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Nuts splitting, popping in shells, rich roasted, sun drenched,
golden brown dangling baubles hanging heavy off thin limbs.

Char, that hefty black burn, grey curling tendrils, odors trailing skyward, dripping red meat chunks and a mouth-flooding crunch.
Crisped skin. The sooty, charcoal treat.

Opium to inhale, exhale the red-petaled pale plumes
in the heady broth of a blurry room. Vapor panting off your skin,
wading, thrusting through oceans within.
Incense sanding the off Earth's edges.

Fragrant. She walks, pores trickle luscious oils.
Spirit pheromones seeping, fish-hooking nostrils, spinnerbait instinct, lassoing libidos, her body The Casino.
Gulp and gasp, trip to fall, her bouquet driving them to crawl.

Cologne… civet musk braiding down a broad back.
Aromas cloak-drape in crisp folds and relenting leather.
Suggestive; stiffness in his lap, Persuasive; shirt-cuffed glinting knuckle. Invitation to the cliff’s edge, erotic as a deft hand.
Tracks confounding… animal or man, red-blooded blue blood
the last of his clan.
Noble grit ritualist, potent savage,
refined as Cézanne.

Taking Air,
Owning Air.
Your Scent, The Net With Which You Snare.

Copyright © 2016 by Shay Lhea
All Rights Reserved


I've only just come to the realization that I've been unconsciously in search of something. In rabid pursuit of an abstraction I now know will never materialize.

Modernity is the butcher in my life. The oxidization of my iron age of romanticism. A hematic rust gnawing away at that once abundant reverie, before humanity was forced to be faced with the reality of every continent. I'm maladapted.

The blighted, bloated hope, then the rearing up of impaling disappointment.
The pan flash. The tawdry, tinsel bird slain before flight.
Then the meek, supernatant relief.
And then the rapidly diminishing disbelief
in that unforgiving truth.
The stages within that nonlinear timeline of grief.

And then, the sour surrender.
And following,
that new, mealy palate, already deep set in all the other drug-parched mouths, that begins turning my ripe, slick gate into a kindred dust bowl.

The fetor of fallibility, the fumes of weakness.
The suffocation. The revulsion.

The ark built
though the floods never came.

Copyright © 2016 by Shay Lhea
All Rights Reserved

The Needle In Your Lung.

I wasn't aware that the sear, the meaty laceration of First Love, even after nearly six long years, would still be a concussing Forman uppercut.

Promenading twenty paces ahead in their black, matching terry cloth robes, lurching up the bluff from the beach, salt-soaked hair and sweeping chiclet grins agleam, lasciviously clutching at the other's rear, oblivious. Fastened into a perfect wave. Both, the same animal, spun from the same ambitious Spindle Of Hope. Both revolutionary lovers, living light bound, unceasingly.


Oblivious to what I was oblivious to recall only moments before.

Kept bound in black boxes full of glass and sulphur, burrowed deep in swarming mud pits in the dankest forest islands to ever curtain all those steaming charnel houses. Kept buried.

And there they were.
And there I was.

In Perpetuam Rei Memoriam.

The sick eternity knotted into a poison-leafed paste beneath my tongue.

And the most unfeigned, devout prayer for their death.

Copyright © 2016 by Shay Lhea
All Rights Reserved


Was it

Parent, the architect of sustained apathy

or the insignia-ringed backhand, the callus-knuckled blow
from a booze-glazed spouse
Authority’s final warning or the headline’s global mourning
or the Eritrean droughts

What of that Human Madness? The thin blue line nearly worn away,
chalked across your mind, fading in the cranial glade

What would it take

The bully-menace posse stalking you through every grade,
the pet your neighbor’s Buick split
that night the rain shot up the street,
or your cotton-covered hips upon that wide, corrupted lap,
or your deaf-mute rage in a rented room as you pang for food
and count your change

What of that lunacy, what did it take
What was the first and the last on that stake

Those early days in your still room, where insanity sprouts
in the quiet-alone
You slip into hirsute vision and so begins the shrinking sight
Sulfuric fog crawls round the rim til groping paranoia
clenches out reason's cast off light

And then the pacing, trotting canter to nightfall, your only fortress,
galloping to the old sin dens, the lengths of flesh, the glassy shoes
the swollen walls with haggard mobs,
all whiskey’s laugh and cigarette’s lung
then galloping from the old sin dens, to never return and wait again

Safety (now, the severed latch) and no dark cover without barbs,
you gnash with gnawing suffocation, premonitions, ruptured visions
reeling, snapping through the alleys, barking out emphatic No’s
Parrying the formless shadows, dragged into that terminus station

Now, muffled whines in the padded vault,
the click and whir and the swinging bulb
An umber monarch in a pin-boxed sky
and the rogue freight train trussed down with floss
Dark art of madness caged in with loss

And feculent rot’s old pithy tang
in the bottomless peat of a sodden brain



Copyright © 2016 by Shay Lhea
All Rights Reserved

Jul. 3rd, 2016

Last night I dreamt wild horses actually did drag you away.

It would have been a nightmare if I hadn't seen it coming.

The Transient

The immemorial stroll through cigarette-caked laneways
Whispers outside round the bend
and a shout inside through yellow, valanced windows
counterfeiting safety

Brown corked bottle in a rebar grip and the glossy tar slap beneath a waterlogged shoe
Hollow flask with a shadow cast long and corkscrew fists for every man's foe
Nocturnal wanderings, sliver of a mean mouth
Deserting crimes in the red room on the rotten couch
Blitz attacks on pretentious prigs
and the penetrating air in the drafty-slabbed brig

Copyright © 2016 by Shay Lhea
All Rights Reserved

Maternal Forebear

The smooth, blue-white formless sheet drawn up to her crème caramel shoulders, washed and over-washed, used and used again.

The slight, soft frame cradled in a human-sized steel tray.

The spectral stillness of it all. The vacuous void, that basement suite, the acting tomb fortified with sealed granite walls to absorb rogue, echoed sobs, reminding you that the only ears perked to gulp your grief are your own.

Her face, an inanimate semblance more real that it had ever been in life. Full, dusty-rose mouth released into an uncritical serenity, the carping pleats once gathered at her lips' peaks diffused into relief. The freckled skin tags swept across her nose.

Her eyes, milky marbles of aged, clouded glass mercifully veiled from her abandoned mourners, who indiscreetly ransack her visage, convinced that if just one more pronounced second would pass, her hazel gaze would reel into reanimation.

The scrutiny of disbelief as I swing my chin in close to hers and the thin, near-gossamer thread of mucilage sealing her parchment lids shut. Tiny, curled, chocolate-bronze lashes made for a porcelain doll, made to make one wonder if they disappear into the skull at death like the ruby-slippered East Witch's feet of OZ, coiling to retreat beneath Dorothy's home.

And the scent of what had replaced her blood. That saccharine, saltpeter, soured-wine marinade, the faintest tang tactfully mild, barely breaking her skin to forbid reminding my nostrils of what her survival once smelled like.

Her shrunken mortal parts before me, excavated and vacated.
This shape held until a fire in the small hours made powder of her person.

Her skin. Supple, smooth and untroubled, chilled from an Autumn walk along the slate cliffs, beneath my thermal palms.

And all her born days, thawed and melted away. The underestimations and miscalculations, the impounded soul lost to dreams of a life.

My Grandmother.

Copyright © 2016 by Shay Lhea
All Rights Reserved


Oud musk in a whirling steam
Black hooks burrow through red-raised sinews
Snakes in a talking drum, striking while the palm meat pounds
Heart bucks in a hammer pulse, bloodshot gaze from a smoked out skull

Coiled, recoiled, glossy sweat
Boneless backs dance a flamed two-step
Nightshade coat of hickory skin
Fingerbone staff and the rising voice, and the upturned chin
and the roasting prayer

The anvil heat from a soil-caked grip
The calabash rattling hyena teeth

Bellies full of roots and pins
Yak hair wound with cowrie
Gods alight, they blister bright
Clusters in the canopy

Copyright © 2016 by Shay Lhea
All Rights Reserved


“Doughty Fist” rust-inked across the beryl blue wall,
flaking tiles are quick knives for a quick nick in a broken stall

Broad-nosed, backhand Betty with a shiner, running liner and a pink-smear-mouth
thin silk on a thick calf, shredded gone to a blotched knee
and a pin-curled Mable with hoary breath and the upstairs key

Stillbirth, rebirth, afterbirth on a sticky hootch floor with a never-ending toast
as the bare-knuckle boxers boast and the rot-gut drunk
shakes conspiratorial fists beneath the portrait of a Queen
Bug zappers and barflies, sinking sounds, motility sunk,
Ruben with his losing hand and Cian with a gout-hipped lean

Heavy petting in a rocksoul tang, stinging in the alley for a soused release
the filthy finger and the stagger-toothed teeth, stout on stout with an ample breast
for the bourbon coma in the foreign guest, and The Slenderman,
arresting, intense - for The Slenderman, only serpentine feasts… while he drives a point home
to a stew-lit Clarice

Strong-jawed boys with black-marked lust, ruddy brick lips
and a riotous gaze, casually clothed in vulturous woes
lurking loose in the nicotine haze, pipes in palms and powdered pockets
heavy cocks that ache to switch, yard tattoos and starved out wallets

Night steals through while the dwarf grunts Bitch

Copyright © 2016 by Shay Lhea
All Rights Reserved

Mario Rota (1917-1966)


Something about the sickness of a soul, when the grass doesn't take.