Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Rainy Roads and All Night Cafés


driving in that rain
distorting darkness
all the roads
glistened with depth and danger
too late even for police cars
where we had been
was important enough to be there
we were part of the storm
our eyes assuming the tense vision
of sleepless travelers
lightning everywhere
the road grabbed into the sky
we followed

(first pub. in Muse of Fire, 1997)



There’s a late café in a sleepless town
where customers linger, as I used to do,
over coffee, to let time drown
the sorrows down to just a few—

well past midnight—feeling too
blue to go home—take my frown
to the sad mirror, blue to blue.
There’s a late café in a sleepless town

made of myth and memory—bone-
colored walls, seeming askew
with crooked calendars, days counted down,
where customers linger, as I used to do;

numbing the days to be gotten through—
maybe feeling their own pages torn—
a place like that.  Maybe you—
over coffee, to let time drown

whatever pulls you in—alone
in some quiet window-booth to pursue
your ramble of thoughts, as if to hone
the sorrows down to just a few—

as if you solved a thing or two,
then finally notice how light it’s grown,
the day beginning right on cue.
Everywhere such need is known,
there’s a late café.



do the dark now
do the dark
the way you do it

squeeze in the music
from the next apartment
slip the light under the door
fade the carpeted footsteps
that go by in the hallway
free the creakings in the wall

the puddles shine with rain
the streetlamp studies them
car-doors slam closed
and voices say goodbye
the moving hours are the same

do the dark now
make it right
the moon is bright
do the dark now
say goodnight

(first pub. in Wings, 1995)



I have come as far as your life.  I am
your fantasy—all you remember,

or want.  Sometimes I come as shadow
torn by light; sometimes I lie beside

you in your sleepless night.  But always
you forget me… you don’t believe in me

… you want another.  I am the distance
of your myth.  I become the other.


That yield of night—that merge of day,
that indeterminate, soft gray
that goes each way—like a steal
of forfeit dreams for sleeplessness,
like random thought that will regress
and not confess what was real . . .

that flick of time that slips aside
to let the pale, gray night divide
and thus confide what it knows
of both and neither—how regret
must ever lose itself—and yet,
not quite forget why it glows.



Sound of rain.
shall I sleep,
soul to keep?

So insane—
what prevails . . .
all that fails . . .
sad refrain—

so I weep.
Shall I sleep?
Sound of rain.


(…for my mother, who said this…)

Mother, the angels are here.
Shall I let them in?

Mother, they say your name
and they watch you sleeping.

Mother, shall we let go together—
though I am miles and miles away?

Mother, the angels are singing
and you are smiling.

Mother, I see them take you
in their many arms.

Shall I let go my holding?


Today's LittleNip:


The old woman—
sleeping in comparison
to Modigliani’s nude
upon the wall.


Our thanks to Joyce Odam for today's poems and pix! Joyce sends us some interesting forms this week: her "All Night Cafés" is a rondeau redouble, her "Sleepless Thoughts" is a san hsien, and her "Transitory" is in the Welch form, the cywydd llosgyrnog.

Thanksgiving is upon us, so let's go with the obvious and make our Seed of the Week Gratitude. And Medusa, in her gratitude to those who keep her going, will be having a give-away! Send us your poems about gratitude and we'll send you a free copy of the new issue of WTF which was released just last Thursday. That's kathykieth@hotmail.com. There's a deadline this week, though: get 'em in by midnight on Sunday, November 25.