These Hands

12-15-2017 - These Hands

These hands awoke in water
to the voice of mother hum
That first bit of solace
I swam and sucked their thumbs
When the outside invaded
these hands made tiny fists
held themselves before me
punched holes in the mist

These hands have whispered prayer
whose voice the life I’ve lived
a quiet thanksgiving, my children
precious gifts life has chosen to give
These hands have reached for heaven
asking and wondering why
resolute, returned to the prayer
voices of answers inside

These hands have known the woman
in all her moods and graces
She led them through the darkness
into her secret places
When she touched and held them
these hands were hers to teach
They stood upon her body
she drew them down to reach

These hands have served as warriors
to put the monster down
and fluttered in confusion
their life blood on the ground
They’ve gripped the steel of cages
when pushed behind the door
been manacled and chained
at odds with law and war

These hands have prayed the prayer
pressed against the lips of time
When the final truth has spoken
they have learned to say good-bye
When these hands are finally resting
upon my quiet breast
of all the things these hands have done
they held and loved the best

These Hands was published by Long Island Sounds 2007
© 2017 artwork, music & words
conceived by & property of
Tom (WordWulf) Sterner 2017 ©

via Poetry – Tom (WordWulf) Sterner

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Quodlibet V

12-14-2017 - Quodlibet V - Blood Trail-Lust - Tvia

Quodlibet: Introduction to V :Blood Trail/Lust

Dark in the motel light
room for prisoners
saddle-sore cowboy truck-drivers
ravenous to mount
tickets to ride
Amerikana momma
rodeo queen
hotrods to hell
doin’ it with her boots on
ridin’ on the mud flap
tearin’ up the bed
She was a love child
then she was old
nothin’ in between

Blood Trail/lLust
Quodlibet V

Lovers born apart together
torn from a sheet of night
forests adrift
wisps of smoke
Fire dreams ignite passion
heated blood
illusion or not
When flesh is a flame to touch
desire becomes
the fuel of innocents
and sinners alike once begun
a hell let loose until fire
is the lesser evil
devours itself and all participants
Wolves are born to run free to die
no restraints, feral fang and eye
© 2017 artwork, music & words
conceived by & property of
Tom (WordWulf) Sterner 2017 ©

Quodlibet – Tom (WordWulf) Sterner

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Mississippi Blues

12-12-2017 - Mississippi Blues T

The sun was dark like a good blend, southern comfort, leeching energy from the day. Grayson sat watching robin’s egg blue paint flake from the cupboard. Her panties hung draped over the toaster where they had landed when tossed soon after she arrived. A single drop of sweat rolled down the front of her neck, collected in a tiny pool in the hollow of her throat. Her fingers, long red nails posed and arched, reached over to release a fleck of paint from its moorings. Movement from the top of the cupboard caught her eye; she was enthralled to see a giant Mississippi cockroach staring down at her. “Ya all are brave t’ be out in the heat o’ the day,” she mused, her voice a syrupy thing, deep and throaty. Jimmy took advantage of her upraised face, vulnerable throat, and licked the sweat from its resting place. “Don’t, Jimmy,” she murmured lazily. Jimmy, young, beautiful, and shirtless (fresh in his rejection) lay down on his stomach on the yellow waxed, once white, one-piece linoleum floor. He rolled over on his back, every move calculated to display his ropy muscular youth. His dark eyes squinted into the sun through the window behind the woman, waves of heat between them. That dark space between her peach cream thighs beckoned to him. Her fleck of paint embedded itself between the top of his jeans and the crack of his ass.

Grayson was fascinated, rapt in her scrutiny of the roach. Jimmy had bought one of those tonal devices to rid his buffet/kitchenette of household pests. Grayson smiled as she remembered the name of it, Vermin-Be-Gone. The roach’s antennae swiveled a bit. Grayson giggled; maybe it was dancing, doing the Vermin-Be-Gone-boogy. The cool breeze of John Coltraine’s alto sax wafted through the thick cloying heat of the kitchenette. While she was busy cock-roaching, Jimmy had gotten up and dialed in one of his beloved jazz albums. My Favorite Things was one of Grayson’s favorite things. Jimmy knew that; his passion for jazz had kept her enthralled for some time. Now she wondered if there was anything else between her and the dark white boy. There was, of course, his incredible cock, which he presented to her now, up front and in her face. She looked pointblank into its hungry little mouth, gave it a dutiful peck on its shiny silken head. “C’mon, Grays,” Jimmy moaned petulantly, “Ya know what ‘e wants.” Jimmy’s trite reference to his member, an offering, an invitation, put Grayson off. She took it quite the opposite in fact, a tacit maneuver without preamble inciting her to fight off, with an effort, the compelling urge to just push him away.

His third person reference to his penis had charmed her at first, a ploy used successfully by Jimmy to get her into his bed the night they met, something she usually didn’t do. Or was it the Southern Comfort, the quaint little jazz joint, this unexpected Mainard G. Krebbs beatnik style white boy, hungry beyond his black-framed rectangular glasses. Ah hell, Grayson sighed to herself; it was all o’ that; she knew it was and some wicked stew of things she didn’t. Now she was tired of hearing what ‘e wants, as if it had nothing to do with Jimmy and his selfish greedy little lusts. The worst of timing; Grayson raised her face to see if the roach was watching them just as Jimmy made his opening thrust and poked her in the chin. Jimmy, in a fluid calculated twist of violence, turned and smashed the roach with a single whack of his flyswatter. “There, now maybe you’ll pay some attention t’ me ‘n, c’mon, Grays, say ‘is name.”

How she abhorred that flyswatter, another thing she had adored about Jimmy at first, those fresh spankings and the waffle-mark reminders they left on her flesh. She couldn’t hear Coltraine anymore. Beads of sweat tickled her forehead, threatened to roll down her face in single rivulets. She toyed with the idea of denying Jimmy his request, his insatiable lust and desire to always be in control, the epicenter of her emotions. She enjoyed a good earthquake but was perfectly capable of achieving them without Jimmy or anyone else for that matter. Jimmy insisted that he be her only-only. How dare he deny her that innocent cockroach its life? Whack! The remains of the roach stuck to Grayson’s face. She was shocked and annoyed, instantly angry and afraid. Spankings were one thing; being smacked in the face quite another. “Say ‘is name, darlin’,” Jimmy crooned. He dragged the flyswatter through the air between them. “There’s plenty more where that came from an’ I know you like it.”

Now the beads of sweat came running, down Grayson’s forehead and into her eyes. They burned but she refused herself the luxury of rubbing them, a sobering reminder of the rising heat in the room. There was a bit of clear liquid in the mouth of Jimmy’s throbbing penis. Grayson flicked her tongue out and swallowed it away. “Damn you, girl!” Jimmy’s hands came down smack on the crown of her head, held it in a firm vise-like grip. Now he was hurting her; it had never been like this between them. The pressure increased as he spit into her face, “E wants t’ hear ‘is name!”

“Ex,” Grayson intoned in a husky pained whisper of breath. She ran a long fingernail down the back of Jimmy’s scrotum. He shuddered. “Excalibur,” she hissed. Jimmy’s hands fell from her head, groped her breasts through the thin fabric of her clinging summer dress. True to its title, Excalibur thrust itself into the target heart of her mouth. In no mood for games, Grayson went in for the kill. She held the base of Jimmy’s shaft in one hand, gripped his scrotum tightly with the other, damned herself because at some level she was enjoying the hell out of this rough sex.

“Nua… nua.. nua,” Jimmy flopped around like a beached carp. Scrotum blood dripped from her fingertips and Grayson finished him off in a flurry of squeeze-suck-gulps. Jimmy fell back and she followed him all the way to the floor. His eyes were closed and his mouth said, “Nua… nua.. nua.” Grayson picked the cockroach carcass from her face, pressed it into the moist folds of her vagina. She slithered up Jimmy’s prone body, buried his nua… nua.. mouth with what he had christened her Honey Pot and rode his face to ecstasy. When she returned from that place, Jimmy had gone to sleep. No more nua… nuas; the flyswatter lay limp on the floor next to him.

Grayson dismounted and sat for a moment, held Jimmy in the most pensive of stares. She rose from the floor, went to the cupboard where she scratched away bits of its robin’s egg blue coat. Standing over Jimmy, she ground it and scrotum blood into the palm of one hand, then sprinkled it over his sated face, the last little bit saved for the tiny slack gaping mouth of Excalibur. She took her panties from the toaster, made a masque of them on Jimmy’s sleeping face, blue speckled eyes peeping out through the leg holes. She took a small digital camera from her bag and snapped a couple of pictures. She preferred to remember her men in this way but only in the act of leaving. Legs apart, she stood victorious over the carnival mask she had created. Sun shot through the room in lower waves, dust motes dancing out and in, riding the heat and coating the surface of every and anything. There was a thin dark line on Jimmy’s lower lip. “Dear Jimmy,” Grayson whispered, “You didn’t swallow one of Mister Roach’s legs.” She glanced at the cupboard where a new cockroach stood sentinel over the kitchenette. “They can’t defeat us,” Grayson said as she bent over to pick up the flyswatter.

She sauntered to the door, practicing the languid swish-sway of her gender, inbred generations of allusion and allure. Hand on the knob, she turned around for one last look. “I like it,” she said, “Life is art… now who said that?”

Later in the day, the breathtaking dusk of a Biloxi sunset; Grayson strolled barefoot and peacefully alone on the white-sand beach that owned Biloxi and all else in its environ, delighting in the startling death-hues resplendent in the sky, surely available to her touch and that of none other. She wriggled her toes in the near silt of Mississippi Sound, her private blues and determination to pursue them. She dropped Jimmy’s flyswatter unceremoniously into a Keep Mississippi Beautiful metal trash receptacle. Coltraine had returned, ever-present in the cries of the gulls, deep dark water, the ready pulse and gulp of its wandering weigh. “My favorite things,” Grayson mused aloud. She turned her back on its primordial flow, walked mud-toes slowly toward the first twinkling lights of the city and into its night. “I’m sexy,” she sang over and over, a mantra, in her low, whiskey room, contralto voice.
© 2017 artwork, music & words
conceived by & property of
Tom (WordWulf) Sterner 2017 ©

via storybook – Tom (WordWulf) Sterner

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12-4-2017 - Dapping - T

The three brothers scoured the shoreline, carefully picking and choosing, culling, then met, each with a dozen special stones in his pocket. The oldest said to the youngest, “You’re the littlest, so you go first. Come on, give us somethin’ to shoot at!” The six-year-old took a deep breath, rared back and heaved a stone. Kerplunk. It fell a few feet in front of where he stood at the water’s edge.

Then the skinny boy with freckles, the middle brother, laughed and kissed the stone in his hand. “Lemme show ya how to do this!” He backed up half a dozen steps then ran to the water’s edge. His stone hit the surface of the water flat, skip, skip-skip, seventeen skips and maybe more as it bounced out of sight.

Zzzz-zt. The three boys stopped what they were doing and turned in the same direction as if their movements had been choreographed. They stared at a spot a short distance away where their fishing poles were propped on Y-shaped sticks stuck in the mud. The middle pole was bent over and, as they watched, went horizontal. Zzz-ip and it disappeared underneath the water. The boy with freckles dove in after it. “No!” the oldest boy yelled.

“No! No!” the smallest boy echoed. They watched wide-eyed as he followed the fishing pole under the muddy water.

The thin boy bobbed up a few yards out, then swam easily back to shore. He climbed out of the water and plopped himself down dejectedly on the ground. “Yer gonna get in trouble fer losin’ yer pole,” his younger brother warned, “Daddy says yer allays losin’ stuff!”

“Come on, you’d better pull yours in too,” the older brother interjected.

The youngest boy took his pole to hand. “I got somethin’ big ‘n heavy.”

“Oh, it’s a big ‘un!” the older brother exclaimed. “Reel mine in!” he said to the middle brother, “I gotta help him!”

The middle brother joined them. “Looka that,” his big brother laughed, “Looks like we both snagged your line.” Back in the water the skinny boy went but this time he came back with his pole. It took all three boys’ efforts to reel it in because there was a two-and-a-half-foot trout on the hook.

The boys cleaned, cooked, and ate that fish. No one would ever believe how big it had been. They went back to dapping, lazing away the summer afternoon. The older brother, who always won, had his best throw, twenty-one skips.

The skinny boy topped that with a twenty-four. No matter what the boys did, the day was his. They are few and far between, those days, for the middle child and sweeter in the bargain.

Dapping was published in Storyteller Magazine 2004
© 2017 artwork, music & words
conceived by and property of
Tom (WordWulf) Sterner 2017 ©

Dapping won 1st Place in Grizzly Bookz contest
and was published in Storyteller Magazine 2004

via storybook – Tom (WordWulf) Sterner

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Flagstaff Mountain

11-30-2017 - Flagstaff Mountain T

I have ridden this ol’ Hawg through clouds
gods smiling and kicking my ass
with thousands of drill bit raindrops
I twist the throttle
howl through to the other side
the edge and one step further
over the top

Flagstaff Mountain

Today, while cleaning the garage, a strange and interesting event occurred. A dust devil, mini tornado, danced up the driveway and across the cement floor. It wandered a bit in its to and fro sway, then dashed forward where it spent itself on the phat black and chrome body of my ol’ Hawg.

Being a man of voice, whose mouth has learned to keep shut, the better to listen to nuances of phantom messages, I settled myself in the dust of my new friend. I contemplated kicking the ol’ Hawg to life, which deed was done before I knew it. Another specific and one-time event as she woke purring on the first stroke. Entranced, I backed ‘er out of the garage, pointed ‘er toward the street and let ‘er have ‘er head.

Rolling West, down Baseline Road, memory took a swipe at me. It dragged me back to the eighties, that same street and new boots, bearded brothers before me and roaring up from behind, the guitar man, Matthew, life-friend at my side. Up the mountain we rode, to the wedding of Phil Howell to his beautiful Asian, silken-haired lady and their wind faces under the pines. The preacher looked smart in his dark clothes, his words of troth accompanied by the music of creaking leather, the cooling metal of iron horses and darting birds, curious in their singsong quick-eyed way.

Past Table Mesa Boulevard, traffic and Boulder lights fading behind, the road smooths out, single lane, an easy climb through the foothills. For the seasoned Colorado rider, a certain preparedness takes place. Hairpin curves, jackknives await, cool, tree-shadowed paths and startling, sun-splashed views. Pistons and cam, heartbeat and blood, fuse in a shift, down shift, tap the brake and throttle forward fluid movement. Sunrise Amphitheater lies just ahead, around this blind curve or that, red stones surrounded and punctuated by sturdy pine and scrabble bush. I leave my war-worn Hawg, my dragon, on ‘er stand and follow a steep path down.

Memory quick-trips me back to the seventies and my brothers, before the prison in Canon City stole their hearts. We hauled our band gear up that ol’ mountain, carried amplifiers, guitars, drums, and generators down into the Sun Circle where we established ourselves on that side-o’-the-mountain open stage. I drank Seagram’s Seven, howled my lyrics and played my harmonica into the mountain air and white cloud sky. Boulder lay behind me, a sheer backdrop to a young man on the edge of time and certainly unaware of the audacity of his behavior. No permits, no appointments, just music and the poor-boy Sterner brothers, doin’ that thing they used to do. A group of Jewish People appeared later. Permit in hand, they advised us they had reserved this wondrous place for a very special wedding observance. We played a couple of our songs for ‘em while they performed a precise and circular tribal dance. They applauded our efforts and fed us, sent us back smiling to our West Denver homes.

A smile comes to me slowly, like Harry Chapin said, “It was a sad smile, just the same”. I light my second cigar of the day, feet planted on each side o’ the ol’ dragon, arms resting on her handlebar wings. A sparrow lands on my mirror, gives me a wink and flits away. I wonder its lineage, generations of mountain life past. Did its forbears hear the poor boys’ noise, witness a specific binding of troth. I swear the stones are the same, each pine needle and chittering chipmunk. Sons born since have carried my music into a new age. It is theirs now and far different somehow. I remain unchanged like the face of Flagstaff. Mountains know what I might only guess. Time is on their side.

Cigar butt clenched tightly ‘tween my teeth, I give the ol’ War Horse a couple o’ kicks. She coughs and sputters to life. I tickle the throttle, glory in her growl and roar. A dust devil dervish giggles from the path, rises and kisses me on the cheek; how, the mountain, she speaks.

Flagstaff Mountain was published by Colorado Vintage Poetry 2005
© 2017 artwork, music & words
conceived by & property of
Tom (WordWulf) Sterner 2017 ©

via Tom (WordWulf) Sterner – Tom WordWulf Sterner

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11-29-2017 - Elemental - T

Grandchildren gathered round the fire bowl, flames reflected in their eyes, wisps of campfire smoke slipping away on a night breeze, the good earth beneath them, a tear of gladness in my eye as I tend the fire and feel the glow of generations deep in my spirit.
© 2017 artwork, music & words
conceived by & property of
Tom (WordWulf) Sterner 2017 ©

via Closer to Home – Tom (WordWulf) Sterner

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11-28-2017 - Mirage - T


principled father
mother of purity
absence of vanity
sincerity of purpose
all things humane
freedom at any cost
safety in numbers
glory in defeat
atonement of sin
pity as pacifier
normal assemblage
benevolence of royalty
holiness of priests
the erect politician
moral policeman
singular motive
best intentions
chaste kisses
government promise
lap of luxury
sincere beggar
sex for sex sake
love for sex sake
heaven sake
reconciled victim
rehabilitated rapist
whenever ‘I’m sorry’
love other than self
existence of oases
a dignified death
sincere amnesty
this bears repetition
this bears repetition
this bears repetition
art for art’s sake
man in gods’ image
woman as reward
honorific recognition
original sin
any reference to aeon
distance as love bait
I won’t hurt you
my dog doesn’t bite
obvious intentions
light of day
light of night
wise men
animals as speaking idiots
other than human
shared prosperity
faith in dervish
sanity of justice
welfare Cadillac
clean water
drug counselor
psychological awareness
social security
hope for the poor
foundation of family
driving on the telephone
green peace
war on drugs
capital expenditures
common sense
lifetime warranty
satisfaction guaranteed
customer service
free rent
damage deposit
Christian forgiveness
the open sea
dumb animals
good guys and bad guys
them and us
clean living
winners and losers
a free ride
one square inch unpolluted
relief valve
escape key
any true witness
other than chaos
normal behavior
square corners
outer limits
inner peace
immaculate conception
protective custody
a round tuit
acceptable losses
the flying man
death of gods
age of reason
missionary largesse
preventative medicine
innocent until
free will
human connection
mated for life
funereal disguise
bread winners
non combative personality
organized religion
a striving toward normalcy
process of elimination
running stool
amicable reconciliation
affordable housing
good drivers
critical mass
high priest
drug lord
dutiful wife
eclectic taste
the third breast
idle conversation
state of unrest
state of Colorado
state of being
merciful heaven
absolution of sin
war and peace
battle mockup
unadulterated flesh
season of plenty
life on far planets
this one in particular
backup system
angels and hat men
ladies of the night
accidental collusion
intentional chaos
will to power
wont to shame
acronymic truth
prison politic
unequivocal device
prayer endings amen
random violence
any number of senses
innocence lost
a shovel full of Eden
plastered in Paris
father as bitch
same gender parents
man as god
holy remembrance
holy cow
mythical union
forward thinkers
successful committee
I didn’t mean to
a bad seed
the good son
homing pigeons
Christ on a toothpick
sincere prostitute
honest john
solemn oath

They sat in a circle, the two of them. Theirs was a shared awareness of nothing. Infinite possibilities, a vision of Lords danced between them, will of Creator, wisp of essence. Incapable of boredom, with some sense of humor, a combined energy, was given birth the moment.

Having no sense of entitlement, not only did they not name the child Time, it was loosed, allowed a will of its own. These of the circle yawned as their child adopted a spiracle tone, wrapped itself in universe, mad inventions of its own. The result, what it created, made a terrible howling and the parents, annoyed by the child’s noisome toys, allowed the two-sided circle to close. Thus were erected the heir apparent and errant parent.

The spoiled child, angry and alone, playing in the blood of its mud, began to manufacture discontent and a creature whose image mirrored what it imagined it might be, given mortality and physical form. These chose to idolize themselves and porcelain gods in their image.

The child, Time, swore a fury of vengeance upon the beings it had made, that they would wither away, face always a declining and decrepit flesh, hunger ever more for youth as Time itself devoured all before and about them.

Finally, each moment was named for this merciless master. The hollow spheres of its kingdom were erected temples owned in the name given the master and that name was GOD.

fidelity of flesh
unintentional idol
death after life

Mirage won the Marija Cerjak Society Award for Avant-garde/Experimental Writing 2002
© 2017 artwork, music & words
conceived by & property of
Tom (WordWulf) Sterner 2017 ©

via ~philosophy~ – Tom (WordWulf) Sterner

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