Samhain by M.K. Sukach



  1. Sixth Hour

I’ve been sitting out over these rooftops

listening to the crazy lonely sirens be-

low, the disputing men, the furious ambulance,

the nonstop bebop out-of-tune ragtime dogs.

Episcopalian gargoyles cuckoo clock their watch.

“Who’s there?”

“Nay, answer me.”

“Stand and unfold yourself.”

Soon the vesper bell will toll,

diminish, and, like a leaky pipe, echo

in the bedlamites.

One wondering soul

pulling on a cigarette, his beard

of history and et cetera so reminiscent

of someone I read once.

He plucks blue notes out of a mandolin,

while dimes collect in the high-cut-well

of a steel-toed boot….

“The legless morning lags behind!

We fear those fiery bit-biting colts

corralled at Los Alamos 1945…”

His hands leave him but he keeps time

with a thumping naked foot.

“…in spite of all Zeno’s arrows,

those boys in that desert

turn their backs, and when the rails broke,

and when the rails broke…

when the rails broke, Mephistopheles,

set back by a wager, told a joke,

wagged his tail and raised the stakes.”

His lines let loose, his mouth dried, his tongue

atrophied as a salt-soured snail,

he seemed to recede

made mad by a lynched mind,

with each sung word he went

hell-bent-blind, singing and singing

singing spelunker of the underworld.



  1. Eighth Hour

The thunder comes and comes

tin sheets rippled under

static electric clouds, brilliant

and brief, the clear flashes

illuminating Autumn trees,

stranded in somber rows, dressed

in black bark suits letting loose

reds, browns, and yellows.

In the corner of the cafe

waits the stool and mic….

The dark takes us under its establishment.

We dance without knowledge,

or grace. It isn’t, couldn’t be, beautiful.

The deaf boy falls to the boards

seized by epilepsy, jerks his wild signs.

I think he is a tongue.

Another bar…

pagan women pantomime knife fights

to the death, their resurrected shadows

coat the exposed brick wall.

Another bar…

We are seated, talking:

“All our luminaries are poison.”

“The cure is luminous.”

“The cure is poisonous.”

The folk singer breaks in:

“…past vacant lots

and chop shops, where

bent men bang out

dents to pay landlord rents,

it’s a modern day shell-shock….”



  1. Tenth Hour

I come with the wind down North to Valley.

Wind undoing heaps of dead Fall–it

crouches beneath parked cars. The Hunter’s

Moon is a razor slit. The neighborhood’s

pumpkins grin their mean flame

licked grins. I pocket my glasses.

The windy night humps its back, turns on me.

Dark birds congregate on tenement chimneys

keeping their secrets: the geometry of Hell,

news, if any, of the inhabitants.

Some blood-soaked, corkscrewed,

strait-jacketed souls, their faces splashed red

coil and recoil under the yellow scowl of street lights.

Headlights stare out the cemetery,

hijacking winds screech into leaves,

pile them against the pig-iron fence. The drifts

of headline news come wild like flags loosed from their poles.

In a bar I must squint for friends.

“I got the cure for those blood-shot balls,”

Neil, in a sawed-off voice. Circle slashed

Swastikas, arrow-pierced hearts, Stars of David

Tattoo the table–braille for the fingers. He pours

a beer, lights a cigarette, gives me both.

“Where’s everyone?”

He shrugs his don’t-know shoulders.



  1. Eleventh Hour

Main street is a hijinks of dirty psychology,

death certificate logic, thigh-high skirts,

myths locked in briefcases, hotel-death

headlines: Prostitute ODs.

An in-depth look at blue ladies

with syringes under their tongues,

between their toes. One went cold

with a hypodermic broken off in the lips

of her second mouth that once spoke, talked

back, swallowed. The sky, a dark sour milk

pouring over emaciate trees. A gypsy-

cab skulks and shortcuts fares through

Halloweened streets. I’m done in.

I charade-see through night…

Satans, Ghosts, Reapers. Crucified

scarecrows, their torso’s hung headless

and bound in barbed wire. Pairs of legs run

wild over dark lots. Spindly brooms done

with dragging crumbs cluck and giddy-up.

Body outlines draw up and walk.

The jack-o’-lantern moon yawns.

A union of pranksters jump at their chance.



  1. Midnight

The sky is a lake of shadow and wind.

Hundred year storm has come around again,

breaking, point-blank over the Atlantic.

A Die-hard Buick fishtails up High Street hill.

Stalls halfway. Headlights, all cock-eyed, go dim,

with the engine turning over…over…over…

then fires the Sisyphean hulk, jerking

left and right, here, now there, no-where,

till down it goes whence it came, railing against

the curb. Closer come are we to Christ

or other schooled ends

while all the shapes of shadows shift,

and I but a pilgrim cresting this hill’s ascent.



M. K. Sukach is the author of two chapbooks, Something Impossible Happens (Big Wonderful Press) and Impression of a Life (Corrupt Press). His poetry appears in a number of journals to include JMWW, The Hamilton Stone Review, Connotation Press, Spoon River Poetry Review, Construction Magazine, Yemassee, and others. Closer look: