Sunday, March 03, 2024

Edgeless Dreaming

 —Poetry by Sam Barbee, 
Winston-Salem, NC
—Paintings Courtesy of Public Domain


I misplaced a latest rhyme. 
Never wrote it down.  Pre-destined
as a new favorite, this chime possessed
energy, elation for any gurgling chorus.
Grief saturates this silence.  We
all spend one night in paradise,
in a palace, watching the hourglass.
From the beach house balcony,
I scan shoreline where gutted sharks
were hooked overnight.  After breakfast,
a mermaid escorts me to this land of angry fins. 
Fetid sand sharks grin, reanimated
as if remembering past victims,
and scold me how disingenuous
to taunt myself that life may not
supply me rhymes.  Advise to forgive
myself over any mislaid couplets.
I detect a final wheeze from sharks’
fresh-death-faces, one last whisper
providing definitive directions
into dunes where sun goes to die.

Polite cameo at a wilted family
function.  Hold babies, smooth
foreheads and hands to kiss. 
Blah-blah repartee.  Festive platters. 
Nothing sparse or dense.  I sidestep
particulars, allude archiving
those departed.  My progeny
smile, slide out early. 
Back to my sanctum, I inventory
slight epiphanies.  Semi-
precious shadows, fragments
tucked into shelves.  Hand-painted
china roses—pastels bunched
in a porcelain vase.  My unburdened
children will one day share
each idle heirloom.  Vitrified love
and indiscriminate keepsakes skimmed
with daylight.  Tin-tinctured hair, 
my blue eyes hardened to silver. 
Dilemmas of a fossilized bouquet
boxed in papier-mâché.
                                   I must forsake
all this, venture outside, scarred
and reckless, where steeled wind
deadwoods trees.  New horizon of
blameless clouds—fortune unforetold.
A daydream mosaic like my cache
of cracked pleasures in the attic.
I place an unpolished brass statuette
beside lampshades screaming
accent colors.  A simple dance really,
after years practicing alone.

Knowing I will never dance on water
does not deter my clapping to music.
Innuendo helps shake hostility loose,
tender day into a crucifixion posture.
Someone inside me must extract each spike,
ignore twitch, not inhale my exhale.
Reflexive mistakes and quicker recovery,
errors and resolution handstand as equals.
I collect pink rose petals that tumble daily.
A vow is a vow is a vow.  Buttons buttons.
My cheap stuff proves the best I’ll ever hold until
next year’s cheap stuff, next stuff, next year.
Propped on my forearm beside your down pillow,
ear cupped to the dream-whisper, hoping
not to hear another serration
capture another’s name.
A tabby-cat raises resting head
to proclaim her peace has been disturbed,
pupils fixed like a doe hearing twig snap.
Squirrel on bark, mantis under leaf,
your lidless eyes do not wince.
Lover, your affection contours unconditionally,
never expect revision.  You belittle
my retentions, then offer a farewell
cigarette knowing I never smoked. 
Your inner-child emerges, drags
her rag doll like a denied fidelity—
loose-jointed legacy—reunited
now a comforting heirloom. 
For you, love, sly with proffered liquor,
maybe an innocuous nip under
a starburst.  I cannot sleep, breath
compressed, waylaid with dread—
only recollect words, and peel them
so light bounces off their shiny pith. 
Night reels along my edgeless dreaming. 
Weary of water, wind; sun, moon,
my private elegies to fill your void. 

Sunrise through trees burns like a lantern sways
above unkindled leaves, pyres still cold.
They escort dawn to gash early-hour temptations. 
Sin’s vernacular is still sinful.  I expect my day
to fissure, and constrict.  Psalms and proverbs
to escort symmetry to a visible place. 
Anything can alter the moment:
a new shade of lipstick, a siren in the night,
a late train out of town.
I am no backup singer—shower solo off-key,
imperfect pitch.  Yearning spotlight glare
center mic. where I can reimagine
standard songs.  Reinterpretations destined
to become a hit single. 
                                       I balk without
reasoning with my critics.  Watch leaves pile
against my white fence.  Echoes of nicked
prayers left for those I forget to proclaim.
I find a charm to defuse my faults.  Enchant
today’s renewals and censures.  Transport
me to the edge of re-awareness, away
from sameness, to measure yesterday's crimson
Always another pasture to lay your head,
or cropped lawn for toes and fingers to winnow. 
On a morning so bright without ash in the wind, 
sunrise retained, and palms offer fronds
to ignite the Easter fire.

Today’s Little-Nip:

Hold fast to dreams,
for if dreams die, life
is a broken-winged
bird that cannot fly.

—Langston Hughes


—Medusa, with thanks to Sam Barbee for visiting us today with his fine poetry!
 Sam Barbee

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