Following my divorce years ago, I met with a counselor to sort things out. She told me, “You have a beast inside you – what are you afraid of?” Her question led to my first book, The Beast Speaks, where I explored a new voice. Below are the first few poems from that book.
What I'm afraid of I replied is
that when the beast emerges from me
from my chest from the pink tunnel
of my throat as I shout
until tissue bleeds and the beast
lunges out creature from a horror movie
from peyote vision Celtic illuminations
from tenor sax bourbon dreams
its blood face lunges and devours me
turns beast fangs not against bitches
but devours me as I devour myself
when the shout beast bites hunks or
swallows me whole I chew and am swallowed
in the beast throat from my throat beast
chewed blood slime until I'm safe
in the gut of my beast throat child
to stew in belly juices wait to be born
in the beast's throat as a bird.
The Beast Speaks
Don't you wish I would come
a fetus with fangs like the creature
in Alien ripping through the chest
at dinner to the shock of crewmates
who would not, at first, kill it?
But no. I'm here, a beast who is,
let us say, in control. I need
not come in a bloody burst, in
greed, in passion, with the volume
turned up to an unpleasant level.
The part about the bird--a phoenix,
perhaps? Or blood. No. I'm reasonable.
I just want people to get along. I work
hard at my job. I wear nice sweaters.
I exercise moderately and eat well.
The Beast Delivered
Winter darkens the cave early. He
paces the cold floor, listens to rats
at work in the walls, to the drip
of rain from moss. Again. Thinking
deliverance yes the secret
warm rush when I crush
frog apple face the jag
when I do my killdance or
spy on couplings from snowy
yards knowing I'll be inside
taking my turn next
deliverance from fur
from claw into a snap
of flame into howling
mouth round as the moon
Content, he washes a few dishes,
fluffs his straw bed, listens again
to rats and rain, curls into himself
against the cold, prepares to dream.
The beast takes
wing above dame's rocket, yarrow,
wild daisy, mustard, leaf spurge,
hidden white flowers delicate
as lips. Its claws, fresh meat
jammed into last week's gray kill,
curl brown but black tipped
away from the wildflowered field.
The beast cruises, wings humming,
low over the beeless meadow,
hovers, now gently lowers
its rhino bulk, its tusked snout,
slavering, to probe the delicate
flower curves, rims and folds.
The heavy tongue, hairy, touches
pollen dust, drifts pistil, stamen,
caresses. A beast in May flower-
tongues, wings a blur, and clumps
off to some hole some where.
I slip across frozen bog to
the riverside nest strike
bluegreen mallard throat
feathers jawcrunch bone
haul to woodsedge my flapping
load beside junipers I
quicksnap head and pause
in the drift of down
Grinning I chew the feet
bill the small skull eat
eyes fixed on foxbeast me
I leave for you meadowalkers
feathers grays some
half blue white tipped
windtickled down bloodless
bonesplinters a ducksplash