Pyrograph / by Anthony Seidman



I opened my chest, and fire taught me how to breaststroke.

She stopped talking to me about textures of chlorine,

because wind sniffs bone revealed

from the other side of nakedness.

I closed my chest, and Verb carbonized my brain.

She addressed me with the silence of a tractor

because I am drowning when my parachute opens sesame

a thousand leagues beneath the asphalt.

She is my mother, was my aerobics guru

when smoking cigars equaled a cure-all, especially for asthmatics.

She is my aerobics guru, was my sister

and will be until I learn to breathe rust, fumigate ghosts.

She is my sister, then my sweetheart, but first was my wet-nurse

when toads and lice were spellchecked for rheumatic guitarists.

I locked up my chest, deciding to jelly nightmares,

ingratiate formaldehyde, butter-up the red elephant,

and shimmy into the loopholes of nevermore and raccoon.

So.  I scrubbed my pits, balls, squint-eye, and soles with pumice. 

I opened my chest, and fire taught me to detonate my nose.

That’s when I figured what camembert smells!

So.  I doubledashed to the dating scene,

I ate carbs and flexed and got mean. 

I failed and wept and

admitted to myself I was just a matter of meat.

She was poetry and is to this day.   She lily.  She groin.  She bile and wormwood.   She carp.

She won’t come to my rescue, just yet.

For the time being, I can sneeze and count to three,

distinguish teriyaki from petrol, praise

my heritage of shoelaces and cancelled evergreens,

and open/close my chest.

Don’t count on me to dinosaur just yet. 


I have clean conscience.

I feed you asbestos.

I am squeaky clean, squeaky Klan.

I can lend you Ducats or give you ride.

My monster truck chugalugs asbestos and retread tires.

Come, just a spoonful of micro-plastics.

Come, a thermometer up your ass, some quicksilver

never makes you bloat.

You’ll feel better in the blink of a mugwump.

The refugees are swimming after the lifeboats,

they’re clutching the wings of military cargo planes,

and they don’t even wear high-grade

basketball sneakers nor slurp latex.

Now opens the epoch of pyrographs.


While forests blaze and oceans get goosepimples. 


The fires are honing claws. 


The algae turns toxic. 

Yum yum.

The bees sizzle. 

Yum yummy.

The last lion shits in her sleep.

Good to the last drop.

The coral reefs are sandblasted into toothpaste. 

Smacking my lips.

The Amazon has stood up and asks for hairdryer and slippers. 

Get me a bib.

The desert begs for nuclear blast.

Get in my belly.

Pre-ice-age viruses revving their engines. 

Does that come with Ranch Dip?

The sperm whale opts to descend descend descend until he implodes. 

Or just Chipotle Queso?

Plenty wreckage on the ocean floor.  


A bottle of Boutique Water in exchange for Burundi.

 I’m parched!

All of Haiti’s plasma for a bucket of corn.  

You’re preaching to the Choir!

The last Surf n’ Turf dinners more elusive than Snuff Flicks. 

And no coupon needed!

The children are eating their plastic sandals. 

Plenty of Vitamins and Thrill-Meals!

You piss and drink it and piss and drink less of it and piss it and drink even less. 

Ice, please!

Some mothers eat their sons, others sell their breast-milk as timeshares. 

Now that’s awesome!

Have you ever noticed the constellations imitate locusts? 

Man, I’m hangry.

All rivers turning red.  Plenty of concrete in the reservoirs. 

All ya’ can swill!

Mercurochrome and Ovaltine now a well drink. 

Well, wet my whistle!

I’m here to help you.

I need to finish up by 5 o’clock. 

(We can meet at the Star-Clusters Coffee Groove.)

Some passengers are born with no nerve to sniff amortization,

others, the Raincoats

and Cheerleaders, insist

on Electrolytes as regenerating hymen.

Harnessed and toxic, we continue to breed.


Whole, or splintered, we practice algebra with one’s bladder.

Mouth to mouth resurrection,

the hair models on strike against clippers while

larvae shrivel into flies.

This is a pyrograph

and it contains heat-waves,

salt, carbon, a shattered bottle of vodka,

carbonized joists,

yet it yearns for

tentacles and anglerfish one glimpses from

the fogged windows of a deep sea probe.

Now the wind passes over me,

and the wind knows only a few consonants,

three flavors of ice-cream,

just like Fire loves her trade which consists

of pegging expired rain, sending postcards to drought,

and shattering when the Gong of Flood Season is struck.

All in all, I nod off

before recognizing how gravity pulls,

while memory and pride mount the steps of water

and trees stand up on their heads.

Poetry, never undress in front of me,

I wish to be left alone with my semi-colons, my Halloween masks,

sugar substitutes, express check-out lanes,

and to reach my terminal scrimmage

while others muse upon the velocity of elsewhere.


And there were those who wished to fornicate with the great blaze,

there were those who dropped lit dynamite into the deep wells of time,

those who licked pyromania and nacho indigestion,

those who loathed flamingoes and sneezed pink milk,

those who saw their left hand as five lead toy soldiers yet continued to masturbate,

whose fists opened handkerchiefs potato-chipped with pulverized pigeons,

whose genitals burped grey orchids and expired yogurt,

whose Phd in Twerking unleashed diabetic homicide,

who bet on gazelles instead of snails

and then chewed black aspirins out of spite,

who wore cowboy boots as condom,

who laughed as the hurricane filled shopping centers with errant stingrays,

and vetoed every Tuesday as unrehearsed ejaculations,

while others

could only stare at the carrousel of the overfed and useless auxiliary verbs,

and hope that the turnpike remained open,

the highway from marrow to asphalt to the shore, that corn-syrup

highway extracted from astrology and secular plumbing,

hoping a newscaster, prophet or troglodyte

might return to the dais and raise

the Fist that fits

and promise a solution by

pointing to the altar bearing

the cadaver original whose

skull still throbs with the first dispatches from dry-brush and lightning bolt.


This is the myth of petrol without carbon,

the glory of innocence, but without pustules,

the small, black goat, and the toothless crocodile,

5 o’clock marooned to a Wednesday,

a cement stadium built on the moon, but no lunacy,

the fairytale of fire as father and financial advisor,

the day when a sigh is trapped in a vial and

exchanged for clitoris on silver platter,

the day of turpentine as electrolyte and a carwash for hernias,

the day of the plastic tulip and courtship as anesthesia,

enough escape rafts for a peanut-butter jar filled with moths,

enough cash to make it rain inside the black suitcase,

the day of porcupine slippers and auto-intoxicants,

(we’re going to topsy-turvey this bitch),

enough of neckties and whole grains as reptilian pixels,

the day of emollients and immolating monks,

(the forest fires ate a town, leaving behind an iron dwarf),

(the ocean drained so we can pave her canyons),

this, a dead horse, spit, asphalt, an emaciated coyote,

the nowhere of velocity mistaken for carbonization.

Before you perches the owl.


When I sleep I orbit the earth, 254 miles above the orgonite-azure globe.

Am neither crew, nor the micro-comets pelting the titanium abdomen,

but Fire aboard the vessel containing zero gravity.

254 miles beneath my sudden conflagration,

254 miles beneath this vessel in blue flames,

my digits and tresses would flow upwards, honed and whittled into

teardrop-shaped-flames by escaping air, and my lurch towards fresh oxygen,

but here

I am a cluster,



no scald,

falling up and

adrift like jellyfish,

the light I cast is deep blue or

the purple-yellow coagulating beneath neck’s

skin riddled with hickies,

am secret like an unlockable symbol in recurring nightmare,


blossoming in the

cool flame combustion zone,

no candle’s wax, nor

the crackle and scent of wood’s smoke, pelt-

rugs, wine, and sweat by fireside, but

the liquidity which

once released

is a winged Portuguese-Man-of-War


egg-laying havoc,


cosign of cosmic allegiance against

human incursion.


Once again, the circle

again, flames reaching my eyes,

smoke cleansing my lungs of theodicy,

while canned deviled ham, cough syrup, and Sudoku,

and the ootheca of a flying roach,

reign Promethean, thrusting life, heaving their

smell of grim-fry and flower-chew.

The circle of fire, once again

leaving me a sneeze trapped in my left nostril, 

substantiated yet

intangible like

absent sole printed on sand;

the embrace of fire whirling around me,

raiment of delight and crimson, the garden

lagoon lily-laced and moss-pampered has

ignited, the maiden bloated and floating face-down

will make most tender viand while

the water boils and fish leap from the surface.

No name now to intone.

Numinous is only the rising temperature, sure

to melt igneous rocks back into Vulcan’s tear ducts.

No Ghost, no Angel with flame-tinctured

sextet of wings and flame-clothed-crotch.

No prayers.

I burn, and I have lit my name on fire.

Ashes scurry up.

I have doused my soul with gasoline,

I have soaped my breath with lighter-fluid,

and I eat matches from a silver platter.

No canapé proves more stimulating to the palate than

sulfur peppered with friction.

Look at me now. 

I, the wheel on fire.

I, the chemical wire.

I, the glowing spire.

I, the mendicant baptized as Sire,

only to be accused, hounded,


my blood glazing the mud as its attire.

 The wisest have always lived closest to the ocean.


We will dinosaur soon, bet your botched plastic surgery.

We, not the latimeria.

We, not the tuatera.

(We not even opossum.)

Trilobites endured longer,

even with stomach located in its head,

beneath the bulge of glabella, even

with cerebral growth stunted by glut,

and we definitely not


or cathedra Redwood where

its branches preside over the serfs…



and fire…

the Redwood’s asbestos-like resistance to fire.

The fire terminal hurtles towards us…

in interplanetary rubble between Jupiter and Mars.

Permit it voyage.

You’ve no other choice. 


Here am I

boots digging a terrain of drought

eyes fixed beyond the pigeon-peppered sky, 

the cumuli, toxicants, 

adagios of passenger jets transporting viruses and pregnancies worldwide,

(no different than argosies, rum-oozing mustaches,

hens and mules peeing beneath the deck,

and laughter around the galley table,

pricks burning from forays into Tortuga´s stews),

staring past the blicking and splurry of satellites and stratospheric wreckage,

my gaze flung beyond the argent fields of moon now

cluttered with flag, footprints,

looking past the dust-storms on Mars,

the forest of radiation flowers, specks of helium, dust,

my eyeballs roll across one

rubble of iron, carbonaceous gulches, boulders of nickel, black

ice, silicon,

rocky steppes with microscope scripture, fossilized bacterium,

fields with flour-fine soil, buried

virus from eons ago, thawing;

I see the asteroid hurtling towards Earth,

how I ask,

lift up my arms to the smog,

how I beg, plea,

fall on us,

carbonize this stump of a life-post,

fall on us,

splutter of star, spit-flicker of grace,

fall on us,

C-type cosmic boulder the girth of Utah,

fall on us

with your slush surface valleys of carbonate clay,

your shape of mosquito needle parried for feeding,

fall on us

with water vapor tresses flowing behind you,

your smoking buttes that crumble and smash

smithereens of orbiting rubble,

fall on us

onrush of rabble and stone teeth, crystal nails,

guts of gust and grit furrowing through oceans,

fall on us

downpour of oil and magma squeezed from the red-inflamed teat of heavens,

spray me, douse me, smoke

me and hiss

for thy lover comes!


The asteroid will come

caked in regolith, carbonaceous, oil-black,

visible for days,

then combusting, fire-rain of rubble as

it approaches our globe,

bloodshot, veined with lightning,

bluehot corolla, yellowish afterimage and contrail whiter than vapor

from a vat on the stovetop,

and it too shall beautiful

like Sodom carbonized, smoke across the plains, vapor

as from the opened door of kiln,

and the statue:

            svelte reunion of

            corrosive salt, crystalloids,

            acetate, chiseled

            into a petrified scream.

Mushroom-clouds, tidal waves, fire hurricane

and shockwave



Casus clauditur.

I opened my chest, and fire took residence.

I closed my chest, yet fire chimneyed my lungs.

I breaststroked through the flames and names.

I ate my carbonized self, then vomited

trilobites, canned meat, and mathematics.

I fed my polygraph to the wind of prophets.

Rattlesnakes and cockroaches anagrammatized my horoscope.

I exhaled my last breath and

smelled roses mixed with car fumes, dung, and thinning rivers.

The fish are flapping in the mud puddles.  The coyotes

hunker in the chaparral foothills, then maraud the midnight streets.

One bottle of Boutique Aqua sold on the black market, sold

for more than the bleached plasma of a hundred unemployed thespians.

I dinosaur.  I burn.  To a crisp and scatter.  I no trilobite nor amphibious lizard.

The roaches have memorized the English alphabet and

trust that their heraldry will be a letter at least two spaces after Z.

This, the last word.   Spire on its head.   A decapitated poet rambling

towards a lake of purple fire.   At last,

we will reign in our ghost flames, crowned with absence.

What burns.  Smolders after thousands of years.

And perhaps the first antennae sniffing weather from tunnel’s opening. 

A sprout of green.   Perhaps a chrysalis.   Irritable tarantula hunting

across yards of black sand      brittle foliage.

While we, sandstone inscriptions.  



Hipbones and the red X still simmering

beneath the goiter and Godless gown 

of a cloud honed into an arrow marked elsewhere.

Anthony Seidman

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Powered by
%d bloggers like this: