Four Poems (New Kingdoms)

by Phillip Larrea 

Merlin’s Dream

He is stunned inanimate.
Is this how it happened?
There is no order to his memory.
Has it happened yet?
Uther’s sulfurous dragon fog
curls at the edge of the old wizard’s mind refusing to dissipate. Now it seems to crawl back in on the fickle mistral.
What progeny could one foresee
from such an ill wind?
All so confusing this future
foretold in retrospect.
Is that Ygraine or Guinevere enthralled, undone by the return of her lord?
Merlin licks his licentious lips.
Cantharis for ravishment.
Conquest and carnality ever intertwined until the moment comes-

Too late or too soon?
Unbidden Morgana swirls before him.
Archimedes persists in the question –

Who? Who could rise from this swamp?

But the wizard has forgotten his name. Principals not invoked for a millennium.
Be content, Sir Owl!
Is it not enough for you that the night has fallen?


How power compresses itself
sucks oxygen from water
melting steel that encases
overwrought rods behind
castle thick concrete barriers
erected to contain poison
fueled by captains of industry
radiating outward inexorably
small fish go belly up starve
the food chain of command
until all are swallowed whole
by the unbounded infinite per
mutations of the Periodic Table.

God’s Particles

Particles do not know their part.
How mass becomes critical with velocity.
How attractive black holes can be.
These bit players do not need to think
to believe in gravity’s rainbow.
Dark matter revealed in plosive release.

Black holes think themselves (if they do)
Masters of the Universe,
believe they are The End.
Holes are mean little middle men
between a past that never was
and future that will never come.
Present- but not accounted for.

New Hampshire After Frost

Voluble as weathered granite, these folks.
Winter woods have no smart opinion,
but are always looming on frosty nights.
Taciturn clan grips life in its own hands.
Crossroads without a walk/don’t walk command.
Demand to live free or die. So many
else immediately disqualified,
being neither free, nor having quite died.

Quiet at the diner today. Hot jacks
have no viewpoint, nothing much to say, but
just right on the tongue, after dust of snow.
I wonder, one day when less noisy, if
I will be allowed to live in this State
with plain common sense enough to collect
birch for winter’s onslaught while it is free
to burn, in some sense, with whatever sense
that remains, rather than bray that I freeze.


Phillip Larrea is the author of Our Patch (Writing Knights Press), We the People (Cold River Press), and his brand new collection, Part Time Job (Sybaritic Press). He serves on the Advisory Board of the Sacramento Poetry Center and edits the annual print anthology, Sacramento Voices.

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