Richard Magahiz

Cendrillon la belle

past Skull Mountain
the cracked cliffs of
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    twins beeswax pale their psyches are one

in your skull,
deep amber waves...
in everyone's skull

    the sky cracks; the schoolchildren can't breathe

into longwave
their vision we cannot
hide here

    eyesocket Joan the crows fight for scraps

the rift dilates
this time, her ringlets
drip venom

    freed of all burdens the thralls turn east

London forgives the flaws in the telling


Strawberry Cream
    per tablespoon     forty million organisms

Cardamom Seed
    an automaton plays reeds     the chill down the nave

Chicory Coffee
    outside the barred sickroom     three leaky vinyl boots

    veins through pale marble     memories of Sabbath night

Lichen Blue
    a filmy cloud:     brick walls pockmarked with toxic ash

Spicy Mustard
    summer rains fail to come     just stubble in the fields

Abundant Green
    jade rimmed inkstone     a dancer enters from the wings

Meadow Violet
    among leather-bound books     tintype of the empress

Dragon Fire
    unable to sleep     meteor trails at midnight

Molten Lava
    strand of tempered glass     a tightening reverse curve

The mirror-backed cabinet in oak

    Seraphim bones as smooth as willow wands in April
    This clockwork boy glows, plays a tune, melts into sighs... 
    From his coffin of straw emerges the mage Cagliostro
    A foursquare rampart of glowing knives proof against dragons 
    To spy a bismuth-trimmed carriage in which a fairy empress frets 
    Prester John in his beast form grasps a pair of scarlet thunderbolts
    Behold: quicksilver biremes dissolving into flakes of salt
    Sparks as soot-haired Jane at her wheel spins metal to flax
    Hovering flame-ringed jellyfish menaced by crepe paper elephants
    Sorrel geldings, eight-legs deep in fresh timothy
    A portrait of Mother Eve, her irises elderberry dark
    Between tansy-scented ocelots sits the latest porcelain bride
    A lad gulps translucent smoke while being borne down by Rhinemaidens
    Handwritten paper tag: 'Mount Neverrest ground down to a nub'
    A tailless donkey filled with toffee bares her fierce teeth
    Atop the thistledown gondola a catamite in samite
    In the coffee line, her slim hands clasped, a fey queen pouts
    In the village square, all the boys wear horns, the girls forked tails
    Thus the fingers of the archdeacon twine, coated in fairy fire
    Brave Danuta in hir yeti stole, hir shoes of coral 
    From a cloud, oysters fall, twisting, bluff dusty sapphires 
    Brass roundels graven with the Prophet's secret name

Though many see, few understand,
fewer still slip the catch
to finger treasures beyond compare:

There, there.
Hush, child – hush.
The sun's a soft red ball.
Child, sleep.A visit to Wernicke's ineffable land

  every singularity needs a soundtrack,
the gravity greets all as equals.

algorithmically, queen jane disciplines 
the school for kaiju,
a tail without a cat followed her home 
but she had nothing to give it.

  how to live between heartbeats?
sulphur leaks from your eyes
and it is beautiful.

Location, location, location

Down by the ass end of Suez
where greasy tankers slip on in
sprawls Great Bitter Lake
which could become a bonanza
with tourists unlucky in love
or passed over in some will
or having missed their potential.
I could buy a cheap storefront
then put up a big sign saying
in blistering purple enamel.
I would serve no sugar for coffee
or in the evening for absinthe.
The biscuits would disappoint.
Solitary patrons could observe
the fat sun melting their hopes
and smoke whatever they had.
The crisis line'd be on speed dial.
Black-clad baristas would all be
unsympathetic yet impersonal
and at closing we'd dump
our slops out on the pavement.
When lost ones would ask for
directions to Little Bitter Lake
I'd lay down my grimy towel,
look down at them from the bar,
and drawl "In your acrid heart" 
with that perfect lip curl of mine.

The sport of technocrats

along each of the long diagonals,  railguns, remotely triggered

airdrop opioids to erode the effectiveness of the adversary's pawn structure

spin support from the opponent's allies     as a pretext for a regional conflict

reinforce the king's castled position with concrete and rebar along with supplies of unmarked Euros

pharmaceutical troop enhancements to allow double movement until    such time when the piece sacrifices itself

place enemy knight in a stress position     till it provides favorable press footage

explosives to be detonated on the king file when visibility is low

from a silo on q57   a tactical nuclear strike to decapitate the king

Rations rejected by angels

the neutron counters cannot flee to safety

the ticking comes more randomly
than the cough of small arms fire

while inside the rebar sarcophagus
the hot solidified mass recognizes
no flag or tongue

Richard Magahiz tries to live an ordered life in harmony with all things natural and created but one that follows unexpected paths. He wrangles computers as a day job but imagines a time when life might center around other things. His work has appeared at Liquid Imagination, Shoreline of Infinity, Star*Line, Dreams and Nightmares, Sein und Werden, Call Me [Brackets], Bewildering Stories, and Rat's Ass Review. His website is at https://zeroatthebone.us/
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