Western Voices: Dustin Pickering


Dustin Pickering is founder of Transcendent Zero Press, a literary publishing house in Houston, Texas. He is editor-in-chief of the award nominated quarterly Harbinger Asylum. He is the author of multiple poetry collections including The Daunting Ephemeral, Salt and Sorrow, Knows No End, Frenetic/No Contest, and The Alderman: spurious conversations with Jim Morrison. He is author of the short story collection The Madman and Fu. His work on aesthetics A Matter of Degrees was published by Hawakal Publishers. He was a feature for Houston's popular reading series Public Poetry in 2013. He is a former contributor to Huffington Post. He is a literary critic, essayist, painter, musician, and contemplative. He lives alone in Houston, Texas.

vacancy in time

if in culture said
                        is time done
where and when
                        the struggle of sound
                        overlaps the presence
                                                            of Being

cold forces engage
                               the tremors of night
when my fathomless energy
is spent
                                                forever dying
                                                having nothing to say

the clock turns, hands gyrating
                        like opposing thumbs
endlessly seeking the emergence of day

I recant my cowardly pose
venomous in regret
                                    composed in solitude

again grief lays its claim on me
silent, struggling
                                    the body of Christ lifted
                                    by the angel of death

empty church

i march
gladiator on the wing

random firings of misgivings
shifting the palace authority

the lights dim only to resurface wildly
like a conundrum of wishes

his face tells us the nature of things to come

quiet in mind’s threshold
a whispering wind

i can’t seize the commandments
where i stand erect as a finger

complexity is the engineer of sorrow
solicitude strays from the aesthetic

i shift on the wings as my battle strengthens its flight

i am an engine of tomorrow
brightly engaging in bountiful puzzles

faithfully watching the tumult of Being
grant honor to the empty church

show me

in offer the grant of mercy
his tears are metal bars flexed in figures

as a victim should --      i am gay
and lifting the stars to the edge of deep

lightning strikes but you are not my child
the ocean calls back her tears

soft as a languishing angel of bliss
carrying baby smiles in a fear

the envisioned plan of rotting space
deep and dark a prison of birth

I don’t see the waves calling to me
puzzled I lift the dreams of my youth

into terrible satisfaction, kissed by god
milk of denial

                                    the crust of evil
                                    knows only bread of survival

we torch our memories
                                    pyres of forgetfulness
power in the dark
                              bright lamp, show me.

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