the muse apprentice guild
--expanding the canon into the 21st century




25 WORKS
BY CHRIS MANSEL

HEAVEN'S LONELIEST INMATE

    heaven's loneliest inmate
    reads the leaves in his tea
    and sleeps against a thunderclap
    I'd read him a story about anything
    but I'm kept in isolation and my cup
    and string won't reach

    heaven's loneliest inmate
    is a lot like me
    sentenced by similar crimes
    he died old I died young
    published into extremity
    he crept into hell
    I lay burning on the ocean
    till it rained

    heaven's loneliest inmate
    just died. Alone.

================

NAIVE AND BURNED ALIVE

  church bells echo like a bird's song
  through a heart pulled over your head
  church bells echo like a bird's song
  through a heart pulled over your head
  I've been listening to the traffic's sound
  clipping wings and tieing them to tires
  all I've seen is feather flying around
  and I'm dying to just set myself a fire

  over the rainbow is a ballon filled with wine
  it pours down on the weary and blinds the rich
  over the rainbow is a ballon filled with wine
  it pours down on the weary and blinds the rich
  pour wine onto church steps and it changes to water
  fish will swim in it but they won't feed thousands even with bread
  no matter how you cut it the earth could never falter
  with the earth propped up by all of the mnay buried dead

chorus:

closed windows and open sewers
locked doors and rotting meat
life won't overlook one or the other
and I can't help but take a seat
and watch it all turn to ash

================

POURING YOU

what can you say you haven't found from there
I washed my dick today but I didn't wash my hair
I'm leaving tomorrow for the past years I left to you
I'm leaving before my life turns into what I did to you

staring in your window one month later and you don't cry
I'm wondering did you miss me at all or just pretend to die
a song can wrte itself that I know is true but not about you
I'm gonna kill myself before my life turns into something like you

staring down a window that my blood is beginning to coat
tearing with my remaining teeth at a lock that has been long broke
I'm gonna listen to your children read your name again to you
then I'm gonna tell tham all about what their life will be without you

chorus:

cup your strength into a bowl of haste
sink to the bottom as if you're a waste
I'll never drink you until the pot boils
when I think of the many ways you could spoil
I just pour you onto the floor
I'll just pour you back onto the floor

================

ONE WHORE (MORE OR LESS)

         blood runs in the river
         sticks to the rocks and the trees
         the blood drained from the pigs
         that ate the children under the stairs
         was killed and used in hash
         to feed the starving workers
         that fed the pigs

================

APRIL 27, 2003

in the floor there are kittens
tumbling and falling into my dreams
their eyes marking my soul
with their funny steps

================

WOMEN (THEY STARE, STARE BACK AT ME)

(Dedicated with love to Jake Berry, inspired by Townes Van Zandt's song
Rake)

Shotguns were left in the debris and rushed into the wound
Blood dissolved into a festival of stone distilling the room
American Indian women sat across the room and wept to me
I just tried to look away even when I felt their hands break free

In a cathedral where the water fountain erupts from Jesus' nose
I found myself reading over the text to a song and the children rose
Old Italian women sat across from me and counted the beads to prayer
I got up to leave and fell across a one-armed child staring an eyeless stare

Silence is a symphony of rocks against an organically grown screen
I'm like the leaves that blow up against it wet and sticking there green
Extinct I'm a city of bone on bone a hammock of skin stretched tree to tree
Across the meadow women stare back at me I wish I could see what they see of
me

Chorus:

In dark ceramic bowls burns a memory
Split into dreams I will curse it as it blesses me
Turn back the day into the mornings dusk
I'm the Christ-bearing shell of a blind man's husk
With women staring back at me

================

THE VEINS RESTRAINED

    stained glass windows remain dark all day
    reflecting on the tracks on my arm
    no cause for prayer but solidarity
    for the cold outside, frost on the steps
    I'll sleep with you if you keep me warm
    says a snake to my forehead as I lay
    beside a corner in the basement
    tempting me with a pillow for my head
    seems I have something to confess after all

================

ONE TRAIN STRANGE

      (dedicated to the past, future, passed)

he's got cocaine needles burning through his eyes
he's got cocaine needles burning through his eyes
shatter his fist against the bones of a whale swimming thru his veins
cut off his head and he'll kick back up thru the earth and be born again

he's got cocaine needles burning through his eyes
he's got cocaine needles burning through his eyes
in the painting of William Blake he's the pain turned red
in the world of survivors he's the bullet in the head

he's got cocaine needles burning through his eyes
he's got cocaine needles burning through his eyes
sleeping in the vials of the wilds of america turned upside down
he's the first to awake and the last to take to higher ground

chorus:

there's nothing so scary as the sounds in the night
there's nothing so beautiful as what you can't see
swallow up the gutter and swim towards the light
take the fastest overdose to hell and you'll find me
one train strange, one train strange

================

SONG FOR CARRINGTON

  once deeper into the quickest abyss
  a stone wall escaping the artist's brush
  I took refuge in the shallow'd blisss
  and woke with a scream and then a hush
  orphaned by a lover in cemetery gardens
  in the mattresses of placing wards
nailed to the iron railings amongst the weeds
of Picasso's studio door
I make love to the weakening apparition
she now straddling the door to my grave
now fast asleep
like a wave rushing into an underground cell
for the blind

================

THE DARKER COLORS

how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of youthe darker colors

how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
the darker colors

how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you

the darker colors

how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of youthe darker colors

how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of youthe darker colors

how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of youthe darker colors

how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you
how can you face reality
when it's inside of you

================

I SEE A DARKNESS/LIGHT (WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT)

"It seems everything's done that must be done
  from over here though things don't seem fair
  But there are things that we can't know
  Maybe there's something over there
  Some other world taht we don't know about
  I know you hate that mystic shit
  It's just another way of seeing
  The Sword of Damocles above your head"

- Sword of Damocles, Lou Reed

you should know by now that you cannot define the darkness of the human soul
you can rip apart the human body, slice the bodily organs paper thin dispose
of the intestines in a ghastly ooze
skin the body, discard the skin, and construct idols to the act with the
bones now lying on the floor, labeled and numbered
through every vile act you'll never understand the darkness
that can be committed by man

(the pain in my head knows no limit, the shakes, the shrieks, the sleep
following I'll find it all at the bottom of the darkness, but I won't
remember)

You can photograph the human body, every inch, marvel at the complexity of
the flesh that appears to heal itself
You can try and duplicate the originality of vision, the pressure of
hearing, or the sensation of taste
You may even stroke the hairs of a newborn child
But you'll never understand or discern the light emanating from the human
body
A light so fierce and sincere as to enlighten the living

( the slow pulse of light, hearing, and the slow awareness of the
surrounding felt by the epileptic, these are dreams you have to fall asleep
to see)

================

(FRITJOF CAPRA) AT THE END OF THE AISLE

A process of affliction/endless

(journal, including photographs)

aware of the corpse/exquisite

(insightful conduit, breaking of earth)

(the practicing of city workers gathered under the parking garage
appearing in shadows of two's and three's beside the building collapse)

(graduate induction of heroin, swirling above the center of the drain)

       lectures given at the end of a concrete room
       the sounds bouncing around the room in pairs
       recordings, extensive notes, a decade of dependency

       particles of schizophrenia, non-psychotic matter
       circles of prisoners reading Alan Watts and Eldridge Cleaver
       aloud into campus microphones

       a social consciousness through the veins of Antonin Artaud

       the ice dries on the grass

================

SHE NEEDED TO FLY

(composed in the time it takes to change your mind)

the sunrise drifts slowly through a lovers debris
she turns to the window and falls away from me
down she falls away from my ever slower embrace
I rise and dress, unaware of her constant pace

darkness falls over the detectives retracing steps
no glass fell and no fingerprints on the railing grips
only the scent of a perfume much darker than romance
singularly sprawled in tear drop shades and designer pants

morning comes and the petals she threw to the street below
have blown back into the earth where they once held in tow
she was an inadvertent altar just like in miriam sagan's book
she gave the world a parting glance and her life she then took

chorus:

her aisle awaited the rush of her death
she split the needle until it struck skin
I never, ever knew she could fly
I never knew she needed to fly

================

JOHN CAGE

The animal that rolls downhill
Turns to the windowsill
And says how Zen can it be
For you to fall in love with me

================

TONE

    the dead
    are dehydrated
    from the debris
    they fell from heaven
    staring down
    at dark happenings

================

SPRING IS HERE

intimate and beginning
a rainbow peers across a puddle
spilled by
a flower
too drunk
on its own smell

================

CURVE YOUR TASTE TO THE THIRST IN HER KNEES

Narcotic sculptures lament the choreography holograms obscured by the
alchemists' eerie hallucinogenic tapestry painstakingly proliferated in
pencil depicting the more provocative halos of the male nude addressing
withdrawl condensed like an amnesiac.
    Doused with intermixed flame and hard rain the vacant theoretical
silence was harvested as it was articulated unexorcised by the maddening
artist who's own fixed idea of sodomy evolved as the true theme of
homoeroticism. Seductively he unchronicled his impassive fantasia into a
single image of a bowl overflowing red peppers.
   The recent findings of x-ray'd pages assembled from the diaries of
anonymous writers who mark their habitat on the Undernet like piranha to
disabled vets in the Mekong Delta, are embracing the thick air that
evaporates from the bomb crators that erupt around them matching their every
breath.
   The twitching muscles off the shoulder of dancing fireflies follows the
inaccuracy of Mohammed's python-like war diary he kept in his head. It is
said that Mohammed had in his cave a Blickensderfer typewriter where he
slammed away with a mathematicians skill his expatriate cyclical schemes
onto holographic film he would later sell to a Cuban subcontractor and
licensed as boiling graffiti-like noise superimposed upon the traumatized
ghost of the yet unborn Ezra Pound.
   Mohammed's caricatural and allegorical portrayal of Jesus has
often been seen as illusionistic and despairing as the symbology washes by
into decadent and banal experiencing shiatsu's in shower cells performed by
an anemic proveyor of statutory rape in photomontage drinking cream
flavoured wine.
   Shamanistic vultures feast on the beastiality of Christianity amidst
100,000 mass graves where bodies were uncovered and the corpses were
sodomized. The skeletons were developed into rudimentary sexual devices that
were cast in iron disallowing of course for frailty and genetic defects.
  The seductive and comical alluring aspect of incest and
patricide have afforded the art form of necrophilia to rest upon its laurels
on the op. ed. pages while incest and patricide jerk the salty juice of the
headlines.
  Condoms for menstruating men have stigmatized sterilization. By
consolidating impotence and adoption by exhilarating evidence of riots and
ultimatums, their inadequate and fearsome incompetence threatens comical
self-mythification and monotonous anarchy.
  Do pyromaniacs have wet dreams? If so would post-mortem
molesting with sulfuric acid corroding the decomposition, the strangulation
of abducted electric chair survivors, prostitutes ritually slaughtered and
dismembered; butchering the worn flesh with nubbed teeth be justified? Would
gangrene expeditite the extradiction of the senses in the act of ignorance
and decay?
The ability of animals to become shamans is not to be
contradicted. It is reported in the subconscious of many conscious readers
of forbidden texts that a Buddhaesque insect led several million other
insects to devour the earth that originally inspired the great flood.

================

FROM ARCHAIC CONFESSIONS FROM THE GULAG OF THE DHARMA

  Rotted foreskin, stubborn eye following the glass as it falls from the
windowpane. The room has a high ceiling with elderly staircases that lead
nowhere. Swirls of pale colors reflect in the broken glass, distracting my
eyes from the motion of the air I cannot breathe. I close my eyes. Incest
ridden Cuban transexuals fist fuck children into their own beat oriented
ragas where spiritualaility and religion blur into one. Child brides lactate
drowning themselves and their aged spouses willingly.

  It's hard to think farther than my wrists and knees, harder to think to
see your way past me. Suspicions are cast by mirrors in trembling hands.
Short breaths to quick steps, running to stand next to great men; her thighs
trace the brim only dulling the view. She looks over to me as I to her past
you. What she says and what she does are two equally separate and combined
ways of drifting interrogation of the senses.

  A subtle panther's breath over a dreamers eyes pulling at the
dream, the dream separates in pieces to circle the brain, one twists round
my legs and the other jumps through the base of the brain penetrating the
skin and surging into the panther's eyes. It stops there and becomes
electric, the dream for the first time exsists beyond the realm of
imagination.

  Exhilaration is muted by a loss of limbs.

  A thin membrane nailed to the celing drips its many hallucinogenic juices
into parched swollen lips of my cock which rests between the floorboards of
the dance floor hoping and praying for a waltz.

  Circles concealed in squares corresponding to the others every ugly
gesture is what I see when I rest my weary head in the smooth lace curtain
effect of harmful prescribed medication.

  There's a mess of dead cooking to do. An atheist will eat anything.

================

NEW YORK FROM HOTEL/AIRLINE WINDOWS

I never see strange oceans in my dreams
I always see a marriage tightening at the seams
An elegance burnt by a stony grate of flowers
Burnt by the rain by the rivers edge and towers
Over an antidote too warm for my tired veins
A feeling so vacant and too dry for a name
A mouth of hers like an application in my head
Just like a position that gets filled in my bed

I wish you'd remove me from empty-mouthed exile
Nailed shut, half-absent, along the many miles
3 o'clock on American Airlines into cloud bursts
a dairy half torn out years of drafts and many firsts
might as well be a mouth to feed at the end of the day
or surely the static, frozen permanence would just fall away
roll the new year around the wishing well of coins
like thread-thin drops of brandy into mouths that join

Chorus:

The heavy ashen metal tray gives way to light
The world swerves into the New York night
Stacked chairs and unfolded ladders across the floor
From this point on I can't stand anymore

================

BURGUNDY CANVAS

so long I'd imagined not talking till I couldn't speak
I'm lost until the current brings me back around to seek
like a gold wedding ring thrown into the white waters
like a sleepy child sleeping on top of a smiling father

my soul in the morning rests against my twisted spine
I take it out and walk it around from time to time
it'll carry your weight if you leave it where you can't go
from the cliffs of despair to the drowning waters of sorrow

I'm like a shirt with no buttons that clings to your chest
I'll be there for you but don't expect the best

================

ETHNO-JOURNALISM

I wonder if the Buddha would hold my head if I cried
I suppose I could carve myself a notch on the tree of life
If I feed from the basin of tiny insects will I carry their dreams on my
breath
I would climb to the tip of the blackbird's wings
I would make love at the tip of the blackbird's wings
My heart beats like the wings of a hummingbird and I convulse
On the pavement, skin tearing, blood pouring from my hand
Wed me in a crystal of sand
Devour me in the gray granite kiss of stigmatic weeds
Pour the Kaddish over my head from the eaves
Let me lie here, I'll be okay

================

ON A PERSONAL NOTE

I'll get some sleep but first let me say,
The ocean even calls the ocean a deep black well
Where it ends only anyone who's been there can tell
We'll swim towards the shore when it gets first light
We'll swim naked in these cities of the red night
I'll get some sleep if you lead the way,
I won't be getting up.

================

EVERY PILLOW WILL STAND ON END

Wake up she cried as she tried to straighten the sheets on the bed
She wiped away the blood from his throat and his mouth and his head
Wake up she screamed wake up as the past came rushing back in a flood
No child ten years old should ever have to fall asleep covered in blood

Could you kiss a baby that couldn't cry
As you pressed your fingers into her eyes
Or would you want to die
What could make you want to take your own life

The police dig her fingernails out from her chest that are coated with dust
From the bottom of her throat they find a syringe that is bent from rust
Why would you want to sleep in a world that can you keep you up at night
A world that give you nightmares and lead you into a trains headlights

Could you kiss a baby that couldn't cry
As you pressed your fingers into her eyes
Or would you want to die
What could make you want to take your own life

Who will marry a pregnant woman who's scars will not age for who knows why
A woman who burnt the highchair to cook a fix leaving the child to die
An angels wings collides with a bus full of gunshot victims one morning
They were thrown into comas, and bruises, and a world that keeps on turning

Could you kiss a baby that couldn't cry
As you pressed your fingers into her eyes
What would make you want to die
What could make you want to take your life

================

PLUNGE, NOW IN THE RIVER

from the grave to a cradle that won't rust
to a mossy rosy portrait of me and you
I moved the stone and you made the bed
with the wine I silenced the voices in our heads

in a story we moved through the mist to the cross
we nailed one another as best we could and lost
that innocence we favored in our now lost youth
from a passage to a verse, a psalm to a root

the children crossed the blades and our fate was sealed
we removed our clothing and our souls were now revealed
autumn made its way off shore and layered our eyes
and when death came we lived out the rest of our lives

chorus:

take apart a flower rose by stem
let the earth be made new again
take apart a flower rose by stem
let the earth be made new again
plunge, now in the river
let us swim

================

BENEATH MY SUMMER

the thunder calls without the rain
as if it knew the wind by name
an icy piercing silence cold as hell
crawls up natures stairs to live to tell
to a depth so wrought and clear

even murderous beasts give birth and die
even widows allow love to enter in and lie
amongest the window pane so I call
just like a fish diving from over the falls
ahead of any storm ever seen by man

your hips shake and make a urn of the seasons
I fall to pieces and burn like incense without reason
fall into my river and cut yourself on my stone
fall from my skies and crash into my home
make love to me like I would to you

chorus:

my dreams have almost been won before they could stand
plung eyour axe into my timber ans split it to the last man
spend the winter beneath my summer
I'm calling out to you