Poems by / dale Houstman

Her Footprints Have Been Relocated

We watched the wild leisure

of clouds suffering above red briar

in that lattice of wooden charms, rural allures.

The dulcimer quiet in the sun-path. But then

it was August, we had stopped drinking to the moonlight,

and began to analyze why luxury was infused with parakeets of late

and the other submissives with their sky grey bisque heads.

But then the trumpets of butter in the sun.

We dove through afternoon drizzle, washing away

the humid patina of the two bitter gondoliers. 

Your eyes babble in a rose bush as we ride.

Yet one white glove stirs a buzz in these parts

All those winter clocks purchased

through the Party Mechanism and now

we are approaching the escapement

Pensive delectation in the background.

Night is coral frost upon the barricades.

“Nothing is allotted” bellow the 3 detainees

and all three were thieves and the biggest said

“Seek the last train.” 

There is a furrow through every star. 

Yet as always the lovers of nations swim

through their laughing nausea, slug-like voices

exploited by the vast Christian underworld

This handsome furrow for your favor. 

Two Little Things


Night, a letter

only its sans serif peak encased

in pale metallic threads

wandered away

upon a boat’s reflection

full of anxious waiters

and haloed suitcases stacked

under the blue trees

which are literary

like varnished ropes

surrounding a garden.


Day, a bloodstain

on the schoolgirl’s pigtail

maybe it’s a violin

embedded in a bright hand

an ornamental nova

in a van full of roses

a sibilance in a black petal

a flaxen shark

swimming about the eyes

under the blue trees.

The War Lives One Street Down

I do not write to soldiers.

The war lives one street down.

I sleepswim river’s Broadway

to moisten the white gown.

The plainclothes capitalista

keeps my cells in a drawer.

Henhouse barricaded 

and the gristmill and the boar.

So I do not write to soldiers.

The war lives one street down.

I cannot walk each hallway

that ends in the outside of you

and which beast ate all the weapons

and can we eat them too?

So I do not write to soldiers.

The war lives one street down.

I feel your mandible is prettier

than it was this month last year

and there is a rustling in our wrappers

created by our spears.

So I do not write to soldiers.

The war lives one street down.

a knot of roads

There are bells of flint

to cull the girls

from their footsteps


There are statues of ravens

alone upon the ashes

where they walk


A single burning shutter

too small to grenade

as they pass)

But I have seen the mottled telephones

asleep on a Japanese train

the spaces between 

the white hearts of a hotel


windows too large

for a girl’s footsteps.)

The Fair Inconstant 

     No room service until poetry is the bell.


     Writing is rude to interrupt what might otherwise be a life of pure insensibility.


     Beauty is more and less a cautious species of vacancy.


     Distance is fate’s makeup.


     Culture is an enormous elaboration into which the Beautiful has fallen and cannot get up.


     Absolution is murder with guilt as the innocent party.


     Most people live somewhere in the neighborhood of themselves.


     Rudeness is the Revolution of the momentary.


     No matter how little we actually move, science will never catch us.


     Spit will not kill a priest, which is why so few are spat upon. Try it anyway…


     Once the Tiger becomes smoke, no cigarette is safe.


     Light arrives from our eyes. The sun soaks in it.


     Candles are light determined to be conducted.


     Only a blind man’s body supports the head as water supports the jellyfish; the senses are heavy in  

     the head, but light in the body.


     Consciousness is a rank privilege.


     The mind contains the body. All else is the Great Outdoors.


     The absurd is never ridiculous.


     One might as well sweat ashes as pearls.


     You never step in the same river twice. But it’s always wet.


     The water’s sensuous dialectic merely imitates fish.


     Chess is the operatic arm of Tic Tac Toe.


     Almost everyone you meet looks like a violent peacock.


     The moon is a peasant’s idea of philosophy, and—since the moon appears to agree with this 

     estimation—the idea is deemed fully sufficient.


     Night is sweetened by kings, but it is peasants who get the toothaches.


     No matter how many trees you fold in your handkerchief each evening, morning will find you lost 

     in the woods.


     Nature is always full.


     Every red flower owns a ghost who bleeds into it. Every white flower freezes its ghost into view. 

     Every blue flower arches above in observation. Every flower in your mouth is a bouquet for Stalin.


     Our breaths are like imprecise notebooks.


     This world is not interesting enough to be singled out as dull.


     Dissolution is an unvocalized desire for an ideal reunion.


     Candles are light determined to be conducted.


     I know nothing but what is extinguished


     You came to buy candles, but you’ll settle for a moth.


     Resignation is the poor man’s happiness.


     Dark hair precipitates its face. Blond hair debuts its face.


     Things change, but the wait can kill you.


     Waffles are pancakes with modernist structural pretensions… If you like waffles, you yearn for a 

     Cartesian regularity to your life to balance your internal “scrapple” turmoil. You wish most of all to 

     wander a nicely arranged labyrinth in search of Frank Lloyd Wright. You abhor the way spaghetti 

     mimics your consciousness and dream of the day Malevich’s “White Square on White” opens its 

     linear heart to you and makes everything efficient, clean, and easy to absorb through your simple 

     crystalline pores. You not only do not want to live “off the grid” you desire to move permanently 

     into the center of the Great Griddle, where the Art Deco Elves are vanquishing the Art Nouveau 

     faerie folk. Oh, and the sun is square…

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