Sheila E. Murphy & Douglas Barbour

Continuations CVIII:

vexed arbitrage sets new records
                booked and broken
     in    by out  rage against
                the machinations   no
                     gradations   just grand
iose  ambition s   hit home

along splintered streets 
                amid less visible wreckage
                                staged to stifle recognition
   rags to rage to 
                center                 re-enter 
                       plump thugs ready to begin again

taking steps   stairways to havens
                hidden in a time warp
                    ed to a back thrust
lack trust    a rough cant
                er into newly constructed
                    eighteenth century polity

rust         almost instructive
                as in jury duty as a rough cut
                                of time tested steps
weighing the ways 
                the teeniest of centuries
                                can be slowed to stares

quick starts   or startles
                the shades in shadow
    cabinets    full of curiosities
sans curiosity   simply (un)
                questioning   any thinking
                    toward reasoning mindfulness

full bins of trinkets 
                scarred with rust                a curious
   quest                 to feed one’s loved
                ones and twos                  simply
     yard full of shadow and sand
                                growth just postponed

past pined for   a losing pro
                position   played out
                    from squares filled with anger
against all reason    able to fire
    a fierce resentment re-sent
                through  ways   mean s hot

layaway is coming back
                and people
                                pare their habits                venture
 to the next tier down                    the family
                dollar store        to stow more
                                modest portions 

the Gap is not the gap
                a history regenerates
                                from pages turned to dust
never slaps   down      a cover
                story for that superior
                                Cheshire Cat grin

played overtime                and played
                to down the ever-opt
                                more generations than
                   our history would dust
                off            to show the riotous
                                urgent period 

full stop  ped   all too mettle
    mad    unforgiving    any
                not for giving back
not walk away   re-nay
                repay     that 31st floor
                    gold plated whore

a vortex of complex self-ing
                paid for by 
the             minions in the millions
     acts as icon                 to inquiring
                minds full of unrest   
best thing  that can happen is

an ever fuller stop    punkt
                order courted only
                     to contain    maintain
the walls   community
                be dammed    up   about
     to burst   beyond mere legalities

munitions at a lull
                attract ration
                                ales  to stain
     the countryside
                walled off behind
                                an image of imposters

who would build walls  not even
                fences   the bad
                                neighbor policy
wonky as the verses versus
                any turnabout   turncoat
                                true believers say

true faith would erase the faux facsimiles
                at the surface
                                where conned masses 
                demand a wall
as if to dream 
                acts of exclusivity

beyond the pale    riders
                on the storm
                                the barricades
built of goldbrick leaded
                down    whose dream
                                its foundations

creamy with philosophy
                post-storm                 seen through
   shields                 the leaded panes 
                                idle but for primacy
incurred along the way
                a proxy for a life

vote meta physical exam
                what sick beast waddles
    toward Bethesda to be borne
                aloft on shoulders hunched
    beneath a storm of intel
                all jinxed by assess

biases that split their brackets
                hoodwink all and sun
dry           thespians                 appearing
                alive                      (well, in their lofts)
yet losing every hunch
                that mimics intel

is it gents only    seems a reduction
                redaction brings    black
                                outs     ops
for what conclave    how
                the unelect self-select
                                for a mass trained wreck

a sect to mispronounce all
                manner of talk                 tear ducts
                                turn to autoclave
   rain, too, needs to come
                                for what we used
      to think we’d mastered

truth inked   we’d mustered
    masquerades    ill manner
                of balk    heads up
in clouds of gory 
                tale told by
                     an ideologue

stirred soundly by
                the till sweeter than the urn
      and bordered by ninja
                                bearing out 
         takes                qua shrill 
                                syllabic spurts 

expostulations   exposed
     on a hill   shining
                with the sweet
of the bought    to the
    sweat under lights
                now dead oh microphone

ought to accommodate                 the common
                shindig with a little
   sweet                 to locate various
                phonetic adages
                                as if to emulate 
that baby’s posture         purely upright

surely crying    but black bird
     song    or banshee wail
                a stand up   stood up
kind of guy roped teeny
     venture into capital
                vain state

rappelling to arrive
                induces thriving post-
waylaid                 diffidence
                the black bird also 
                    turns to solace via
                          keening as we do 

Continuations CIX:

this then the long bye bye
                 blocked      barred
                                a cruel symmetry
                                a cool cemetery
                flocks     charred
with ashen song    dreams died

forays into past tense
                eventually dissolve in favor
  of here-today                 this            one
                                moment                as momentum
      sparks a miracle amid
trusted routine 

                                a repetition
rust requires    trust tree choirs
     this time of year     fear
                of freefalling    each turn
return of color before separation
                what wafts awaits dissolution

soluble                 rust 
                about to leave
                                stains                     the choir
     warbling                     a testament
                to longevity 
                                beyond color of origin

how far back to go
                to any beginning not
     already redundant     redone
                in primary colors
this time as dust covered
                every shiny start-up

once (again)
                done tones loom
                                approaching time’s own dust
    the start of 
                backlit                  shinnying
                                up the coconut tree

coming down    a fall as said
     or a fail   safe on just two legs
                stumbling out into savannahs
green with possibility     beige
     openings    into eternal returns
                on every new deposit(ion)

the perpetual green versus gravitas 
                coexistence bothers both 
                                sides presumed unrelated
                                                  a complicated
                bird tune fills the kitchen
                                with trills for condiments

trilliums for contentment    or any
                flowering evolution
     revolutionary greenhouses
stand against stones   a broken
     mirror s(h)elves the sense of growth
                               behind the crowd occluded

sight unseen  house
                broken life forms
                                at a standstill 
   lower the bar  
                               even when looking 
                   involuntarily at the mirror wall

in stall nation    a rewind
                lacking proper intel
                                in gents only backrooms
    a kind of mindless repetition
                                revolutions forgot
      ton of tone deafness announced

room for proper distribution
                dissolution        ' distinctions
                                relative atonement  
                people come in                “tons” 
                these days                deaf 
                               to fine distinctions

distinct on so many levels loss
                 leads less than (unlawful) gain
                     said to be tru(thi)er than
‘your’ basic hold on home
     securing no lending down
                that garden path to g(l)ory

thine eyesight                  on dash
                board                 the gears in our 
                                keeping on                homeward
     the pronouns                as pathways
                lean hearty on patholo-
                                ordinal (de)meaning new data

sets   out or a part way beyond
                fathom     waves push
                                particles resist
ants in pratfalls figure a new brave
     world wanting     too much
                to little given (thought

perched on shelves of history
                sister stacks of brackets tipped
                                sideways                enc
losing parts
                and parts of speech usher
                                in replacements meant for

noting nothing nominal
                neglect nods its hanging head
     strong against    never for
                sworn enemies of
                    raison d’être 
                                or not  to beg a question

    how to:
                get grades                get gifts
                                get past                 distracting
    evermore        donning the cap
                                before the gown 
       to gain                       not give (the enemy

                positions    an ever new
                     lost orison    prayer 
     breakfast food for fools
                capping the wells
                     springs   the new boss
                                seems as bold

and focused on authority
                as fast paced
                                along positional 
                retention via
                                with bona fide tact
(prayer notwithstanding)

pushed upon   a forced feeding
                in which facts dissolve
                     in holy waffle
     error ridden    roar of
                rhetorics wrestling down

faraway id                 the deep-down
                meantime                 a surrounding
   atmosphere clouds       what is
                known                 including
                                flowers fed on
    by surviving insects 

a bit antsy    they might say
    clung to the higher
                stems    static   stunned
      a wealth of wise domination
falls to grasshopper philosophy
                hidden in tents of percentages

sophisticated hops
                or coffee to taste                 incentive
                                to raise the bar
   in parallel to                 healthy stems
                the wisdom to antagonize
                                where war                          ranted

were war    fair    a rant
                knaves made would have
     no hold     barred or bared
                as errant   how the same
                     old crew caved in
                                craven    as instructed

native opus            structure reddened 
                                in warm light 
       a name         is given
                elements                once planted
                                define and hold
   their ground

                                against what invasion
of what possibilities 
                withstood with standing
                               orders to defend
     a wall of care
                fully constructed ignorance

what might be known
                apart from strictures
                                watched wings that draw mimesis
    from young and old
                                in motion                with emotion
          the result of a desire                         to be

or (bits) knot   to beseech
                flesh as possibility
                                pain fully gainsaid
in such desired reproduction
                or is that representation
                                by what dealer of what cards

arrive not quite fresh
                the staid moments pass through
                                walls without measure
                                                hold stains
    a product of viewer
                ship                       once shapely and now chapped

chipped off an older lock
                on every vote(r) reserved
    re-served as newer than any
                eighteenth century
                     noblesse oblige(d)
                                to chip in

tipping many points      tweens
                served twice the norm of 
                 lockstep (watch
                 that eighteenth hologram
      revealing centuries 
                about to pass)

                                                (out   into
what new sick bay
                moonlit   wave driven
                                or particular rush
a way from action    knowledge
                meant to tell a sickening time

plastered before us
                in repeated frames 
                                riven by wish
                for backlit momentum 
                                to shift
to black

Sheila E. Murphy actively writes and draws from her base in Phoenix, Arizona. Her consulting work involves a fusion of theory and practice in organizational design and development.

Douglas Barbour lives in Edmonton, Alberta. His latest book is Listen. If (University of Alberta Press 2017). His occasional reviews of (mostly poetry) appear in Eclectic Ruckus (https://eclecticruckus.wordpress.com/).

Two volumes of Continuations have appeared from University of Alberta Press.
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