by Ernest Slyman
The Language Of The Creatures

They sing to us. Not like the birds of earth.
Though they all have bright colors.
Their songs are shrill cries of sadness,
But they are not sad. The one truth
Is what they sing, the one lasting joy,
Which has not come,
And even when the morning sky bright orange
Trembles up overhead, and they take flight,
Strutting over the dunes,
Cawing like strange crows.
And each creature has seven eyes to watch
For the little beasts that come forth
Out of the blue dust,
When the creatures call them,
Their throats full of love,
Crying their sweet riddles.
Little Moons

The surface of the red Neen lakes
Are cool and shimmer of provocative little moons,
Which are full and round,
Though when we glance up we cannot see them.
And not knowing how to look at things
Without frightening them,
We yield to the surface of the lake
And accept its vision.

The water is pure joy,
It gurgles like the mountain streams
Of earth, but it has many more forms.
It can be observed strolling through the streets,
Or sitting by a window, reading a book.

In its liquid state,
It is friendly, warm, remarkably well-educated.
Though it has the face of a child.
Loves for us to touch it
And bathe in its mind,
Splashing our feet in its deepest thoughts.

And listening to it,
Believing every drop,
We feel more cleansed than ever before.

The lake leans heavily toward confession
And calms the melancholy thick layers
Of our inner beings,
And we are filled with vast strange truths,
The stark beauty of our emotions,
The sudden birth of cosmic tenderness
In which we all flourish,
And indulge ourselves in the mysterious
Nakedness which envelops us.

Then the most delicious bliss-
The disappearance of ourselves,
The coming into the nextworld,
And the leaving behind of the old,
Withdrawing slowly molecule by molecule
The cells of our body dissipating into the air
Like drops of water, slipping from the nozzle
Of a garden hose, then the great swirls
Of happiness like bright tomorrows
Bursting inside us
As we sleep.
Songs of the Grackle
Aliens Works Cited

The romantic tradition in Modern Alien prose
Has always exhibited a remarkable restraint,
Disavowing itself of otherworlds whose visions
Of despair, pessimism, loneliness and drunken heroics
And shifting psychological states of terror and joy
Appease their inescapable unknowable forms of truths

The grackle which was sent to the Neen
As a gift was not intended as messenger,
Though it did sing and its cheerful remarks
Upon arrival and its pleas
Were interpreted as great literature.

It seems the bird found us wanting,
Our air muddy, our water putrid.
And we are not rational beings-
The great spirit within us
Falls bleak soundless dark pitiful.

Though the grackle argues our side,
Its willful defense of our despair,
Marking us with its sweet musical beginnings,
Its sublime consciousness transforms
Our existence into philosophical thought,
The immutable inner landscapes,
Our ultimately flawed visions,
The truly remarkable rage
Which makes our songs so sweet.

The bird has of course mingled
Its own thoughts about its culture
With ours, and thus explains
The many deranged self-deprecating passages-
Available now in bookstores.
Deluxe edition, three thousand quag.  €
Poems copyright © 1996 Ernest Slyman <>

[ Prev | Table of Contents | Next ]