Two girls in thin white dresses stand on a high
slope, facing the gray and distant winter sea,
which, for the moment, is calm. The day’s light has
turned cold. It is late afternoon. The girls are
out of context—seeming like future beings,
or the ghosts of some earlier time—one as
the desire of the other—someone to be
in tune with—ponder about life—ask questions
of the sea, which the sea answers with long, gray
sighings that pull beyond their hearing. If the
girls try to decipher this, they will become
mesmerized beyond their sharing—standing so
still—leaning forward to listen—outside the
perimeter of the rickety white fence.
They could be painted there except for the white
movement of their dresses—flaking shades of gray
thickening around them in this capturing
moment that threatens to hold them forever.
I do not yet know enough about the things I love:
the way of shadow—the grace of light—play
against play—question against answer.
I strive to be what I love,
but am a self at peril—a fool at tears.
Weeping is not enough.
I must become more to become enough.
No lesson is unlearned:
the thrashed, the torn—the almost drowned.
The flood of meaning is harsh—
my wants excessive—my needs too few.
I override what I should hold innocent of me.
What hope is there for those at the edge
where everything falls away
A STUDY IN ALARM
Sometimes a sound—like that of window-stones
tossed for attention, the gossip of the room
suspended while startled eyes go wide
and look to one another with a question
and therefore offer credence to suggestion
that someone with a warning lurks outside
—or lover—or some prankster—or assume
it’s just imagination, with some groans
of quick relief—a laugh—an offhand word
to prove that it was nothing that they heard—
and talk resumes as though they can reclaim
their easiness and have things be the same.
And then the glass breaks. They become unnerved
as death flies in—disguised as life’s shot bird.
Lions can run faster than us, but we can run farther.
—Valeria SBM Mendes
How reflect these eyes of such resolve and
pride—strong will and strong stride,
fierce history and love of land,
innate power of the mind—
man of hunting,
the lack of fear—
racing lions in his dreams,
modern man of yesteryear,
primitive of soul and God,
living in the now from then—
soon the lion must decide
the tally of the race from
its own pride : Lions can run
faster…but Man can run farther—even though
the jungle disappears—all on the endangered list.
I carry with me, oh secret mother,
We rhyme like that forever—
your mind in my mind
—my heart in your heartbeat.
We are hard to find
in others—such are the ways
of mothers and daughters.
perils of joy
that come in threes—
need a magic
number, think of these—
three stanzas to
represent the beginning,
middle, and end—all things said.
THE UNEASY MUSE
After Masque de Femme 1933 (Frauenmaske) by Paul Klee
Woman in masque is hiding again, sulking behind
one leery eye, wearing a wig of blue hair—
old muse of melancholy. How she suffers
at the mercy of inferior poets, old worriers
and complainers—wanting more than
she gives, staring through our masks at each other.
It seems one cannot do without the other, after all.
My imagination holds her. Help me, I say.
Our thanks to Joyce Odam, as always, for the fine poems and pix to start this near-winter day of ours.
And note that Tom Goff, whose poems appeared on Medusa yesterday—and many other days—has a new chapbook coming out from little m press, Twenty Two, and he’ll be reading from it at Luna’s this coming Thursday, Nov. 12. Swell!
The bird has no name
so I call him silence.
I make up my own prayers for him.
The bird has no eyes
so I call him Dark.
He looks at me through color.
The bird has no mind
so I call him Oblivion.
He sings and sings.