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




FOUR WORKS
BY DAVE SHORTT

THE BOAR

black & lower
   bodied than
      vegetation be-
         spooked thickets sinched
             by the dogs into
                a snout huffing
                    the execution of
                       acorn fat

boring the noisesome wait
           for meat,
  the clay a black skid
    of unbraked kills,
   slick froth of earth where
    momentum ejected the shell
      of lowered-barreled fear,
black
  remains for a hunter's pondering,
the dogs seeing nothing
  in clotted creation racing
    through roasts of time,
roust up a merciless mastery
    of the prosecution of a distinct odor,
   the lower body mercenarially
     coiled into irregular action,
    a sausage encased in
      thin skin of malnutrition
     streaks down
      to avoid the prickers of a non-animal
                    satiation
       its hackles lightly brush, above

arriving among
  each territorial fix onto which
    a secure minority peers,
something is ready
   for the battle in which,
  from its unknown spot
    prolific with routine tracks
              of cosmic coordinates,
it changes into an unpraised shot that
  a dog would follow into where
    'we missed each other'
       & there was no problem
         & quietly
some of the young were stolen
   creating new pangs
  cutting the wild into elements
    black with isolation, encirclement
      by brute hearing hounding
       each stick cracked in
          peregrinating biodiversion, into
   a fire in which squeals
     echo through terrorisms of warm
       sentiments, greasy
     musical accomplishment & fly-watched
       mudbaths in
          moods of the terrestrial bowels &
        a runted geography of cellulose,
        where sweat dries over
          luxuriating digestion
            sunk in the underbrush
              emptying into feelings of waste
                  & control
                    skewering the air

& human children won't ever pet
   the rain-soaked fur
     hidden below
    layers of forest,
but the triumphal fathers
  violently leaving their wallow of
    self-inflicted outrage,
tusk-obstructing roots
   twisting & penetrating into
     depressions of their fantasy,
have killed themselves & the sky
& 've created a snout
  wild on the scent of
    a gross secret,
    a gravy
     seeming to run forever across
       the vegetable of their death

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

AZTALAN

if Love is an impartial
   history, is
what is,
these people
  are sliding down their defenses, mounds
     of winter afternoon play

they brought
  meso-america here
rolling it into
      a frozen tortilla,
  an old car babied
    into the parking lot
      sans chains it came
  from detailed plans devised on
          flat space
   simply it shifts
     bodies into outlying
    settlements of affection, one pair
        of skiis for 2
         who would ski?
         who'd check out
           panpipers paddling
              outriggers snowmobiles
                 down the fozen river
                    from pacific isles
      hadn't we
        ourselves died
           before this & now
         reunited under a chunk of turquoise
                                    sky, serpents
          one slithering around looking for
                 oil leaks
           yours a more itinerant
                          hopewellian poise
      any lowliness
        would only be
          closeness to the earth
                                 drumlin-like
        but alive,
         always looking about,
         something in the tongue
                            'd vibrate
            was it from a kiss
              of air, from the wings
                of a bird or
            the wings of an ornament of a bird
               copper, cast
                 by an Artisan a carefully worked out
                                         fraction
              hardening into one
                              day whose
                sides we climbed up
                   those years ago,
                             a pyramid

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

DWARVES

it was small there,
there it was not so
                    small,
  the hands becoming entirely relative,
     tying up people's
               trumped-up charges

a perverse drop in stature, the remains
    of an incomprehensible
             violence

who wouldn't see them, different
   from what they were yesterday,
a harvested field
a felled tree
possessing a look
   of far-off riches stashed
           where they'd been,
  in a direction not up or down

what they say
     is underneath the wind
rattling its change soliciting
    them from the rocks
to come define with a wheel
                       or diadem
   a place contested by inertia

safer to see into the sky
  if pathogenic contact
      were removed,
they support earth's 4 corners,
lift earth's conscious modes
  above phobia for its own rockstrewn bounds,
   a silent task

untouchables touched with
  metaphysics or death,
ancient flies,
long nights yielding nothing,
rebuked back underground
  with only the smallest oath,
accustoming themselves there
  to an involatile hospitality
    offered by the metals

& a glint in a rock
   noticed under moonlight
      may be a slit of eye
        diverted from a piece of work
                                in progress
     or a disassembled hub
        of a wagon hidden in a crack
            beside a fast horse

unsavory invaders
   pointing a bellows always west
      into the sunset,
  always able to weld up a meal
but could only a maggot
   transform the pragmatic corpse
      smelted out of the world
          into a body of Art?

and then the gods
   make them human
  so a stone might give asylum to
            a silver event

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

LIZARD

small monster in which fear
shrunk into sunstruck
                 curiosity
finds an order that
  'turn your back on it, &
      continue on'

could this animal destroy the higher
  forms in its
     insectivorous ways? or
tame it with
    fruit sugar & relax
       in a logic that
           stops everything

one of the sun's shadows
     & cold it
   moves when crossed by
     human shadow, otherwise
    in the sun it shirks
      an ethic of how handled stones might hold
         a higher nerve less centralized
              in its pattern

in the changing of climates,
nature's loathesome traps set by
   having to stay in meat so long
  are sprung by a
   beautiful 'body' wanting nothing

imagining it can live on air,
it arrives in an experiment
that without success or failure
  tests the meetings
   of moments in which it's now seen,
               as by a Protector,
     running across steps or
       walls, almost always on stone, the killer
is the judgement that seems
   a family's salvation,
   a species', a sub-
                     species'

or how clean
   will the relationship be,
  how proper
    to mingle eyes
      even for instants during the day
        with a backbone or jaw
          whose trick-like functions host
         a non-intervened-with
       sensation running on the surface
           & out of sight,
             was it one of
        the simpler choices, that never involved
           coming face to face with
              a change in diet or habitat offering it
                   camaraderie,
               the same egg transported it
                  along a non-hesitating rock route
                     between sea & mountain,
              its wisdom not its own
                its ignorance
                    not definable & approached only
                         by a relentless or religious
                                              science,
                          by taxonomists of heresies whose organs
                            are connected by a forked tongue,
                    others whose appetites
                      go into fast
                        on remembering
                          what the ankles & knees had veered away from:
               spotting it something rises sunwards as it makes
                  the torso snake while standing
                     to avoid eclipsing & sending into chill motion
                         the lizard's finest chance