haunt memory

an infant’s eyes

and what’s behind

how about when love’s denied

for the first time

the longing for milk

that look of anger

will it haunt memory

at what age will judgement

seize the child

the separation

the absence

the labeled cardboard boxes

filling the otherwise empty room

 

this is the change

that does not come about

 

this is the thought

of forgiveness lost

 

to the void

 

and yet love remains

even if it’s battered and abstract

False Prophet

A bizzare, surrealist experimental poetry performance I created in 2012.

In Memory

You fell to your death

in order to impress your peers

or maybe for yourself. To prove

something, but what, we don’t know.

 

The parking garage complex was vast

and the vertical drop exhilarating.

 

Painted styrofoam was the decoy,

a little ledge on which you thought

you could land, but couldn’t.

 

The owners wanted to keep up

appearances, and so did the morticians

for your viewing. A shocking event

when we all quietly considered the implied violence.

 

The guys you were with laughed when you did it,

until they leaned over their ledge and saw your crumpled body.

 

Now that’s all they’ll ever see.

Moon Sequence

I.

Last night Luna rose

over our Eastern Sea

like no human’s ever seen.

Only one porthole view

through deathly clouds

incubating the Great Egg Harbor.

Luna rose a perfect circle

tossed by Myron, now in suspension.

Remnants of Theia reflected

 in alien orange,

brighter than Sol

(whose rays provide color

still, but not the same).

As lightning strikes purpled

the Atlantic structures underneath

the ocean rose with Luna, rose ominous,

pillars and pyramids stood naked.

Our nation, in three century utero, collapsed

off the coast of New Jersey. Another failed experiment,

another corrupted civilization left to liquid, then to ash.

II.

Fear, survival instincts in full swing

while operating machinery speeding

south on a bowed bridge looking

east as Luna rose. Death

embodied in the sky

explosions, natural explosions

in natural grandeur white death.

Luna rose as she never has

as illusions nullified fear was reality

at its clearest. Luna rose and she never will

in similar form, life and nothing in one moment.

The storm consumed the atmosphere. Consumed itself.

Atoms vacuumed into oblivion.

Bovine humans munched cheeseburgers

while driving through dark energy warping

vapid brains. Magenta tissue bled

out sentience. Luna rose.

III.

These humans were not scared

out of sheer stupidity. They felt safe

in their machines. Congested asphalt artery,

nine at night, Friday, June 13th, 2014.

Luna rose in proof of their ignorance.

She devoured particles in purgatorial drift,

planet Earth. Space shuddered Terra

dark matter pulsed into minds

people felt frightened

inexplicably. Immediate fear of blackness.

Animals froze in abeyance obeying nature.

Humanity continued to destroy,

to feign solutions, to pop pills,

to disdain their immune system

to ignore their self-inflicted wounds.

All the while precedents loomed

in the past. They never realized

they inhabited houses of Masonic stone.

Let alone understood that the Scottish Rite’s

preeminent child would fall faster

than those deemed lesser.

That the child’s scrapes would fester.

IV.

Luna rose on in spite,

out of spite of America.

Oxygen sucked out of air.

This time the fire.

Although pharaohs chose the stars

which killed their enslaved, unwanted brothers and sisters.

As the empire fell in pre-meditated fashion, the elite escaped

in Russian rockets. No more humans

needed for sustenance of the few.

No longer human humans would float

past Luna, and harvest her gray helium 3 tears.

Luna rose no longer over Earth

for there were no humans

left to see. Luna rose in witness

and condemned yet knew she could do nothing;

she vowed never to forget

until everything collapsed again. Luna rose

until the end. And as her visage faded

from the collective memory of all sentient existence,

Luna rose again, somewhere,

since death could never die.

An Introduction

The following is the foreword to Rocky Wilson’s upcoming book of poetry, which will be published by Whirlwind Press. It was a pleasure editing and collating Rocky’s poems for this collection. Mr. Wilson has been a friend, mentor, and inspiration. His collection should be released by the end of this year.

The bus ride to Camden from the JFK Airport felt longer than I’d expected. The passing scenery of post-industrial New Jersey was depressing in contrast to the rolling green pastures of western Ireland that I’d grown used to in the past week. I owed a fellow traveler a couple hundred Euros borrowed out of desperation. I was to immediately head to an ATM as soon as we arrived at the Rutgers campus in Camden, and pay him back with even more borrowed money from my parents. Human Resources decided that I didn’t work enough hours to earn vacation pay.

It was hot for early June. I was a sweaty mess. My mindset was in self-centered, pissed off at the world mode. As my friend and I got off the bus we encountered a bronze figure on a bicycle calling out in a high pitched voice to passer-bys while waving a monkey puppet. I smiled, but my creditor-companion had a look of mild concern on his face. I turned back and saw the figure approaching us while walking his bike. This man was darkly tanned with wavy gray hair, wearing a black tank top, shorts, and sandals. His bike basket was filled with fruit and miscellaneous items. He was dazing off at the Philadelphia skyline behind us.

“Rocky!”

“Sean! I thought you were in Ireland!”

We hugged each other.

“I just got back. You’re so tan.”

“I was in Atlantic City. Where’s my post card you promised?”

I apologized to Rocky for not being able to send it due to something called a “Bank Holiday.” I almost didn’t recognize him without one of his signature rainbow tie-dye shirts. We talked briefly about the Aran Islands and western Ireland, as he’d been there a few years earlier for a poetry festival. He said he stayed in the same house on Inishmore as John Synge. I asked him when the next Pizza and Poetry reading was taking place (the date changes every month, a reflection of Rocky’s mercurial personality). I told him that we’d have to meet up for a Blue Moon at The Victor beforehand, but that I had something I had to take care of at the moment with my friend. Rocky said hello and introduced himself, as well as Bongo, his monkey puppet, then they both took off toward the Delaware River.

My friend was baffled.

“Was that a hobo?”

“No. He’s a poet.”

“Oh…”

Serendipity allowed Rocky to welcome me back home, making me smile in the moment I needed it most. Rocky actually lives one block away from where we had stood, on Penn Street in Camden. His house is a beautiful three story brick row-home built over a century ago. This wasn’t the only time that I’d introduce Rocky to someone and they thought that he was an eccentric homeless person. This is because Rocky Wilson is the epitome of what it truly means to be anti-establishment. Although he grew up in comfortable Haddonfield, he’s far from a bourgeois poser. In the 70’s, Rocky felt the need to return to the decaying city of his birth, Camden, not to evangelize, but rather to spread enlightenment. And to Rocky that involves both poetry and puppetry.

“The puppet man” some people call him, he prefers to declare himself the Puppet Laureate of Camden. Why not? Rocky Wilson is one of the few who actually makes a difference in America’s most infamous city, along with priest and poet, Father Michael Doyle (famous for being one of the Camden 28). However, Rocky isn’t a grassroots activist. He’s much more than that. He is in the grass, one blade among many; he lives the pure life that the beatniks could’ve only wished to have led. Rocky brings joy to the hearts of strangers, especially children. As a substitute teacher in Camden, Rocky has built relationships with residents of the city that have endured for decades. It seems like every time I walk down Cooper Street with him someone calls out “Mr. Rocky! Where’s Bongo?” Rocky replies with heart-warming sincerity, a virtue which is present throughout his poetry as well.

At first glance Rocky Wilson’s poems could be dismissed as confessional or romantic. The former being over-killed by the beat poets of the last century, the latter even more so in the century before that and since. However, there’s something deeper here, a myriad collage based off of an awareness of all that has preceded it, but with a subtlety that does not explicitly acknowledge it like too many contemporary, “post-modern” poets do. The status quo has been stagnant for decades. In the age when Anne Carson is touted as the avant-garde of North American poetry, Rocky Wilson brings us back to our poetic roots. He does this in the spirit of Walt Whitman, which may seem trite to some, but it’s necessary in our fragmented and bewildered society.

Rocky Wilson proves that what’s needed isn’t art which reflects more confusion, but art which cures confusion. Rocky does this through recognizing subconscious pain stemming from a lost baby brother, bearing witness to natural beauty surviving in urban ruins, reflecting on the potentiality of love, observing camaraderie between whales, and in many more ways. These poems may seem more like stories at times, prosaic, narrative driven, and even conclusive. That’s because Rocky sees life as poetry, and vice versa. He does all of this and still manages to avoid cliché, which is one of the many remarkable yet simplistic traits that can be found in his poetry. This is what America needs.

-S. W. Lynch

Photo courtesy of Moonstone Arts Center.

Photo courtesy of Moonstone Arts Center.