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Poems from Le Bestiaré:    The Barber     The Faggot     The Film Goddess    The Hitman      The Prostitute

Poems from Le Bestiaré 2:  The Actress   The Indian Killer    The Mothman    The Satanic   The Symbol     The Toreador

Poems from Le Bestiaré 3:    The Apostle  The Finn

                       THE BARBER

The hairs on his fingers
do not curl anymore
like worms. They, too, are old
and arthritic as the fingers
themselves. Yet, together
they hum steel scissors
about many old heads spewing
stories of their war, their action.
And in his two chair shop-
  only one of which is ever used-
he mumbles on in foreign tongues,
somehow coherent to his customers,
of his youth- his hazy past
lost amidst the others' vivid tales.
And as The Chairman croons smoothly
in the background a strobed siren streaks
by and off his front window barber pole
yet beaming the noonday glint of sun
so brightly that he closes his eyes,
momentarily, and is back in his village
during the raids. The sun burns
through his eyelids like an incendiary
fire which lighted his parents' cellar,
where he had hidden, from within
and he recalls the shadows of life
lost inside the brilliant glow
of mid-night bombings: the ash,
the noise, the heat, the used-to-be's,
the stench. In the distance of his brain
it is, now, almost comforting. So
when he goes to the window to draw
his shade it is not out of a fear
that he spurns the light, or the kid
shot and bleeding down the block,
but rather the growing apparitions
of evening crawling across the street,
like rodent remembrances canvassing
for fresh flesh, towards his shop
dwarfing ever-smaller to their scurrying
silent thunder:
                     and it is this simple act,
now, which unleashes the fires of life
from rock on a far away world
six hundred million years from now:
        the complex genetic of beginnings
        reborn from the simple psychology
        of endings; as if invention,
        or fear, or the cosmos,
        really knows its own course.

Copyright Ó by Dan Schneider

A video of this poem can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iy1fGorCywY&list=UUN5kTfj5u8XcTBg51Z65EKw 

                        THE FAGGOT

Alien swishing at the root
of their fears. In the black
light of day he remains
a voyeur of night's white cover.

      Is it cold?, he wonders,
      Or is it just the neighborhood?

Vamping along the boulevard
he turns egret-like into the wrong
way down an alley. Hisses quill
his spine like nothing
since Anthony left.

From a shadow over his shoulder
he senses the feline lumber of a pride.
Gleaned off a wet dumpster he catches
the hard bat of some lion's swipe.
Chuckling, their fear descends
like the sun's eclipse by skyline;
scattering like mice driven
off poopdecks. Rivering down
the nearest sewer's iron gullet
his blue heron blood carries
their laughter, their taunts,
and some porcelain plumage
into a vast crimson underbelly
fed upon by the roots
of silenced concrete sequoias.

In the mucilage minutes he bolsters-
        Death is just death, not defeat.-
fearing both the fates of his rose Dresden china,
alone, and the trail of azure one beastly rat
will track through ravening black eyes, twitching
gray nostrils, ruddy hands clawing
sharply up decades of steel.

Copyright Ó by Dan Schneider

                        THE FILM GODDESS
                               *for Sharon Stone

Over and again she was made like marble
out in the others' pitiless eyes.

Yet she was loved, truly,
in a way, for the Nordic perfection
of her self controlled
as a mannekin behind glass.

There ten million men desired
her, deeper than a Cyprian king,
and repeatedly chipped away at her
to renew the beauty, slowly rounding
into realization, she delighted beyond
the regal cipher of her youth.

                                       But now
      it is her age which splendors
      her grace into humanity;
      her eyes' harpsichord razor cuts
      the cord of her ivory birth.

      And now when she moves
                  in the passage of dreams,
      And now when she feels
                  in the fruits of the prosaic,
      it does not all fritter away-
                  as if something easily disposed of-
      into the unknown eyes
      that unclothe her, still,
                   it is that which made her,
                   this votary of Venus,
                   now dizzy- for the first time
                   in a life undefined- and giddy,
                   simply, with the notion.

Copyright Ó by Dan Schneider

                        THE HITMAN

Ten. Twenty. A few hundred or more.
He has lost count of the notches
in his brain. He knows nothing any longer
of the world beyond. This small theater
is all that is left of the drama.

He is anxiety itself. In the darkened house
each creak of the backdoor is taken
for a cheer. The stage is set:
        a dingy saloon, a lone fly buzzes about.
        Gray mannekins people the scene. The clock
        marks time in years of age- somehow appropriate.

                  Five years o'clock.

Into this drama
sits an audience of one: Death.
An appreciative fellow.

                  Twelve years o'clock.

The curtain rises, the lights are cast.
Suddenly, a body materializes; the face
is indistinct yet familiar: unformed
yet like every man's he will ever do.

                    Seventeen years o'clock.

Days and weeks and months tick by
slowly. The stagelight burns. The body
ripens into his own lush with maggots.
        A standing ovation from fleshless hands.
He bows, but sensing something long discarded
he turns to run but in all directions
is stage. A mist of thick flies now blots
the limelight. At this moment he realizes
        his life is not his.

                 Now o'clock.

The audience has grown to several hundred
in applause. A tap on his shoulder.
No one. A gun now lays on the bar.
He grabs it and puts it to his head.
The dark cloud buzzes gratitude.
He squeezes.

                   Another curtain rises.

Copyright Ó by Dan Schneider

                        THE PROSTITUTE

She remembers mama's calls of "Le-na!",
billowing down the block, for supper, and seeing
the soup steaming their kitchen windows-
behind its warm mist lay sustenance, life,
and the swan: at once her pet, her protector,
her lover.

In the blurring tides awash within
she recalls the perfection with which mama laid out
herself in the dinnerware's placement. Each utensil
in its own parameter. Always four settings: for mama,
herself, her little brother- long passed
by the silence of sharp feather upon wrist-
eating, with real fork and knife
but with phantom manners, the swan- he hates
mama’s ceaseless screeches. She would clean her plate, always,
so good she was- unlike her bad brother the swan ignored-
then his beak would nip at and taste
for her. His neck's silken advances glimmering
with dew.
               Love is pain.
                                  Blood just its price.

The girl would cry, alone in her room,
as the swan's wings covered her tensions,
wanting to enswan her
in love, a silent blackness beneath white
feathers caressing some whiter flesh.

Outside, the crisp waves of leaves from foreign branches sang to her
as they swept against her bedroom window. The moonglow, off her
evaporated her tears. Beyond, the swan’s coal eyes, one with the
   night, always
shimmering....her hair
so golden, long and lovely.

Now, in an older mirror
she combs it, still
golden, long and lovely.
Behind her, in reflection,
grins Sammy- haloed by the neon glow
of the sign, the strip, the streets outside.

Distantly, he says,
"I'll always be with you."
Yet she knows he cannot protect her
like the swan- she is still
his little girl (she still has his scars)-
his pinions spreading darkly
as the tides of trees whip through the signglow
crashing onto unfamiliar windows where another
strange bird's plumage awaits her
for a price Sammy owns.

Laying naked, in a bleak white bed,
a weird mist steams through the ceiling,
like mama's used to; only this one is cold-
eternally so- and while she lays
helpless as frigid feathers
grope and stroke for her goldness
she quietly floats up into the mist
where she thinks she hears her little brother
at play, closer, towards the other side
of dawn; and after passing through it
so happy and assured, from far above,
her face now deigns a smile.

Copyright Ó by Dan Schneider



Copyright Ó by Dan Schneider

                       THE INDIAN KILLER
                               *l943, El Dorado Canyon, Nevada

Silly subjects, like lassitude, never came up
as Jose and Henry climbed up from the river,
to the cave where Queho's body was discovered
by the prospectors who, on a gold mining trip,
         hung on the seep of the past,
                   freed the state from fear, at last,
of that crazy old Paiute's evil, forever.

In the cave there remained, for the young boys to see,
knickknacks of his victims, which by then had begun
to rust and molder, decay and stale, go rotten
as his soul, which always fascinated Jose,
        as the boys pawed through the things
                 of the dead flesh of seasons,
who told Henry it all began in 1910:

"Ya see, old Queho was a gimp- with a bum leg-
and for years kids on the reservation would jerk
him around about his limp, till Queho could take
it no more, and ran away. He refused to beg,
        like the others, at the white
                man's knee. Instead, he would fight
back. That's when he ran into this Harry Bismark,

a big bully from back on the reservation.
They argued over lots. They never got along.
So, Queho got his gun and shot him dead. Bang-bang!
But, no one cared at all, till he killed a white man
         with a two-by-four. He beat
                  the shopkeep to death, and beat
it to the canyon, which began a decades-long

manhunt, which should'a been easy, considering
his limp made his tracks so easy to spot. But, then,
nothin's ever easy as it seems. Something went
off in his brain. He went loco- began killing
      like mad: many prospectors,
            and down in Arizona
a family of seven was gunned down. And just when

it looked like he was gone for good, he killed again-
this old woman, named Maude Douglas, shot in the back,
in 1919- with nothing left but the tracks
of a gimp. But, nothing would happen until when,
         a couple of old miners
                   were both butchered and blinded,
they offered three grand on his head. But, it would take

twenty-one more years before Queho would be seen
again. That's when the prospectors found his mummy-“
"Aw, Jose, do ya really think I’m a dummy?
Fallin' for one a' your tall stories, sight unseen?",
        as an Indian coldness
                 merged with the wet young tautness
of one of the boys' fears, drifting to infusion,

the buildup of movement, unmoving in Henry,
who knew how to play a bad hand well, and within
that cave played his as well as Queho's, and began
to deny Jose's tale, "There ain't nothin' ta see!”,
          a star that casts a coldness,
                  as the small ball of nearness,
which leapt to his face, and the refracting within.

Copyright Ó by Dan Schneider

                        THE MOTHMAN
                             *for John Keel

               Here, above,
where fearsome angels cower, the Mothman
glides soundlessly above illusion. The moon
is something that cannot fly, and you cannot see
the moon, below him, as he spreads his terrible wings
his red eyes become the billion-year bloat
of giant stars dying into the useless night of eyes,
yours, folding in to the unremarked of realms.

               But when the Mothman
comes, clearly, those who witness him rise above
those realms of plastic and styrofoam. To be human
is to disappoint- so the Mothman never does.
He is the summit of unknown and unbroken expectations,
and the inquisitor who asks: "What is the fallen
in you?" He cannot understand the onlookers
of life, the unmoved at Jericho's tumble.

               Up the facades
of inemotion, righter than left, and three winks
from Magonia, he rises, now sounding mechanical,
as if an early helicopter chopping its way
to your comprehension, the full breadth of his wings
spreading, as if to say, "I, too, have form!"
Yet, he has no head, nor mouth, nor nose, nor ears,
just huge glowing eyes in a gray-brown skin.

               Then he returns
to earth, leaving the now of your wonder,
as if to instruct the mortal of their poor restraint.
Gently, gently he dares to shaping the odors
of your dreams, disnebulous as your remembrance
of him, filling the emptiness that springtimes do,
at times, distilling your denial into a tear,
singular as a day, but ten times as salty.

               Each night he must
dissolve in to a crane, an owl, or a bugaboo
of dismission that underlies comfortability.
But his is not there. He regards it a disease
that the earthbound must overcome. He does
it by looming over the American night, the consensus
universe that you construct. Sometimes, he watches
you as you whistle by the wonder he swallows whole.

               If you catch him
looking at you, be very afraid. Not of him,
nor some grim intent, but because his eyes will curve
in to you- hold your eye up to his eye, it is all
blood- a deep placidity no human can share, nor bear,
cool and pure as the scent of a stark dry thing
the wet of an animal's nose remembers, the mist
of a thunderhead's calm, the drum of rain on umbrellas.

Copyright Ó by Dan Schneider 

A video of this poem can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xflOVvWQKE8&list=UUN5kTfj5u8XcTBg51Z65EKw 

                        THE SATANIC
                               *for Anton Szandor LaVey


Breed the way o tired world
bleating from the swill of mechanized might
the unmeasured war the computer-fed viral infestations
which seem ancient to those bereft of fresh religion
you have remained simple you have riven piety
to the white haired white brained white god
of Europe rimming past the gazelle of most modernity
papal infernal antiquities residing in the nectar
of choirboy's asses entering and confessing
a thousand volume sin for the master freeing
the confessing for confessing's sake
I give you poetry for the morning
axioms for the unfed maws of computers
rivers of empire subsumed to the grand mouse of everything
glitching their prose existence into you
religioticaneurotica beast that feels
at the daymare lost to the assorted demandments
of a passive god only to you do you think

         there was that time at Stonewall


Vital aloneness is an avenue in Albany New York
I read of in a William Kennedy novel once
where drunks and baseball playing children
pass the noon over and again as the Depression Era
wails muffled themselves to the Coca Cola signs
impingence on things located somewhere everywhere
between Bangor Maine and San Diego California
you talked to me of hidden afternoons
in western Pennsylvania when Gramps would tell
you Great War stories and the Great Trinity
church bells ringing along some mystical Rue
it is midnight now
the whole of denial collapses into a chapel
again the sound of a single bullet becomes
the garnet glory of an unbroken field of Christ-like figurines
running and screaming of Boschian adorability in the face of   
for one as you is the assimilator of Verdun
and Madison Avenue Ironweed and Mallarme¢
Stieglitz and Arbus recall that book
of 1960's retards she blew you away
with each photograph you recall the maggots
acling to your armhairs as you toss meat department refuse
in that summer job you hated a linger of this persistence
of breath honoring the steep gallows of eternity
infusedly internal as that Christ's-eye from the Dali
singing you are here in the hypervoidal with me
in the twentieth century from a nowhen
        Judea         Anatolia      Mongolia
it was Genghis Khan the voluptuary
who first decreed the offal of knowing
the beauty of knowing it
                                    show me the wool
and I shall spare you the lamb the sky
filled with swifts and bats and owls and gnats
and beasts of the fraternal convergence
I see you
to you it is you
                      the art of the grift
                                                its cut
                                                         is this then decline


Cocksure and Minneapolis
are the signs of arrival
inspect closely the one for the other
I will always be because I was
a shameless proposition from a foggy mirror
on a car on Nicollet and Lake
is the intended notion
the delicacy on a mountainside
shriven of meaning and Japan
is a place of wind and neutrinos
so balanced as an Apollinaire critique
of your inmost paintings
I met a singer a few months ago
cute and red and fucked-up beyond belief
she reminded me of the others
cocksure in her insecurities
Minneapolis is not Japan
the grasses sway forty miles from the Foshay Tower
as Wright chuckles
o boy from eastern parts
hiding your strengths in runes
and there is a raccoon in a sewer
crawling through the midnight lampglows
and familiar propositions
                                     I end


It is always the imaging
which denies passing and happiness

                   here you are with Tsvetovat in Minsk

          there you are with Lolita in New Hampshire

                            here you are with Basho in Seattle

your glance recreates the night

I remember we stayed three days in the seedy place you called paradise off of Long Island Sound your stockings dripping over a moldy shower curtain rod where you opened a five-by-nine album of photos you would not share with anyone not even me in your mind I became the only tangent to these words as you were beyond Whitman and Watergate the Ayatollah and Dynasty you had the greenness of Puerto Rico wrapped in a bandage you knew as photographs I would venture on a sandy road a quarter of a mile from the saltwater and fling things to the heron irised in your gaze forever detached from the love of another woman you rued me into a monster you made me better you made me want to be better than the moment you filled with tears of fright you saw the comings and dyings of yourself Charlotte Kathee Francine Danuta Irene Ingrid Clarissa Lily Shawn Tricia Kristin Lisa Anna Chrissy you have me thralled to a time I am yours I am yours I am yours
                                                you are dead

                                  this is a lie

                          it is always the murder
                          which sanctifies


Guten Nacht

and Mr. Stallone and the shears
bloodlessly about the child's head
waiting to fill an odorless room
rarefied and Jewish as the man with the moolah
in the corner ay Stallone will'ya finish de kid
one man carries a blue handkerchief
in his hand moist with a dead week's relief
as the other has a tambourine in his hand
and bangs it when the two winos outside
go at it again this is America
1962 the two boys one a former mental patient
from upstate and the other an insignificant mulatto
try out many things they find in the garbage cans
wigs last swigs of a warmed out beer can Piels
it is morning it is almost when
the vagrants will engage in their nose-pulling
contest that draws all the saints from Skid Row
to place their bets on who will pull cleanest
there is a scramble blunted fistic beauty of alcohol
breeding an alcoholic intuition gone bupkus
in the aftersounds of a memory the mulatto lays
crying mediocrely to the morning only the mediocre are always
at their best the victor dreams of magnums and Sally Beddowes
it was toe-to-toe nose-to-nose grind-to-grind as they
charted the dead suburbs of notice the boy in the barber's chair
looks outside turns inside with one eye as Stallone smiles
and chants Sicilian hosannas or something
and passes out lollipops to the fresh-trimmed boy
and the loser on the ground with the intense scar
under his right nipple it is a shame the winner
is shunned this is Mr. Stallone's world
this is his

              guten Morgen


In another place a narrator would intrude
or demand attention
                              here it is me

Dan Schneider


Who is Leif Ericsson
to question things
it was P.S. 81 that was the nidus
where the flocks of Jews and Negroes Caucasians
and Catholics first found America
on a planet on a planet
where ground was ground
now the sail moves
a phantom guide forcing revisions
and instinct anew

let the universe mumble

let OPEC shake the continent

let Led Zeppelin corrupt Wisconsin

whose is it to lose
when the word always

bound to an irreversible sun

does not apply to the girl in her vaguely arabic shawl
who reads from a book mumbling
things like blasphemy vengeance and meatloaf

how loosely hangs the cold

about her

to know her is



Don Moss never knew the Muslim girl nor LaVey the Enochian
no matter I did I do
and am alone

it is Hopper's Sunday Morning
that guides me to the desire

it is night at a restaurant
it is twilight on a veranda

it is that pug I saw at a wrestling match at Franklin K. Lane High
W.W.F. Baron Scicluna and Stan Stasiak

it is a dreaming to end your poem
without desire it all comes back

                         the church


High wind betraying
your hand unheeded
as particulars become a cock
pressed inside her virgin walls
lifting falling moving
the groans you wrap around existence
my pen
calls forth you
was it you
was it him
Mr. Stallone
was it you
that obscured

                     say it again

the day into

                 with more feeling

a Hampton daydream

                                 one last time

some fool labels Hell

Copyright Ó by Dan Schneider

                              THE SYMBOL
                                     *Isabella Van Wagenen (1797-1883)

                  "There is the world dimensional for
                  those untwisted by the love of things
                       -For The Marriage Of Faustus And Helen, Hart Crane

For a time it turned
within. This fact of being
more than flesh and blood
to many. Beyond her
is the woman she is:
  proud, strong, free, black.
She remembers the shine of autonomy
beckoning, as if some gloaming beyond
reach, the beginning of her autumn
estrangement from miracles.
                                          “To preach"
is what it called her to do. To imbue
the white minds of the chatteled masses
with not the fact of her,
            but with the fact of truth.
It is her existence which deifies,
   it is her existence which reifies,
yet both have permeated the rose
of her being. The truth
can wait for the sojourner
to discover. It is in the smile
of the four year old white boy
sitting shyly with his parents
at an abolitionists meeting,
yet smiling. To the adults
her eyes gouge like gossip.
To him it is all a game.
Each time she glances down
his smile ends. Each time
she turns away it reappears.
First gone. Then there.
Then gone. Then there.
And just as she feels
it will go on forever,
she fakes him out,
catches its beam burnt into
her mind, negating decades
of the world's negation,
and is spent on its hopeful play....

Copyright Ó by Dan Schneider

                              THE TOREADOR
                                     *outside San Diego, 1868

Sanchez, too, hid his cheer
of death, much like Maria Garibaldi,
his greatest fan, who- after each
kill- would give him a flower

he could never pronounce. She once spoke
of her grandmother's mirror, and its numbness
she would inhabit. When gazing within
she would fear the mirrored hallway

without the refracted Maria's bedroom.
Always, she was uncertain of an entering
spirit, a thing she could not resist
prying into. When, at last, a thing entered

it was not what Maria had feared. It strode
strongly into her bedroom, circled a few times,
and onto her bed, and pried backward into both
Marias' spaces. This was, then,

where Sanchez was when Maria smiled,
again, fr om the grandstand. The crowd
became circular motions. The bull
is released. Sanchez too.

Copyright Ó by Dan Schneider

          *Julia Roberts

The sun crumbs that feed a world are nothing
in light of the glaze that resonates and woos us
through you. Even as some bird of paradise,
you are not, ascending through our upturning,
we forget you are a creature too. Not suffering
as we, flung into the opened light of intimacy
dying, it should be us, no more totally, unseen
in the seats, awakening parts of ourselves to woo
you, and grow you in the warm ardency
of the familiar emotions your smile tells us
are a part of this entertainment’s cost.

Who would contain you? Everywhere
the thin housings of self intensify
and multiply the promises affirming
yes, as we wake in our seasons, grasping
your reward in our beds, warm and nude,
as the dreams of all movements must be
to succeed. We keep you in our heads,
fragment of you, changing you
even as you, yourself, remain forever
where you have always been most
intense, in patterns of idea cast open
on the infolded black of a full house
approaching you. In the emptiness
we call for you to mend us to your side,
in intensities blessed, yet surpassed
by the act of watching you breathe.

Here is where you know you own us. Lost
unto you, you grant us a being, we
who are equal to you only in our passing,
while your veins effervesce with the external
hopes, forming and formless, perceived
as a part of you, resented that you are
drenched in it from all of us who perceive
you as greater, disinherited from humanity,
an unstooped angel whose shining teeth
point us to your ceaseless vision, striving
to demur this is the cathedral of want.

In this time the wooing commences. Again
such currents swirl, as shadow leaves
in the undead fall, filling with direction
downward. We accept our oneiric selves,
the body as the brokedown home of the thought
of you, who remain in front of you, there
and defenseless. Still. Wooed and wooing
from where we sit, created and broken
from uncertain evenings in which we return,
timid children, to follow you where we know.

Copyright © by Dan Schneider

                          THE FINN
                                *Sari Sotamaa

Who would understand the remote dream of difficulty
save the dreamer? Sailing in to her body past
a single moment of sky and sea made one,
under the violent pastiche of indigo and sun, which will not set
this time of year, in the saltless ego made
an instrument of space, pressed into the flowers
she bears. She glares devoted meaninglessness

into the star, equal with its temperaments, stung
into orange and violet hues her eyes gather phosphenes
from the singular suffering of and, and its lack,
as she dreams behind the rote blue of her computer
screen, circling about the world, breaking
into fragments, motions of springs replicating
away, as she hacks into universes where gulls circle
over dead buffalo husks, and gophers swim free
in some Baltic Sea. Identical to a dream
she once had, when her name was unworn by years
or bones, when she was six or seven, or not.

The importance of all this is merely the eloquence
in which she skips to the barn, and strips
to her self, at the center of the blue-tinged eye
of a goat. She becomes one. With the roll, in the pass
of time, all things align in the dream and the real.

And does the goat understand it is dreamt, by the girl
in the dream, as it bleats or brays or makes
some kind of sound, in tones Neolithic
as its breast baring heat into this pile of meat it meets
remembering a time when it was flesh and more?

It seems natural as it is. The girl and the beast,
as they lay in the sun, as she used to lay
on gravestones when young, to sense the power
of death, terrifying and breaching ethics with fragility,
postulated arrangements of bare whispered presence, the dawn
unmentioned with her own hard kiss into living with this flesh,
this beast under the sun's demure hands slowly heating them one.

It is moments as these which recall her abandon,
by father or mother, or other such things, as she wakes
from the seem of a mind, pressing the fresh darkness
of her face into the void, the meaning of beginning,
and the questions therein, abandoned and undone
by not one instance, as the computer flashes, her mischiefs
sing of flowers, and malls, and things European, under it all
alone as a lion in a drought-filled land, plagued
by hyenas, as this rogue imagining, and its absence
of fear through indigo flares, the sun, and the union of all things.

In the torpor of her fingers she senses union, and thinks
of the moonlit reunion of the thing and the thought, the keys
of a half beating whole, rising to be her emissary
to brilliance, till the other calls, in its bray she is comfort,
on her knees she writhes, vertebra becoming constellations
made flesh. The rim of her moon curves her shape into its.  

Copyright © by Dan Schneider

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