Peter Henry


Arrest.  Error.  Heir.  My home-twenty?  My domain?  My mine?
Over & out.  My joint's purloined.  My demesne's deep-sixed.  I mean,
My crib, it was, well, curbed.  My dormer's now, well, dormant.
I mean:  Breaker, breaker, read me now. I've a sore forming.
It conforms to my caul.  It claims my informant.
Arrest.  Error.  Heir.  On the flip-flop:  cinquefoil, fivefold faded.
On the short-short:  salvation, as my deliverance is, alas, abated.
Arrest.  Error.  Heir.  My hammerdown?  As if steampower & fission mated.

Arrest.  Error.  Heir.  Suffused with features, the truce is sutured.
The future's fused at the hip to the past.  The now?  Neutered.
All's pawned, all's gone, all's drained & drawn-on.  Missionaries even repo'd my mystic.
Arrest.  Error.  Heir.  My emissary?  Dismissed.  My discharge?  I miss it.
Ditto my deathmask, ditto the coffin money.  All I've left:  the holy statistic.
Breaker, breaker:  problem, boss.  My handle unravels, looters jack my disease -
Aswim in know-how, once.  Cold-out hard, this.  What to dis?  What to disbelieve?
Arrest.  Error.  Heir.  Am I the most precocious crone?  The oldest ephebe?

Arrest.  Error.  Heir.  The portent, porter, stat.  My overthrow up & went.
My press kit & pep pills, stepchild, to the beatdown culminant.
My broadcast yields to donnybrook.  My stylo yields to farrago.
In the crosshairs, with a G-note, a hero caresses his impresario.
Arrest.  Error.  Heir.  My asylum's asunder.  My mute's in stereo.
Arrest.  Error.  Heir.  Begins my parole in the parlor. In the bibliopole, my alibis.
A whisper, a vesper, a cyborg, a sister - what am I if not synthesized?
My flatbed's jackknifed.  My windfall's shanghaied.  My proud bride's disguised.

Arrest.  Error.  Heir.  Is this heist, this rip-off, clip & clean, but bordell, abased?
My cargo a node of nothing, my payload ghosted posthaste -
Breaker: my big rig begat my bugbear.  Breaker: my plunder begins to itch.
Bedrash-bedighted, all I've left is to powwow with the scion & the snitch.
Breaker, breaker: analog seizures scrimmage against digital fits.
O my rein, o my ruin, o my - the midway sockdologer macks on the cenotaph cop -
Arrest.  Error.  Heir.  My soiler of linens, my burner of crops -
Arrest.  Error.  Heir.  My semaphore, my signal & stigma: stop.


Char.  Shard.  Charred.  My fix, o nimblest simp?  My jones, reticent sentinel?
Corporeal loans & cadaver cash, to divvy up the steadfast from the ephemeral.
Char.  Shard. Charred.  Be null, my translation, but benumb -
Eidetic indictor, perfect pitch complainant: to give suck or succor or succumb?
Why can't I cajole my shill to buy?  What keeps my mime so mum?
What word coldcocks the sidekicks, what word leaves all the heroes hobbled?
What's both goad & go-between, both fodder & fantast, regnum & rubble -
Char. Shard. Charred.  Both cauldron & cause, both bludgeon & bauble?

Char.  Shard. Charred.  My knock, ginger-haired hanger-on?  My hankering?
A pageant of opiates & a killswitch once the plague starts its blanketing.
Commence the rushes, commence the rashes.  Is it end-time again?
Aslant in a sleeper hold, aswim in imposters, I'm cashed out as soon as I can.
Char. Shard. Charred.  What does a taser augur?  An exit wound portend?
Someone's undertipped my motorcade, someone's bid my aubade goodbye.
Someone's dystopic, someone's dyspeptic, someone's deposed & despised -
Char. Shard. Charred.  Someone, someone: the lost kite skulks in the sky.

Char.  Shard.  Charred.  Gone's the beyond, all my ghosts outsourced with wraiths.
The beatdown anemics meted me out? Bumped up to "downfall" from "disgrace."
Cranked to the knell, my fill's in abeyance & my pill's dolled all up,
Primping like a lozenge gone agog.  To duty, to duty, some balm's called up -
Char.  Shard. Charred. O, the cyst of ill repute, o, the fallen polyp -
The afterlife's a loss.  Stockcars here explode in lockstep & hermits here seethe in tandem.
Char.  Shard.  Charred.  The jumpsuit of the infidel - is there no quainter ransom?
Belly up to the abyss, baller, & buy this abstainer abandon.

Char.  Shard.  Charred.  Popped in the dream-box, gytched by gandy-dancers,
Is there no end to my end?  Tender pundit:  drop us some answers.
Char.  Shard. Charred.  With the slow snow comes the lepers' descent.
By the decree of the founders, by the underground edict, by the pariah's defense,
This winze is what I warrant.  Burliest of coquettes:  cough up the evidence.
Punctured by the archer, tinctured by the Birchers, abandoned by the kinglet,
Soon vanish my souvenirs: daybreak, the void's keepsake, nightfall, nothing's trinket -
Char.  Shard. Charred.  The grift, holy co-star, it's up:  floss the ermined ingot.


Disinter.  Dissenter.  Decenter.  Huzzah to the signoff, huzzah to the sign,
Huzzah my homuncular thugs, huzzah their tiny, tiny crimes -
Bedizened by ice & courtesy-keeled, my conscript's seized my mien:
My gadfly? Gone. My gladhandler?  Gone.  My god.  Gone, gone, the proxy unseen -
The damoscene's addenda, the carny's codicil, the baglady's lien.
Disinter.  Dissenter.  Decenter.  O where, o where, o wherewithal askew,
O my sleight-of-heart, o my blur-at-arms, o my aide-des-yeux -
Disinter. Dissenter.  Decenter.  Oh my.  I'm trying to explain to you -

Disinter. Dissenter.  Decenter.  I'm trying to explain my descent from -
My dissent from - My decent firm - My missent form?
Disinter.  Dissenter.  Decenter.  Disinter, disappear, collapse.  Blindsided & banjaxed,
Ambushed & hushmoneyed, I am.  I am the leech the bloodlettor lacks.
Deuteranope, a memo:  call down the assassin who cc'ed the attacks.
Meantime, moonlight, enforce order.  Lesions, adjust your lepers loud.
Bedheaded dearth-heart, my threadbare hairshirt.  Ergo, ogre, my shroud.
O my maunderers, o my drymen, tell me:  am I the sellout or the crowd?

Disinter.  Dissenter.  Decenter. I'm trying to emerge unscathed,
To salve the velvet levee & pawn the earthquake lathe.
The queues unfurl, the spires resign.  To wit:  the pater noster in the clear.
To wit:  the hamfisted firebrand, the unsigned ensign, the cornerstore bombardier.
To wit: the blight-me-not.  To wit:  the blight.  To wit, tonight:  the untoward meer.
Nixed by the dockyard, keened by the bloodthrall, I only want to say this:
Disinter.  Dissenter.  Decenter.  To wit:  the callboy's palsy, the breakout of the caliph,
The patrician, the fever, & the dream.   To wit:  the stillborn A-list -

Disinter.  Dissenter.  Decenter.  The entire priory throws up its hands.
The wastrels pass back plunder.  Pedants renounce exams.
Nether-girdled concierge, slurry me my heresy.
Loam-mouthed yeoman, the melodeum.  Oracle, the kerosene.
Breaker, breaker:  your ears're on.  Aleph, your twenty harrows me.
Disinter.  Dissenter.  Decenter.  O nostrum, o ne'er-do-nil, honest:
On the post-plague beachhead, the scorched albino's blondest.
Here's apostasy, the hydroptique hideout; here's heavy water, the sudden jaundice -


Anomie.  Enemy.  Mnemonic.  Angels - hundreds - on powerlines perched
Or nested under eaves or hovering, hungry, circling the unchurched.
Unman me, Masons, it's over.  All's cold out but cadaver cash -
All's fell in - not a jinx nor a G-joint peripheral, everything's everlast
Dead center.  Dead center, the thaumaturge, dead center, the feverpatch,
Dead center:  the blank tape, seared with crimes of the mute confessor.
Anomie. Enemy. Mnemonic.   Crypto-Bishop, here's your proto-vesper:
Anomie. Enemy.  Mnemonic.  My phantom limb? Caught in the phantom thresher.

Anomie.  Enemy.  Mnemonic.  On grave hooves, the gluepot infantry advances.
To the fantast, drop-money, stat.  Faith, attend your boils.  Doubt, collect your lances.
Anomie.  Enemy.  Mnemonic.  Hoboes bleat, the circus bleeds, cicadas fail.
The faithful conjugate in tongues.  The bats skywrite in Braille.
Hands up for the shakedown, grammarian. Cough up an argot I can flense & flail.
Amiss, my starpower. A mess, my stanza. A mystery, my steez: envied or in vain?
Along the causeway children surge, peonies smolder, penitents feign.
Anomie. Enemy.  Mnemonic.  The underground orisons?  They surface after heavy rain.

Anomie.  Enemy.  Mnemonic.  My name?  Mais non.  Fasten your sheath to the hilt.
By the power vested in me, Morse-code troubadour, you may kiss the semaphore jilt.
Bags of brace, bags of swank, defend the postcard kiosk from the Baedeker raid.
Win this war at once, fierce docent, & curate the victory parade.
Aubades a problem, brawler of the dawn? O là : Leave the nights unspayed.
Anomie.  Enemy.  Mnemonic.  Nevermind my brokendown clone & totaled robot.
True my exposé, true my pasquinade.  Rue my puma.  Cherish my ocelot.
Anomie.  Enemy.  Mnemonic. Who is he who highposts here? What's this dimestore polyglot?

Anomie.  Enemy.  Mnemonic.  Witness this once, third-string destroyer:
The flames, the floods, the fallen - into this world I burst to loiter.
Christmas at you, Abacus.  Angels, unbandage your wounds.
Hush, hush, poor planet - the Junior League's handing out moons.
Anomie. Enemy. Mnemonic.  Nibelung graffiti kids spray paint in runes.
Gather, gather, meine taggers, at the chairbacker's bier, beneath the encyclical kite.
Cadgers, clamp your glasiers.  Comptroller, stop.  Industry, turn out the light.
Anomie.  Enemy.  Mnemonic.  Nomenclator, kick it.  Industry, kiss me goodnight.