VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Duane Vorhees

THE POSTMORTEM

Your doom and your disappearance
are but two of death’s deceptions.

You won’t ride with the Valkyries

or be served by any houris.

Don’t expect balance and feather,

an accounting in a ledger,

an inquisition by angels,

the companionship of sages.

You’ll have no Hell/karma/Heaven —
judgment’s privileged to the living.

Your remains are genes and atoms,
and memories are your statues.

O MOON  

Shakespeare was too polite calling you inconstant.  

You’ll flash your waxed silver clit for anyone.  

Your fabled vagina spawns the stars and poems  

But when I most need you to arouse

you hide, as though demure.  

LIMOS

With her hardball knees

and basketball abdomen–

Hunger never plays

The Greeks knew Hunger well,

daughter of Discord, sister of Ruin.

An amalgamation of bloat and emaciation,

she once inhabited Aethon’s innards

to make him devour himself whole from within.

But the Greeks knew Prometheus too.

He gave men writing, math, and agriculture.

He gave them fire, and he even restored

the hope his sister had withheld.

All to keep insatiable Hunger at bay.

Hunger’s bony snowshoe feet

bear her shambling ramshackle corpse,

spindly jolly roger crucifix protruding.

Her empty burlap tits hang from pegs,

her skin a crisp parchment

lettered by visible veins,

tightly bound to volumes of bones.

Her cracked and crusted lips

mouth equations of halitosis and dust.

Her cheeks sprawl like abandoned adzes,

her nose like a rusted plow.

The ashes of apathy show from mineshaft eyes

after an unremembered fire.

The Greeks knew, of course,

that Prometheus would be

punished for his impertinence,

fettered on Hunger’s barren Caucasian mountain,

Aethon dining on his liver. 

PASSIO

I knew from my earliest youth

my destiny as a martyr

so I majored in high abuse

and I practiced my stigmata.

Via Dolorosa to crucifixion

became much harder.

When my ambition came unloosed

I lost my consuming ardor

for fire, for stone, for ax, for noose.

I instead became a writer

to put my schooling to good use.

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