Rigorous
Volume Three, Issue 2



David Estringel


Smooth Whiskey

tick…tock

tick…tock

The days are long in a life of slow motion. Waking up takes too long, despite the violent assaults of the alarm clock, unchained by a snooze button----like me—worn down to the circuitry.

tick…tock

tick…tock

Get up late, again. Take a whore bath in the bathroom sink. Wash what needs it and get out the door. Shower’d be nice…really nice. Maybe tomorrow. Probably not, again.

tick…tock

tick…tock

Office clocks--harbingers of death to my soul--lament the dying of the fire, within. Telephone rings perforate the recirculated air of lungs and mouths like a symphony of electric crickets, tuning-up beneath the hepatic glow of fluorescent suns outside my cubicle’s walls.

tick…tock

tick…tock

Driving home in the same car, down the same roads, in the same rancid clothes that need more than just a good airing out, stuck in this bad track mix, playing on a loop, I need a drink. There’s a bottle at home. Whiskey, I think--a gift for my 50th. It goes down, rough, but smooth, after a glass or two or three.

Smooth is good in a life of no motion.

tick…tock

tick…tock

(Repeat All)


First published in Cephalopress




AI! AI! AI! (A Tartarus for Youth)

I.
AI! AI! AI!
Sated with stolen life,
emerged from mother’s Night,
there is longing to be free
from the warmth of darkened humours—
to be crowned by The Light of Artificial Gods.
Our worlds quake and rip,
tossing us upon gory shores
beyond fertile crests,
illuminated by a cold Sun.
Messengers sweep down in clouds of winged oblivion
to wet lips with Lethe’s waters
upon cruel fingertips.
“Shhhh.”

II.
AI! AI! AI!
Blinded,
light brings pain
in rushes of movement and sound
that sting the flesh.
Icy
with invasions
of steel and sterile prodding,
souls rouse to profess philosophies
in cries and screams
that crack the air,
unheard
like the falling of leaves upon the ground
from distant trees

III.
AI! AI! AI!
Swaddled bodies,
searched in vain for the safety of familiarity,
tell much, tell little
like symbols in scrying mirrors.
Their fictions, written with sweat and tears,
anointing
foreheads, eyes, and lips
with benedictions of shameful regret.
As if it were better to have the heads of babes
dashed and bloodied
upon the Rock,
than to suffer Spartan destinies, impaired.
Left only to linger—a world apart—
in bloodless mediocrity.

IV.
AI! AI! AI!
What are these ragged paths
to be stumbled upon
under tender foot,
with stones that cut
and scratching thorns from the briar
that temper flesh,
supple and pink,
making hard what was once soft to the touch.
Fed by an earth
that feasts on cuts,
bodies devolve to walk upright—and alone
upon roads, paved with the hands and backs
of brethren.
Knuckles crunching beneath soles like so much gravel.

V.
AI! AI! AI!
O, the passion of attainment,
upon which the masses engorge,
aimless in its metal
and promises
of faceless adulations
and the settling of laurelled wreathes
upon heads of cartilage!
How empty, these violent strikes against the Self,
incessant and passionless,
carving out pounds of flesh,
victory for victory,
‘til nothing remains—
all for narratives
that are not their own.

VI.
AI! AI! AI!
How thirsty are these—
the razor-tongued buds of spring.
Driven
to the drinking of others’ tears
for satisfaction of sanguine thirsts.
To revel
in the tearing
of white petals
from tender stems
with poisoned fingertips,
delighting in themselves,
as if masters of ceremonies
at blood-lettings
and vivisections.

VII.
AI! AI! AI!
The sooth of touch’s fidelity
has melted away—
soured—
like cream in the sun.
Replaced,
the quality of distance
makes, explicit, one’s worth,
across arid plains
of air and silence.
Fallen away, the allures and charms
of communion,
only to make room
for the play of shadows
on Plato’s walls.

VIII.
AI! AI! AI!
There is a science,
oppressive
and cold,
behind the collisions of heavenly bodies of light (in love)—
clashing
explosions of atoms
over chasms—
the spaces in between—
that define and separate.
Souls, burning brightly,
cannot coexist
in their starry majesties
without a surrendering of fire.
My Ares takes your Aphrodite.

IX.
AI! AI! AI!
Upon paths paved with gold,
under the azure
of a fanning sky,
herds
are driven in blithe procession
to the precipice.
Cast into the maw
of their society.
Without the iron shielding of wings,
they perish,
masticated,
like everyman’s meat,
leaving them shades
that stain the wintry air.

X.
I, I, I,
will crawl to the grave,
worn
and weary,
upon the Earth I have salted
with tears,
violent and hot—
but harmonious—
in Time’s own poetry,
where I will find
the Peace and Solace of Rest,
drinking from a forgetful cup,
enshrouded
by the arms of my brother—
The Undergloom.


first published at Terror House Magazine




And the Beat Goes On

Dropping from the air
upon ears like paper blotters on willing tongues,
raging at the bloodlessness of cardboard cutouts against a shrinking sky,
through psychedelic lenses
let me seeeee, let me beeeee the pulse of silent rage
that rails against the vulgar machine
with words
that organize, legitimize, minimize, super-size, tranquilize, proselytize, tantalize, infantilize,
sexualize, stigmatize the suckled teats of long-conditioned truths.

Poking the bear, disturbing the seas of featureless beige,
stirring the comatose anima with battle-cries of sight and sound
that pierce dusty eardrums like sterling icepicks,
repressed wants teeeeem, solemn faces beeeeeam,
liberated in the warmth of a sun that breaks just beyond the horizon on coffee-house stages,
rousing thoughts
to gestate, ruminate, conjugate, propriate, sublimate, fornicate, obliterate, determinate,
propagate, exfoliate dangerous visions, birthed from the unfetteredness of a purple haze.

Fueling the scribblings of furious hands upon white sheets with whisky and cigarettes,
Making, naked, ugly underbellies of the angst-ridden and inflamed
with the glorious promises of their ecstatic treasure-trails,
let’s revel in the coolness of poetry’s heeeeeat, indulged in pollen-dusted skin so sweeeeet
within the honeyed tangles of poets’ asymmetries
to detoxify, dulcify, intensify, demystify, purify, glorify, magnify, beautify, electrify, sanctify
our bodily streams of light that sugar lips and candy the fingertips.

Tearing away at the fabric, unraveling, woven from Gloopstick youth and plasticine smiles,
repulsing at the hoards in their mindless quests for extra-flavor and double-coupon days,
looking for a steeeeeal, wanting to feeeeel,
as hollow dollars crumble to coins when plopped upon unsated palms and countertops.
Think! Think! Think! Think! Think! Think! Think! Think! Think! Think!
We are on the brink
of the Fall of the American Empire.
Dig.


First published at littledeathlit




Killers

I cut you
with words
to watch you bleed.
You starve me
with silence
to see me wither.
Funny,
we should look back
upon that lifeless heap
we left—
surprised—
wondering,
“How could you let that happen?”


first published at Cephalopress




Sucking the Marrow

Crackling
of hungry drags
from flaming cigarette cherries.
Tinkling
of ice cubes
from sweaty glasses,
thirsty
for heavy splashes of gin.
Ringing
from the silence
of words
that have had their due.
Waiting…
Waiting…
Waiting…
Crackling.
Tinkling.
Ringing.
Waiting…
Waiting…
Waiting…
for the soothing balm
of
“I’m leaving.”


first published at Writ in Dust




Kiss Me, Again, Again, and Again

The coppery taste of meat beneath your sweet breath lingers
like a penny on the tip of my tongue.
Heads or tails?
Can’t lose—
Lucky me.
My equilibrium’s fucked raw,
as my hands drink-in the warm curvature of your hips.
O, glorious spit—
a little dab will do ya—
streaked red and hot,
never take me from this place,
leaving me
haunted by the ghost of that breath—
your Heaven,
your Hell—
that leaves me…
quivering.
Words can’t capture what’s smeared on this cheek
by fingers,
sticky and sweet—
so why try.
Kiss me,
again,
again,
and again,
in that white muslin dress of thigh-stretched daisies
that roll and grin like morning shadows,
smiling at secrets hidden in dark places.


first published at Terror House Magazine




Blue Sky through Bare Branches

I look, upwards, at blue sky through bare branches,
the dewy wet of cool, green grass on my back,
clinging,
sinking,
pulling me further away from this place.
I long for the stillness of being
found only in the shedding of this meat that plants me here.
Oh, to touch those spaces in-between.
To graze my lips upon that azure skin.
O, opiate kiss,
Like a stone, skipping across limpid pools.
let me caress that face with my lips and sink into your oblivion.
Your everything!
But I am bound,
here,
by bare branches,
between me and a beckoning sky.
Biting my lip to taste blood,
I long to smear red what God has painted blue.


first published at Foliate Oak Magazine




Lithium

Dishes are piled high in the sink.
Papers strewn about
(My business for none to see).
Cobwebs frame doorways,
waving, familiarly, in silent clamor.

I walk these floors,
dirt, beneath bare feet,
from many roads taken
and the soles of passersby.

Stumbling,
I pass books stacked high on chairs and tabletops.
(No more room on the shelves)
Ones I’ll always remember. Ones I chose to forget. Ones never to be read.

How funny it is to see this place
(This place where I live, rosy-hued),
when the switch is flicked.
God, this place needs a good cleaning!


first published at Terror House Magazine


David Estringel: "I am an avid reader, poet, and writer of fiction, creative non-fiction, & essays. My work has been accepted and/or published by Specter Magazine, Literary Juice, Foliate Oak Magazine, Terror House Magazine, Expat Press, 50 Haikus, littledeathlit, Down in the Dirt Magazine, Route 7 Review, Setu Bilingual Journal, Paper Trains Literary Journal, The Elixir Magazine, Soft Cartel, Harbinger Asylum, Briars Lit, Open Arts Forum, Cajun Mutt Press, Former People Journal, The Ugly Writers, Writ in Dust, Cephalopress, Twist in Time, Merak Magazine, Salt Water Soul, Cherry House Press, Subterranean Blue Poetry, Printed Words, Sunflower Sutras, Tulip Tree Publishing, Salt Ink, PPP Ezine, Digging through the Fat, Haiku Journal, Foxhole Magazine, The Basil O’Flaherty, Three Line Poetry, Agony Opera, Siren’s Call Ezine, Alien Buddha Press, Synchronized Chaos, The Pantheon of Poesy, The @baffled Haiku Daily, Channillo, and The Good Men Project. My first published, feature-length collection of poetry and prose Indelible Fingerprints was published at Alien Buddha Press in April 2019. I can be found on Twitter (@The_Booky_Man) and my website at DavidAEstringel.com."




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