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Exquisite Corpse
Issue 8A Journal of Letters and Life

Seven Poems
by Dale Smith
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Spaced Under a Tree
Once I dreamed
of Bombastus Hohenheim
          alone in a storm
               under a tree
      near the city Basel.
We sheltered under branches
     sharing some neo-Platonic warmth
          while around us raged
               a bitter storm.
          Look he said I can see
     your dis-ease has progressed far.
Have you a remedy
or do you just get by?
My master said
I left him well equipped.
     Well, let's have a look he said.
     And as the top lifted
to my invulnerable kit
          salt was all
     we found in it.
               There's nothing in us, he said,
that's not outwardly marked
so that by the exterior
one may discover
what's in the individual
who bears the sign.
Then a wind blew up
     sweeping him away.
I woke to a mist,
the kind that clouds
both head and sky.


A North African told me
our forms and fortunes
were converted into alien natures,
     and then back again
by a twist of fate
     into our first selves.
This man, a stranger,
     addressed me as Light.
Lucius, let me bend your ear
to a tale that entails
     the failing of an ass.
When I woke from this dream
lubed in a creamy swath of moonlight
I reached for a sip
     of rosehip tea,
that great body of morning
moving in me.
New Whirled
Across the sea
in calm and tempest
I followed currents that brewed my blood with salt.
Landing I gathered my things
and with my kit intact
     walked up a beach that
stripped me down.
          broken over rock
and jellyfish
bejeweled white sand.
My nakedness tanned,
     I hardened my hooves
on land I dreamed
to understand.
Wild hair with my
          announced me seeming mad.
Pines, vines and all kinds
of four-leggeds roamed as I wandered
dis-located and sad.
               That night as I sat
                    roasting my dog
                    the open flame
               demanded I move
                    to a microwave.
               It's faster, flame said,
               To recombine those molecules
                    than to raise their temp
                    on a broken stick.
               At flame's word I started
                    jabbing with my limb,
               and like that,
                    his mouth consumed it.

The Wind's Song
     In those dark woods
knotted with elm and pine
I moved slow through slough
and undergrowth.
Trees shot out
to eat light.
     So only darkness stayed.
Near dusk a wind picked up
     stirring tiny bells,
chiming trinkets
that cut the breeze
     on wild music.
In this wind I heard a voice.
I even matched it to a face
of Pan in a misty air.
          Hey, ass
get off your head
if you think you know
what you're looking for.
Huh, I said,
clutching my kit.
what was that?
     And then he sang,
gathering clouds to rain on me.
O take me to the Memphis King
I wanna ride high his testy thing
Measure my measure
Slaughter my need
I wanna dance-er-oo
Looky there's my mama night
She'll gobble you up
To set things right
Her one good eye burns bright
I'm a flimsy thing               
I blow through
O through the many moons
So bloody my body my bleeding one
Rank my rights by a rising tide
Sink my teeth in an old oak tree
There an old man waits for me

Hot coal burned my tongue.
I spit into my kit.
The woods tightened on me
as trees narrowed my light.
I heard things out there
in sumac and tansy,
in rose and trillium that like
little faces popped out of the ground.
A new world like a slow death
noose on my neck
forced on me much gravity.
A mind fever infected me.
Trees dripped blood and
guts spread at those roots.
Possums and coons practiced sacred
cutting on mammals, ribs spread,
heart throbbing on
calloused paws.
Rat looked up to chant
magic as a pool of viscous liquid
Flooded this strange scene.
Tumor tissue oozes from bark and branches.
Fat cells feast on sugar alcohol and other
alchemic surplus
     clouded by a mushroom.
          A conference of Cartesian lumps
meet at Toadstool Roost to blast
arguments for belly girth and corn gruel
     genetically altered for a black mass
          as franks pop on turning spits.
A battalion of Spanish cavalry
roust a band of dark ones out     
          of plateau villages where
Corn Man pulls at bloody cock,
     hot tits of tortured corn maidens
          pushing rape juice to lizard brain lobes.
Horse beasts breathe hot fire
coming down as Corn Man fucks.
Heart intestines and feathers
spread at his bloody thighs.
I fall head first into the open contents of my kit.
A pot bellied Mayan rips at a bone cage
for hot heart pulsing there
and Corn Man comes boiling in water
poured by four Spanish thugs.
Syphy priests conduct an Ave Maria chorus from a round
of yon virgin earth mamas and the god of the Catholics
screams through orgasming soldiers.
Blue sky, brown bellies.
Sun sets on a glorious vista.
The never ending triumph of fat
absorbs my attention.
The enemy, high
on the positive
ions of Cartesian storms,
slips into a mouth to tell
Truth to king and the awful ecclesiastic orders
     that sell these words,
          issues burned by coal
          on loose lips.

I Sing a American
  No Mediterranean warmth.
No blue Odyssean seas.
No Scythian horsemen.
No ecstasy of
     bodies whipped fleshless.
No joy of seed
     in a temple womb.
Sin is in.
Be ye faithful to the
dick in your hand.
Bathe in its juice,
splash it on your friends.
Sin with the bomb in your pocket.
You will be buried in a coffin
in a pyramid
in a jungle.
comes round again.
I sing

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