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Journal: Hard Rhymes, Hard Times, Wedding Chymes


I saw a hundred houses

atop a hundred hills

above a hundred rivers

danced a hundred whip-poor-wills

an endless stream of children

soaring up and down the night

back and forth in God

a surging pulsing flight

and then the kings came down

and stepped from their machines

to argue for the land

and divide the stuff of dreams

I saw the error coming

as the rocks began to change

I saw the rivers slowing

and the sky became so strange

and then the red was streaming

and men were killing men

the blade of love was gleaming

as God turned on himself

and holding in the wind

the shining circled ships

dodging the debris

the last to make the trip

across the burning sky

thrown down from the abyss

a star that slams to earth

the waters stand on end

and in their leather masks

at the castle in the pines

the dark eyed princes bed

every woman they can find

leaping off the parapet

a virgin begs the fire

fumbling in the dark

deflowered by a liar


runnin' from the nightmare

memory blind with pain

standin' by the altar

wond'rin' 'bout the stain

the king went up on Tara

certain he was sane

speakin' only nonsense

mumblin' in the rain

dancing every dance

as if it were the last

in that ancient temple

beside that weeping sea

the rhythm has no meaning

the motion is a trance

the bones may come together

but the mouths will never speak

the forms will fade away

not knowing what to say

the memories have no meaning

except before they were

there was a tree of crowns

no one could cut it down

sucked all the rivers dry

its branches hid the sun

hanging in the flood

the sagging ancient tree

torn by the torrent

uprooted within me

beneath the golden bough

once Abram made his bed

one night lost his head

woke up Abraham instead

from this imagined seed

a promised Christ would bleed

the wind erased his desert track

and he could not go back


standing for the lost cause

at the edge of my own tracks

waiting there for Gilgamesh

a defender of the flesh

there before the thorny crown

the bees have gathered 'round

the ax is laid into the oak

the gods have tumbled down

children of that Hebrew king

of mind, of blood, of both

all come to open Babylon

to split from loin to mouth

standing in the battle

maked, sharp, and sweet

bleeding on the ground

before the sandaled feet

the bodies of two brothers

laying side by side

wilting in the sun

no coin on any eye

walking through Jerusalem

I saw that Jesus house

laid out on a hillside

split from loin to mouth

I saw a westward river

completely filled with dead

flowing in and out the mouth

of every human head

I knew that it was bloody

I tasted without shame

I recognized the face

I knew the other name

I became an island

the water went around

the Christ became the Babylon

and cut his own tree down


floating in the darkness

higher than the sun

I fall through every window

I blacken every light

the truth was in confusion

we are born out of a night

the mind has spilled the blood

the blood has drowned the mind

back before the tree

before the fallen star

an infant spoke to me

saying "none of us are free"

though I tipped his glowing cradle

and dashed him to the ground

my brothers fell upon me

and trampled out my sound

let the baby faces

fill up the final sky

the is no revelation

not condemned to die

there will be no memory

of ancient paradise

the is no recollection

that will not die a Christ

just above the water

I watch the dead float by

Jesus after Jesus

in the twinkling of an eye

all the floating bodies

may rise without regret

when the answer that they died for

becomes what they forget

spitting in the wind

off the bridge at Channel Bay

crumpled on a corner

in the snow Thanksgiving Day


sons of darkness elude the choice

their god technology

sons of darkness have no voice

to anyone left that's free

I saw the infant's hanging

in the magic room

I heard the chains a clanging

I saw their changeling womb

no belly surged to push them

no burning pain, no labor cry

no flesh and bone to crush them

no blood, no quivering thigh

in a cannister on a shelf

you may evolve without pain or blame

but if you can cut your cord yourself

you will be born without a name

sons of light may float bedight

on webs of energy

sons of light avoid the night

of individuality

all around the worlds

in and out of sight

ideas come to direct us

on little wings of light

though we walk a hundred worlds

lost in a magic night

all it will do is infect us

to hell with the eyeless light

sons of darkness, sons of light

neotany or sorcery

sons of darkness, sons of light

reason and nothing, never free

what I can or cannot see

makes no difference to me

none of them has an answer

not one of them is free


something less than air

we name as our divine

because as we search ourselves

it's all we seem to find

with some elusive key

we strive to open some lost door

to hope and peace and light

and end this painful night

but kings, and things, and other people

excrete that power we all crave

and it leaks into our being

like rot into a grave

don't look for revelation

or love from above to be more

if you find the missing key

lock the ancient door

inside a woman dreaming

I saw the children's home

the grown-ups all were dying

inside the sleeping bones

deep between two thrones

I saw a river flowing

drowned out by the tones

there was another knowing

in the human dream

a thought may shake a stone

but we always will be lonely

until we are alone

Jesus gives that nothing

the empty hand, a trick?

I saw a tortured body

nailed to the marriage stick

there is another passage

beneath the orphan's home

we always will be lonely

until we are alone


over the river and through the woods

blinded by our tears

we search for a place behind our eyes

and fall on our face and die

play me a tune, or dance to the music

it's meaningless to me

it's all the same show, and it's yet to be ours

and I just wanna be free

the love we think will save us

aroused us as we began

it's not something anyone gave us

there was no benevolent hand

the swaddling shroud we're wrapped in

the failing skin and bone

is just an expression of love

trying to build a home

swept away in the river, lost in the woods

blinded by a veil of hope

we take off our body like an old gown

and look up hoping we're found

and in the end we find our rest

and forget what we though we knew

and put the self same garment on

believing it's love brand new

I'd rather be a wild new river

I'd rather cut a straight new trail

and give marriage dignity

even if we fail

one nothing flowing endlessly

one reason always above

in this same, our only name

is written on our love

my children dance in the shadow of death

to rough music and hard rhymes

I will not go gently into a childless night

the name of my God is - Hard Times


one day you just wake up

and step into a name

and the first thing you're aware of

is how to feel ashamed

don't call me anything

you don't know who I am

I only come from nothing

and could only be self-damned

I have no remembered beginning

and have yet to end

and have come to understand

what I must defend

up the steps I've followed

the ancient blood red trail

treading after Lancelot

searching for the Grail

and now the music has met me

and my bleeding words have kissed her

and the forgotten song has rung free

down the valley of death and further

I know that few will sing along

and the melody will fade from here

but not before it falls like thunder

into the ear that can hear

I will not spout again the tired flames of faith

nor mouth those weary rhymes of right

I go to woman and to bed

to make my own brand new night

next to me beneath our stars

my world lays entwined

limb for limb and grasped

with all the genius I can find

and in new moonlight eye to eye

our tears are mixed like rhymes

and the only music echoing

is ringing wedding chymes


Copyright 1985, 2003, T M Malo All rights reserved

The Charm


where is the child bride

the Jesus princess in his bed

where are the children of his flesh

where is the one he wed

I saw babies hurled and dashed

against the wailing walls

children disemboweled and lashed

to pillars in great halls

was he a wandering shaman

or something other than us

was he not born of woman

in what have we put our trust

temple doors all thrust aside

before the reddening flood

for every step a child has died

the path is washed in blood

where was the heat in his blood

where was his hope for a child

how can we ever make good

if marriage is taught to defile

I think it was a minute ago

or else just yesterday

we killed ten thousand children

and got back on our way

how can we hold and cleave

why do we even try

when the savior we try to believe

thinks we're better off dead

oaths and words in blood are vain

we pump no magic potion

every man is marked of Cain

murder our form of devotion

between the graven Cherubim

in the mist of growing fire

the licking tongues of flame enfold

the object of desire


I knew that I was blemished

still I lay upon the slab

I thought that's what you wanted

you always made me call you Da

but you never knew the meaning

of the altar or the blood

and now you want my children

to be swept into the flood

and though Isis cried a river

on the day she set aside

Osiris could not save her

from your desert where she died

I'm picking up the stones

and bringing back the ghosts

and Gilgamesh comes with me

and all the bloody host

in the fashion of a fool

perched upon the gory throne

you gnaw the flesh of children

and crack the tender bone

in the manner of the beetle

you roll the ball of  dung

but my love will not defend you

and your name will be unsung

Bernadette loves Isadore

they're waiting at the ruins

with the answers to the questions

and all the ancient tunes

Locksley Hall? I burned it down

and sacked it full of joy

I've come to rescue Guinnevere

from all your lies and ploy

I'm picking up the stones

I'm bringing back the ghosts

Shekinah waits beyond me

in her deadly glowing bones


cast the axel, fire the sword

let the mountains roar

I'm waiting at the threshold

like a fire upon the door

beat the drum, call the air

let the piper cry

out beyond the starlight

where the eagles cannot fly

when the children disappear

as if they never were

tainted blood on loveless thigh

nameless stillborn tears

every stone in disarray

shall fall into its place

every monkey dancing now

shall turn to have no face

raise that bloodied beard

beyond the edge of night

bellow in the wounded king

like all consuming light

for now the circle stands again

no foggy moor, no mystery

and naked children dance at dawn

with Tristan and Isolde

the gentleness has left the air

it tears the lungs like claws

the tender hearted servant

stands erect upon the earth

the word is thunder, the verse is death

the rhyme has torn asunder

the fabric of the worthless cloth

the ambition and the blunder

the stones have picked themselves back up

the ghosts have put on flesh

Shekinah covers up the earth

and no one makes it home


walk the path, work the charm

sound the chill alarm

from just behind the mist

recite the words of harm

in the ringing verse

undo the lifelong curse

remember all the ancient tones

and clack the dusty bones

in derision, form the vision

and stir the pallid bowl

in the naked smoke and blood

tell the making of the whole

lift the stones and free the bones

unleash their hideous light

out onto this dying desert

this thirsty crying night

one at a time, and two by two

the drum, the pipes, the gong

keen with all the innocents

the deadly cradle song

stone and bone, rain and blood

undo the fearful gain

thunder, lightening, storm and flood

reveal the treasure of the pain

word and coin, wind and sword

clever hand ignored

whisk away the chest of lies

'tis not a sinless horde

hammer and nail, thorn and snail

the bells of Sharon toll

weak and frail, sharp and slow

steadfast, relantless, and whole

up on Megiddo the tower awaits

for the final word to be spoken

while here in the menace of shadow

a spell is cast that cannot be broken


Copyright 1999, 2003 T M Malo