John FitzGerald is a poet, writer, editor and attorney for the disabled in Los Angeles. A dual citizen of the United States and Ireland, he attended the University of West Los Angeles School of Law, where he was editor of the Law Review. His newest collection Favorite Bedtime Stories is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in 2014. The Mind, was published by Salmon Poetry in 2011. His first book, Spring Water, was a Turning Point Books prize selection in 2005. Telling Time by the Shadows was released in April 2008 by Turning Point Books. As yet unpublished works include Primate, a novel and screenplay, the non-fiction The People of the Net. He has contributed to the anthologies Poetry: Reading it, Writing it, Publishing it (Salmon Poetry), Dogs Singing: A Tribute Anthology (Salmon Poetry), and From the Four-Chambered Heart: In Tribute to Anais Nin (Sybaritic Press) as well as to many literary magazines, notably The Warwick Review, Barnwood Mag, Askew Poetry Journal, Spillway, and Lit Bridge.
The Charter of Effects
First, the muses.
Any fool could see he was infested with infinite muses.
Mere mention makes writers like me unsure.
But having now done so unlocks a secret
I’m not so certain I want to reveal
so much as render a logical explanation.
This is how the Likeness became infected.
Ghost picked raw by muses, themselves in decay.
Counsel tried alcohol, myriad ruses,
attempted with smoke to coax them away,
hammered the tuner till stars spun about,
mixed himself up with a spoon and a rope.
Strewn feelings might settle for certain ambitions,
leaving restlessness to anticipate.
Perhaps even more so than anything else,
feeling should be described before it tries to go outside itself.
There must be evidence of pain.
The truth for now a lie on which its future can be based.
Our backs together, unturned
on a sphere we stand distanced as possible.
Muses in mind, Counsel cares, in abeyance,
until later when memory no longer relates.
Entire illusions of innerness pray if only rain were beer.
Should instead he hear her coming she is lovely, but he doesn’t.
Counsel plots against muses however it seems.
Let him never rush headlong to any emotion.
Everyone every day, little has changed.
Periods of waiting tolled.
An act, to reconcile. See?
Who was in charge of tequila?
Miscellaneous provisions, findings and purposes, come out.
We’ve sacrificed ourselves again.
Muses hover everywhere, to see through.
To jump from the monotonous lingering
of essentially an edge, transformed by point of view
into an artist’s rendering of someone missing.
So contends the Likeness of the universe.
Fateful muses gone to curse, he’s had your number.
All we need now is a charm, or delusion –
a general denial that any of us really hurts.
What if glyphs replace the music in his head.
A weeping one can hardly stand, who would it serve?
Muses cut in, without room, like a cab,
as if you owe them some salvation.
They often light exquisite as a lung awaits a breath.
He says hold them in for as long as you can,
suck out their sockets till every revenant is dead,
make them rue the day they became a man.
Counsel loves pointing in every direction,
will spring a dealer or a killer,
mean whatever you expected,
hock your mother’s house for payment.
He’ll eventually bury the Likeness of light
in a box he made of air for dreaming.
Evaporate, you stardust!
The bars are awaiting the stakes to be raised.
Abandon queues, get out while the piano’s playing.
Set it aside for sake of delay, give nothing.
You’re talking to one now, man,
with an edge on his line too concise to repeal.
Peridotic olivine things blink.
And not just reflections, but eyes that smolder.
They rearrange, and man, he don’t care like I do.
In advance, the exchange, or stay where you are.
Little hand three, big nine finds the Likeness
indestructible, interpreting a slur, a hum too.
He’ll hire a cartoonist for his thoughts.
Counsel moved twice for a loophole – ‘twas denied.
Loosen up, exhibit signs.
Life is in the fire, somewhere.
Seal the cracks where it tries getting through.
That can’t just mean prophets talking to the stupid.
Phoenicians brought me ABCs.
You should be afraid, I write and drive,
can’t look in any direction without reading something.
A regalia of car horns announces my arrival
so do not move off your footprints till I leave.
Hanging a left, eyes flicker the mix.
I sense hesitation yet defer
not so much to the cliff, but the bottom.
Where once we dreamt of paradise,
between the rivers, shock and awe.
In the empire of a thousand crimes per martyr
lies the water for which all humans are willing to trade.
No more than a gulp, or swallow.
The Likeness fading in and out
with a chance of spinning, or blurring.
Nearby mere sun unplucks the string
at a place where drops converge replete
with microscopic teeming,
elements distill into a discontented reveille.
The weed pried through the highway cracks imbibed.
Gilgamesh cried over Enkidu.
The people of Uruk diverted Euphrates
to bury their king in the riverbed.
How the Likeness weeps too at his own incantations.