that which fulfills a purpose
and yet not bound
by that purpose
- stretches the perceiver,
animates the passive
(or quiet read)
the heart and mind,
evoking that purpose.
Art can be so bold as
And yet, the artist
cannot contain the art,
control its purpose,
but must concede, rather,
to pursue the purpose,
and let the art bloom
beyond this pursuit.
The purpose is merely a gateway,
a stepping stone,
upon which - through which -
the art is created;
is a beginning,
not an ending,
not a box,
but a flower pot, with soil that feeds the growth
of those with the patience, the quiet, the focus,
to see what springs from the
The detective walked on to the crime scene,
eyes teary from the smell of rotten cabbage.
She scanned the piles of brown and green
before focusing on the human damage.
The victim was young, tall and lean;
his prime stolen by some sinister savage.
“Probably between ten and thirteen,”
said the M.E., “Looks like a 12-gauge.”
The detective returned the M.E.’s glance
and saw the words he was slow to tell.
“Yes, it is,” he threw up his hands.
“Another dead by the Killer of the Carousel.”
She closed her eyes and tightened her stance,
inhaled deeply, preparing for hell.
“I’d hoped it was over, this ritual dance,
but now I see it will never end well.”
Twenty years ago, she had caught a fresh case,
a death at a carnival, her first painful shock.
One memory the detective could never erase
was the shape of the body painted in chalk.
Back then it was a girl, all pig-tails and lace.
“Nothing prepares you, no lecture, no talk,”
her Captain had told her, giving her space.
“This grief, this path, you alone must walk.”
The media coverage was constant and bleak -
murder and gore, a ratings sensation.
More victims were taken week after week,
pulling her into a black hole of fixation.
When a roguish reporter made her misspeak,
that odd nickname was born from total frustration,
and vaulted her prey to an infamous peak -
a star in the serial killers’ constellation.
No evidence, no clues, no traces were left.
No connections were made, the killings were random.
The detective received letters, mysterious and deft,
that promised an answer if she solved a conundrum:
“What remains of the lover’s heart once cleft?
Who, once jilted, can return to solitary humdrum?”
She would come to believe this artifice was theft;
it had kidnapped her mind, and she paid the ransom.
The letters had stopped along with the killing
after four years of time spent chasing the lives lost.
Until this victim was found in fetid cabbage swilling,
her life and the Killer’s had gone on uncrossed.
In her mind she had rode round a carousel chilling,
circles of self-doubt spinning up at great cost.
“Chalk it up to experience,” a cliche unfulfilling,
was always the throwaway comment tossed.
Standing in that field, full of death and rank,
the detective could see the lines connecting dot-to-dot.
Inspiration filled what once was always blank,
A constellation of lateral leaps of thought.
A heart cleft by a lover loveless and frank
is tilled like a field and ready to pot.
Only once the soil yields ripe fruit to yank
can the lover be healed, can the heart be rewrought.
The conundrum was solved, the riddle clear.
The Killer could now be finally revealed.
The detective had left her husband that year
before the first victim’s fate was sealed.
Another marriage had cooled his evil sear,
but that wound could never be fully healed.
Just last week, she had happened to hear,
divorce was decreed; and now a Killer afield.
Haze of warm air permeates the brood
that rise around my drowsy repose
on a mat of needles, soft and subdued
Radiance glides down among the limbs
that motes of forest dust disclose
in the lines of light, delicate and slim
Velvet daydreams swirl within the calm
serene I seem within the shadows
afloat on the salve of nature's balm
It started when his parents were sent to prison after the trial.
Restless hours in bed followed by turbulent days of denial.
Straight As at school became "Fuck you!"s at his aunt.
Life was a trial, a blur of "I won't" and "I can't".
Psychologists were called, and psychiatrists, too.
No one could help him, no one could get through.
Then came that specialist with that fateful question,
“Want to join a clinical trial, a new drug for depression?”
He was admitted at once and began the medicine.
Round the clock monitoring, it was an arduous regimen.
But he never got better; in fact, he got worse.
My brother was soon brought to rest in a hearse.
And now I am back at the courthouse once more.
A new trial to test me, can I walk through that door?
What if I told you that someone else was there that night?
- The slippery postulate of the desperate defense
What if our choices could transcend our insignificant plight?
- The rhetorical premise to enflame and incense
What if we just need more time for our hearts to unite?
- The plaintive plea of a love in suspense
What if society could be more gracious and polite?
- The fantastical musings of dreamers come whence
If what the questions pose is weighed, more than their answers may be portrayed.
His love fierce without fire, pure without passion, deep but barely exposed.
Hers desperate and consuming, restless and hot, lust and yearning superimposed.
He was straight, full of edges and lines, like a bookshelf, all right angles and square.
She a tangle of whorls and loops, an artist’s impressionist jewel of provocative flair.
His outer geometry was an ascetic translation of the integrity and morals within.
Her fervor and frenzy an intense embrace of the virtues that made him her twin.