Monday, December 31, 2012

to whom it may concern

The Blood/Ghost Ratio will be on hiatus for January 2013. Instead of the regular entries, I will instead publish older poems each day for the month's duration. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Happy New Year,
                        Murray Perrine

Sunday, December 30, 2012

a little off the top

There are always going to be adjustments. The game can change as long as the ball is in play. One day it is all want and promise. The next they say what they really mean. At least maybe you can run for cover. At least maybe this way you can cut your losses. The dream must end when you speak the truth.

So young to know that you are beaten. So young to know you outlived your time. The records spins, somewhere in your past, the one that hissed and spat. The old poems lost in their boxes. This shuffle of words and dust dissolved in the bright winter sky. An oath sworn on radio waves, a promise made to vapor trails while the sun burns and burns. The children laugh and dance in circles. Their worlds still too green to burn.

The papers talk of impending endings. Doom cast in the shape of the ancient incantations, hell made from the sweepings of broken spells. Somehow the magic keeps happening. Somehow the illusion abides. The way the world is always posted in anticipation of its changing. The way all the words are wasted while someone waits their turn. The last days spent rooting through the sales bins. The last days spent sharing every ache with strangers. Every romance left you just confused suspense.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


You trace your scars like constellations, you sweep the street eyes loaded and ready to bear. The night comes with its compliment of stars and ice all hidden by the bright and bloated moon. There is an itch the nails aren't reaching, there are pieces of a broken pot lodged inside your heart. It hurts because it is still beating, it hurts because the lights are on. You pace the yard and cast your shadow, then turn towards it and tramp it down. You know it's you because who else could it be, here in the middle of all this busted scenery. You know it's you because no-one would be inside this mess if they didn't have to be.

Again the wisdom of the knife, the preaching of the hammer. The murderers deny each time their tools their share of glory. The blind spot never entirely in the eyes. The critique the lost blaming the map. The cold thinks it is invited because you let the fire die. God always in the margins, messing with the doors and windows. It isn't the recipe that is the disaster when you consider the ingredients.

You write it down like it was gospel. You write it like the origin story of an open book. The words forget their purpose when spoken of so wrong. The mantra is the open vein, the dogma is the loaded pistol. Your heart will try to tell the truth, but language always takes its cut. The pain is measured by the distance, the stretch of light along the horizon, the sky speckled with ancient shine. The empty is so wide we make up things to fill it. The empty is so vast it is all there is. Painted pretty like those pictures in your childhood fairy tales. Painted pretty like your love before you bury it forever in the cold dark earth.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


It is the same icy wind blowing through me, the same afternoon no matter what the calendar says. The same gray light drowning all about. The same sad sinking invisible sun lost among the clouds. The rain making rings in the puddles. The smoke seeping from between my lips. This dull refrain, this crushing ubiquity.

The dogs all track the mud in. My fingers make no sense. Yet another brace of letters. Yet another posit to disprove. The rain pounds down through the pines, making needle and leaf dance and glitter. The deluge falls in strings of syntax, the argument spatters across the leaky roof. All I hear is the tapping of each retort, the din of this debate. I suppose we all have our reasons. I suppose I might even have one myself.

Each syllogism is a symptom of these symbols. Each philosophy a stitch in my breathing, every contention something caught in my throat. All my words gather in puddles and empty pots. All my stories left outside too long. I write the same lines, the way they fell from from heaven, the way they first sang it all into being. I draw another breath of smoke to keep the embers going. All this wind and ash only to keep this fire alive.

Monday, December 24, 2012


This is the song of salts and solace. The near window left open to frame that farther star. This is the corner of gathered shadows, clinging to this obscure phrase. You cross yourself to make right by heaven, muttering out your breathless oaths. You promise the moon, you claim forever, bared shoulders and warm flesh. Her voice the music you are somehow always after. Her kiss the symptom and the sign.

The storm cracked open a hole in the sky, the sheath of stars glimmering like frost in this wide and early winter. The neighbors dogs loose their throats, wailing like the sirens that set them off. You watch the clock and mind the time. The hours settle like snow drifts, the hours seep and pool. The quiet street, the darkened windows. Christmas lights catch the eye like nearing prophecy. You wish on her as if she was the only star in sight.

The magic is always in the seeming. The moon in the tree top, the frost on the roof. You look to the sky to settle your bet, the earth to cut your losses. The streets swell with an empty they cannot contain. The sky seems to spark and shiver. Outside you watch your words gain shape, speaking her name aloud. The season looks the other way. You were marked before you got here, changed with one look into her eyes.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

every single day

This begins back in the days of the unsent letters. This begins before the era of private hand held worlds. Back before the age of detachment, back before the bubble burst. It is longer than the stretch of memory, further away than all these useless dreams. I start to follow, then it eludes me. I see the passage right as the passage is gone. They say history ends because they can't stop talking. They let you speak so they can think of the next thing to say.

There is nothing new about this fleeting purchase. There is nothing new about the words unmoored. The language always marked by great scars and faint striations, always tattooed with the rope and the lash. The adjusted  definition always a tumult to some dull soul. The witness always close to the victim of the crime. This sea of twitches and little regard. This illusion that this confusion could be cured by more words.

Again I get lost out here in the tall weeds. Again I lose my way out walking in the rain. These words and words that allow no transit. These lights that only serve to blind. Because they forget, there is no history. Because they forget, the meaning is gone. Nothing ever gained from attempted communication. This dismay my only purpose. Only as good as the very last thing said.

Friday, December 21, 2012

cast your spell

The change is so subtle you hardly notice, the fixed blue sky gone gray. A cold breeze spills down from heaven as the world around me is engulfed in shadow. The rain of daily prophecy awaits no invitation.There is this breath of hesitation, you so distant, my hands so cold. There is this pause in the atmosphere as the storm arrives. There is a hush that feels like the sound of your voice before you speak. In your absence you are everywhere, my world so wound around you.

You are the sound on the roof when the rain starts falling. You are the light in the sky when the storm relents. You are weight of stones and the song of water.  I see you picture on my mantle. I see your letter on my desk. You cast your spell of lively eyes and native graces. I feel you spark in the trace of my senses. I feel you savor my every breath.

You won't be here when the sun goes away. You won't be here when the dawn comes again. The world is shake and shambles. The world is painted on pot shards, the world is scrawled on the walls. I haunt the same old hallways. I sing the same old songs. My voice rough and clotted. My heart a hunger than is never sated. The word falls hard and so short of your measure. You are absent from all but my appetites.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

this least quintessence

We walk these halls where once walked our fathers. We haunt these rooms where our fathers' ghosts still loom. This bent inheritance hung with medals and hope. This inevitable scent of something rotten spilling through the walls. We strive to answer our honor against their failing kingdoms. We long to be the way we thought they were. The alarm rings out in the dead of night, an apparition dread and sorrowful looms in the fire's glow.

You wake from dreams where your father does not know you. You wake held tight in some ancient aspect of your blood. Tears burn hot as in your own skin you are a stranger. Outside there is something waiting for your questions. Outside the stars will give you all you're owed.

They sit in silence, the worn walls and split towers. They sit in silence, these sullen monuments to lost wars. We scuff the floors as we pace and pace. Always this abandoned hour where our fathers are breathed into candle wax. Gone forever though their voices ring out. Dead so long though their judgement still clings. From the bird in the sky to the ghost in the corner, this least quintessence, this shattered crown.

Monday, December 17, 2012


So much for sacrifice, the gray surrender of every street. So much for daylight, the tethered chain of rain obscures the sky. The words spent for words once more, sad equivalencies and unfaced truths. You fall and fall and fall again. These sticks and stones that bruise and burden only there for laughs. These mistakes that happen just to make you.

My hands are cold and the room is dark. The television tells its jokes and sells its wares. All my clothes are old and worn. I am lost in the ways of your world. It is funny because I am deadly serious. It is funny because the pieces just won't fit. There is nothing left to give away. The curtain falls and I never made the stage.

The pratfalls are fixed but the pain is certain. Every spill and every laugh leave a little less. The show goes on until it doesn't. The clown may strive, the clown may struggle-- it's only funny when it hurts. There is no art, there is no magic. Only broken bones and baggy trousers. Only the hilarity of your dreams beaten to death.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

the feeling

This feeling comes a-calling, again in the dead of night. This feeling comes a-calling, again in the hollows of the heart.  The sadness sawed free of the sad old song, a nest made of notes and ice. The weary blur of tears let loose like hounds, chasing sorrow down the flesh, hunting nothing but respite. The sorry list of failings that howl through the empty and the cold. The sordid story told out of school, the moment when misery's only company is you.

There is the dark room, there is the hour. The labored faith of a fitful rain. The air that claims each breath as steam. The door that crackles with the threat of opening. The sounds that assail you when there is no-one else there. How strange the sense that sense is leaving. How full the sound seems when the hollow is all you know.

We wear our sadness by the hour. We carry our sorrow in decades gone to seed. The echoes within echoes, ripples entangled with the skin of the water. We sing our songs and dance out circles. We all hold hands and guard our hearts. The small joys that hold us earthbound while we circle. Spin around and shed our frailty. Spin around and answer fast. The night comes calling with its burning questions. The night comes calling, this ache all you ever know.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Comes the sun that we cast down in ashes. Comes the day we list our sins in steam. The sun all squandered in drizzled beams and bright lies. The sun all spent for some other season, the price of some other world. The sinking feeling sacrifice, the cost of finding fire is watching all this smoke. Every stone sings out for solace, every song drowned so long ago. The evidence is absent, but all they can talk on is the ever after. Riddle our babies with bullets, pretend that the question is why.

The word is wings and whispers, it is unbottled lightning, it is swifter than thought. All the prophets all ears and grave proclamations. All our leaders all thumbs and fear. The word is loosed and we pretend we do not worship death. The word spills free and grief can not violate the sanctity of the instrument. The killing hand will find its fit, whatever death happens to be convieniant. The killing hand is sacrosanct when it is blessed with extra ammo and spits death in droves.

Come the end there will be no comfort. Come the end there will be no answers than mean anything at all. Say whatever prayers your custom dictates. Kiss your children and hold them tight. The day will come of no tomorrows, the madness wanders reckless through our dreams and streets. It's just like living in a movie except the bullets are unkind. Fill your hands is the national anthem, while howls of sorrow ring out loud and true.

Friday, December 14, 2012

the star that never sets

The road turns to slow sweeps and sincere flurries, the attention always wanted one thought over, the world so stubborn and in the way. You watch for trouble and read the signs, left to drift in this corridor of fraught notions and frayed nerve. The road drives the rhythm, soon you sing and sway. Here so thick in the skin of e moment, somewhere so very far in the story of your heart.

It is first gleaned from some crushed horizon, the embankment a gray slab silhouette glowering over the interstate. These bleak reminders of the bones that gird,our glittering worlds. The words to the song lost in that memory, the singing that lingering of day despite the night. Then the whole thing flickers, the lights they come alive. Piercing through the rearview, shimmering through the hills. The exchange of brightness a change in inferences, the dialect a gradient of some flavorful shade. You spark the incantation as you shift between these worlds.

Home is always another moment. Home is the faith of skipping stones. The long crowded crawl passing tentative exits. The strange dislocation of your will captured by the tide. The ritual a kind of amends made out of rocks and maps, the road that snakes and crosses. The traffic that can not settle, the star that never sets. You glide amid these seething masses, steel and glass and gathering mass. The path always crafted from the edges of disaster. The destination always felt in its ebb and flow.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

cold old overcoat

They keep alive these ancient faiths while sinking in this ache, the moon melted down like flavor. Burn the torch and light the candle. Blaze into the black. The choice where language loses purchase, expressed in fits and coughs, the jittering of pinched nerve as signals are sent aloft. Give away all these hope and bones, shared with no tomorrow.

The words blend with the sunset. The language escapes the the fetters of lines and letters. It slides between the world and all this want. The darkened hall, the drape of shadows. The seams and stitching that can never hold repair.

Again at last it is empty but for the hanger. Again at last the wear and tear. Cold fingers and open windows. The talk all gone, like lights so fast. The wall so brief and unforgiving. The weight so whole there is nothing left to lift.

Monday, December 10, 2012


The moment drawn to these cold dumb fingers. This hour slowly bleeding into dust. The suspended breath long since cast off, another web, another shadow. Your silly trick and treats, the pause beyond the windows, the grit teeth of creeping feet. The story on the TV swimming in such pretty conceits. The real world small and aching for approval. Another clumsy line, another vague regret.

You think it is somehow printed on the inference. You think this sway is words and weight. That slow misspell always my undoing, the stuttered thunder of the absence of that gasp. Like the feel of keys is what makes the open. The written word as the warm close breath.

The thought is all that is left of the essence, not a treasure chest rattling but a thumb on soft wax. The searched for scars and the hearts hard preaching. The missing tooth always the lost god of tongues. Today is this much less again, tomorrow maybe never's name. A ghost of a bite, a clasp of shadow loosed in this triumphant regret.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

night fall

Give away that crowd of stars, give up this pile of wonder. The gathered stones won't give away the grave. The thought slow going, patches of drought flowers. The parched throat left over from the dusk. Wear away tour heels on the bones of the dreams that drowned you. Render a feather, thether down the lightning strike. Worry away that last morsel of the night.

The day resided still and calm, covered in dollops of melted light. Grave still and grave sure, the day is painted on the glass. It holds the shape until the last of the light is drained away, dusk along so quick the sun hardly has a say. Nightfall arrives like a cat, down the fence and up a tree. Bones ache and flesh trembles, a lone dog barking out his frustrations takes on another color when the nightfall comes to call.

This is the story of the poem unwritten. This is the story of the story never told. The night and day swap outfits, feelings running wild and hard. The heart at last so breathless, the mind so far still lost. Only things and the skins of things. Dark thoughts and bad omens, trip over the shoe string, catch your toe on the rug. The sky drops these feasts of lights and longing, the flattened out constellations, the cycle of hiding and finding the moon. The shadows push out their limbs and roots, thinking in deep absences and stark limits. The window turns to blackened glass and the shadows crawl and plot. Give up that last sliver of hope, let your heart feed the night.

white hot spark

It is atmosphere that bears the the lash, that boundary burned to feathered ash with-in the fog. A line of fire,or inference, the shine worked into the sky. The breath of harsh particulates crashing into ice.The seamless transitions and the meaningful pauses. The smoked skin of vision, some candle that burns as a strike. The blaze upon the moment the rush towards dusk begun. The white hot spark at once extinguished, that place to hold the hands long gone.

Is memory the map or the disillusion? The marker on the white board, or the words that hold the weight. The thought that crossed that instant resurrected or reformed. How long to hold our hearts expression in impressions based on blackened pulp. How far to see, should you render the breath just right. Cold rooms and borrowed fingers. Sin abounds when the only language known is demands.

Early today I witnessed the star fall. It is still all I can do not to confess a wish. Cold fog, and I warm on your wild blue yonder. Ice bites my face and you shine away the night. Everything is only how each thing leads to another. A bite of light and the world was put on backwards, the fall exclaims the climb. The sun also rises, so goes the saying with the seen. Matter there and in an instant gone, while there are no bounds to all this untold absence. Everything thing placed so curt and careless, this single note again and again.

Friday, December 7, 2012

before the sun

Once before the sun came up the day began as rain. There were ripples in the road ways and ribbons on every windshield, the sky coming down in woes. Every trifle was a trial, every ghost the most. The words so thick it seemed a parody. The tangled feel of scene and sound, the rain dangling braids of gray. And all the wish, and all the want washed steadily away. The empty chimed its favorite curse while the water whispered and schemed. The dream is all but undone says this tide of secret bones.

So they chart the course of condensation, they paint the sky with eyes. The numbers gather and hone their suspicions. The words awash with reach and root. The tether of aprehension and the texture of unknown prospects. These haunted halls worn raw through work and care. These hopeful nets stretched across the deluge, almost running into someone they ought to know. The nuance all in the fret and breath, the press of the world that our limits allow. Forever this kiss of flesh and precipice. Just because I missed it, doesn't mean I do not know. That graceful placement, all the ways that saying might make it so.

I know the laspse and feel the phrasing. Like it was almost made to say. That strange malinger language insists at every edge, these licenses always the purient  conceit. It takes a cliff to ask a question, a tiger to truly disagree. The life that spontaneously generates, arising as much out of custom as out of skin. The adhesion of thoughts that exceed to the material enchantment. The spell that silks between us and all, this simple thing said aloud. We are the spell that comes from speaking. We are all the lies we hide.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

do the math

I live in the land between the rains. I wait on the shores of receding dreams. Day to day I drift these soft extremes, the brittle teeth of the atmosphere, the broken hopes of the earth. The garbage truck and the dinner bell. The streets ring with the racket and the empty. Just as you begin to feel them, the moments up and flee. So we cross the vast expanses, name the rivers and count the stars. So we abide our islands, always mindful of every storm and sea.

It's alright to move along. It's okay to cut your losses. You just have to do the math to know I am done. The little withered portion is all that is probable. A few more passes, then all is dusk. You know that the victory left is in how slow you lose. All time and proselytizing, melted candles and dancing flames. The ritual induces the pattern, the shadows come into play. This is the known world at work. If it won't do, what is left but to find another?

Somewhere there is a sea of wings, Somewhere sleeps a broken heart. The world is all wailing and wonder, I know. The dry air here seals the ceremony. The shocks and starts, the small pleasures and tiny horrors that work their way through the cracks in sky and sense. It is all too much to take, the dull threats of the ones that play at playing for keeps. The strange laughter of the heart as it sees its end. The blank stare confesses as the song shows its colors. The dead eyed smiles that make every breath question and swear. Bound to lapse in imagination. Caught in the grip of this grand design, once counted, never reckoned again. I bide my time and watch the sky, my life always the next world away.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

mind the time

The sky fills quick, the streets are drenched. How low the head, how heavy the heart. The rain applauds the spattered earth. The back aches so you take a bow, this burdensome deluge. This strange delight.

How we drown this side of winter. How we pace the boards  and play to the balcony. Once a poem, and then a prayer. The startled flavor of this sentence as we engage our eyes. Our repertoire blunt repetition and a talent for making due with cheap thrills. Every letter that invocation. Every word the promise kept.

The rain drums on in dim insistence. The rain stomps around outside and whispers through your walls. The ghosts of voices in the hollow from the thunder. The rumble of surprise when all the gods show up at once. A call to arms drowned like the moon, this kiss to set aside the calm. The rain falls down my stubborn refrain.