Sunday Service

Sunday Service: Ben Pease poem


from Fugitives of Speech

the trees fanned out around Mallender
as Sheer had described them
during his concussion-induced study session
in the woods behind his house

here too the branches wavered without the weight
of their leaves Mallender couldn’t focus
his eyes upon them maybe they weren’t entirely trees
too ephemeral milky black a few shades thick enough
not to be pure apparitions more like a neuron
diluted in the foggy ocean of the sky
the base of the tree
unconnected to the very earth
each tree
flickered in tune to the wind
which drew Mallender
plodding in one direction
a feint blue light
pulsed through the persuasively permanent
darkness ahead

when Mallender came to a circular clearing
he arrived also with the knowledge that his journey
had been long and full of peril
though he hadn’t experienced that interim
must have been a leap in time

as a jellyfish’s body fluctuates in the sea
translucent blue vespers shimmered in the area
cleared of trees

metal appendages detached from a body
that remained connected by the pale blue aura
it all floated in the shape of a body making an X
a body mid jumping jack not unlike Davinci’s
Virtuvian man that Mallender’s mother had on bookplates
in her Audubon books from the 70’s

the entire body spun making the blue fan out
into a sphere perfect except
for slight delineations call them borderlines
between each spinning section of the body

The legs separated from the sphere
and came at Mallender like a sliced blue tomato

the blue disappeared into the legs and immediately
the metal could take any shape it wished
not as fluid as T-1000 but more imaginative
and without the one-track-violent mind

the living metal sliced itself into silver byzantine halos
hovering slowly and developing wings
the accoutrements of angels without bodies
filling but not overwhelming the grey sky

the arms next detached themselves
from the still spinning
but increasingly piecemeal sphere

in front of Mallender they became a lathe and spun
and carved themselves into an obelisk bearing the hexagram
Mallender had cast for himself so recently
not just an obelisk but a sort of chimney shrouding the sky
with another sky from grey to green to hazel

next the head lowered itself to Mallender
the hair spread out as it had before at Whitney Park
rivers untangling from each other below
the half angels and golden brown sky
not simply rivers arbitrarily distributed
they spelled out words in luscious cursive
which Mallender could not read
though he knew the message vital to him
riverwriting show me the riverwriting he yelled

in response the final segment the torso approached him
the metal condensed itself into a chrome pomegranate
bursting open
the seeds floating in air sprouting into
blue roses
those wilting as fast as they bloomed
into blue herons that paced
around Mallender
and trumpeted silently into the air

the vision for all its chaotic happenings
maintained an un-earthly rhythm
the herons’ awkward steps always in line with one another
the halos spun around Mallender with the rhythm
of a torsion pendulum on an anniversary clock
the rivers sang
and in a flash without thunder
Diana stood before Mallender
just her the hazel sky and the trees
she was looking at him with respect but not love
as she had at Havland pond

from the trees still inky black
came a single note an ah
voices of the young and old male and female
it helped release Diana’s nature from this machine
Diana dispersed as the sky had from the obelisk
the trees turned green the chrome steel body
stood at attention with a blank stare on its flawless featureless face
but still Mallender’s affections for this husk of metal and energy
did not change

Ben Pease is a poet and visual artist with degrees from Emerson College and Columbia University. He hails from Ludlow, MA, the setting for his next book, Fugitives of Speech. He is an assistant professor at ASA College in New York City.

This poem was inspired by The Chariot card of the tarot deck.

January 13th, 2013 / 2:08 pm
Sunday Service


  1. Bianca Stone

      Love this poem.

  2. Adam Ahmed

      Awesome poem; can’t wait for the book!

  3. Offendi

      Why is he totally undocumented on the internet? I’m having to ASSUME he’s the same poet who wrote Wichman Cometh, whose publisher’s page gives a few links for him, despite having no hard evidence.