Three Poems by Dustin Pickering



hand washing

apples are crimson

like the faces of children

who exit their births

breathing as fire, raptured by still tears.

she was a silence of horror

the venom of encroachment

tearing up

like wind

a tunnel of thought

I am only left to this fanatical


centuries of madness, tearing at the curtains.

like Shakespeare’s army ants

actors in drag, frightened wraiths

isolated dogs in chambers

a maiden’s eye

with perceptions of dreams

cold tears

in an old bucket

i wash my hands


I Will Not Know

I wish I was beautiful

like the sea,

heaving with grandeur.

Approached by a swift ray

of light,

my senses become forsaken.

Forlorn earth,

avid for God and chaos,

when will choices rob you

of your dignity?

When will the solitude of darkness

come closer?

Winter will accompany the wind

in silence.

No purple homage for the season.

Our moon is this onion

staring down a black lagoon…

no, I will not know.


The Southern Wall

“The world, no doubt, is in favor of the forcing apparatus or of the southern wall.”

  • Anthony Trollope, The Small House at Allington

 Clinging to horizons of doubt,

ego erases my heart in one gesture

and vines will risk the climb.

Like the sun a man beams, broad shouldered,

with crimson eyes—

seeing noon and deeper fruits grown slight.

A man can be shadow and slave,

or he may be sage and the light

illuminating the joys felt by the will.

Power thrusts its sword into my ribcage,

digs fertility from my torso,

and tosses it to the empty air where dust conspires

to make a man full and sweet.

The grapes of wrath are plucked from vain ground—

the weak are merrier and more sound.

Who grows higher, deft in courage?

Are the twilight emblems shown to be timeless?

My ancient home is the southern wall.

I am one of those who dare not speak.

I am one of those who questions and imagines

the sweetness of love without tasting.

Come closer to my lips as I compose poetry

for your smiles.

I have dreamt the thousand glories of your heart.

Our hands, held together by soft sighs, desire to stay.

The emblems of my interior flee as captives of the mind.

You become sweeter by far when I am near you.

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Dustin Pickering
Dustin Pickering is founder of Transcendent Zero Press and founding editor of Harbinger Asylum. He is author of the poetry collections The Daunting Ephemeral, The Future of Poetry of NOW: bones picking and death's howl, Salt and Sorrow, Knows No End, Frenetic/No Contest, The Alderman: spurious conversations with Jim Morrison, and O'Riordan: spurious conversations with Dolores. He is the author of the book on aesthetics, A Matter of Degrees. His short story collection, The Madman and Fu, was recently released along with his novella, Be Not Afraid of What You May Find. He is a former contributor to Huffington Post. He has essays in Cafe Dissensus, The Statesman, and Journal of Liberty and International Affairs. He is also a musician, visual artist, and reviewer. He has been placed as a finalist in Adelaide Literary Journal's first short story contest and is a Pushcart nominee for 2019.


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