REPTILE HOUSE
Works from 1994-1998

Patrick J. Dempsey



1994


DROWSY

Sitting alone in solitute
waiting to go to sleep
sitting alone, my thoughts awry
in an ocean of blankets deep.

The blackness engulfs my body
as the night air kisses my face
the blackness engulfs my mind
as I drift off into space.

My eyelids weighted by stones
extremities all gone limp
and imagination has waited for hours
to float on a phosphorous blimp.

I've left my body while the moon is arise
in a phosphorous blimp on high
I've left my soul till shadows fly
and the bright beacon of reality
opens up mine eye.

Sitting alone on pillows
yawn marks my finish
I can't stay awake
for ano the e r m i n u t e.

***

OWL

Over an oaken ocean the old owl orbits
observe.

The wise watcher weaves over the waves of wood.
Searching this sea, he spots the shiny scaly snake.
The craven creature crawled as carefully as it could
but the bird so bravely bounced the beast
his beak did break
so serpent surrendered as soon as he saw
his skin was as it should
and as for the aged avian his all around did ache.

MORAL

Do dem who do dastardly deeds does death deserve?

***

A PRIMAL PORTRAIT OF PRONUNCIANTION
PROVIDED PROLIFICALLY BY PATRICK


The great green grasslands grow greedily in the grey gruesomeness,
The cornering cloud
grandly grieving the graves of the dead, gravitating, grasping
to otherworldly principles.

Gripping the granulations of time.
Groping the gravelly essence of existence
in the ever ebbing evening
of this day; darkening
thinning tides of time
still chaotically crashing
against the shores of the universe.

What are these wild weeds wavering wantonly in the wind and washing rain?

Which wonders were so weary as to be worn
by those chilling corpses as clothing rags?

What rain renders it revenge
unto the tattered tapestries
of the cramped corpses' casket
now known to the necromancer of newly
developed sensory of the deceased?

A symphony of solidly splashing showers soon seeps, cenitmeter a second
into the solid silicone and stone, and so sends solid to sog
sometimes sieving itself soundly into the songs of sonnets-men.

Songs sung in syllables of sounds savored by the singer
and bounced back
from the slowly swaying branches of beech
and so now nature nurtures the nocturnal noises
into independent instruments enjoyed by the ingeniousity of internal
melody manufacturers.

What grave grounds to grant gratuity.

(All allowing aliterary allowances.)

***


1995


The roots of the angertree
are rotted from indecency
pick a fruit and take a bite
infiltrate your soul with spite.

Do unto others a wrathful deed
and water that evil seed.

When you're mad it comes alive
and when you're mean it grows and trives
and if your wrath meets a head
the flower blossoms; crimson red.

***

What gods are these
who's thunder rolls
who's lightning strikes
who's cold wind blows?

And what damnation
to be met
on those already
cold and wet?

Dreching pouring
making mud
crashing tidal wave
of the flood.

Drown the world
in your waters
swim away?
No one bothers.

***

Have no time to disown
spend it all growing old
watching all the quiet things
collecting dust and it rains
outside my filthy windows.

I'm low like nobody knows.

I've been lonely swill wandering
wide-eyed and wondering.

***

SPANKY'S

Nothing left but potato chips
and an empty glass
and my whole life in front of me
like this table
with ketchup and sweet and low
straw-wrappers and napkins
spitballs.

***


HEADING WEST

As the rails complain beneath me
and the sun is low
and shooting through the window
and the trees fly by
and a million sights and sounds
that I thought I'd never have found.

A soft warmth
a comforting freshness surrounds me
as we fly along slow
through the gentle valley; I doze
it seems I die
but not on familiar grounds
as we pass by the tired towns.

Heading home
a home I thought I'd never see
a place I'd never know
where the lazy strangeness grows
and nothing meets the eye
passed a million of the stoic towns
into the heart of America and down.

Surrender
I surrendered to the Mississippi
all wide and slow
where time seemed to have froze
the woman across from me starts to cry
and a million sights and sounds
that I thought I'd never have found.

***

CELEBRATING THE LIZARD

Rough
a million scales
sharp and green
and streching like a river
and splashing and cresting at elbows and hips
supported by tiny claws.

Nervous
fidgeting eyes
sharp and keen
and blazing like fire
and burning and searing at mind and soul
supported by an iron will.

***

BACK TO THE EAST

As we headed back along the deserted
concrete causeways
the rocks that jutted
(where men hewed and perverted
the earth in those lost days)
called to us and uttered
for us not to go.

The wide open west was behind us
like the days passed
but not forgotten
because it refined us
in cemetaries vast
and frontiers untrodden
by friend or foe.

And as we descended from the ancient hills
into the valleys of the east
between the mountains and the sea
where once the waves my cup did fill
with salt and vigor of the least
and to my lips it was tea
and filled me from head to toe.

***

THE OHIO RIVER

When we were west
where the wandering waters
of the Mississippi
waft

the supple slowness
spread softly; sauntered
from the Mississippi
aloft

down drowsy desert dale
where dwell the drunken daughters
of the Mississippi
soft

undaunted it inundates
the industries of undiluted wafters
on the Mississippi
aloft

lacing lethargic loops into them
latching into loneliness; the lazy laughter
of the Mississippi
lofty.

***

THE TEACHER

Instead of taking measures
to carefully determine
the boy's capacity
to learn
the teacher poured in ledgers
of useless information
in order to displace
the truth.
Mounds of books and other dredgers
drowned the boy in pages
as he got older
from misuse
and left him without pleasures
under book and under weather
for the rest of the days
of his youth.

***

SCHOOL

Here along starch-ed halls
the miserable silence invades
five hundred marching seconds
as the clock makes it's way back
back down the stairs
step by step into the cafeteria
where the cold floor steals it's energy
and the echoes are dimming
and leaving nothing.

"Speaking of dreams
I had one last night."
said the porter to the hangman's delight
"one million glowing eyes!
one hundred thousand dead souls"
the dreams are real he said
"dead dead dead"
the potential is the greed
that ravishes the undying curiousity
and the dreams are dimming
and leaving nothing.

Let us die then
with thin smiles on our faces
as we escape the fires in hell
with barely our own lives
the clock is dead as any wrecked machine
pieces strewn across the higher consciousness
and nothing
the miserable silence invades.

***

I pick myself off the bed
and head
directly into the stinking bathroom
and loom
over the roaches and insects and things
infesting my whole existence.

Consider for instance
the eternal entrapment
as I brush off
all my attachments.

I stare blankly into the poor-lit mirror
and fear
and I am becoming more and more like everyone
and some-
times I wonder if I was born or bred into society
and if we
really are alive.

***

ACIREMA

Lasting languishing laughing
the sun is down on us

we are enfelled
judicious hatred spilling
from my cup

western furniture
sofas

hardwood polished oak
burnished with them
googals

faintly smirking grimacing
movie stars

refrigerators.

***

businessmen in jackets
on luncheons
swallowing the gossip
of stocks and expenditures

A wilting carnation
dies further from boredom.

***


1996


PARTY

speechless conversation
cigarette butts
someone is coughing
afraid it might hurt
"the party is great
where's the bathroom"
think I'm closed captioned
the monkey thinks it's funny
he's our mascot
too much smoke
it's too hot

***

CASTING ANERS

Alone
standing on a corner
a man without legs
drinks from his useless shoes.

Snow collects
in his bowl shaped head
as he smiles
and waves to the children
as they run
away.

Casting Aners
they call him
an inbred dog
will run and hide
behind the fear
behind the fearless eyes.

***

INDIGNANCE

She unwraps herself
untwists unties
undoes.

She undoes herself
unfolding the tentacles
to reveal the brittle skin
contracting and dialating.

Confess
indignance.

Devour the darkness
it fills you
its reaps you.

It is not alive yet
but I don't know if I'm ready
to see it alive yet anyway
it fills you
it rapes you
it reaps you.

Confess
indignance.

***

INDIGNANCE (REPRISE)

She floats down
the winding stairs
as the fog envelops
her.

The liquid rolls down her skin
bleeding
out from her wounds.

I am slowly drawn in
needing
something new.

She spreads wide
her porcelain arms
maneuvering her lips
around the syllables.

Close her descends.

The cascading hair
follicle and strand
flowing
around her figure.

Again she whispers
indignance.

***

CONCEIT

I am the moldy orange
all fuzzy
the one that the sweet
girls passover
the one that the hopes and dreams
are wasted on
unkempt
splotched
smelly
festering with bugs
throw me away
I am the moldy orange.

***

ASTRONAUT

so black the air is thin
we float out but never come back
and never go in

so still the night is calm
we float out but never will
retreive the dawn

***


1997


Mornings
are cold
milky and thick.

Aprils in the city
are windy
but we know that soon there will be long hot days.

There will be sweat on our brows
and scalding flesh
and girls in bikinis
waiting for their own sun god
to fall from the sky.

But for now
the clouds of April
deceive the sun.

The girls
will have to wait
alone and cold.

***

WITH A GREAT CARNAL SMILE
SHE RETURNS MY DAISYCHAIN GLANCE


A glance from across
a crowded room

cold and hard as flint
that sparks dead embers

sharp as the scalpel
that slices sinewy flesh

two bullets shot from
those lashed barrels.

And then nothing

only noise
to annoy
and distract.

***

SCANNING

Thick vapors pour
from the mouth of the demon
sliding tenously through the teasing teeth
shining eyes scour
over the details of the land.

***

37TH & BAY

Intersection children
run and scream
trailing decapitated wragdolls
and jump over the yard couch.

Not seeing
the rigid body
or the weeping of mourning mothers.

Not seeing
their brother's blood seep
into the dry grass.

***

VIRGINAL WHITE

She is too delicate
to walk
on magnolia blossoms
shattered like porcelain teacups
on the concrete walk.

But not delicate enough
to wear
a long cotton
dress.

***

REPTILE HOUSE

Without
so much as a whisper
she slides into bed
with me
and begins to
devour me whole.

But now she has
stopped writhing
and her body
is cold
against mine.

In the morning
the herpetologist
comes
to find her dead.

But I never knew
I had poison skin.

***

DEATH

As her head turned
a soft river of blood
spilled from those vermillion lips.

And with velvet fingertips
I dare to disturb
the silence of her suspended breaths.

***

DESIRE

Her eyelid is the blanket of my desire
which sleeps in those soft pools
and wakes with every breath.

And it is not for me to say "awake"
or peel back those covers
when she chooses to be alone.

***

I SAW GOD

The black mechanism of death
is outstretched
and presses a dent
in my thoughts.

I see now God
laughing
for the first time

for it is only the fear
of a dormant bullet
that may suddenly awaken
and turn out the lights

the sees Me now
praying
for the first time.

***

BUFFALO HIDE

Stretched out
on wooden frames
and smeared
with oils
tanning flesh blistering in the sun.

Hard brown leather
with bikini lines.

***

VANQUISH NOT

With dust covered vision
I have tasted your soft skin
and recoiled to my chambers
to kiss with chaste eyes
to touch with glass lips
which shatter at pillow gates.

Taste not foul intentions
on the air with flickering tongue.

Hear not shameful pauses
on the tails of tense phrases.

Walk in peach caresses
to lift these raven's wings
and tear sheet from flesh
and bring me to your awareness.

But alas, milky pearls
from my liquid sockets drop
for my lips remain
unshattered.

***

HUFFY

Fifth-grade professional
bicycle retailers
restock
with rusty
pipe-lengths
and test drive
their new
merchandise.

***

HESITANT

Behind bloodshot corneas
quivering pale skin
and dry numb lips
I stand
in revelation.

All these years
have reduced us
to ashes and dust

hardened against
tears and roses

expressionless
mute faces
marching down
corridors
that are
only distractions
until
death.

***

STACEY

I have taken you
arm in arm
and your fleshy tourniquet
has cut off my
supply of ambition.

So strolling
down frozen alleyways
I make no sudden
moves
I am content
with the slight touching
of hips and shoulders.

I am passionate
about dispassion
but I have never hesitated
to flash you a
crooked grin.

***

DROP

I do not want to leave
my gentle stream
frothing over tiny
cascades.

I do not want to be
churned by the rotors
of an oceanliner
or be swallowed by sharks.

I am content to ride
the ripples of a
hunting waterstrider
or fallen leaf.

I am content to be
scooped up
in the hands of a
playing cherub
and kept on a quiet
shelf beside
seashells
and a
feather.

***


1998


CHARLTON SQUARE

Hearty breaths
heard from here
for five
blocks I wandered
to find
his
alcove.

But with no
coins to show
my appreciation
he left me
with echoes
of those
thumpet sighs.

***

VINNIE'S

wafting fragrant New York style
magnet for the masses

The aroma of
satisfaction.

***

crush dreams
with crimson
lullaby
and tasteless
chocolate cream

smooth rivers
silk and satin
fingertip fragrances

***

SUNRISE

Liquid ascension:
fire and water
boiling
off woolen
sweaters
for the edges
of the
sky.

***

Now that space is crossed
more and more of God's face is lost.
We have penetrated
heaven with rockets
investigated and debated
photomontages of the crime
but we still
cannot find

Cloud 9

***

Like Kung Fu I have walked the Earth
sprung flung from the eternal birth.

Zen acts of meditation:
tha correlation...

Education of the self:
health not wealth dictates success:
obsessed with greed:
feed on tha childish need within:
beginin in embyonic states
all relates to what yo momma ate back then.