we thought it was the storm, the angry winds,
the slowness of realization, the stunned
wonderment, how long it took in our
description of loss, how it returned
and expanded, even harder
this time to sacrifice
even more trees,
and ways in,
and ways out,
and it became
one loud poem
of anguish and pain,
and the fires resisted,
daringly, and furiously
as we watched—as we stayed—
and we, like the
forests, cannot breathe
death's lure as we stand, and wait
and burn, and the poem will not let us
go—let us go, and all the forests go—and
we cannot breathe, we are so unbelieving, and
it was always the trees by which we could breathe.
THE HUMAN MASS
caught in the white-rage of fear, the being
hustles—then dark strangeness, cold and
angry eyes paralyzed in a stare—such
a fearsome glare to grope through
the indifferent caring of some
vague enemy—imagined or
known—the slowness it
takes, the blind flurry,
through and toward,
but never fully sent
by mind or hurry
A CALL TO HIS MOTHER
of dying . . .
oh, mercy—such praying—
so slow and useless,
only the helpless
anger to appreciate such dying
we took a house to be our own
but it was old and made of ruin
it would not fix it would not mend
although we'd patch
and spend and spend
and tell ourselves
'one effort more'
and fix another
and summer came and summer went
and still our house wore discontent
the same as we—as if it wanted more
WHEREVER THEY LOVE
After Couple on the Shore, 1906/07
they love—no way to return.
The melancholy beaches
are lost to winter now.
They remember what was true :
the dark gulls overhead—
by slow, untiring wings.
The gray world moves
in endless white waves
that try to cover what is lost.
There is no other—
no other anything they want and
cannot keep. So they embrace—
with every tender, vanished place
reclaimed, in resurrected love.
(prev. pub. by Medusa's Kitchen, 2013)
THE WHITE PALLOR OF THE SKY
What of the white pallor of the sky
this day—this day without mercy, this
dimensionless day, this white-fog morning.
I test the skies with my gray look. How thin.
They could not hold me. I shall not fly
nor lift a dreary wing in agitation.
I may just sift against this day until I fit—
somewhere near or far—it does not matter.
I am in a drift.
Some wet bird lets a cry cut through.
I feel it reach
and offer back my silence.
Nowhere does sensation end; I am
all of it, the pale gray light, monotonous,
the few shapes wavering through.
The same bird calls. I open myself.
I let it through.
(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 11/22/16)
Why melt when sorrow loves you like that,
like blithering rain, or withering pain, like
that—trying to abstain—make sense, go
splat—all over again—life is like that,
a wheel, and a stain, on a wall, or a
floor—stutter no more, it doesn’t
become... you are no more than,
what a shame, glorious sorrow
fit for singing, something like
that... something like wrong...
finger-nail-scraping down a
wet window full of life’s
pitiless rain—oh you—
oh you—I know how
you feel, I—like you,
a commiserate stain,
the bearer of pain...
HERE WHERE I BURN LOVES
TO KEEP WARM
ON A LONG WINTER OF SILENCE
IN A COLD ROOM
I DREAM OF REGRETS
SO PAST AND FURIOUS
THAT I FLUNG LIKE FOOD
INTO EVERY STARVATION
THE WAY MY ANGRY MOTHER ONCE
THREW RICE AGAINST A WALL
* but * oh * but * oh *
I have a vision of
such silence and calm
a lifting of everything
like a huge fluttering cloth
before it is dropped
over a table or a bed
that these last few matches
I sacrifice to incense
that I use for solitude
when every dark of me unfolds
to patient celebration
(prev. pub. in Poet News, 2/90
and Medusa’s Kitchen, 1/12/10)
We are at once alone and not alone,
oblique with sorrow,
caught in a seam.
You dance toward the center
I catch your falling.
What does it mean?
(prev. pub. in Poems for All, #907
and Brevities #15, 2004)
Joyce Odam, our Tuesday's Rose, has swept through this morning with tales of “Angry Winter Nights”, our Seed of the Week, telling us about fierce storms both inside ourselves and outside with those stormy skies. And the seagulls! Always the seagulls and the beach with Joyce, “kept afloat/by slow untiring wings.”
Our new Seed of the Week is “Always Chasing Buses”. Send your poems, photos & artwork about this (or any other) subject to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.