DESOLATION SPACE: a poem of the apocalypse

desolation space


In the lava lands of despair
A pale rider roams a blighted tableau
Seeking out the random detritus
Of discarded human experience
The silent satiation of an immeasurable appetite
Unquenchable and desperately ravening
The devourer of souls in torment
Merciless she, whose face no living thing has looked upon
Nor desires such, even in nightmare vision

In the lava lands of despair
Beyond the origins of the watchers by night
The horsemen of the coming apocalypse
Embrace the trauma of desolation space
Unbroken through the dawn of time
Wherein lies the terrible endings of all sanity
Ripped in shreds from the marrow of conscious thought
Ribbons of ideality, now corrupted
In the endless churning tendrils of deviance

In the lava lands of despair
Where the seeds of karma come home to die
Hope lies bleeding and broken hearted
Sallow in the face of shattered vanity
Victim of the crimson veil of pride
Offerings for the unspeakable and the unknowable
Who dwell on the crags and in the crannies
Populating the architecture of dismal everywhere
Even in the molten pools of carnal lust
Amid the decayed remnants of noble aspirations

In the lava lands of despair
Amongst the broken bones of vanished leviathan
Nothingness grows its creeping envelope
Subsuming all beneath the weight of eons
Time before time, the accretion of millennia
An infinite mobius loop of decadence
The siren call of temptation unfettered
Clamoring for relief where none may exist
Abandon hope all ye who wander here
Between the shadow walls and the gargantuan deeps

In the lava lands of despair
Where all may enter but none may leave
An express invitation to the armpit of perdition
Where the galleries of the behemoth of time
Unravel in all their endless multiplicity
Trolling the blasted labyrinth for benighted souls
Moldering husks of once shining idealism
Now strewn like dust in the debris of abandonment
Beyond redemption, or resurrection or revelation
In the lava lands of despair

Bryan Knower 2014



And mark, the dark and lonely tarn
A limpid eye on some craggy heath
Where forlorn willows do drunkenly list
To sip at waters veiled in mist
A shroud for she who dwells beneath

In the deep of night, the witching hour
She walks upon the unlit bank
To dance upon the grasses bare
Until the morning bright doth dare
To force her to her bower rank

All night she twirls, scarce touching the ground
And sings a melody hauntingly fair
To snare the unwary man who strays
Unwitting, unknowing of her ways
Into the gossamer skein of her lair

Then she leads them, dancing still
Into the tarn, under waters dark
Where they see at last her dread true grace
Those fiery green eyes in a wan pale face
Translucent and beautifully stark

Rusalka is the name she whispers
In the ear of those unfortunate swain
Who follow the nymph with golden hair
Whose comb conjures the water where
She dwells eternal. Rusalka.

Bryan Knower 2013




Who has heard the song the rainbow sings
When it spans the azure sky?
The wind has.

Who has seen cotton clouds shaped like beings
Both fantastic and bizarre?
The sun has.

Who has watched the monarchs on gossamer wings
Flit from milkweed twig to branch?
The summer has.

Who has been to the water’s edge when the tide brings
Both treasure and flotsam to the light?
The sand has.

Who has marked the splendor of the courts of kings
Puffed up with pomp and bloated with intrigue?
The rumor has.

Who has heard the tune the church bell rings
When it clangs the faithful to their ease?
The old oak has.

Who has felt the bite when the scorpion stings
Swift and deadly under sun warmed rocks?
The desert has.

Who knows why the lizard on the wall clings
Like a cellophane ornament on a windowpane?
The poet has.

Who has heard the tune the soaring lark sings
Offering a divine melody to the sublime?
The morning has.

Who has seen the beginning and end of all things
The alpha and the omega, future and past?
Who has?

Bryan Knower 2013


River BendFACETS

Walk with me just a little while
Said Sorrow to her friend
Nay, replied Melancholy, I’d rather go
To the riverbank where the willows grow
Though I may come with you in the end.

Then may I come with you instead
To the river where the pools are deep
For there, perhaps I’ll catch a thought
That the waters dark have lured and caught
Though I promise her secrets I’ll keep.

Come then friend, Melancholy said
And spend some time with me
I’ll show you delights unbeknown
Hidden, but for your eyes alone
For I know you want to see.

And off they went, both hand in hand
Sorrow and Melancholy
To the water’s edge in search dreams
To the deep pools with silent schemes
The desperate fruits of folly.

And when they had both drunk their fill
Of the dark passions hidden there
Melancholy discovered in Sorrow
A kindred bond pierced to the marrow
Of loneliness laid bare.

For in the final scheme of things
Those two are just the same
Not peas in a pod, but closer still
Both determined to bend to their will
All those who dare play their game.

And to the riverbank they both go still
For each is the others shade
And no lack of material do they there find
For the river hoards emotions of the secret kind
Of which these two are surely made.

Bryan Knower 2013

Gaia Dreaming


The river instinctively seeks the bay.
The bay has worn many faces.
Faces altered over eons by the relentless water.
Water that was not always here either.
Either it whispered in subterranean tunnels.
Or tunneled into vast still reservoirs.
The reservoirs are older; they were here before the bay and the river.
And the river doesn’t remember its form in different times.
Time is both its friend and its enemy.
An enemy that will eventually break its liquid heart.
For the heart of the river is also the Earth’s.
And the Earth’s heart does not beat forever.

Bryan Knower 2013

Farewell To A Hero


Bright burns the hero’s flaming pyre
A beacon fair on the twilight sea
Whose darkling waters reflect there
The pinpoint sparks of embers free

Each mote of light a badge that bears
The high honor of help in need
That helped those taken unawares
And in that noble cause did bleed

For in the face of overwhelming odds
Did uphold the unspoken pact
To defend hearth and home and gods
With visage grim and honor intact

On torch-lit shore stand those who mourn
Yet joyfully praise the hero’s path
For freedom they still hold their own
Is this warrior’s due in no small part

So farewell brave brother in arms
Who held life dear but honor more
That those who stand do so in hope
Of reunion on Elysium’s distant shore

Bryan Knower 2013

Morning On The New York Subway


Louder, the distant rumble grows,
Heralds approaching release, for those
Of that vast breathless, milling flock,
Replenished from some limitless stock,
Who stand at junction of rail and floor.
The vanguard of some implacable foe
That squirms and flows, this way and that,
Filling every nook and cranny with fat
And thin alike, sans rule of law.
Meshing pieces of a sentient jigsaw.
Braving maw of subterraneous beast,
To keep a date with labors feast.

Once inside, impelled by unseen will,
The press grows even closer still,
As one after another, with frantic rush,
Those intrepid souls who move they must,
Find space for self where ‘ere was none.
And even then, the battle’s not won.
Like compressed squeeze of giant bellows,
The closing doors pack tight and close,
Such shrinking flesh as must endure,
Long endless minutes, before same door
Will open, at subsequent stop,
And disgorge its overflowing crop.

But oh, what slight respite is gained,
By the subtraction thus attained.
As more brave souls storm carriage door,
With trampled foot and throbbing toe.
Hoping to join the disconsolate throng,
While those inside, complain anon.
And having gained passage forthwith
Journey to honor the affluence myth.
Knowing full well, at travels end,
Though misery cease, and fortunes mend,
That these proceedings will encore,
When morning comes around once more.

— Bryan Knower

I Am A Stranger


I am a stranger.
I walk alone amongst the throng.
Like a grain of sand on the shore,
I am a cipher.
Solitude is my cloak,
Anonymity my disguise.
I see you but you are a stranger too,
Unless I let you touch me,
Or reach out and touch you.
I crave intimacy, but I fear it too.
What if I smile and you frown back?
Say something and you ignore me completely?
I fear rejection too,
Maybe more than friendship.
I wonder what lies behind that aloof facade.
Yours as well as mine.
Do you feel as I do?
We are alike after all,
You and I. Unaware of each other
Except a signal be given or received.
But who will initiate contact?
All that’s needed is a gesture.
Even the thought would be a start,
But I am frozen,
Immobile in my indecision,
And so you pass by. And you and you.
A multitude of you, flowing around me
Like a stream around a pebble.
So familiar in your anonymity
It makes me uncomfortable.
But I have said nothing. Done nothing.
Today is the same as yesterday and the day before.
Will it be the same tomorrow?
Still I walk alone.
I am a stranger.

— Bryan Knower



Scarce warning heralds the spring shower
That drums tattoo on leaf and bower.
Washing clean the air, that moments prior
Veiled all view of heaven’s attire.
A blanket, sparkling over grass and sod,
Erasing all trace of dirt and mud.
Like colors in a painting renewed
Crystal clear and rainbow hued,
Restoring the heart of the sleeping land,
As if by some celestial artist’s hand.

Jeweled tips of twigs and branches glisten here,
Radiant in the canopy of Gaia’s sphere.
Myriad points of light that twinkle and sway
Ere gravity causes sweet disarray.
Joining siblings in one long mad rush
To feed the insatiable thirst of Earth’s dry crust.
While pierced by bright Sol’s ray,
Refracted rainbows twist and play
On each shimmering drop, each glamorous globe.
Courtiers, clad in rustling silk and jeweled robe.

And fleeting though their splendor gleams,
Ethereal as forgotten dreams,
They strut across the darkened stage
While all else stops and pays homage.
A tenuous veil from heaven downcast
Until heaven’s grief be past.
Yet gladdens heart and brightens eye
That bends its gaze at weeping sky.
Knowing well this performance must reprise
In time, when once more, Nature cries.

  — Bryan Knower


Soft as a sigh gently exhaled,
Luna hoists her billowing sail.
Pursuing Sol’s bright spoor until
Subsumed by horizon’s veil.
Bringing respite from the toil of day,
Heralds the hour when lovers play.
Shadows slip silently over lip and sill,
Ghosts of clouds driven where they will.
Substance adheres to imagined form,
And furtive whispers swirl anon.

Quiescent after the clamorous fray,
The pulse of human commerce sleeps.
Only those stragglers on their way
To hearth and home, or tryst to keep.
Now the time of mouse and owl.
Of feline predators on the prowl.
While over all, the gleaming globe
Covers the earth in a shining robe.
A sea of hazy shimmering light,
Where mortal dreams slide through the night.

© Bryan Knower