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




FOUR WORKS
BY DAVID SUTHERLAND

PURGE

I am sure there are many purgatories, the one that waits
Mindful of the one that's past. Believing as much

The incorrigible man may confuse the appearance
As the breeze for the animation, all moving parts

Immortalized. But I am sure there are many
Purgatories, the teapot's hiss beneath

A dieter's ramble, the midwife slumped over
Inviable options, life's privileged positions!

Out back our garden blossoms, dahlia, rose, ivy
And leafy trees lob their limbs into space

Never turning their face toward us-- shame, listen
Mere objections. And the irises' bright cajoling

Roll up their goodbye, good riddance. We finish meal,
Glide our glass to table, shake off the weeds and tares

Whose small intractable tongues mourn the close of day
And what this evening in its sympathy can't hide.

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LIKE DOLPHINS

It is as if something could disappear from wave
Proceed without fin or tail, crawl from the sea

And skim in two, three, no five bounds a tide's crest
Then descend itself onto an eerie patch of green.

Tonight's purvey of dragon, lily and unearthed
Starfish, whose sun has hardened its ear, we bring

You the delphinidae. It's not the wine of fish
Or oily meat that peppers these primitive skills.

If we could speak? It's the itch, the pang, that dark
Shadow that intuits you, and aggression's foolish

Sin is not the entree slain and pinned rather
The reflection staying its glow. And might one say

Darling you shine! As bright as tonight's flambé
Whose flames seen from the coast earned you many

A captured whale. But sit back, drink, enjoy the fine cuisine,
The shrimp, roe its craw for lastly we bring you

As façade a pride that nurtured these wiles.
Like dolphins you ask? No, never.

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GLOSSOLALIA
(AFTER HELEN)

  I

You seem to surrender where the paper cuts,
Feel every pinprick as much for heaven's sake

As Odysseus craved the same respect from fear.
Yet how we love to praise, hate, adore

Leda's daughter, hapless through our lyric
Debauchery; Homer's reprisal, Sappho's revival.

As none could venerate your lust, surmise as Proteus
The moral hidden in the myth of your feminism,

Or imagine the abstract embodiments-- lust, greed.
A tempest in its kettle escapes, pours over

The meritous chastity of a nation. Likewise
My egregious passions are these words betrayal,

The duplicitous lover spent on this night of broken
Lines, crumpled papers, rape beside your politic.

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THE ASSEMBLAGE POINT

   "Footfalls echo in the memory
    Down the passage which we did not take
    Towards the door we never opened
    Into the rose-garden."

                           T.S. Eliot

From the nothing to the immediate, the now before
The welcome to the here. Nothing this good can

Survive what is perceived as never been or not
Meant to be. Against the tow of reality, shoes polished

Tie tied, the truth can be disguised, prettied for the eyes.
And there you stand, perfect hair, lips, a smile strengthened

By the surety of what's been said. And what's been said?
That our cosmos has better haunts than this small

No doubt, dark planet? Or that I am overly pleased
With the way the moon casts its shadow down the pleat

Of your dress. Showing her rich pearls of indolence,
Her craters whose emptiness outlives the dulling circle

It takes to expose you, or the lush fleshy areas that crack
These infinite chain of events and surmise it so. Enough

Words, press yourself against this strained man, blush like
The flames of heaven might rise and catch your cheek.