Fire Monks

Submitted by Azalea Hazelwood


“Check your mate at the door,”
the sign read to an inebriated poet.
The black and white of gridlock
gave way to a night
complete with towers and bishops
vying for the underlying meaning
(those seams of reality)
where the spiraling upon walls
etch the feelings of forgotten
the love of life
that’s left to drain into the gutters
now clogged with newspapers depicting yesterday’s news.
A history saturated with Botox and plastic ideals…
shiny and new to a few,
yet devoid of electricity curtailed by Tesla
and the mathematics of Archimedes—
those simple measures of time and tempo
like the forbidden steps of the tango:
an underwritten strategy to side step the immediate
and to delve more deeply into the feelings of ink and pen
the hidden
the unspoken
the never broken threads of time’s breath.


She sucked on her bottle of beer
as a vital life force—
gulp after gulp
her Adam’s apple bobbed.
Her knitted black cap
sagged (as did her designer jeans)
as she comfortably sat
discussing simple matters of laundry
and timetables:
the basics of beginning anew
in a city
washed in old.
A structured 14th century place
where English does not have roots—
rather the patriotic movement
of war mongering
and sequestering of borrowed goods.
Peasants pushed far underground
into the alcoves of brick and mortar
still arching in a crumbling fashion…
remnants of skilled laborers
(too shy to wear beards or checkered patterns)
milling about in puddles awash in neon
and reflected, haphazard graffiti.


Maybe I should make up for lost time
and dip my pen into the ink that bleeds true.
Write of hardships that break families,
start wars,
or blind those with love in their hearts.
It’s normal to break—
create a chasm where universes can be formed.
Break bread and let crumbs fall where they may…
upon book pages or napkins—
the words, they find themselves
and arrange the thought of those left behind,
filled to the brim with smoke and dragons,
scaly and parceled out.
A collection of undrunken bottles,
which sit neatly behind a barkeep’s keep.
If only one could read the messages
behind the glass veil.
What would they each reveal?
A story of enlightened soap bubbles
or the troubles told time and time again:
the thin skin of reality
where the forbidden talks before its time is due.


The morning hue of street dew
is nothing new—.
In fact,
the reflections of city sidewalks
are filled with cracks
and fire monks
that dance with street gypsies
and the kamikazes of old school.
The fools that “check out”
to keep dark alleys company on cold nights;
keep the fright from crowding the streets
so that others can meet and greet
with common courtesy
and to keep the conscious efforts
of those that wish to play the game
balanced and sane.

For the world unwinds to a primitive game:
a gesture of peace and disorder,
a garden of good and evil,
an upheaval of the unexpected—
where the middle ground is tested,
served up Southern style (with a slice of bacon)—.
A vein of existence distinctly and universally directed,
to unearth the universal beacon of a perfect present
its crispy freshly cooked form
not soon forgotten
by hearty-thinkers like Epicurians
who modestly take mouthful after mouthful
of its sinful earthly form.

Don’t ask about the next act—
the actors have yet to be named.
Remember this is all a game:
Three parts perfection
sautéed with each custom’s chosen confection.
Perhaps it’s the sweet tooth in us all,
craving the bittersweet of an unwrapped chocolate bar,
simply knowing that this time,
if the corners were to be peeled back,
just so,
the golden ticket might be underneath,

or it could be the treasures
overlooked by St. George
after he slew his personal dragon.
These considerations still exist
and are held in secret possession
within the dark caverns of Wawel’s deep sleep.


Believe in the magic
(it’s there—just grasp it).
The needle and thread
the bread of life
broken and spoken
by profits and mystics
using conversations of old and new.
Metaphors of sparks and circumstances
only dance upon a stage
held by many before them.

It’s meant to be broken.
It’s meant to be unspoken…
so that others may falter
and figure it out for themselves
in whatever form or fashion
fit for the next millennium.

Life is good.
It is great.

It is sour grapes—
squeeze it—
and see what it tastes like to you.