning
A million ticks away
Argue that he may never be well.
And with an eternal memory
The past will remember him
In ways he finds unfamiliar
The cruelty and glory
The self-possession
The possession of others
The soaring unproven hopes
And all his concrete effects
Will cease and be inherited

He will nurse his dread
Until it swallows him
And he is forgotten

He may moan in agony
About unkind retribution
And call it unjust and undeserved
But his anxiety will be forgotten
And all his strange faith
Will be wasted as the
Saga forgets him
With one more inexorable
Tick of the clock


Randall currently collects his mail in Brooklyn.

Whirlwind of Ravens

A poem by Randall Smith


At once muscling
The bones of vernal maples
They rise spontaneous
Cycling in capillary descent
To glut on discarded Tortas
And beef cheeks
Fragrant with corn oil
Behind La Tienda Salvadoreno.

They land singly
Or in pairs
In rhythm
And return
After their allotted time
To the vortex
And they seem at home.

A thousand ravens,
A thousand different days,
Whirlwind in a countervail
To the Earth
Each landing in its allotted time
Each returning to the wind.

That’s another notion…

Unfurled as motion
Within motion
Simple in the suggestion
That the direction
And the endpoint
Of movement
Is unimportant
Only its inevitability
And if both motions stopped,
That of the earth,
Inexorable
Seemingly infinite
And of the whirlwind
Of the ravens
Spontaneous
Quick to vanish
It would lead us to
The fact of
Utter stillness

And the impossibility of
Any seeming
Of any being
Without a centrifuge
And a center point
And inexorable motion
And the orbits of
Ravens
Wound tight
‘round tortas
Would be the same impossibility
We face when we face God.


Randall currently collects his mail in Brooklyn.