Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Glass Beads in Stray Sunlight

We are made brittle.
Love is caught
in the glittering web
at morning.

The sun is harsh
in its burning.
There can be no softness.
Love must die sharply.

Icy roses make
snapping sounds
where the diamond dew
is melting.

Petals crack open
and dark leaves
clutch at the metal winds.
Our eyes are breaking.



It was winter with its lack of leaves on stark trees. And the hurrying of cold things at the corner of the heart. And the length of gray that became monotonous. And no window was enough for hope with its frail wing made of frost or the bleak eye of following. It was a postcard with its angel stamp and its illegible message. And the mailman who read it. And the cold gray music that followed the girl of winter around so she would know she was not forgotten, but adored. And every mirror wept to know her. And in each one, her face was smitten. And she never returned to them—for that is the rest—yes, that is the rest of this small story.


(after "The Beautiful Savages" by Georges Barber)

Love flaunts by—out of reach,
in a lure of three: dancers,
or models of costume,

and green-stockinged—
wearing dyed feathers,

and beads—
in a bright window

full of time’s transitions—
winter’s hot-house
for icy eyes to melt through

with praise, envy, signs.
Mirrors know their secrets,
how they entice, comply—

reflect desire—
all three
miming: Choose me.

(for John Berryman)

poet in icy river
kills self
poet in river kills
icy poet
river in poet
self river
river kills poet
in icy self
kills poet
self poet
kills river
in river
poet kills self
in icy river

(first pub. in Wormwood Review, 1973)


These are the days of February—blossoms quick-
ening the trees. All over the city, white blossoms,
pink blossoms—brightening the cold, thin air;

And the mood of winter begins to fight for itself,
bites down on nights and keeps changing its mind.
Dreams up frost, and paints the days differently.



We are skating on the icy lake in blue cold
and white distance—circling out

and circling back to the careful shore.
We want to trust this lake of ice—

test ourselves against instinctual fear.
We glide in the glimmering hum of

the late afternoon—a bit farther out
each time—the other skaters

following their own testing of belief.
We are as purposeful as we will

ever be on this thin and creaking ice
that shudders at the cutting of our blades.         



You hold
so still.
Shades of cold light
play on your face.
I turn to the window,
stare through icy distance,
watch your image test my own in
the glass—feel your back stiffen—I’m
for us.



One two three four five.

Pull something out of
the hat. Six seven

eight nine ten. Count back:
Ten nine eight seven,
round and round to one

more—one more?—two more
times, as many as
it takes to get out
of this trap—how the

mind-quirk works, fiddling

with words. Two four six
eight ten, a break in
pattern. Weave in. Weave
out. Try for threes, un-

even. Three six nine.
What hat?—boredom hat,
floor-hat, cards tossed in:

Ace Deuce King Queen Jack,
most on floor—not in

Top Hat. Stupid game.

(first pub. in Rattlesnake Review, 2008)


Today's LittleNip:


It is always so:
glass beads in stray sunlight,
specks of illusion hiding against sand.

It is always what we know and say:
the look of cold winter light, the intense
feel of it, the love of winter with its eerie glow.


—Medusa, with thanks to Joyce Odam for today's powerful poems and pix! I'm also hoping I didn't confuse too many people last Sunday, when I said Chinese New Year's is this week; it isn't, of course, being in early February. And our Seed of the Week is Chocolate and Other Addictions, a topic that speaks for itself, yes? Send your agonizings over same to kathykieth@hotmail.com, but remember there are no deadlines on SOWs. Go up to Calliope's Closet in the Fuchsia Links at the top of the blog to our many SOWs of the past for more ideas, and send us the results. No need to be just a lurker!