Poems by Dustin Pickering

Partial Eclipse

I was hungover last night
and my poetry was weak, futile as curdled milk.
I washed my face with warm water
and returned the pen to its inkwell.

I am poisoned by official censors of imbecility
while nurturing the great child of my heart.
Subconscious and conscious mind
fluster to embrace something singular and unique—
yet mingled entrapments siphon puns
while I sleep soundly.
I don’t let thoughts embarrass,
but my energies sequester
in such an odd execution.
It is as if my mind puts on the hangman’s mask
to coax thoughts from their swagger.
Wake, rise, and like the sun
greet city noise.

Emptiness grins (as only havoc can)
and I am sound asleep,
jousting the phantoms of distress.
A partial eclipse is due Sunday,
the day of worship,
and I don’t expect facile empathy.
Not this time.
As the moon reaches its final stunt
no one is prepared to stop blood flowing
through the veins of purloined pragmatists.
Whispers abound and decadence unravels.

Our place is taken from us.
Gods conspired all the while
to usurp us in our hideous games.

We Are Stripes on Backs of Gods…

Yet we still cannot fathom the cruelty.
Debts remain unpaid.
We owe it to the monarchs
who hide in the treacherous chaos
of labyrinthine space.

Pallor of Death

In the hollow tree, I wait
like a snippet of news that never happens.
I do not sing and prisons do not intimidate.
This hollow is my ancient spectacle.

Death, you are the bright horizon
where my mercy is stocked away…
I live to the fullest each day
but I am cursed with stillness.

Hearts do not cradle bombs of war.
I see with the eyes of a priest
for the five minutes I spend washing
my nihilist hands.

This world is a terrorist to my mind.
Looking for an enemy is not the final act,
but I will find you no matter where you cower.
Life, I am alive, and you are my prey.


About the Author
Dustin Pickering is founder of Transcendent Zero Press, a Houston-based literary publisher. He featured for Houston’s popular Public Poetry in 2013 and was a Special Guest Poet at Austin International Poetry Festival that same year. He is published in Texas Poetry Calendar 2016, Seltzer, Artistic Muse, and a variety of other publications. He hosts events in the Houston area for music and poetry.