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




SIX WORKS
BY CLAYTON COUCH

PROSPERITY

Don't tell me. I know, to bury me is to save strict voodoo;
so meaning is a well-intentioned supper among friends,
and the merlot pours down subtle smooth with oaky flavor.

See here, freedom fries. Slap you in a frying pan and sell
your bones for one dollar to society underground street
vendor, looking for space in the cave underneath worn

subway station. Start pedal metal; third rail is worst worm
solution to shitty streets by shipyards -- no Marlon Brando
to the cinematic rescue. You, Baltimore crab, selling MDMA

on up I-95, did you realize that they store Kalishnikov
parts in old Pepsi machines? Fake! Fucking Bill O'Reilly
on the dial -- give me a chisel and I'll carve your TV

into his coffin. Sap dribbling out where arms went
yesterday, and on the desk, that letter from his landlord
telling just how little time the gods have to spend

on fools. King me. I'm your shadow tutor in Ivy League
halls. When Daddy decides to send the checks, I'll
turn over my brain to your assignment, you small fry.

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

UNTITLED

chop kitchen utensil
humming dryer and hope
some sentences ache out
enough to appear here
six fingers ply their way
cross land and stolen tree
force of wind waves back stop
sheen looping like light kites
or damaged air forces
remote controlled for mad
careens in shortened breaths
how much fun is due you
when a page won't bend back
the way you'd prefer it
six numerals cascade
on pooling water rolls
down cliff face drain rusted
garlic invades the home
and a chair grows brittle

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

WRITING FOR PLEASURE

let me at you
poetry eats
its own young

with a frequency
that sounds
like chicken

flak jackets
hold up on wings
built for hovering

sol lip schisms
a headache super
bowling me over

in an adville loco
motion perhaps
the mishaps on

sidelines would
not affect the ear
infection if solo

efforts weren't open
to entire platelets
wound around cut

and yes critics sever
limbs and amputate
the miracles away

before rot can
be compromised
all excisions require

madnesses of one form
or another schizoid
gesture or two

pleased the mother
claims whole end
zone as her own

and focus is off
the commentators
back at mid

field the passing
game intercepts it
self flashed upon score

board flicker flicker fan
rush field in fits
a call out final horn

that the writing comes
about with no expect
a shun is worth a lie

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

FRENCH KISS

momentum carries the baggage as you walk
to class oblivious of thoughts on trans
aggressive attitudinal shifts and chaotic ass
ocean nations where in a middle Atlantic

they play such ahistorical games with past act
shuns and Platonic script is presented end
over end with the polis twirling like a baton
in an expert's toss outside words crawl

up the walls anticipating places where
guards won't be waiting with pikes swords
and halberds in some middle evil pose swear
flanking the academic racket with cuts

quiet in placing all pieces on obvious
board plainly capital is cashed in books
although books won't generate a new synth
thesis even if the global sentiment wills

decree this dead man's properties to ungrate
full living animals declawed and unable to hunt
for focal areas in misted morning uncertainty
conjured up from one dreams of physicists long

dead or stoned into orbit secure coldly out
of bounds dribbling upcourt scanning zones
of control desert offers no quarter coins
to place over eyes of the dead men walk

king limps up stones of pyramid gold
den prepared for inevitable nuclear winter
months when we'll all cower in fear and for
get we knew any maths of years gone by fast

stinging here along skin of my arm where
the ants decided to inject an acid form
microphone foretells which fascist will sir
face before bedtime story trolling in closets

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

AFTER A WALK

where to begin when all lines lead nowhere
when the deeps are so shallow the dryness
kills all life perhaps it's just a comedown
from some nowhere height and sure the kind
of frozen dialogue is mastered in a knowledge
out in the midwest i find it hard to deny pure
silence its due and wonder how crystalline
reason can be hauled to such high heights
where the last human can't buy a meal
parallel universe theory and a couple of heavy
physics questions could a duplicate be made
to sit in the chair next to me i'd run for cover
to display knowledge as a fully-flowered spring
is misleading the show to some unknown
audience flat welcome to the edgier waters
and the turtle can barely navigate the swamp
currents to find a rotting log burning in sun

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

DIG NOTES

what i can unearth
is archaeologically unsound

bury the sharp edges
in the mesopotamian mud

stored chemical weapon
labs tell a babylonian tale

of life after death
and historical game

claim it's history
no shore nor famous line

will call it sleep
here in capital city