Sunday, September 13, 2015

Turn Right, Go Down the Stairs

Turn Right, Go Down The Stairs

A baseball cap
makes a pisspoor halo.
A feather tongue-glued on a tailored shoulder
will never pass as an angel's wing
nor that grating stream of spite
shake a celestial harp to sing.

The curved and cutting beak 
and steel-clawed feet,
the avid greed with which you feed
on flesh of the damned and weak
are marks of something different altogether.

For the fall of the fourth year,
the vultures gather.

~September 2015

Top photo, courtesy Reuters 
American Black Vultures at Carcass  source 
Manipulated. No copyright infringement intended


  1. I am laughing and retching (not retching--but feeling sick) at once. Agh. So awful. You have got those Devil's disciples down pretty well! (My brain won't come up with the word to name them, but you have used another besides vulture very effectively in earlier poems.) But this is really masterful, from the unhalo of baseball cap to the greedy beak. Deliver us please! (Btw, there is an extra space, I think, before "live" in second stanza--nothing nothing but it's such a perfect poem in every other way, I couldn't help but notice--) Is there no end in sight? (Except you know, the ones we don't even want to consider.) Really terrific. Sharper than those claws. k.

    1. Thanks, k--I edited it a bit more thoroughly this time.

  2. Vultures who argue with each other about which vulture reads the bible more!

  3. There is always place for one more vulture at any meal these days. Tough times ahead.

  4. Wry and perfect imagery. I read "celestial harp" as "celestial harpy" with all the carrion bird imagery.

  5. Ha. Vulture culture for sure.. pulled me back to Alan Parson's songs..the rest of the word are just spectators.. but we have our problems as well..

  6. I hope you read this one aloud for us, one of these days... while baring your teeth. You've capture all the disdain I feel for the "vultures". And the images--visual and the ones evoked by the words--are perfect!

  7. It is that time again.
    Everyone wants their piece, to see who would be king (or queen) for the next 4,
    not my favorite time of life - but will give us a plethora of things to talk about
    for sure. Representatives of the people - not really, but then again
    that is our brand of democracy.

  8. politicians give vultures a bad name. it turns out there is a cataclysmic decimation of vultures globally - some 99.7% of certain species have been extirpated in the past decade. in the wild, they are vital components of the food chain, removing rotting flesh and the potentially nefarious diseases from circulation by, well, by eating the dead.

    politicians, however, are killers of the worst sort - they're human, the apex of apex predators, and we condone their tongue-glued feathers. shame on us...

    that final stanza is sharp as obsidian. ~

    1. yes, i realize I malign the vulture here--and not good to see them being decimated in the wild--here our turkey vultures appear quite alive and well, taking care of the roadkill--I originally had harpies, till I realized they are all female, and while we have a few harpies among the legislative guns for hire, , that gender is not predominant in the ones I was wishing to call out. Thanks for reading and commenting on all these, M.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats