The Glint of Bayonets
selected poems,
essays and prose

by
Skip Pulley

(original text with author's notes)

The Glint of Bayonets

Chapter one:
Sedare Nasci (prose)

Chapter two:
Noli Aemulare (verse)

Chapter three:
Sic Transit Gloria (poetry/spoken word)

On the morning of September 17, 1862 at the battle of
Anteitem, the bloodiest day in American history,
US Major General Joseph Hooker was advancing
toward Stonewall Jackson's rebel division. At 6 AM,
he noticed the glint of bayonets in the corn field and
ordered four Union artillery batteries to fire into it.


"Every stalk of corn was cut as closely as could have
been with a knife and the slain lay in rows precisely as
they had stood in their ranks moments before."
                                  
                                             General Joseph Hooker
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Chapter one:
Sedare Nasci

Author's Note:
On a warm cloudy afternoon in May, 2001,
I picked up a notebook and pen. The words that
were transcribed that day eventually became the first chapter
of this book. It was titled
two days of pure consciousness.
Day One was pieced together that morning
from phrases I had jotted down on index cards.
Later that afternoon, I removed myself from my "self" and wrote
Day Two.
The night before I wrote this, I read all the
essays I had written during the most
disillusioning time of my life.
I felt that I should write something related to that
experience. Part of this writing is represented in
a journal, (which will remain private until after my
death), part of it became the book "
the observing ego" and the rest is below.



Day One
Essence is the permanent, as contrasted with the
accidental element of being, one's real or ultimate nature
especially opposed to ones existence. Seek only the
purity of essence, for the essence of purity does not
exist, making truth opposed to it's element of being and
rebellious against it's ultimate nature. So the search for
truth must be the acquisition of wisdom. So what is
wisdom? Wisdom is the combination of knowledge and
intelligence and may still be found even if truth is
overlooked, unless it is smothered by insignificance.
So what is truth? Truth is the basis of reason.
So what is reason? Reason is the parent of logic,
the foundation of wisdom, creating life's mosaic,
the intoxicating contrast seen as the microcosm of
understanding.
But I don't understand.
How can I see the deeds which betray me if not for the
truths that bear the name of a lesser God and wear the
crown of righteous indignation? They are masked by
the boldness of intent and mingle with the strength of
my character to render it helpless, and looked upon as
intangible or broken by the very same current I use to
drift through the remainder of my life and push aside all
influence thought to be useless.
Does the agony of truth hide my discontent, or does it
serve to burnish the luster of sinful desire? How does
truth define itself if not by the reflection of miserable
fate? In which state do I exist, emptiness or bitterness?

To what must I look to find the keys that unlock the
translucent gates of my ambiguity; my passion,
my honor or my guilt?
Inevitably, we all become victims of our own
circumstances, dancing as fools before the kings of
wretched humanity; drunks, stumbling across the stage
of life's auditorium crying out for the time at which
sorrow will cease and the sound of pale darkness will no
longer engulf and devour the kinder elements of our
being. Do these kinder elements exist in an unkempt state,
revealing themselves through our ultimate nature? So
havoc, treachery and mayhem are organized revelations
that have ultra existence; as to act upon and destroy
themselves in favor of simpler and more poetic means of
annihilation. Social development and intellectual growth
are a part of life's mosaic, as confidence or aggression,
the pieces of which make up the foundation of truth,
if truth does exist.
Yet is it truth that I seek, or justification?
Complacency is brought forth by the iron hand of
normality and rips apart the basis of symbolism. Should
we honor our character as a model of ourselves, or
despise it as a great hypocrisy in the biased multitude
which serves no purpose and feels no pain?
Can I confront the peril and seize upon that which truth
has become? Can I deliver it to the feet of pagan gods
as a vanquished demon which cannot be looked upon
lest fear and impropriety seep from the wells that my
subconscious has dredged from the earth?
If I speak not of truth, do all my words then become
false, as a poor reflection of what truth has become? If
so, searching for it shall be meaningless and the finding
of it the completeness of failure. Of what then must I
speak if not the words of fantastic treason that meander
through the wasteland of mediocrity? The manifestation
of sight and sound recombine into shapes that soar with
great velocity and impact with great devastation.
What say you now to the perils of consequence and the
hazardous atmosphere of tomorrow's disdain? The
iniquities do exist. The existence of good requires the
existence of evil to define itself. Do the iniquities lie
dormant waiting to spring forth and dissolve that which
I have kept sacred and pure, or do they follow me,
leering and chanting the phrases that summon the
demons of my well concealed past?  The name of God
may well be euphoria, schizophrenia may be Satan, but
it is in my heart to know right from wrong.
To whom will those that spread inequities answer if not
the same God to which I pray and ask for protection?
Every injustice will be eventually brought to trial.
Solutions always present themselves in the form of
simplicity and tranquil seclusion. In a metaphoric sense,
the symbolic notion of our insignificance propels us
onward and holds us back simultaneously as the
universal catharsis of which essence was born.

So what is catharsis? It is the true nature of my passion
and my guilt. Who's side am I on, and who do I serve?
Am I fortunate enough to be blessed with strength and
courage of an origin which is incomprehensible, or am
I blessed enough to seem fortunate in my
misunderstanding? In seeking the purity of essence, I
found the very same principles that perpetuated my
quest, only more complex and obscure.
The essence of purity may be existence.
Am I supposed to justify my existence, as the end
justifies the means, having thrown in the proverbial
towel and fled for the sake of my own sanity? Then
purity must be opposed to existence. It is the accidental
element of being. Is it in the hearts of men that you find
their character, or does the constant betrayal of the
mind shape our being? And to what our whom do we
owe this conflicting version of existence? Did we as
human beings earn insignificance or are we ultra-
significant evolutionary beings, struggling to find our
place in the universe? Death is a part of life. The
conclusion of life's bitter irony. What is my real or
ultimate nature? My essence is the search for meaning
and the discovery of purpose. I am an imperfect version
of myself. When that perfection is realized, I shall give
up the ghost and commend myself to the hereafter.
It is now, as it has been for some time,
that sorrow and bitter loneliness grip and consume me
as a great reptile, which is all encompassing, all inclusive
and in front of me wherever I turn. Yet the hope for the
future towers over the fear,
that I may continue the fight until the fight is over.


Day Two
The hour is upon us
and men of lesser consequence
have yet to speak of tales bold and unyielding.
What do we owe to this world
if not the hearing of these tales
that pick at the bones of our shattered consciousness
It is they who will try to destroy and defile
your character that shall know the true meaning
of suffering from the assault of their wretchedness
Makes this not warriors of servants and kings of slaves
yes, confessed and proven in such ways
as things are rightfully claimed and truly spoken
Are these not mortal men that spin these yarns of
tragedy that may be more realistic than reality
or as it stands to reason
deeply rooted in the ministry of folklore
they are the legend of civilizations as yet undiscovered
distinct and invaluable
to the memory of super human beings
who struggle with a race of gods that burn the sky
with the rage of a million forsaken spirits
and seer the landscape as a great demon
of unparalleled fury  
having the unwisdom of undertaking
that task of reporting our number
and misfortune of announcing our fate
time is all mighty, treacherous and invincible
waiting, watching, withstanding the siege
then murdering the fool to replace his heart with a stone
so that old wounds deep and profound
would not heal by time or by consequence
but linger, remind and rename us on behalf of our nature
and whisper slowly that which must occur
so vile it is that it stems from my forlorn soul
rise and crush them so you may sleep once more
Are these not the words of our true self
reading the text of foregone conclusions
or the voice of horrible vision and intangible feeling
Neither bigotry nor sympathy
apologies nor denial
but perpetual chaos
though not for the sake of time
my days in this place are numbered
and my time here is at an apex
my domain, my spirit and my flesh are one
I fear nothing
and I serve no man
who cannot prove to me that he is my master
Can one be betrayed by integrity
for mine has not done so
nor has it lifted me over the parapet
But holds me to that place
where all deeds commence and conclude
with neither a firm hand nor watchful eye
so the illusion of trust inebriates me
and causes my thoughts to stifle themselves
with no hope of projection
my weary eyes have seen
the conclusion
of life's bitter irony
and to judge the path not taken
is to throw away
all hope of understanding the deed which brings me
hence
And death is the dream of miseries child
who's heart is free
and bleeds red as a sunset against a calm azure sea
Chapter two:
Noli Aemulare

Author's Note:
Most of my heroes are dead, or fictional.
Sometimes both. When I was younger, I did not
know what a hero was supposed to be. I had
none. I was not even impressed by the divergent
world of self entertainment in which I wrapped
myself. Network Television for every intent and
purpose, shaped the very essence of my
character. Record stores and rare book shops
became like temples to me.
Had I taken a clear course of action earlier on,
back then, before the battles were to be fought,
then the outcome would have been different. But
I did not. The bricks that I made out of the clay
of existence could have been used to build a
fortress. But instead I used them to build a
prison. My own prison. The bad news is that I
suffered severely. The good news is that I am
finally free.

But freedom is not freedom the way I understand it.
I do not know the true meaning of freedom,
So I therefore struggle with the purpose of liberty.

WHAT DOES LAYLA LIKE
So, What does Layla Like?
I thought that I knew, but I had no idea
It seems to change or perhaps
she does not know either
In any case
what is it about me?
The deep set eyes
The abrasive yet soothing nature
The thin lips on a wide mouth
The rough exterior
The strong hands
These are things that I was unaware of
I only know them
because she pointed them out to me
I already knew about
The recognizable Negroid profile
The care free stroll
The crooked smile
The hand jive
but hush now
It is not about what I think she knows about me
and what I realize about myself
It is about how I feel when I look at her
The same way that I had no hero
I had no type
women were interchangeable to me
because I believed them to be
of one single consciousness
I never bothered to learn otherwise
because I didn't have to
I love almost everything about them
the differences, the similarities
But what I see in her
is new to me
there are some things that I believe
only I can see
I hear her concentration
I feel her thoughts
I watch her movements
I recognize her feelings
I understand her sadness
I share in her joy
When I think of her
I think of everything
smooth skin
exotic look
great eyes
intoxicating smile
Life is an equation
like a scientific formula
We are also subject to destiny
Do you like me today, Layla?

I WAS CALLING YOU
There I stood, as still as in a photograph
I turned to face the darkness
because I heard the devil laugh
I was calling you hence, and you did not answer

Looking down at concrete,
painted red with blood
stunned just as Pharaoh's army drowning in the flood
I threw myself upon your mercy
I was calling you hence, and you did not answer

I could feel the hemorrhage
and nothing could contain
the dreaded consequences
more painful than the pain
I asked for your forgiveness
I threw myself upon your mercy
I was calling you hence, and you did not answer

Lying on the table,
could have easily been dead
I felt the needle suturing the terrible black thread
I promised to atone in blood
I asked for your forgiveness
I threw myself upon your mercy
I was calling you hence, and you did not answer

I knelt before the altar
orderly and still
vowing a redemption, for all the blood that I had spilled
Why were you not with me
I promised to atone in blood
I asked for your forgiveness
I threw myself upon your mercy
I was calling you hence, and you did not answer
Learn to sing you Devil, because you are a terrible dancer.

FROM REVELATION TO REVELATION

And on the day that my faith had wavered but had
not broken, the bearer of light and leader in the
rebellion of angels - who some believe is now the
prince of darkness bade me speak only to him, saying:
Call your master
bring him before me
let him look upon this place and feel the dreaded
consequence
for the wages of sin are death and despair
bitterness and sorrow guide my nimble hand
so for the benefit of reason, I beg you
turn now
and face thy present death
And I did answer him ambiguously;
I am of my own device not a prisoner, but a slave, that
labors in back breaking agony so the end must justify
the means. My acquittal stumbles over itself with no
clear explanation. My existence is unreasonable, but
my actions are profound. The truth is not as painful as
the lie used to conceal it. And my master has revealed
the truth unto me. So I say to you now, stand down, and
hold thy wretched tongue.   
And I turned to my Master and told him that
Lucifer meant to take me,
and lead me away from that which is sound and pure.  
death quickly follows
disillusion that breeds
the darkness surrounding
memories projecting
the shadows of lust
that beckon profanity
and violent insanity
stating all is not well
in my clever disguise
as I look to the west
and heed the knell
that summons me not to heaven
but to hell
And my Lord did answer me, saying:
Allay your fears and dispel your vexed intent
in favor of dignity and grace
and your heart shall be free forever
and your mind, immersed in autonomy
will search for your purpose, and combat your nemesis
for those who seek only to harm you are slain and
though your sorrow may linger until such time as you
stand before me,
I am near, and you can come to me, and claim me
yours, for you are of me, and with me forever.

thus it ended - and it began
Chapter three
Sic Transit Gloria

Author's Note:
I had previously believed that my development
was a bit accelerated by force of will and
environment, yet stunted and confined by
various aspects of the same environmental
circumstances. I never really knew who I was
growing up. I had a real problem with
self-definition when I needed it most. I try not to
think about that very much, as I can do nothing
about it now. At present however, I seem to be ultra
defined by deeds or words or thoughts or all of
these things combined.
Yet, I have come off the starting blocks
too late and may not be able to make up for lost
time. But I have to keep going on this course. I have no choice.
I may not win. But I must not lose. Because I cannot stop.
This contest (universal struggle) will not be decided
until I give up or die. I will never give up.
If there is one thing I am really bad at, it's dying.
Be still, be silent
My pride is my prejudice
am I guilty as charged
seen for what I am
or known for what I was
Trampled by fate and smothered by fury
Listen, hear you not
the sound of my redemption
be still, be silent



Bird of prey
and onward comes the esurient falcon
ever closer
in silent rhythmic motion
that seems perpetual
until it is upon you
and then all is chaos
the beginning of emptiness
in every direction
and despair, until salvation.



Pink Ladies
I am holding you, in anticipation. I stare at you
openly and salivate without fear of remand. I run
my hand over your smooth skin until I can see
your soft sheen and glowing texture.
I wish to lick you all over, but I will not. As it
serves no purpose other than my own Epicurean
divergence. But I can hesitate no longer and I
must devour you. At first a dull sloshing thump
is followed by a smothered moan. Juices run
down my chest and onto my soft cotton trousers.
I brush them gently and return to the task of
nibbling and licking with terrier-like tenacity.
Until your essence is no more, and all that is left
is a stem and a core.

Pink Ladies are a type of apple typically found
in the mountains of North Carolina.



Unsettling
Clouds of dust settle on the horizon        
and my eyes behold
that which impaled my being
thereby numbing my other senses
yet I am compelled forward out of devotion
to an unseen host

I hesitate out of fear and anxiety
as I see before me the wrecks
of other vessels, peoples lives and livelihoods,
hastily abandoned
shell torn and beaten, hollow and destroyed
I cannot avert my eyes from the carnage

What horrors await in the distance that can
compare to those I have seen.
headless bodies falling to earth,
limp and disabulant, they surround me
as I call upon the highest authority to guide me
I ask if it can prove to me that the meaning of
this is the meaning of life.



Some cats dig other cats
Some cats dig chicks, and it is as well that I would
number among them. I have a particular weakness for
certain traditional marks and measures of manhood, so
to speak. That is to say, no pun intended. So it is often I
speak as one does when trying to facilitate a coupling
with the fairer sex. "Does baby want daddy to come
over?" thus and so.
Adversely, there is something to be said about those cats
that take a more subtle approach in seeking alternative
companionship.
As a proper example, daddy-o was sitting at a bar, a
generic bar, when I noticed some fella checking me out.
Now, when I say  checking me out, I don't mean "man,
that's a nice watch" or "that's a really sharp outfit", No.
Oh no. I mean checking me out as one checks out stock
prices or sports scores or a napalm explosion.
So daddy, unfazed by this,
continued to sip his beer and go about his business.
After a while the gentle fellow across the
bar gets up from his chair, presumably to go to the
lavatory, and on his way past brushes daddy, your
narrator, myself, briskly. He does this in spite of the fact
that there is plenty of room to step past. As I look to the
female bartender and lift my glass to imply that I would
like another refreshing beverage, she smiles and leans
over the bar and says "I think he likes you". At this I
lean back and smirk and shake my head and take a drink
and lick my lips and explain to her without hesitation or
embarrassment, "some cats just dig other cats."



Double 0 seven and ocean's eleven
amidst the chaos and under the spell,
my passion acted alone and spoke for itself
retreat was not an option
fear was unspeakable
time was neither of the essence nor on my side

yet tooth and nail we fought the battle
exploited the breech
and delivered the crushing blow
bravery was obscured
in the context of desperation

so we could be resurrected and reborn
on a path to higher consciousness
by way of lower expectation
once we were beautiful fearless and strong
My God, My God, they are going to kill us all.



My day
6AM- stiff and stark
7AM- weary and depressed
8AM- sunken and lusterless
9AM- worn and famished
10AM- confused and stunned
11AM- kind and merciful
12PM- fearless and bold
1PM- orderly and still
2PM- sickened and infuriated
3PM- laughing and shouting
4PM- tottering and trembling
5PM- sinful and thankless
6PM- aroused and angry
7PM- thoughtless and foolish
8PM- cool and deliberate
9PM- brave and noble
10PM- enormous and universal
11PM- ruthless and rushing
12AM- disheveled and devilish
1AM- horse and indestiguishable
2AM- shot and killed
3AM- resurrected and restored
4AM- sustained and sequestered
5AM- alpha and omega
6AM- stiff and stark
and tomorrow and tomorrow



Still Alive
One's heart sings forth a song of desire
One's mind comes hence to quell the fire
within that heart one mind a prison does make
as a rook be the fowl and the serpent the snake
and still driven forward on a quest to redeem
yet all the past until now has been like a dream
I seek and I lust for what can't be possessed
I would give all of myself to have her at my rest
what army of darkness what legion of doom
has surrounded my being and is sealing my tomb
I must break them I pray and I yearn and I strive
without her I weep, but I'm still alive



2001 Soundboy America
all rights reserved
Spotsylvania
skeletal remains are uncovered by the rain
of late April and hereafter
we tremble at the sound of cannon and
the hounds of hell Que. the devils laughter

the promises of may beseech then betray
then abandon us as we are falling
I give no though to my life, my children of wife        
and turn as I hear someone calling

but there is no one there and the thick summer air
smelled like death and bred the confusion
as I turned about, rifle shots rang out
broke my will and crushed my illusion

and yet I move ahead of those stricken dead
by the demons that shriek in the distance
and as I draw near even less do I hear
as resolve overwhelms my resistance

but there was a price to be paid, a choice having
been made as my theme was transformed into thesis
I was hit from both sides like a ship in rip-tides
and my body simply fell into pieces

so now I am gone those behind me
press on to meet their fate as did I
and some live to tell how we walked through
the hell of this valley where I came to die.



Take yourself
Here and on this occasion, choose to engage in
the struggle that will shape the rest of your life.

It is true of any campaign that the wear and tear
on our character defines us as human beings.

No sooner shall the content of ones character be
revealed than at such time the strength of said
character is tested.

There is a constant onslaught of adversity
sweeping us from our solid foundation into the
gaping jaws of the unknown.

You may be destroyed if you choose to fight.

But you will be destroyed if you continue to
stand idle, and embrace your bitterness.

take yourself seriously.



When the bough breaks
That terrible crackling now comes to me from
all around, louder each time.
I am enthralled by it's nearness.
Imposing figures that stood as towering
reminders of tranquillity now come crashing to
the ground with alarming rapidity. The sonic
boom of exploding transformers, the high
pitched squall of car alarms, the hum of high
voltage electricity and the smell of scorched
earth keep me fixed and addicted to the night
air. I do not allow these things to frighten me or
impress upon me a feeling of unavoidable
distress.
I merely listen.
I react to the sound of each falling giant by
gazing in its' direction and saying nothing.
I stand at the edge of darkness, bathing in
silence, fighting cold and longing to embrace
sleep.

Written during a blackout caused by the
North Carolina ice storm of 2003



Nare shake hands nor bid farewell
each time I cement my resolve to move forward
and regain ground that was lost
someone or something takes great pleasure
in disintegrating that resolution
for the sole purpose
of exposing my ambiguous virtue
to the harshest element of our society

there is a voice that speaks
throughout the turmoil

it may be the angel of mercy sent to deliver me
and make me a complete human being
but it must be the angel of death
who has come to discourage me
and keep me broken and restless

there is a voice that speaks
throughout the turmoil

and I shall batter, smash and tear apart those
images evoked by the spectral nightmare
until I am overwhelmed and taken
by death itself,
after a lifetime of open rebellion.



The meaning of time
Has there been no great day? A greater
day than this, or is the greatest day to
come?
Comprised of fleeting moments that
impress and impose, confuse and
condemn, beacon and bewilder, so that
we may rejoice in our youth, in our
integrity, in our wisdom and in our
complacency. Injustice knows not the
meaning of time, nor does it wish that it
may.



Memoirs
I do not embrace yesterday,
but I implore my sub-conscious
to tear apart
the garment tailored with tomorrow's fabric.

I do not embrace yesterday,
I can live for today just as easily as I can die for
tomorrow, having seen what I've seen and been
where I've been
Do you know where I'm coming from?

I do not embrace yesterday,
I simply sit here in my house of steel and glass
watching others destroy themselves while
making their enemies strong
Can you dig that?

I do not embrace yesterday,
I do not look forward to tomorrow,
I do what I have always done.
I swim. Until it is time for me to drown



The eyes of a child
Alas, my time has come regardless of how I feel
about myself.
Wearily though be it without hesitation,
I creep, skulk, crawl, amble and slither
toward destiny, fate, impending doom and
inevitable consequence.
If I had taken any time at all to think of what lies
beyond this point,
I would not have been able to prepare myself for
what is coming.
I am not sure what is coming
I am not sure how I will respond
from this point forward I seek only to do my
best

Look upon me with the eyes of a child.

Treachery, thy name is emotion.
One may be compelled and heartless
as one may smile, then smile and be a villain
Soundboy America
Poetry & Prose - The Glint of Bayonets
Author's Notes
appear in red