Secret Rivers

At the conflux of secret rivers,

lie portals sacred and mystical,

where bones rise with the spirits—

unseen, but sometimes heard, jangling and moaning;

and felt, their magnetic motion always felt, as the waters

flow under our feet, through our consciousness, over our souls.

Hidden, these rivers, concealed,

sometimes restricted, but never contained, never completely contained.

The fisher king angles among them, the sailor drowns

where they deepen and whirl without warning.

At the conflux of secret rivers,

the old gods, pagan but wise, demand

the old rituals, the sacrifice of blood that appeases

their lustful, capricious appetites,

troubling, but necessary, always necessary

for firing human passion.


Copyright 2019

T. Allen Culpepper



A tangle of passions, in the plural

rather than singular and shared,

had brought them to this pass,

their desires and aspirations mismatched,

so that when the incensed burned out

and the wine bottle ran dry,

no one was surprised, not really,

at the expiration of what had become

mere ritual, mere ritual marked

for duty’s sake, no longer

a feast of cannibalistic fervor.

Then came a season of resignation

before the explosion that ended it all.

Afterward, there were tears, but those

dried up as well, and the world

creaked a bit on its axis

but continued to turn.


Copyright 2016

T. Allen Culpepper