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Eric David Helms holds degrees from Furman University and Columbia University’s School of the Arts. His first collection of work, VALLEY OF EMPTY POCKETS (published by MainStreetRag, April 2020) can be purchased via PayPal or check through the publisher’s website.
Some of his uncollected work can be found in the following lit mags and ‘zines: Asheville Poetry Review, key_hole, Prelude, Diagram, MadHat Lit, Souvenir, American Athenaeum, and Blunderbuss.

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Pixie World

For Helen? The cosmetic sap conspired in the darkness,
The unsolvable light in the black-hole silence.
The migraine of summer was assigned to certain birds
And the appropriate calm to the inestimable
Mourning barge moving through currents
Of death’s love letters and dissolved perfumes.

For Helen?—after the time when the stonecutters’ wives
Whistled to the cascades in the smokey blue ruins of the forest.
After the time of stonecutters, the red bells of animals sounded
To the echo and cry of headlights in the valley & steeps.

From Helen’s childhood—the furs of shadows now tremble
For the breasts of beggars & vagabonds, their spiry tales
Of heaven. Her green eyes dance and sing to the canary
Mines and shafts of impossible light, to the impersonal waves
Of the satellite & stone beaming in for the disquiet of this moment.

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MAESTRO

I

Time passes, collecting speed
With the topspin of God
Then skates off the edge of space
Like a ping-pong ball.

‘Did he?, I mean ‘it’ mean to do that?’
Can we call God an ‘it.’
Some do but I rather
Would not.

The great mystery is playing the odds–
From down below and above,
At the same time,
Because—two places

At once, the great mystery is odd
And (Hell) invented it all.
And sometimes likes to boogie
In a dive bar, shifting the shape

Of itself, itself.

II

It’s like a sentence that runs on and on,
Changing subject, growing a beard
To cover his vagina, her balls—
Keeping pace with Forest Gump,

Its marathon for marathon’s sake
Across 50 shades of grey, of Amerika.

III

That’s what we paved
Over the land of the free,
The home of the slave,
50 shades of Iraq

50 shades of concrete-camouflage.

IV

The greyhound gallops
With the wheels of the bus
And the bogeyman
Opens its...

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fête d'hiver

The waterfall resounds behind the comic opera to drown out her echoes.
The candelabra continues— with her several arms of Shiva—glaring into

The neighboring orchards and broken paths of the labyrinth
With the leafy blue-greens and molten reds of the sunset.

The leprechauns and spirits of Horace
Who delivered the First Empire by head-dress,–

Siberia’s dancers, all crossing out the thread-
work of Russia & into a painting by Boucher.

[from *Three Persons: Illuminations after Arthur Rimbaud]

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OOGA-BOOGA

I

As Fred writes, ‘the world will end tomorrow,’
The Earth tucks her balls and drops off
The diving board’s edge but then pops back up
Because it’s a ball of mostly trash and oxygen.

Walking around as penguins
After the end
We won’t remember
How to talk, how to fly

And will deserve it.
Wearing a tuxedo
And buck-naked
At the same time.

Haha!, God’s a bitch–

You drop off a melting glacier,
Try to cup your balls,
But your wings are a stitch
Too short.

AHHHH.

II

You open your mouth
But forget the words
Which were supposed
To roll out of it. ‘Apoca-

poca Poca’ is all that rolls
From your lips out.
Praise Allah,
Praise Buddah,

Praise John the Baptist,
Praise Jesus Christ
And whatever mutation
Of Bearer of Light–

Who took it too far
Into the red zone,
Or just sat down
Doing nothing at all.

III

‘I don’t know where I’m going with this’
Should be written in red
And snuck into the New...

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Plank

A giraffe riding shottie in red Voltz Wagon Bug
would be captured so high above the concrete
camouflage of Interstate 95. Yes. Would be cap-
tured passing the blunt to none other than Oscar

the Grouch, who by steel wastebin top was in lack
of any brighter ideas, replacing both airbag and wheel
in attempt to steer? Yeah, Donald Trump–that might
have been the self-same, neon green-crack punch year

that I myself chopped all my bridges and just jumped ship.
Just to clear the air and perform my own very own mad-
hatted nut-cracker stunt–though the sea so many leagues
below the drift of any Ivy smelt not of seaweed but blacktop

and asphalt.

The very asphalt on which some lesson underground
might have been learned had I remembered, well,
after the ground stopped to swell, to remember. Hello, hello!,
Olé, olé!, and yeah, nebular is all that’s to be recalled

after your Blackbox has been...

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CHILDHOOD (from Three Voices: Illuminations– with thanks to Arthur Rimbaud)

L

Black eye of Robert Johnson’s Blues
Hair of Florida’s dusk and dawn
Bastard of no palace

No Lion Heart place
Though more charming
As he played Kermit the frog

Than North’s prince
From far
South fairy tale

Or Flemish tapestry
His crying lot
Of Unicorn

Of halite and emerald
Properties shelter
The strands The beaches

Christened by listless waves
With titles of Sparta
The Celts The Slavic.

At the wood’s singularity,–
The dream flowers burst
Illuminate,–the girl

Of black lips, her knees
Hexed through the knots
Of her elbows In the crystal

Flood rising up

Through fields
The naked goddess
Of Shadows cloaked

By the ocean
The Flowers
In Rainbows

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draft of DAWN from Three Persons: Illuminations by Arthur Rimbaud

I held the summer’s sun in my throat.
Of the palaces
the water was dead.

From road to wood I walked in the swarms
of one’s shadow,
the stones turned their heads.

A flower’s wing
told me her name
though silently

on the path
of white cold
shimmerings

where I laughed
at a waterfall
from its silver top.

Then off the satellite’s
path, into the piney
wind’s translation.

In a field of clocks,
I waved off my arms.
In the city of death’s note

I discovered the goddess
stripped of her veil;
between steeples

and domes–
like a thief
after marble

or precious creak
washed stone
I chased her back

into the wood,
back into the pine
and the laurel.

I wrapped her in all her veils
feeling dawn’s immensity.
When I woke

It was noon.
My body
on the wrong

side of the bed.

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POEM BEGINNING WITH A First Quatrain wherein T.S. Eliot offers SOME SOUND ADVICE

The first thing to do
when you hear
the Syrens…
is to have a good [sic] Piss

before the ground starts to swell
and the Earth becomes the base-
ment of Heaven for these ‘stewards’
to learn the true word of verstehen

by meaning of ‘rapture’

In Las Vegas In New York
London Salt Lake
Houston Los Angeles
most will be rather lost

than found (confounding
I know) as these pigs
refresh & refresh & refresh
their scroll of digital bets

and scratch at their lottery tickets

Meanwhile Musk dreams of building
brick by brick an igloo house colony
somewhere undisclosed and classified
on the wilderness of Mars hailing bright Venus

(Argh!–hardy hard~hardy hard)
Elon blows a tremulous flock
of space-x clouds
from Cuban cigar

and clears out another westside
for grass lawns as green & soft
as the bourgeoise sod
of Pinehurst 9

In the meantime
on Wimbledon’s crown court
the chalk lines are appearing
a...

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On Serving Time

From time to time, a cliche slipped out
Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei.
Literally, everything has an end,
Only the sausage has two, meaning
Comparing pears to oranges
To get hot water in the artichoke’s kitchen
Where I slept most nights
Viewing the radishes from below

Yes. From time to time
Wo sich die Füchse gute Nacht sagen
In the middle of nowhere
Scratching the back of the beyond
Where the foxes say goodnight
And dogs poke at the beehive

Anyway, keep your fingers crossed
Our silence will be commandeered
By a phone call through which
Little Hans interrupts with dirty lines–
Literally. Wenn man dem Teufel
den kleinen Finger gibt
so nimmt er die ganze Hand.

If you offer the devil a finger, She’ll take the whole hand

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THE COMMA

I

When it comes to the final, the end of
The end of the end of times it is hard
To rhyme on such a pinned stockpile of rime
But where for to: I’ll begin on that Island
Of Man, that īeġland (manaháhtaan;
Manna-hata) of Many Ills, meaning
Where once the brave would ‘gather’ and ‘bow,’
Before the Dutch of East Ink filched and filled
The foliated Limestone and Quartzite Gneiss
For the ferris-wheel, third-eye illuminutz
Grounds where, in fact, this very own tale of the
More a Man Das the More a Man Wants
As (s)he points and peers, peers and points
Up upon the electric gas peddle of future’s present,
A demesne of Tesla’s coil about to boil
Through the foil of our Tic-toc present bit-
Coin, mind-kontrol, crypt-oh!-currents
Seeping down through the Houston, TX frack
(weep-womp) straight into sepia-tone’s past
Of its very own cut & paste tracks
A steppe of lame duck space and crooked time
For...

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