They Smile With Stiletto Eyes Poem by Joseph Armstead


something twisted and brittle
grows imperiously
under the burning glare
from a distant dying sun
crippled souls swimming
orange panoramic skies, open and vast,
the high frontier
streaked with thin purple scars
and elongated, julienned cuts
of flashing metallic azure,
the bloom reaches towards
the ruins of Heaven
in the perfume of its rosy musk, the voices of ghosts…
They smile with stiletto eyes at tomorrow.
Her — “It’s the sound of the telephone,
don’t you see, that electronic bleating,
that sudden, startling interruption
of your thoughts, its the absence
which is the thing that makes me saddest…”
Him — “Black coffee fills my leaden limbs
with the acid from my numbed mind,
I’m just tired sometimes, weary,
and it helps me summon the energy
to face the dragons beckoning me
from the wasteland at the edges of the map…”
Narrator — “They converse in an alien tongue,
their out-of-synch voices pitched
just beyond the range of human hearing,
but they speak volumes to one another
through the staring bleakness of their eyes.
A disjointed exchange of discontent,
it is a gift of unwanted predestination.”
The audience is confounded.
Their ennui is as solid
as the bars to a prison.
Her — “I can’t stop crying,
knowing I’ll never
feel that way again.”
Him — “They won’t break me.
I won’t let them. I owe it
to all the wounds that mark me.”
The audience blinks and remains unmoved.
Vision is defined as hypercompetence
And if they see anything, they see dissonance.
They smile with stiletto eyes at the image of a strangled eternity.
in ashes, the gnarled flora hungers,
seeking nourishment
in the crumbs left
from a banquet of the dead,
and an entrepot of melody
releasing its goods,
an unfinished symphony
from an alienated, tone-deaf
orchestra pouring in
through the colorful, ragged tears
in the fabric of unstable Reality,
washes like the ocean tide
across a celestial Sahara
starlight feeds the thirteenth rose of hell
and the velvety carmine blossom
unfurls its bloody petals to catch
tainted brilliance
onto the specters
of a concrete and steel
They smile with stiletto eyes at weeping nothingness.



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.

Uroborus Mike Collins