Andrew Zepherin Wallace – Five Poems


Bare Tree

Last Leaf fell
to join the effervescence, 
to spin one final titillation
before the first snow.

Wind. Panic. Crow

sought to
caw the ineffable.
But, Squirrel, well versed
in rhetoric, heard
past her jabbering tongue.

“Where can I find what’s not a linchpin?”

“Of greater importance are nuts.
Besides, all of this ritualized indirectness
has got my hair standing up.”

Tree creaked. Branch fell.
Squirrel jumped into Tree.

“If thou goest thither,
I will set thee on thy way
to thine centre
and tell thee what must
be known by us,” said Tree.

“I wonder what Tree means by that?”
thought Squirrel. “He must be
talking to Crow.”


Mira Or I


I placed
Pedals on my pyre in picture perfect chaos
Dying to see rainbows
Shoot from her ten thousand fingertips,
Beams of light
From her ten thousand toes
But coy, so coy


   At first just a glimpse—
   A thigh, a cheek, a hip
   Then sands—
   Piercing, ripping, raping, trans-

              Fell from her like dragon’s scales
   Like rice over glass
   Turning goose bumps into belly laughs
   Or the whispering of sweet, soft nothings
   Like love on an eardrum,
   Like moonlight on anything
            “Spread your penis wide.”

And I did.


Tiger and the Night Market

Every night is watery beer,
baijiu, and peanuts.
Jokes about age offer
this seat and that.
Clink. Gan bei. Dry glass.

Where’s the toilet?
Shaokao—barbecued fish heads.
Pop a balloon. Play the erhu.
Write spontaneous poetry
on paper fans.

tomorrow—the sword and a dance
to frighten mothers.

Behold the tiger!
Down the mountain
or up, tonight?


Tinkling Diamonds

An oasis
in a sweltering darkness,
where boulders crash
and pebbles wail in the wind,
where strobe lights flash,
revealing sirens’ faces
as they dip and twirl
like soothing, smoothing water
over jagged stone.

It was here that I lost my beard,
here that I entered a bamboo grove…falsely.

My clothes hung damp,
outside, inside-out.
And, shoots shot up
like stained-glass canopies
above the beds.

Done waiting for a dry day,
the first leaves fell and put
tremendous pressure on
the sheets below.

Deng, deng, deng, deng, deng.
A big fish jumped and a begonia went up in flames.
She kissed me,
kissy, kissy,
kissed my lips, touched my face
like converging plates. 

Then, her igneous love
surrounded me, and
like Pompeii, had me,

my heir, and
my sovereignty.

And, that’s that.
Now, we’re pillows beneath the waves.


Rain Dance

drip. drop. THUNDER,
the voice of the Cloud Captain, says with spittle,
“Wash away the sweat, the mud, and the spiders!”

We, the trees, have been swaying
a while in earth-splitting anticipation.
But it’s here now: the long-awaited storm.

The trucks have all sunk
for the Captain said, “Stop!”
Now, “Soap”, Now, “Rinse”, Now—
For the most part, trucks listen well.
But, there are others…

Now, funnel clouds are forming
the possibility of an air-dried transformation.

Guess this is what it takes to
rework soil.
At least this is what it takes
when the DA DA DAs of thunder
supply less than ample vibration.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

This fabric is beautiful—the way it weaves about, evolves, pervades all without a stitch, the way it disappears, dissipates, echoes, reduplicates, the way it sprinkles motifs, and speaks in the shapes and patterns of glossolalia. But even its sirens are white noise to the earless and its sweetest chocolates dust to men without tongues. Two are needed, you see—an Adam and an Eve, a God and a man—and then and only then may we waltz.


Andrew Zepherin Wallace holds a BA in Religious Traditions and an MA in East Asian Studies. He is the author of Carnal Darkness.