Among the stony ruins, the shadows haunting Carthage yet abide…
An unforgiving heat, strangling Life
from the very air through which it pulses,
radiates from an ocean of sand, charring
the steel of Heaven’s Gate —
there is no romance in this tale,
that would be a fool’s conceit
… and this disenchanted heart bleeds for you…
this is the bleakness of a dying god,
my lazy, uninspired deity,
under baked, dessicated soil
as a nomadic army of ghosts
marches through the long centuries,
the flesh burns, scalded
by the brilliant light
of a star suffering storms…
Burning memory onto the retina of the mind’s bleary eye.
Something touches my hair. Wind?
Perhaps a Specter, lost, and wandering
the labyrinthine corridors of Time.
No greater fool than this, I peer into history’s chaos;
Bonifacius fell before the fury of the Vandals,
the Vandal heretic Gaeseric, in turn, fell
and the paretporian prefecture
of the Darkest Continent sundered
the Mediterranean shackles of Empire
until the Muslim Caliphs wrested control
of the warm waters of the vast harbor
… and still my misshapen life weeps through this wound I bear…
‘Lo, hear the music of regret, my scars are singing.
It’s the heat. Always and always, the furious heat.
Blistering. Stifling. A ragged silken gag stretching parched lips.
The breezes stir from off the bay
and streak over the rolling waters,
gathering into a rushing, stormy
… searing the wound shut, closing it against the leakage of yet more blood…
I see the excavated dinosaur’s remains of this place,
a warped mirrored reflection
laying bare my inner desolation.
Naked, in a shallow puddle
of dried and flaking scarlet
Joseph Armstead is a suspense-thriller and horror author living in the United States’ San Francisco Bay Area. Author of a dozen short stories and ten novels, his poetry has been published in a wide range of online journals, webzines and print magazines. A mathematician, Futurist and computer technologist, Mr. Armstead’s poetry often defies easy description, but frequently includes neo-classical imagery, surrealist viewpoints and post-modern themes.