Thursday, June 06, 2013

Where Does Your Shadow Go?

Joan McNerney, Ravena, NY


Groping through darkness
knocking everything down.
Down into enormous night
where thoughts unravel.

Memories moan past us as
shadows quiver across walls.
We lie pinned to bed sheets
like captive butterflies.

Dry butterflies...our throats
are brittle, eyes turning
from light.  Sore arms reach
for anything soft to hold.

Remembering seasons gone by.
So many lost promises.
This huge moment surrounding us.
Wide awake we wait for the new day.



I am driving down a hill
without name on an
unnumbered highway.

This road transforms into
a snake winding around
coiled on hair pin turns.

See how it hisses though this
long night. Why am I alone?

At bottom of the incline
lies a dark village strangely
hushed with secrets.

How black it is.  How difficult
to find what I must discover.

My fingers are tingling cool, smoke
combs the air, static fills night.

I continue to cross gas lit streets
encountering dim intersections.

Another maze.  One line
leads to another.  Dead ends
become beginnings.

Listening to lisp of the road.
My slur of thoughts sink as
snake rasps grow louder.
See how the road slithers.

What can be explored? Where
can it be?  All is in question.


grappled with
white ledgers
& tight rows
of numbers.

He could
the secrets
of ciphers.

Who else would
appreciate the
eloquence of one?
This fat place maker
known as zero? Why
mystics marveled
at the holy seven?

While he slept his
dreams multiplied.
Suddenly long division
subtracted an unknown
quantity yet sums still
added up.

Where had his equations wandered?



If only it had not rained
the sky black and wet as
we hurried across streets.

Perhaps had he worn a
light coat it would have
been easier to spot.

Maybe if the cab driver
were not so tired, if
headlights shone brighter.

How many hundreds of things
lead him to that corner.
For instance staying late
to check computer printouts.

The cab driver had felt like
going home at six but had
a recent rent increase.

Everything lead to the cab
slipping along 3rd Avenue.
Him in front of his office
and then lunging out to
avoid a puddle.

There was no one to blame
nothing to blame really
not the rain
or the dark coat
not the dim lights
nor the cab driver
who would remember this always
and sometimes blame himself.

It was part of a series
of events of time and place
leading to this conclusion.

An ambulance screamed
down the avenue.  His eyes
wide open as he lay
facing the black night.

His time finished
eyes opened as if
staring at something
quite different now.

 —Photo by Katy Brown, Davis


Where does your shadow
go when you sleep?

Last night mine wandered
an abandoned factory
where broken metal racks
littered floors and glass shelves
were filled with nothing.

Muffled syllables resound
through darkness as
I swallow musty smells
caressing old dust.

Suddenly the ceiling
blew    a  w  a  y
and bands of light
form a single pole
speeding to the sun.

Then my shadow
bounced once waking
up inside me.



I'm gonna have lunch with
the sky.  It's been way too
long since we got together.

I'll run downstairs through
hallways into bursts of blue.
Perhaps never return to work,
words, paper clips, bookshelves.

Who needs cash when there's
so much green grass to hoard?
Forget about food.  I’ll drink up
sunshine, nibbling juicy clouds.

O sky,  you are my solar mate.
We will be faithful always.
Come home now...I will
never look at another.    


I want to make scarves from the sky.
Since I’m not much of a seamstress,
here’s hoping it won’t be too hard.

To start I’ll just pick up a fleecy
white cloud to cover my neck.

Maybe create a dove grey scarf
and cut out pale blue ones too.
Make entire closets full of them.

At sunset I will fashion boas
of bright ruby and tangerine.

My midnight shawl will be long
gleaming ebony covering my
shoulders keeping me warm.

If lucky I’ll find some rainbows…
kaleidoscopes to wrap up in.

I will list them on eBay and Craig’s,
hang pictures on my Facebook wall.

Imagine, everybody will want them!
Would you like one too?

Better put your order in now.


Today's LittleNip:


If you touch Medusa
her serpents will wrap
themselves around you.
She soars through water
with giant wings gold fins.
Hundreds of snakes
crawling from her head.

Some long to be near
Medusa to hear her hissing
lisping songs forgetful.
She can suck blood from
throats coiling minds
past infinity before
they breathe again.


Thanks, Joan, for today's poetry, and Katy Brown for the pix!  Joan McNerneys poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Camel Saloon Books on Blog, Blueline, Vine Leaves, Spectrum, three Bright Spring Press Anthologies and several Kind of A Hurricane Publications.  She has been nominated three times for Best of the Net. Four of her books have been published by fine literary presses.
Joan has recited her work at the National Arts Club, New York City, State University of New York, Oneonta, McNay Art Institute, San Antonio and other distinguished venues.  A recent reading was sponsored by the American Academy of Poetry.  Her latest title is Having Lunch with the Sky, A.P.D. Press, Albany, New York. Nice to hear from another left-coaster, Joan! Don't be a stranger...



—Photo by Katy Brown