I try to capture the whole blizzard
In all it’s terrible magnitude
Covering prairies folded like pancakes into furrows
Making white top hats for corn-stalks
And filling their brittle leaves
Curled and frozen in autumn’s coma

All the while forgetting
The resplendence
Of my own single snowflake

Her crystal limbs
Held together in refulgent geometry
A pentagonal, luminous miracle
Lithe and brilliant

A breathing star from heaven on my lips

A perfect coruscation

And yet I can’t help but imply
Past this particular
The burden carried in her fragile frame
Is too like
Like the seasons simmering across Her surface
Like the mayhem churning in Her heart
And the current riding on her voice
Too like the pockmarked winter sky

We are two snowflakes
Specks of white in a sea of light and when
The Earth breathes
We dance

© Michael Munns 2011


Some time ago, after I died
I learned to suffer long
With Henri as my tour guide
Through parlors of the wronged

Summer’s sweat and hot remorse
Were powerless ‘gainst the grief
I tried to hold or change my course
To stain each day with parakeets

Until one night in Winter’s chill
I happened just upon
Saint Edna’s last and final will
In terrifying song

I learned, abandoned worshipping
And found that doubt had crept
Into my throat and learned to sing
Now Summer, Winter, Fall or Spring
I gladly speak of suffering
And never, peace, accept

© Michael Munns 2013


It presses
Behind glowing eyes clamping
chewing on sinewy cables
It pulls
At paper sunlit cubicles
painted yellow with pollen
petrified dust and paper clips
It plucks
Small translucent hairs
bristling upon lips
of white bread sacraments
It pleases
Wholesale villains
deconstructing ladders
that carry back to earth
our dogs and cats

© Michael Munns 2012

Review: Plague of Man by Fancy Babel

Plague of Man’s first track, Gods of Dirt, begins with seven seconds of silence giving way to slowly strummed guitar chords and an at once beautiful, haunting and drowsily crawling first line, “As if the mountains shut their mouths and swallowed the rivers for themselves.” Before the end of the introduction, I found myself transported to a wasteland like T.S. Eliot’s “dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit.” The song proper gives way to a catchy guitar hook and U2-esque melodies.

Gods of Dirt is a good preview of the album that’s to follow. At times, each song has a personal quality – and I can empathize with the self-questioning that’s presented. But near the end of Gods of Dirt, there is a an anthemic chorus of voices singing “We’ll chafe in our skin, til you cool our burn.” As a listener, I find myself straddling that line between personal and epic. I personally relate to thinking I’ve got the answers but noting that things still aren’t working ou, “I can’t seem to keep the good life together.” Yet I’m all too happy to join the rabble calling for our burns to be cooled. I’m often wondering how Dan Burdash, the principle songwriter, intended for these songs to come across. Wondering. That’s probably the best word for this album. This is music that makes you think – with references to T.S. Eliot, Alexander the Great, Judas Iscariot, the faith v. science battle, and on and on.

Although there is a strand of continuity throughout the album in terms of theme (doubt, faith, questions), musically there is a refreshing variety of takes. Brainwash has the catchiest chorus and straight-forward grungy guitar section. Stripped down verses in Noble (I’ve Come to Late) and Look Here Child emphasize a steady, punching bass section. Faith Humbles You has a clear Oasis influence and is probably the most musically unique track on the album. It’s a nice gem to stumble upon mid-album. These Flowers Will Fade rounds out the album with a heavy guitar rock anthem that calls immediately for a second listening of the entire album.

Plague of Man is solidly situated in the rock genre, but there’s something unique to this album that resists categorization. Perhaps it’s what my grandparents would call a “toe-tapping” quality. Take any track from this record and listen once and I guarantee you’ll be singing parts of it the rest of the day. This is an album that stimulates thinking, but is fun to sing along with. It’s rare to find those two things so seamlessly woven together. Fancy Babel has done it with Plague of Man.

© Michael Munns 2012


Asleep at eleven
awake at five
Six hours between when I stop eating
and start eating

It’s a peach now
White in the middle like the blood’s been drained
Soft, juicy, sweet
Too soft

It was broccoli
No t ten minutes ago
My stomach boils with the stench

Soon it will be spring water
naturally pouring from a sixteen inch
plastic bottle
Phallic, torpedic

Maybe Advil before I go
for that sweet coating
But nothing hurts

© Michael Munns 2012