SPOTLIGHT: Creep & Crow by Marc Ruvolo

Teeth & Tongue &

Teeth admonished tongue
in the mouth of the Oracle Ibex:

you crowd the divine words,
fleshy protrusion
block the creaking ships
that ply the waters of prophecy.

Tongue insulted teeth:

I lather the holy boats
with the spittle of our ancestors
I speak without bite,
Without the aid of curved canines.
Dullard and dross.

Tongue then
Struck a thunderous blow
against the yellowed wall of teeth
bang, bang, bang, bang

Enemies, they raged, and spittle flew.

But Prophecy flowed to silence them both.

Sayeth the Oracular Ibex:

They will bite
They will speak
They will chew
They will kiss
They will bray
They will sing
They imagine they are of two disparate worlds

But as the feather is not the wing
and the wing is not the bird
and the sky is not the flight

So shall tongue and teeth
live together in harmony to speak truth,
to birth plosive and fricative,
as hooves dance on the ice & snow
bathed in the golden light of dawn.

teeth quieted
tongue quieted, also

thy prophecy be done, said teeth
thy prophecy be done, said tongue.

Mouth placated once more,
The Oracle Ibex
And defecated on the stony ground.

Cargo Cult

The dust on the beetle’s backside
Iridescent, gold-flecked
(beneath the worn, ornate saddle)
Tickles your nose
And you, ah, you
It can hardly be called a road –
Rutted dirt; fragrant weeds
And a trickling ditch.
Man-faced manatees swim
To the sand spars, shells shining
Giddy flippers
Calling out, “Johnfrum!
As you pass
And you wave embarrassedly.

This time around
They have built an aeroplane
For you
Palm frond and coconut husk
Built a dirt landing strip,
That old Manai,
With her sagging, dark dugs,
Her eyes like gunmetal rivets
Will be made to sweep
Three times a day.
The villagers bunch up,
Like always,
Whisper laughing
Pink tongues touching teeth
Elders to the rear
Children to the front.
And goggle, wide-eyed at
The cargo you’ve brought:
Rubber Novelty Vomit
Moon Pies
Socket Sets
Oven Mitts
Cherry Schnapps.

The villagers fall
Completely undone
Into a splendid, giggling,
Amongst the treasures,
And spill sticky
Kava-Kava from coconut cups
All over themselves
Overcome by the
Heady scent
Of diesel oil and spearmint gum,
Scented toilet water and rainbow
Suspenders, FDR Masks
And jackalope antlers.

A party begins, and FDR dances
Once more. A soft miracle.

And now you, their erstwhile
Or jester, or trickster,
Momentarily forgotten,
Remounts the giant, patient, beetle
Friend, your slouch cap olive drab,
Marlboro as yet unlit in your mouth,
Together wade
Into the gentle, lapping surf,
Red-faced, but yeah? very happy,
Content they would say back

And you daydream of streetlights,
Train horns mournful, TV static
At breathless midnight
As white-tipped wavelets hum

“Johnfrum” the wavelets hum.

Solar Barque

We ride the sunlight,
But are the Sun
Straddle our own tails across the sky,
Strike the feckless slaves that man the oars.
Are we dead, or just luminous?
Remembering father’s advice
For kings who don’t finish their vegetables
That dishonor Ra with whining
The slap of the sandal
On browning cheeks echoed
Before time, a pantomime
Repeated in the fish-smelling hold
Chamber pot dumped overboard
Fouling the blazing red corona
With sour, funereal wine.
Oars creak, pulled
One million times, one thousand nothings.
The curses of a gravity bound object
That will always seek to burn beyond the tastes
Of air and linen, of reed and mud, ochre face-paint
And the foul gas-stench that lingers in the wake
Of wooden-lipped, long disregarded gods.

Buried Alive in a Fairy Fort,

With a clipped beard at my neck.
And here is my true home, a patter
Of oily rain on the graveyard soil.

I am the stolid debunker, ‘I don’t
Believe in fairies,’ I tell the news.
‘Bury me deep, long as you want.’

But I do. After ninety hours under,
The fairies come, lifting me like a
Plated pig, in hard-packed tunnels

Littered with fool’s gold. I’m the
Main course. The feral Queen eyes
My miner’s muscles, my exotic meat.

She ups hands to the sky, whips fog
Underground, the language before
Language, the constellation crow.

As it is, the faeries aren’t whisky, or
Wifely, the fairy table groans under
My pig weight, I could reach out,

Crush, if I so desired. I do not desire.
The first bite is to my calf muscle,
And I recall my first love, a callow,

Warty girl named Deb D. Deer. She,
The first to touch my rough bare skin.
The second bite pinches my chest,

Close, but no nipple, and I remember
Being six, teasing a hound, loving a
Hound, so so much until she snapped,

Bit hard my hand, and I learned then of
Consequences, that words might elicit
Response, that words had innate power

Beyond me. A golden blade takes a toe
Clean off. Quite astonishing to be eaten
In such a way, and I think of the chicken

As the axe falls, the pig with slitted throat.
Is food noble? We judge they have lost, but
Maybe they’ve won? The bites come faster

Now, faerie fangs like icy pinpricks, the
Tiniest mouthfuls of me, I imagine, a feast
For peckish thousands, starving millions.

The Queen and I laugh in tandem for an
An hour, a year, millennia, and I’m gone,
My last, lingering bits exhaled into dark.

They whisper up to my mam through clay
And snail, portent failure, but mam just tuts
Says oh a good, good me wondrous boyo.

Lord Dunsany

come close
hit this pipe
i own all this
truth, promise
all that
you can see
blood rite
stones piled
on stones
the heather
and gorse
peasant flesh—
idle days:
of faeries
each other
and shitting
in the


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