Fresh Poetry ~ “Ordo Templi Orientis”

scarlettwoman.orgIt is by approximating
a cavalry charge that we
open this war:
each horse is some impression;
each sabre its

A different shepherd preaches
the everlasting gospel:
facing various dangers,
plied with alcohol & drugs,
the daughters of Man
bled & beget,
between devil & deep blue sea—a new breed
of creature
all the lost whys.

Through quiet sorcery innocence is
tracked closely.

Full of fecundity?
Purify rancid emotionalism—all those
unpurged elements
the extremities of lore
we share around imaginary campfires.
Narration must hinge
on the magical distortion
of time;
malignant air spirits
drawn to
bawl in psychic communion
scientifically engineered
marvels & miracles are worked

Limited to an Apologist interpretation,
according to some consensus reality,
fifty shades of green—the colourful
sometimes terrifying
when this parallel reality hits
with the force of a thousand suns;
a couple shots of whiskey.
Like a stranger confessing some
hidden sin,
satisfying & safe,
scary & negative images emerge from
the divine dark that hath awakened
a whitewash of realities,
changed forevermore by
some God of wisdom.
These are not creatures of vanity—witness prophets
creating magic & transporting
the suffering body to
things of great consequence,
gross realism, selfishness &
celebrity endorsements
booming, full-price
cartoon theme songs
inspired by the artwork of those who have successfully
mastered the shames of such illusion;
the bedrock upon which
this seminal track is built.

The desire to move heavy subjects
manifests itself. Turning
a key
into the Hall of Mysteries—Babylon
is fallen as vehicle so focus
contacting the will of supreme
design: colour, shape & tone;
the phallic element
remains pregnant with meaning;
the ease with which they can so wrongly love,
these children of rebellion
so they chance,
always believing there will be

{Image from}

Quotation from Truman Capote

“Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.”

~ Truman Capote

Carl Van Vechten



{Photograph by Carl Van Vechten}


Maggie ~ Part Three of Three


(Maggie looks into the horizon but does not call for the dogs.)

In those times of despair, when they told him the illness was terminal, he was relentless in his obsessions. ‘In the future,’ he insisted, delirious on the pain killers, ‘after the work, there is the glow of reward.’ Not the horse before the carrot, mind you but the understanding there could be relief. If time is the true measure of luxury, when Leonard finally died I felt like a very rich woman. Someone who could finally savour the night without interruption. In the days that followed, that peace of not having to be obedient washed over me. Not have to think of someone else first? Unimaginable. What did I decide to do with this free time, this return of vital zest that had once life’s work so easy? I decided to clean. Got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed the floors he walked on and bleached the sheets he lay upon. Scrubbing fresh all the grimy layers, I needed to experience the house without him and like any cleaning, once you get started on it you have to keep going because you can see the contrast between the grime and the clean places. Once that is complete, you’ll need to start all over but it will be easier behind the power of momentum. It’s mostly a blur but I remember a moment standing at the sink. While washing the dishes from the small party we had after the funeral — just a formality really, you could hardly call it a party — while I was washing up the cups and plates, I paused to read a label on the dish detergent. As I scanned down it’s clever design, I remembered how housewives used to get wingy about grease. You never wanted any grease on your pates when I first started buying this stuff and God forbid if there was a smudge on your glasses! Today, it’s bacteria and germs that are the homemakers greatest enemy and just as I was realizing this, and I forgot to tell the police this part, Leonard’s shed just popped into my head. I put down the bottle of detergent and through the empty, freshly scrubbed halls I traveled to Leonard’s room. We had mercifully slept in separate beds for the second half of our marriage but I knew he kept the keys to the shed in the top drawer of his nightstand. I slid the drawer open and sure enough — there they were.

(Maggie holds up a ring of keys.)

I went immediately to find a flashlight — the light that would brighten the darkness that haunted my marriage for so many years. You see, I was never to look inside the ‘hobby shed’ as Leonard called it but the crazy thing is that I did what he said. Never once went inside that rotting shack. This is probably going to sound silly or mental but there was an evil in that building. I could feel it and stayed away happily. Facing my resolve with considerable fear, I walked across the backyard, keys trembling in cold hands. Approaching the shed, I carefully slid a key into the freezing padlock, then pushed open the door on the stiff, rusty hinges.

(Maggie imagines herself back in the doorway.)

Inside the room, the flashlight revealed an empty space, bare except for some odds and ends and that disgusting mattress. It lay on the floor, soiled and rotting. It was a junkyard of a room and I stood frozen, unsure of my next move in life. I poked at the mattress with a broken fishing net and imagined it burning. Destiny is specific it would appear. and in there, in the stench of that goddamned shack, I cursed the heart that lead me to such a pathetic devotion.

(Maggie reflects, the emerges from her reverie.)

Listen to me — I still get so lost in it all. ‘God hates whiners,’ Mother said and that was maybe the one thing she was right about. Why is it that humanity tends to the morbid? The dogs aren’t like that.

(Maggie once again calls the dogs and finally notices then with relief. She returns her focus to the audience, in a new more confident purpose, building through the remainder of her story.)

In the corner of the room was a gas can.

(Maggie swishes the imaginary gas can.)

Still half-full.

(An idea surfaces.)

Must faith be blind for it to count in God’s eyes? This had been my greatest delusion — waiting for strength from places where it did not exist. My husband was a weak man, who set fires loose in our family and I never called him on it. In that instant, in that icy night air, I looked to the dark sky and saw the promise of a flickering dawn on the horizon.

(Maggie mimes splashing the contents of the gas can on the floor.)

Rage — it is rage that lights the fields ablaze and rage that pumps the hating heart. Rage settles every score and when all is said and done, in that cold, damp, musty air, the pungent smell of gasoline filling my sinuses, I came to an understanding that finally ended the haunting feeling of dread.

(Maggie lights a match and drops it on the floor.)

A small fire at first, to burn the weeds of shame but soon I replaced the even, night-time sky with fire and my own rage. As the flames of the burning shed grew higher, an frozen case around my heart melted in the heat of that blaze and drained off into some invisible sea. In that space, I could finally see — and I felt so sorry for the pain I had caused in my weakness — pain that all the aspirin in the world couldn’t take away from my girls. My beautiful, innocent girls!

(Maggie irons her brow and the moment passes.)

Memory offers a bridge from where we anticipate the future; where we attempt to peer through the cracks in Time to review our choices. It is a limited vision — a ray of clarity that could be read only in the freedom of that dreadful inferno. What was to stop me from walking straight out the yard and down the street to a place where those unbearable memories were more easily digestible? Realizing that the mercy of my own salvation involved discovering what had been sacrificed would require a new vantage point. What if I walked as far as the old highway? What would it matter? There was no one to forbid me any longer.

(Maggie slowly starts to move.)

Mother always said ‘Senility in abundance. That’s the promise of Old Age.’ Mother was wrong in that regard. As I have aged, I have found the key to the chains that locked my heart to a tyrant. Certain now of a world beyond that inferno of misery, I walked away from a jubilee of flames, and this story — my story, which began in such a miserable setting, continues upon the lines that connect to form maps. A walk which leads to forks in roads, as movement provides the balm to soothe a ravaged spirit. I walked following in the footsteps of people who’d lived honourable, magical lives — people who had lead free lives and with each new step, the light brightened by a degree. To walk is to pray — to step, to cleanse, moving steadily towards the truth.

(Maggie pauses serenely.)

Soon? It’s not like walking at all but as effortless as gliding across a bed of marshmallows. Now? I am greedy for more of this life, like a recent convert, free now to cultivate my own sense of loyalty.

(Maggie looks into the audience for a moment, respectfully and with quiet appreciation, then exits gracefully.)

John Morgan


{Artwork by Katyare & John Morgan}