In Discordia’s Keep

 By Robert S. Stickley


I will follow you, down,

Into your fall of remembrances,

To resettle in the close-together height,

That we once did share.


Cloistered by a length and wherefrom watching,

All of comfort and of care preset to snarl,

The counterpoise of scapulae sliding in the skin.

Discrete frictions that work to raise a ministering bay;

Your softest lunge, the prodding at the dial;

Generations stack like vertebrae,

Distance is safe, remains unparted.


The other of two pieces, I can beg for want,

Feinting for this world,

Amidst the dim confusions that add and take,

Weather and erode, twist the tattered sherds until,

Pieced of smaller accretions they themselves adulterate,

Vitiate, the reconstructions of a thousand rusting faces,

False images that it must be admitted altogether encapsulate,

Take on new life by every passing day;

Succedanea peering,

Back at us longwise along the uneven ledge.


Let it be said that we have failed to overcome,

The dumb concussions of our make,

Though it has been tried, to fight,

With arduous attend,

To push into abeyance the screaming void,

Steadfast ways that beleaguer and excoriate,

Ossify the tendency and make it so,

Immovable as the Pillars of Heracles,

Standing, like two cleated heels, on a water’s field.


In this coming autumn of our lives,

Frothing full and aimless,

Small spaces keep the being warm,

Rending in their way stability through compression,

Swapping intrigue with love;

All the adages are worn, the lullabies abrading.

For this mild heat the oaks have dropped their leaves,

In a summer shower –

There is chaos in the swannery,

Ergot in the granary,

Albumen clouds and hardens,

Shapes the pan.

The womb is a room.



Walking behind, around the world’s back and back again,

Entering in a foreign house,

Where hangs water in the eave,

Or as clear, blank eyes fixed upon the ceiling,

Waiting to collect a tipping weight,

And lower back down, heritably,

Beating back against what already has been touched,

To recollect a constitution and climb back up,

Pulling slow on the mirror at the stair’s square landing,

Holding there sterile what it is that has changed.


Out there skirmishes are being born and trained,

The frescoes are cracking,

New rains displacing,

I can see the haunch, gray as a corpse,

Take the beach, unsturdy take the stair…

The lowering of inoculated drops brought down upon you,

Collected, recollected,

One weight of water in air that cast you to your knee,

That broke its bounds in one and fell with you,

And fell with me,



To a forgotten home of parents sleeping with their children in a warm bed, of foreign sons in long wading trunks flowing in the strong current, down the Bosphorus, swanboats down to Hellespont, how they will decay, crack in the sun, catch and hold to gossamers as we thread them through our hair – new cobwebs for dusty corners.  Under the arches of bridges, there linger hung men and, by them, spandrels of patched cement – the parts that dissolve of the other.  I have glimpsed those ponderous images between the stair, allowed myself the power to surge up instead of down, past my laughing assailants, to with slight fingers, laughing, touch a leaf.


There is a noise amongst us, not louder than laughter,

Dwelling, deafening.

It has asked us, quite plainly, to relent, to accept.

It has made its output heard and we wonder, figure.


Small painted men, issued from a stannary,

Stamped and minted, can be seen standing,

To no outcome,

By the infant fighting a cot death,

With eyelids, wondering, figuring,

How it could be done in casual airs,

To bring it here,

To hold it at the breast,

Another piece in the order of the lacunae.


Feels like autumn, looks like spring,

Non Plus Ultra,

Fear not, for I will follow close behind you,

The ewer broke and I was with you,

Pulling to drown in our collected puddle,

Your laughter, loud and long, echoing for us,

From a further room.




This poem is for my mother.


The monogrammist RSS is a writer of both prose and poetry.  He is currently seeking an NYC-based publicist for his novel, “A Bended Circuity”.  He can be reached at