Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Stepping Through the Mirror

Seed of the Week
—Anonymous Photo


Change of hearts
The white dress 
Green park bench
Sunshine lost in the trees of the lowering sky
Heads turned away
Folded hands
Legs crossed over 
Opposite directions
No more love 
Broken love 
Wasted passion
No tears for this
It is mine,   
        give it back
It is mine,
        break it
What are you waiting for

 Broken Bouquet

(From “The Cubist Poets In Paris” by L. C. Breunig)

“At the back of the room a Christ was taking off
 Someone had a ferret
 Another a hedgehog
 People were playing cards
 And you had forgotten me”
                     —Guillaume Apollinaire

. . . When she let the opportunity escape
she went into a rage
became obscene and unbeautiful

          the small flowers
          on the glass
          in their delicate vase

    Trembled in the sun-
          light that traveled to them
          from the far window

          was never
          a consideration,
          not even the soft evening tones
          too soon gone

              was always close
              as Light is to Darkness
              or as any one thing
              is to another

when one reaches for the specific
or totally opposite

        what quarrels love . . .

 Wedding Dress


What if they are meant to be like this,
friend and foe, need and provider,
gravitational, as to fate or desire,
as to complaint or blessing,
when what they need
is each other,
like it or not,
and they sometimes like it
and sometimes not.
And one is the bearer—and one is
the borne—a burden, and a last straw. 
And one is the tolerator—and
one is the squeaking wheel
the other cannot oil—
but stand by when patience
is thin as an old nightgown in
winter, and they suit each other,
the flaw that each chose to marry.

 Crumpled Rose


Soon they will pleasure to the night and love,
holding the future closer than it is,
burning that far together with their eyes—

all that they mean and want, hot in their eyes;
all that they give to trust, wild in their love.
What they will learn is what the difference is.

Passion is what the first compulsion is,
and what remains will suffer in their eyes:
infatuation stays in love with love—

and love, before it is, will haunt the eyes.


Such a blue moment,

A little streak of light—
a flash—
the size of a small blue mouse
at the peripheral,

but it wakened you from
a momentary stupor
where you lost something of value
but cannot say what it was.

Something slipped 
and between—
something innocent and dear.

You almost felt the love it bore away,
like a small regret.
It caught you by surprise.
You want it back.

It took the time you needed to reclaim it
like a lost beat of your heart—
a flutter of thought that
escaped into heart’s loss.


They were never for this symbol
—not the tender image of a poem,

softly jeweled by a glint
of light
on a smooth face—but a

smear of dark feeling, salty to the taste,
making wet stains upon some pillow.



I don’t cry any more. My face is not
allowed—I have refused my mind
to send such messages—
no fragrant tears—full of salt. 


I touch the no-man’s-land of your face.
How strange. Even your eyes speak
gravity of distance. I dare not ask. I use
the desert of your mouth for answer :

this time I go away—find where light
meets dark—enter where I fit and become
new—you stare for awhile at the point
of vanishment, then turn away and enter
your own opposite direction :

I soar through the distance in my blue
wings—dream flight, maybe—I’m not sure.
I have already fused light and dark
to lock time in place, name it mirror and
go through as image. Always I approach
you as I recede from myself. Remember?

Your face turns back into my touch—a
map of readable and unreadable messages.
Your eyes are blue. Then gray. Then green.
Your cheek hollows with shadow.
Your brow retains its deep furrows.
It is no longer safe to love you.


Come touch the night
with your day fingers,
and when you know,
pleasure my face
beneath your hand
that I
may never fear the dark
your touch
has quieted.

(first pub. in Signet, 1962)



In the quiet glades of night—
a signature, writing its name through
the trees—fluttering ever forward

toward some depth of its own—a white
butterfly that shone
in the moonlight and seemed tireless.

I followed, and found myself
at a lake that was not there before—
or was I lost—

a small lake that held the wavering moon
and the quivery path      
of the white butterfly—and I waited . . . . 


Walking through walls is just as easy as want,
which is powerful.

Consider force against force—
or lack of it.

Doors are not so sure of this; they have to chance
being left open or being locked.

Consider Welcome and Keep Out—those signs
of opposite message.

Going through emptiness has no reference
to guide the aimless.

Consider an open space, a mirage, a goal so far away
you have only the yearning for it.

Your subconscious is not the same as memory, consider
the dark power of amnesia.

A black hope in a patient mural of darkness upon a wall
is what you are part of.

Simply walk through the wall into the amazed room,
which surely will open to receive you.


Nothing leads me to words
          though you speak
          though I listen
          though I travel what you say
          and arrow nowhere . . .

How can this lead the dumb
         into eloquence, there is
         only the long line of silence
         thinning like a road
         into a  receding horizon . . .

How can the shining silence
         reach the urgency of thought
         that struggles to transcend
         the locked mind that cannot form 
         the words that poetry demands . . .


       "Title Unknown" by Will Barnet, 1912-2012

Yes, that is true, words that are wasted now.
How say the unsayable, let alone dictate
some meaning into the poem?

Where you are now
is loneliness in its aftermath,
and on the mirror a strange image

turns its back on you. A stranger to you.
Your hair falls through the comb
as you count the strokes.

You bend your head and let
your hair fall into your face.
The oval mirror can only hold so much

of your toilette.
It expands into the shrinking room.
The room breathes

and exaggerates the breathing  to a sigh,
your sigh.
You step through the mirror

into the other side.
The mirror breaks. You name yourself :
Broken Poem Number Three.

 Daffodils and Tansy


It is as simple as this:
words will do it—
speak for the unspeakable
—the dark thought
uttered and believed.

Truth is like that—
filtered through the strength
of opinion—given with
great influence of passion.
Oh, my poems . . .


Today’s LittleNip:


Old men, sitting on
Park benches  . . . I wonder what
They are thinking of  . . .
With their strong faces, and eyes
That stare into yesterday.


Our thanks to Joyce Odam for today’s take on our ekphrastic Seed of the Week! I’ve stolen her “Walking Through Walls” poem for our new Seed of the Week: Walking Through Walls. Unless you have talents the rest of us don’t have, you’ll have to think metaphorically here. Send your poems, photos and artwork about this (or any other) subject to kathykieth@hotmail.com. No deadline on SOWs, though, and for a peek at our past ones, click on “Calliope’s Closet”, the link at the top of this column, for plenty of others to choose from.

Cynthia Linville writes that the new issue of
Convergence is now available at www.convergence-journal.com/spring17/.

And Poetry Off-the-Shelves will meet in El Dorado Hills tonight, 5-7pm at the Library. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.


 Celebrate Poetry!

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