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




13 WORKS
BY J.D. NELSON

THE 13-LAYER BURRITO

1. hair tail
2. the master of earth mathematics
3. Kitchen Crew 22
4. cotton balls between her toes
5. The Amazing Changing Face
6. n.i.n.e.
7. three-state sugar spree
8. My Dear Canned Yams,
9. build a big white shed
10. low end
11. alone in the time lab
12. motorcycle gang rolling down the coast
13. spiderleg apostrophe inkblot

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

HAIR TAIL

slipping by,
falling
& when we hit
the bottom,
we'll begin.

what's upon a time
but six white horses
all in a row,
winking,
laughing,
my maybes
turn into rainbows
lukewarm,
nothingness,
no blackbird,
no otter,
no rabbit, even.
my name up top,
see the angels,
all waxed,
red eye shine,
smile.

the next phase:
the frame switches
to this one.
color hands
& radio screens,
bleeping lights,
where's your name?
listen again,
let go,
sleeping,
shielded,
insane & beautiful,
your eyes are melting
& the birds have
fallen
down.

nothing's moving,
no name needed,
wonderful smile,
nice eyes,
faceless angel
rabbit ghost --
mysterious, I know,
leaking,

lovely day
to stay inside,
remain in light,
names escape,
nothingness,
fine details
& here's a number:
three three four,
a code, perhaps?
something's up,
right turn onto
the next page,

island of birds
& here's an ibex,
timeless,
falling out loud
land of angels
& maybe a whole planet
of rabbits, whistling,
sailing on warm sky currents,
we're birds here.
I'm still inside,
saving the rest
of the instant coffee
for tomorrow.

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

THE MASTER OF EARTH MATHEMATICS

the master
of earth mathematics
sat down with his
cup of cold mint tea
and took a sip
as he started the
morning's work.

it was the day
of the annual
astrological contest
and he still had
a hundred or so pages
of notes to go over.

he found a mistake
in a diagram of a
seven-sided structure.

always the perfectionist,
he cursed himself and
made the necessary
corrections.

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

KITCHEN CREW 22

Sauce on Top,

hello again,
my name is milk, no capital "m"
I?m making a connection w/ the original gods
my grape-stained hands clap
& gesture for more hot sauce.
I leave no legacy.
believe that better things are coming.
believe in the trees
& the power of water
we're coming in soon --
draw me a picture of something funny --
shivering on a pillow,
mind the gap,

Love, milk.

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

COTTON BALLS BETWEEN HER TOES

I'll shrink like a
violet now.

I have much
standing
to do,
like water.

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

THE AMAZING CHANGING FACE

I bought a ticket
to watch the
amazing changing face --
a smile like whiskey
prickly vapors
sandy eyes
burning tar
flared nostrils
rogue patches
of whiskers
the painted lines
of the asphalt
merely suggest
no one's trying to
rope you in
maybe yourself
except for maybe
yourself
thin jazz static
is all I'm getting,
the bus is swollen
with students.
daredevil crow
goes flying over
eleven tractor
trailers --
no broken bones

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

N.I.N.E.

suns
flourish
elsewhere,

tiny pin pts.
turn inside-
out.

following
the river,
eventually
circling back
 
without
thinking out
loud with my
mouth, I lose
my place.

burning
out on ourselves,
we walked
down.

a fragile
phantom heart
beating in the
darkness,

we stop,
eyes close

scene:
the new earth,
green and wet,
new constellations,
new maps.

we need to build
a fire, breathe heat.

after sleep, between worlds,
make sense of dreams:
oar-less up-creek

a map floats ashore,
bearing teeth.

halved heart,
sleep scar,
in-between,
together,
apart

sight, sigh, sleight
 
of hand,
the illusion of life

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

THREE-STATE SUGAR SPREE

be 5omebody el5e?
I can't even be my5elf!

those wood elves are back again
with a gnome & three more rabbits.

the eldest gnome
brought three grams
of swamp grass.

those wood elves
are good friends of mine.
I've shared bottles w/ them.

I met the gnomes last summer
& as for the rabbits,
well, they've always been around.
they're really just funk monkeys
in bunny suits --
but then again, who isn't?

the rabbits have been using
that old typewriter again.

there is no "S" key
on that typewriter,
just like I had
no "S" encyclopedia

no seawater,
no shark,
no sunlight,
no Sri Lanka,
no Jonas Salk.

they use "5" instead of "S"
& they think I don?t notice.

like this:

what'5 up, folk5?
5aturday i5 only
5ix day5 away.

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

MY DEAR CANNED YAMS,

I'm on a bleak lightning farm
on the outskirts of Realitia.

My hands smell like peanut butter.
That's all I eat for meat.

I?m sipping my dry bone stew
in obscene desert heat,
under a dusty tarantula sky.

With cracked lips,
I quack like a sick dog & my feathers are falling out.

There?s nothing to do but
wash pickled promises
down with hot pepper juice.

Please let me go back to Giant City.
I won?t break anything this time.

You can trust me,
Indigo Infinity

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

BUILD A BIG WHITE SHED

that's where I'll:

keep the
lawnmower,

stay up all night,
listening
to AM talk radio.

put the ship
in the bottle.

drink paint
thinner.

try on
Halloween
masks.

& that's where I'll:

curl up in a ball
& sleep for days.

it's really:
a big dog
house.

it's really:
a cathedral
in disguise.

it's really:
an outhouse
w/ no moon
on the door.

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

LOW END

we have Frankenstein's Monster
on the bass, with the
clompy stompy boom boom booty
bumble boo bumble bum
boom bibby boom

          and he's staring at
          something, but not
          really anyone.

motionless, save for his hands.

          it's as if someone
          else's fingers are
          popping and galloping.

is there a rumble in your gut?
here comes the solo --
drink some motor oil.

his ears start to smoke
blue sparks crackle
and I go running for
a bucket.

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

ALONE IN THE TIME LAB

sorting the blue/3mm/1-second pellets
from the red/2mm/.5-second pellets

I've been here
for 36 moon cycles now.
something tells me:
"it's time to go."

are they watching me?
I have to admit
that I've been pocketing
some of those pellets.
(in lieu of
monetary compensation)

brew some coffee
& add two blue pellets.
you will begin to see
how easy this
"time traveling"
business is.

fresh-brewed
Colombian Supremo
late-nite in the time lab,
thinking in circles,
sorting through time.

I'm all alone,
but they're watching me.
I take my breaks on the sun deck,
talking to no one
except for the robots
who water the flowers.

they understand
what I'm going through.
they were once
as human as I am.

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

MOTORCYCLE GANG ROLLING DOWN THE COAST

I want to be a bad mother

                    (like Dirty Harry on my TV) --

like a gang of bandits,

                    I want to strike fear
                    into their hearts.

nothing

                                        means

                    anything

anymore.

we're hated & hunted
we're dancing for the assassins

                    we don't need
                    any help.

no black magic handshake
& don't throw that word around.
it's dangerous, like we are.

we're the lucky ones
w/ no recourse.

alone & naked,
I swim towards
the burning barge.

                    I'll do anything to get
                    the story.

I can't breathe this new yellow air.

I hang this shield on the wall
to show the monsters
that I'm willing to fight.

                    climb the walls, good old fly,
                    bring that disease into our lives,
                    make us remember why we're here.

fish skulls set the mood
& we're feasting on ourselves again.
I should be happy

                                        now.

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

SPIDERLEG APOSTROPHE INKBLOT

try finding yourself penniless in Dublin
staring at a Picasso? at four in the afternoon
grunts & hand gestures
they called & said they found my crown
down by the moonshine shack on I-25
beyond sasquatch folklore
healing elixirs under the pale moon painting
brushes long enough to reach the ceiling
flooded w/ liquid crystal bullshit
a lifetime on a life raft
feel the wet seconds drip onto your wrists
hold hands with a caveman or a dinosaur
it was four & a quarter for water
but it was worth it
healing holy spit
& someone just scratched a record
this is a takeover
please bless this new day


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

m.a.g.