Blasted blistered roots of trees,
limbs askew in knotted knees,
darkling bark of branches grows-
turning back, my fever flows,
Maudlin madness chills my veins,
wretched reek of death remains -
draws me dreaming to this place,
sallow streams and wallowed waste.
Twisted thoughts begin to creep
into woods where willows weep.
Turning twice I light the flame
no one there to bear my shame.
Burning bright, my sacrifice
beacon blazing in the night
warning all who wander here
that God's truth will cost them dear.
AloneI sit alone and mark the time -Alone2 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
aware of how the hours crawl -
with solitude a friend of mine.
I find my thoughts a careless scrawl,
meandering among the days -
myself the loser in it all.
I view my world through lonely haze,
aware of loss on which I stand
and never think to mend my ways.
There's not a soul to lend a hand;
there's not a man to call me friend.
WinterA dream of silver coins and gossamerWinter2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
of frankincense and sacred myrrh
tugging, gently tugging at the coverlet
the draperies drawn,
the candles lit.
Winter's wizened face and beard sent packing
by the blazing willow log
a'crackling, gently crackling in the fireplace
the shivered wind
leads on apace
These dreams to warm us lingering like a balm,
and cider mulled with cardamom
bubbling, gently bubbling in a bowl
blots out the wind
and shuns the cold.
BluesMorning comes in widow's weedsBlues3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
settles to the bottom of my cup,
begging to be stirred,
wondering why my chin
has fallen over the rim
and how come my feet
take forever to shuffle
over floorboards and dust.
I am vacant, worn down -
just this mud-bare rug,
heels bleeding gray,
and so tired
I forgot how to say your name
or the color of the walls
when I turn out the lights.
It is just the pain of you
settling in again
with leftover Sunday evening.
Bone BlossomsBone Blossoms2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
a ghost of iris-
blue so pale,
it slips off the page
You know the scent;
you borrowed it
from some girl
who was your best friend.
You slept together in the same bed;
she borrowed your sweater
and kissed you
when mother was not looking.
You fed her books
left out in the sun,
ripe as the boy
She put her hand
one warm night
and asked you
what it made you think of.
you said -
teal and purple,
feathered like summer -
like the summer
when you were five
and the heat
just could not keep away
and the sky went out.
Love LetterBeloved,Love Letter2 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Is it possible to feel too much at times? Can the heart become a weapon, carrying the weight of unspent dreams?
There are rare nights when I seem to ghost dance with the world. I move through it, aware of the physical existence of people, places, things - their connections - and nothing more.They leave no indelible mark; they are a mere whisper on my landscape that echoes vaguely in my conscious mind, a glancing blow that barely registers. Mouths move...words are said, and I comprehend the physical act, the meaning and reality - but it only ripples the surface.
And then there are nights that are quiet electricity and life blooms out of control around me in vibrant and livid color. Every word has a music to it and every nuance of movement shoots through me and pins me to the wall of desire. I am held prisoner by the soft beauty of words not said. I feel the pain of lost tears and memories mumbled in a gentle catechism of failure..
And it is on those nights that I think of you.
RetreatI have abandoned battle, savored peaceRetreat3 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
and lost my weapons deep in sacred ground.
I have sought sweet mercy - God's own release
and prayed for his swift justice to abound.
I have walked past the soldiers in the street
and heard their cries run shameless without sound -
the tired, shuffling resonance of feet.
And in the morning's chilled and angry blast,
I recognize the music of retreat
as if I saw the ghosts that knew my past
gathering at the tables for a feast.
Then God allow these thoughts to be my last
for I have hopes my blessings will increase
and the dark symphony of war will cease.
KitesI watch your kite disappearing -Kites2 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
slowly slipping through your fingers
like a defiant act of love.
The laurel wreaths I crowned you with -
sweet Adonis to a maid,
shivering on your cool, wet skin.
I said that I could set you free
but you never would believe me.
MorphHe pinned the butterflyMorph2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
to the card,
the dry rot
of blue wings
in the warm room.
it seemed a stranger,
not the imago
unfolding in the jar
of the wet season,
but a legless pupa
RachelI will call you RachelRachel2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
was all he said.
It suits your mouth, your dress,
the combs in your hair,
It fits the starlings at your feet,
the crows in a perfect vee
at the end of the sky,
the low voice of locusts -
And it remembers his handprints,
just how you took them off
and pinned them
to the hem of your skirt
and wore each letter
bareback like his thorns.
All Hallow's EveThe pale keening of cicadasAll Hallow's Eve3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
echoes in the sun's lingering hue
and on the horizon
smoke unfurls its wooded glory
through the glen.
Pumpkins crown the curling vines
waiting to be claimed
in greedy grasps
and turned like changeling goblins
and this bright crush
of maize and barley
carves the crisp evening
and singes our eyes
in the fine glory of a psalm.
IndulgenceDrink and dance and laugh and lie,Indulgence3 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Love, the reeling midnight through,
For tomorrow we shall die!
(But, alas, we never do.)
Sage advice to heed in youth -
Excess, a drug we justify.
And indulgence is better than the truth -
Drink and dance and laugh and lie.
So choose your partners without care;
Keep your scruples lean and few.
Temptation wanders everywhere -
Love the reeling midnight through.
Drink and revel one last time;
Seek out pleasure where it hides.
Restraint's an over-rated crime -
For tomorrow we shall die!
And in the dawn of pain's regret
With heads aflame and clothes askew,
We may promise to repent
(But, alas, we never do!)
Snow WhiteSeven more mouths to feedSnow White2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
(For this you left
your father's house?),
shoes piled by the door
and grimy rucksacks
full of coal.
(He promised you a diamond)
They keep you on your toes
with their uncombed hair
and their untrimmed beards
and appetites like young bulls.
That dress of yours
has seen better days
and your hands
are worn out -
bloodied starlings in your pockets.
So you cook and clean
and wait by the window
each morning for them to leave,
polishing your apples
and dream of what the huntsman
is hiding in his box.
The DeserterI've wandered far too long tonight.The Deserter2 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
I'm left adrift, the coward's flight -
an outcast from society.
I close my eyes and dream of thee.
Stripped of my honor and my name;
accused by all, I bear the blame.
This blasted heath from which I flee -
I close my eyes and dream of thee.
The greatest prize for which I strived,
my fellow soldiers gave their lives.
Three white feathers given to me -
I close my eyes and dream of thee.
Branded guilty, without bail,
handcuffed in irons, cast in gaol-
no longer shall I wander free.
I close my eyes and dream of thee
And after sundown, cut me loose,
an offering to the hangman's noose.
If there's a God, he'll hear my plea -
I close my eyes and dream of thee
FlamesThere are flames whereFlames2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
his head should be -
forty pieces of silver
a dressing gown, a pipe
a poem left in the fireplace.
This man promised you a winter
so warm and bountiful
spring would be ashamed.
He called you by name -
not the one that father knew
shoved under his bible
But the one left behind
in the branches,
in the bucket of brambles,
and the columbines
buried at your feet.
Stone angels on the battlefield
surrender in the grass.
What did his face
even look like behind the curtain,
counting those coins
and loosening the damp earth
from your shoes?
CometYou told me to be a comet -Comet2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
to grow new wings
and sit out on the roof
and watch the men gather
like seals upon the rocks,
their voices threadbare
warping the wooden pilings
underneath their feet.
You said I was a magnet -
north facing and truant,
missing my arms and legs;
while out in the street
the rain made the dogs go mad
and all the poets were starving
and swallowing their fathers.
You promised you would
take me back with you,
your charity in my pockets
and let me wash myself clean
in your lily pale whys-
my belly slit like a barbarian,
warm and inviting you in -
Both of us remembering
to lock up heaven's gate
and leave no traces
of our bleeding
or any silent sounds
our mothers could identify
and send to call us home.
StonesThese stones, once enchanted, now leave no traceStones3 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
of a distant magic in a foreign tongue -
just dream-prints left to carve this place.
A stranger breed has now begun
and left its tracks amidst this space,
the souls left blinking without a sun.
History spared time's rude grace.
We leave our prayers among the bones.
Bittersweet and green,
simple in its mien,
Potent bloom and sheen,
pressed on lips so clean,
Poison felt so keen
hangs her life between.
Now let winter's spell
seek out the newly hung moon
and transform the sky.
CluelessMrs. Peacock tucks away a knife.Clueless3 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Miss Scarlet lingers in the parlour,
Chatting merrily to Mr. Plum,
As Mr. Green sits, chewing on his pipe.
And Colonel Mustard is cleaning his revolver,
Lingering over coffee in his room.
A sudden shot echoes in the room
Where Mrs. White is hiding with a knife.
Colonel Mustard empties the revolver
And puts the bullets in the parlour,
Startling Mr. Green who drops the pipe
And stumbles, reaching for a plum.
Miss Scarlet is in love with Mr. Plum
And slips away to await him in her room
Where she finds the butler, bludgeoned by a pipe;
And another body, bloodied by a knife
Is discovered in the parlour
And Colonel Mustard looks for his revolver.
There is no finding the revolver,
Shouts a flustered Mr. Plum
Who is searching through the parlour
While Miss Scarlet is waiting in her room
Wondering why there is a knife
And Mr. Green is extinguishing his pipe.
It's a heavy leaden pipe
And a missing pepper box revolver,
Or a blunt edged kitchen knife
CheatsThe light makes cheatsCheats2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
of us both,
so we change clothes
in the greedy dark
or thinking twice.
We do not touch,
our skin afraid to lose
or breathe too close.
We pass in the street
but do not acknowledge
in the glare of taxi cabs
or the stiff pull of elevators.
We do not rub elbows
or let our shoulder blades
But I would know you
anywhere - any place
the sun is uneasy
and the skin of us
or strangers are told
in another direction.
Mad ManI think I lost usMad Man3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
in a glass of scotch -
going down like
every mad man
I ever envied.
Why did I believe
your lips tasted
sweet and heathen
like the heather
I laid you in
that last night
I came home?
I had a thing
for damaged women,
and you could drink
your mother's last words
Cat LadyWhen I grow oldCat Lady2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I will be the crazy cat lady
all the neighbors talk about.
I will dwell
in a house of sycamore
and live off taffy and gin,
and paint my ceilings yellow.
I will dangle carrots
off the clothesline
and only bathe on Sundays.
I will keep 47 cats
(or maybe 63)
and give them names
like Cumberbund and Camembert
and let them sleep in the kitchen sink
where they can dream of midnight raids
on the pantry-
of sardines poached in pepper sauce
and mocking bird and beetle pie
and we will fish off the crumbling pier.
I will tie bells to their tails
to warn the birds
they are invited for a meal
and watch them flying over
their wings a tell tale
sigh of autumn weather.
And at night we will curl
up on the porch
fur bristling under blankets
and October's jumbled moon
to dream of chasing
mice among the rafters.
WasteWe've ruined the lakes, the ponds, the streamsWaste3 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
and marred our soil with urban dreams -
Eden blighted by machines.
We plot and scheme; we plot and scheme.
We scorch the earth and sear the air;
our poison, seething everywhere,
destroys and leaves our country bare.
We do not care; we do not care.
Humanity has learned too late
our Eden is a fallow state;
and what we've sown will nere abate.
We reap our fate; we reap our fate.
EnigmaI am the saintEnigma2 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
You are the sinner
I am the loser
You are the winner
I am the storm
You are the calm
I am the chafe
You are the balm
I wear your thoughts
You eat my soul
I'm all in pieces
You are my whole
I long for peace
You adore war
I am your virgin
You are my whore
I steal emotion
You live for reason
I am too loyal
You thrive on treason
I break your heart
You bleed my mind
You say I'm gentle
You're cruel to be kind
SacramentLove's a mortal gift -Sacrament2 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
a blessing to the sane;
hating is a curse,
a sacrament of pain.
A blessing to the sane -
such a worthless trick;
hands upon the sick
Hating is a curse
and yet I wear it well;
coins inside my purse
will pave my way to hell.
A sacrament of pain -
thirst I cannot slake;
a kiss my lover feigns -
this illness that I take
BlinkBlinkBlink4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
said the boy with the camera
and this moment
will never know our names.
It will take your best parts -
the smile you saved for Sundays
with your good dress
knees pressed tight
against the resurrection,
hoping mother never guessed
what prayers were left
upon the altar;
the kisses gathered for your lover -
passion's flagrant promises,
not the chaste monsters
school girls dream of
while sweaty palms
pin wilting corsages to tulle.
delivered to the front door
at Christmas and graduations,
circuses disguised in boxes
and envelopes stuffed like dates,
all wrapped in heady silk;
and the tears
you thought everyone knew -
since gloves were small,
secrets that swore to leave
at pillow fights and seances
but never let you breathe.
like flash in an iris,
and the grain of paper
yellowing gently in the attic
like your heart's montage.