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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

H. A. Sappho

Halfway to Delphi

Socrates will also know pickles

TWA will not wear a toga

Between these two heresies will be a tripod

In this the secret of exits will be revealed

Direction will be lost the century before the last one

The crisis will begin with cemeteries building answers

Somewhere there will be a fish born in a desert

Never wed Romans to a messiah before counting lost futures

Maximize your crusades between the garage and the kitchen

Take your pills instead of your exes it doesn’t matter what color

Liquid will not be the only adventure for sperm

Open your best book and drive through its portal

History will soon be the sole means of escape

There are principles to remember no matter your cargo

Backwards must find its own radar

Shift must find its own Newton

Stop is the greatest of all liars

The universe will at last meet its Copernicus

Something named Aquinas will fruit a bad tree

Don’t speak in textures of dried clipper ship hulls

Don’t chew on bark wearing dark insects

Do dig vegetables using the right robot

Appreciate the necessity of mindless complaints

Perfect the art of self-abandonment in museums

Make efficient your butterflies crawling through psyches

Cut loose the sash of a diminishing waterfall

Text your old data from long-distance farmlands

Follow a spiderweb to Los Alamos and turn left

Don’t make priests of volcanoes or else

Don’t make a system of dropped sticks your forecast

Never roll dice at flipped cards or birthdays

If Shrodinger’s cat gets lost you can find him in the Miro constellation

Landscapes near oceans are now the ones best to avoid

Music will become time’s most potent memory

There will be too many horses galloping away with chronology

Tomorrow will become the world’s greatest myth

The telephone will become the world’s greatest gun

Wait for the serpent to uncoil your questions

Sleep inside shadows but not inside whales

Hide your worst secrets from the red eyelid of the sun

Many will isolate in the white half of the world

No one will be better at the cracked landscape than flies

At last there will be a wail like a god amputating fingers

Religions of oneness will combine to extinguish all rainbows

Angels will suffocate on the birth of cloned clouds

Shades of hyenas will raid a place called heaven

The last sight of the sun will be brown

You will no longer need to fear mushrooms

That’ll be ten drachmas

I of the Beginning

I’m a lazy polymath with a bow and arrow and Olduvai pebble chopper he said

Running for eons can make even evolution breathless

The continents whirl about on their indecisive shorelines

Plants and animals blink in and out of time and its tempera

Somebody will say something about an eighth day in rags

And that’s before even the first word is shrieked

Thus from smaller to bigger garden we go

All that was then and now it is a little more of then  

So gather your sticks for a new campfire and diagram your best now

Get that fire going past otherwise otherwise all exits will be unbearable

Under the arc of a new universe every center will eventually go blind

Out here in the drunken suburbs of spirals ferns blow breezes

Green blows wind

Rain hurls gales

Butterflies start hurricanes

Yet another I shoring debris

Meanwhile a baker has a menu

An eclipse is waiting to take your order

The panopticon is serving time with spectronomy

Another darkness waits to turn the key

A shadow of the Original Walnut bursting

And banging its hard forehead into time

Breaking infinity’s eyelid into light

Into the jagged space between thisness and thatness

Traveling all the way across the Great One-Breath seeding mirages

Until the seeds finally run out at the Sagittarius Dwarf

That’s where the apple comes in

A smuggler of geometric proportions with a hundred billion hands

Sowing desire for every I entering the bleachers

Scattering I-squared into I-squared into I-squared into I-squared

Into a moist garden serving layers of skin with shadows under the vengeful sun

Pressing its solar privates into the lush kaleidoscope of yes versus no

Yet another woman under another man

Riverrunning past Eve and Adam’s heavy breathing

Lisping It’s time for you to go

Pantheist in the Waiting Room

The lifetime fool now knowing the consequences

The porcupine handing out views of a sandstorm

Fog splitting the shoulder blades of surrender

Was ice really so dexterous in the bloodstream

Was the broken thermometer really the best demagogue

Who shoed your keyboard all the way to lost September

What can an equinox tell you that you don’t want to hear

Guidance is an upside-down bucket in a graveyard

Exhaustion is a poorly fed goat on a sleek hillside

Blistering his way forward into green air he met the expected

Rain arriving from half the world away gave birth to running wild

More than four wheels dreams the climbing snail

Overturn that stone in your ring finger

She was never going to say yes

Get out with your knees if you have to

Climb into your throat if you must snake a grief

Stop with the African memory bigging your belly

A womb is no place to squabble about past choices

Why is your transformation picking at sand

The revolution begins in the hospital

A phoenix in hesitance can both cause and absorb pain

After the sun comes the nail and after the nail comes the postage stamp

And only the broken crucifix can tell the difference

So mail yourself to the new life while you can still find your legs   

Move past the past with its mouths made of stripped leaves

Even for a fool with a tongue accumulating stretched shade you can wander

That’s where we’ll meet on the other side of the pandemic’s long wait

Where the rainforest is dripping with its densely clothed skin

And all your reformed lusts are erased memories

Reflected in the splash of an extinction’s first tear


H. A. Sappho is a native of Los Angeles with expat time spent in Prague, Berlin, and Hanoi. His baseline interest is archetypal psychology. He has self-published nine books of poetry and prose collectively named the Puer Cycle. His recently completed book, In the Pandemic’s Caboose, portrays a year in the life of consciousness during Covid lockdown. Currently he is at work on Faust, Part 3.

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