At A Slant. A Poem by Robin Ouzman Hislop

(1.)
 
(i)
 
I approach the horizon of my 70th the year, at a slant.
Opposite the bars of the kitchen window the gable end
wall is stuffed with straw, stones, sand, birds
& weird contortions.
 
O cellular automata paying lip service to an age of cryptography,
decipher me; a digit in time saves nine.
 
(ii.)
 
The wall is yellow now, a mingling crumble:
– carte blanche in the sun’s heat it stands to fall
– a block across which entangled photons might reach
– to inform the space already transfixed in the light.
 
On this plane of observation,
which might be the special attraction of the fractal symmetry
of this organism with its bacteria in my nose
together with the properties of impregnated asteroids.

 
(2.)
 
(i.)
 
On the bus. 27/05/14:
 
under the hat, squaring the ridge, on the gravey train:
 
traffic is more representive of our specie nowadays,
an extension of our inner space,
put back what you get out of it,
like the carnivore industry, from gravey to the grave.
 
(ii.)
 
Airport lounge. 2.30pm 27/5/14:
 
extended into our traffic but not our cattle, we eat them, whereas our traffic eats us.
 
(iii.)
 
Departures Gates:
 
We’re not meat as we’re shuffled through Controle,
milled into queue, loaded into seats to be transported across the skies:
 
our meat machines are the word made flesh from which we grow to love, not hate!
 
(iv.)
 
Late in the Departures Lounge.
 
Night drinks a darkening,
day in its deceit harvests green
with all its carnage unseen
beneath our conscious sheen
for were the green gone
how could night become
wth a hey & a ho & a noddy
noddy hey ho.
 
(v.)
 
On the floor stands an orange cow beside the snack bar,
bedecked in flags of nations & tasty invites.
 
You can even touch it, it will not bite.
 
The Delicatessen sports legs of smoked ham & spirits,
a carboard cut out black bull rages in ferocious stance,
a headless torreador, richly costumed brings it down,
no need for fight or flight, it’s there to tame your hunger.

 
(3.)
 
(i)
 
Day 3, in the shaving mirror.
 
She was like a digital doll,
young, almost beautiful,
compiled to instruct us by ritual mannerism
to go through that door in the wall with a video camera
in every corner watching over us all.
 
Whose going to watch it, I wonder,
perhaps Watson, who one day
will be able to react on itself, in AI.
 
(ii.)
 
The con of life:
 
the weirdness of its melodramatic sham,
how good we are at yesterday & tomorrow,
always better than before
& being had in the process by it.

 
(4.)
 
(i.)
 
At a slant – the street. 12/06/14:
 
parades predatory robots, rapien vampires,
a pageantry of prawns & satellites flying
computer sausage balloons:
 
an android addresses the multitude with the question,
who has not the free will to be immortal.
 
(ii.)
 
Skull Moon,
looming in your implacable fashion,
are we facing extinction?
 
You live longer than we do,
tuned into the fine tuning of the cosmic sea,
where we swim only to drown on the tides
drawn by the skull beneath the waves.
 
(iii.)
 
Life is a shadow in a phantom metropolis,
that fights with its own shadow in the phantom deception of conflict:
 
transubstantiation,
we are special because between the bonobo & the baboon
we strike a happy medium, we grow the meat we eat,
the world is our property.

 
(5.)
 
(i.)
 
A walk in the cemetery:
 
no shining sarcophagus,
no black & silver gleaming obelisks,
no painted vases on filmy fields,
here the bank’s greenery gathers them,
tipped & tilted awry, dark stained moss brown,
not a tint of blood red.
 
They’re a huddle of mute sameness,
a closeness without plasticity,
nature harvests no funeral,
life simply goes on, appearances are deceptive.
 
(ii.)
 
Slant:
 
summer day,
chicks sally forth in summer shorts,
sequestering looks & selecting sequestered looks,
the world is a mating call.
 
(iii.)
 
From the moor:
 
nature unleashed on this wind where ancient whiffs
of nostalgia blow from land & sea,
were my predecessors really so free, or like me,
trapped in this dimension of existence?
 
Dressed & undressed, the hairless ape,
dressed & undressed, a dance of rigmarole,
until we became a costume part,
a marmet puppet of coloured rags & roll of flags
 
(iv.)
 
Out of town 9/7/14:
 
shunting from the station,
arches overhead, slanting,
produces an OCD rush in the brain
‘underneath the arches i dreamed my life away’
together with musical refrain.
 
The arch trance
– an iteration of ink blots or patches of light & dark.

 
(6.)
 
(i)
 
Shopping mall:
 
float in the slip stream of an air conditioned sunlight,
a euphoria of flowing flesh, a solid fixed epiphany of the age.
 
Saccades pass through windows,
which mirror time where nothing changes
in reflected distance, as an object of existence,
(there yet might be no external world):
 
ephemeral moments that intervene
to describe reality as slices of dream.

 
(7.)
 
(i.)
 
Cathedral city.
 
And seized the sudden primate brain &
plunged it into never waking obsession;
 
& today amidst the shambling shadows,
the meaty pastiche, the murky depths of our children’s
children with their emblazoned banners,
 
copies of a faded vain glory freedom,
buried blood beneath a soaked & soggy green
that will once again spring into radiant sheen.
 
(ii.)
 
Derby hill.
 
Amongst its dark satanic mill
where the falcon soars the fell
over milk & honey dairy swell
a video cam on each farm wall
to toil the land to till & kill.

 
(8.)
 
(i.)
 
Dancing tossed:
 
a measure of uncertainty where the environment begins
(but ony seems) in the drift of infinity
& where it never finishes in its last ultimate instance
– on the pityless wave …
 
(ii.)
 
Here we are so so big & so so tiny small,
are we a particle or are we a cell,
that damned eternal interval – silencio.

 
(9.)
 
Day One Return Flight in the Shaving Mirror. (12/9/14)
 
Dear Homo Sapient,
it’s a pity we can’t be more than we are
but it’s the same for all of us!
 
At the heart of all politics is religion,
at the heart of all religion is gossip mongering,
the birth of a nation state is a limited liability company,
a moral fiction.

 
(10.)
 
Click.
 
In the brain
& again the rain
& before the click
i can’t locate it –
what shall i do,
shall i let it stall,
or unwind it all?
The click’s the call – Click.
 
(11.)
 
This shoe string bartered world
where every corner shrieks
the garbled parrot’s song
the fabricated icon
where dreams of sick apes
are unfurled.
 
(12.)
 
What is the final emotion
where we programme every physical thing
information into a time machine
on a haunted meme?

 
(13.)
 
(i.)
 
Rubbish dump:
 
language limits the world’s slide.
 
(ii.)
 
Snap shots of the distant dust,
where the dead cascade on the silver linings of memories.
 
(iii.)
 
An image of the day where night emerges through
the mirrored light & the abyss begins folded in a dream.
 
(iv.)
 
The jingle jangle in the tip with it’s rubble shards.
 
(v.)
 
Smell of shit & twilight’s shadowy shapes
flickering in a primordial zone of petrified pheromones.
 
(vi.)
 
Life is better than us, the world is more than our plots,
our masquerade where all the characters are flawed,
so many poems have been written about the moon:
 
metaphors of nevermore.
 
15.
 
(i.)
 
What is a multitude,
we are as helpless as the leaves rustled by a breeze
on a tree which can answer neither yes nor no
or predict its stance beyond the quantification
of the imponderable comparables.
 
(ii.)
 
Nothing moves in the breach that engulfs us in its bifurcation of nothingness.
 
16.
 
(i.)
 
A glint of flint,
ground gravel,
a spruce of sprig,
broken twig,
scuttling insect,
scuffed toe,
sombrero,
there’s no flow,
membranous landscapes
slide show.
 
(ii.)
 
But not this life that drags on
its innumerable concerns from hand to mouth, the law!
that is not -what it is like,
that which – we want to know.

 
17.
 
World without doors
after the before that
doors do not speak
 
doors that let you in
doors that let you out
doors that lock you down
 
Tunes that determine words
words that determine tunes
 
Break in space
eat in public place
 
Do not touch
it must have a name
 
Like emergence
hurrah for war
 
After the before that
doors do not speak
 
World without doors
weather & time
the patches in between.

 
18.
 
The world is our closure & time its property that neither comes nor goes,
unlike the snow that freezes & thaws in its tarnished whiteness,
or as consciousness that like a pendulum swings to & fro
& manufactures dream in the instants between:
age is made of memories & forgetting.
 
19.
 
Munching a grape skin
& mentally humming a tune
it’s rhythm resonates between
his teeth.
 
20.
 
We’ve forged our own manacles of time,
condemned ourselves to the bondage of servitude
in the name of freedom.
The salmon swimming up stream is freer than us,
our pets are freer than us.
 
We’ve sentenced ourselves to no reprieve & sold out.
Having emerged from shadows we fear our return
to them & have let them make us their prisoners,
for what, – that power might have it’s day! 
 
 
 
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Brief Visions of Contemporary Life. A Poem by Ian Irvine Hobson

I

This gaudy tourist beach
  retired scum of 
      exploit the poor 
      Australia. Playing
golf, faking orgasm, moved
  to pornographic
      cunt/cock fix. 
Sea change? 
  Take me
      back to the ghetto! Alive 
      and troubled.

II

If you work hard to
  privatise your
      testicles, lick
  the cum of 
      ‘benchmark’ and
      ‘quota’; you’ll
  accumulate enough super to
retire here,
      among the buggies
      and boredom.

III

All those four wheel drive
      pseudo - jeeps, with
  with bobbed blonde narcissists
      and three kids to
piano this, and soccer that
  dancing this and tutoring
  that —
such clumsy tanks on the roads
  at twilight 
  crawling home to their
McMansion garages. She
      eyes me like a
      night in the swamp.

IV

A morning where I want to 
   XXXX the world, want
to belch and fart 
   fumes of bodily liberation 
and laugh at the monkeys
   red - assed with scrofula. The 
monkeys off to their paper mausoleums 
   seeking adrenaline-junky highs
from contact sport, all 
   those sado - masochistic males
      banging into each other
      like painted fridges —
   millions of them, aiming between
      human goalposts. I

laugh at the monkeys, red - assed
      with scrofula.

 
 
Ian Irvine Photo

Ian Irvine is an Australian-based poet/lyricist, fiction writer and non-fiction writer:
 
His work has featured in many Australian and international publications, including Fire (UK) ‘Anthology of 20th Century and Contemporary Poets,’ (2008) which contained the work of poets from over 60 nations. His work has also appeared in a number of Australian national poetry anthologies, and he is the author of three books and co-editor of many more (including Scintillae 2012, an anthology of work by over 50 Victorian and international writers and poets). He currently teaches writing and literature at Bendigo TAFE and Victoria University (Melbourne) and lives with fellow writer Sue King-Smith and their children on a 5 acre block near Bendigo, Australia.
 
Links related to his work are as follows:
 
http://authorsden.com/ianirvine
http://www.scribd.com/IanHobson
 
 
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Housing. A Poem by Frederick Pollack

 
 
 
Dead poets wake in a tremendous castle,
all dark beams, fireplaces, stone stone stone.
Pop-era people flash on Middle-earth,
but older types (like Byron, deadly with boredom)
set them straight. They point out and explain
runes, the wolf and ouroboros
motifs, the giant scattered meadhorns
and outsized chairs – this is
Valhalla. Someone academic, peering
through a window-slit at a misty waste,
asks where the heroes are, who train by hacking
each other apart all day, then drink all night?
Not to mention the Valkyries …
And Coleridge, more than usually stoned,
laughs, Do you think someone would fight for us?
(At which Petőfi and D’Annunzio
frown.) But now the latest crop of dead
nag about dinner. Since most of the place is a freezer
and always full, they’re well-supplied
with venison and auroch, though Marianne Moore
says yet again she would kill for a salad.
Something possesses Ashbery, who tries
to pull an ornamental sword
from a wall, and collapses. Where –
someone asks inevitably – are the gods?
But not even the oldest inmate,
not Pound or the Beowulf-poet, knows
they are off forever trashing the Cabaret Voltaire.

 
 
Frederick Pollock 1
 
 
Author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS, both published by Story Line Press. A collection of shorter poems, A POVERTY OF WORDS, forthcoming in 2015 from Prolific Press. Has appeared in Hudson Review, Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, Die Gazette (Munich), The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Representations, Magma (UK), Iota (UK), Bateau, Fulcrum, etc. Online, poems have appeared in Big Bridge, Hamilton Stone Review, Diagram, BlazeVox, The New Hampshire Review, Mudlark, Occupoetry, Faircloth Review, Triggerfish, etc. Adjunct professor creative writing George Washington University.

 
 
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Mascot. A Poem by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

 
The cheerleaders
raise a baby elephant over their heads
They are deceptively strong
from years of gymnastics, weightlifting
and cheering
 
Their cheering is so powerful
the other teams default in fear
The cheerleaders’ teams are the champions
without ever dribbling a ball
or giving or receiving a concussion on the gridiron
 
If opponents dare show up
they throw the baby elephant at them
mow them down like
bowling pins
 
The elephant hates this
hates his life
but he tolerates it
 
He knows it’s better than ‘growing up
to be killed for ivory
 
 

Mitchell Poet
 
 
Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois’ poems and fictions have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He is a regular contributor to The Prague Revue, and has been thrice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for 99 cents from Kindle and Nook or as a Print Edition
 

 
 
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A Modest Operation of Exclusion. A Poem by R.W. Haynes

 
 
A modest operation of exclusion
Extracts the rain-frog from the desert sands,
The cornered mouse from his confusion,
The vaguely dreaming poet from drowsy lands,
And it even explains, eventually,
Why we do not know, even vaguely,
How we wish happiness to be.
And the operator standing by,
Whose merciful, providential hands
Make this story whole so that I
Throw such eloquence at the silent sky?
 
You see how it is. Ever since I fell
Into the Niagara from that hot-air balloon,
I dream of smiling crocodiles in Hell
Feeding me sherbet with a golden spoon.

 
 

On the Savannah River 2013

 
 

R. W. Haynes has taught literature at Texas A&M International University since 1992. His recent interests include the early British sonnet, and he is completing a second book on the Texas playwright and screenwriter Horton Foote (1916-2009). In his poetry, Haynes seeks to celebrate life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness without sounding any more dissonant notes than he has to. In fiction, he works toward grasping that part of the past which made its mark on his generation. He enjoys teaching drama, especially the Greeks, Ibsen, and Shakespeare, and he devoutly hopes for a stunning literary Renaissance in South Texas.

 
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We Hiked West. A Poem by Bhuwan Thapaliya

 
We hiked west through the woods
to the tunes of an old Chinese FM radio.
Far away, far away from the anguish
of the malnourished children
scouring railway tracks for food
that may have fallen from passing trains.
 
Far away, far away from the smell
of the rot and sewage of an industrial charade.
Far away, far away from the massacre
in the Narayanhiti
and the Ceausescu’s celibacy tax.
 
Far away , very far away from the
echoes of those black churches in America
where worshipers are seized by the Holy Spirit.
 
We hiked west through the woods.
 
Anxious, exhausted, frail,
we sat around a log fire,
on the edge of the forests
chatting and visualizing a different
vision of the future.
 
But after a while,
the profusion
of sights and sounds
near the flower market
in the Ason Bazaar
invited us home yet again.
 
 
We can’t hike forever, can we?

 
 
 
Bhuwanthapaliya picture

Bhuwan Thapaliya works as an economist, and is the author of four poetry collections. Thapaliya’s books include the recently released Safa Tempo: Poems New and Selected (Nirala Publication, New Delhi), and Our Nepal, Our Pride (Cyberwit.net). Poetry by Thapaliya has been included in The New Pleiades Anthology of Poetry and Tonight: An Anthology of World Love Poetry, as well as in literary journals such as Urhalpool, MahMag, Kritya, FOLLY, The Vallance Review, Nuvein Magazine, Foundling Review, Poetry Life and Times, Poets Against the War, Voices in Wartime, Taj Mahal Review, and more.
 
Author
Amazon.com/Our Nepal Pride Bhuwan Thapaliya
 
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The Name of Cameron. A Poem by Sara L Russell

What will they say of you in future times?
Were they duped by your duplicity
or did you fall on your double-edged sword?
Was the devil we knew any better than the unknown?

The future has a way of arriving early.
Are you ready now, for what it yet may bring?
Will you be knighted, or, benighted and beleaguered,
Fall fallow by the wayside of your ways?

Will the name of Cameron carry on,
Whatever else is lost or left behind?
Will David slay the apocolyptic giant of global warming,
yet terminate the service of National Health?

Was it wealth, or a poverty of emotional maturity
that led to such flotations and privatisations?
what sensations did you feel, did you reach referendum,
did you feel the earth move?

We never saw your manifesto made manifest.
We, the voters who voted not for you,
yet saw you rise, anticipate your fall.
Do promises count as any kind of plan?

And the future is arriving post-haste,
like a present waiting to be unwrapped.
Elections have a way of arriving early.
We are ready, with a big sharp X.

Sara Russel latest

 
Sara Louise Russell, aka PinkyAndrexa, is a UK poet and poetry ezine editor, specialising particularly in sonnets, lyric-style poetry and occasionally writing in more modern styles. She founded Poetry Life & Times and edited it from 1998 to 2006, when she handed it over to Robin Ouzman Hislop and Amparo Arrospide; Robin now runs it as Editor from Poetry Life & Times. She is currently founder and Editor of the daily paper.li journal, Poetry Lifetimes ; which is a sister publication to Poetry Life & Times. Her poems and sonnets have been published in many paper and online publications including Sonnetto Poesia, Mindful of Poetry and Autumn Leaves a monthly Poetry ezine from the late Sondra Ball. Her sonnets also currently appear in the recently published anthology of sonnets Phoenix Rising from the Ashes. She is also one of the first poets ever to be published on multimedia CD ROMs, published by Kedco Studios Inc.; the first one being “Pinky’s Little Book of Shadows”, which was featured by the UK’s national newspaper The Daily Mirror, in October 1999. (Picture link for Mirror article)Angel Fire
 
 
 
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Dad – A Eulogy. A Poem by Allison Grayhurst

“My life was my peace, now,
in the moment of my release.”

    ***

Under here in the dark
deepest dream, the cold
loss, unbearable change,
I cry out blood. I have no
overcoat, no more protection.
It is now a different light I seek,
an alchemized marrow in my bones.
Do I sing, for death is peace,
and death is the edge that slices
the tongue in two, that drains the cup
of every drink? Home – I have lost
the essential tie. I have lived with a bond
so beautiful, now broken by fate and the blue-turning
cheek. How will I know my own grief,
the shattering that eclipses all but faith?
In the newspaper turning, I smell
your hairspray, I hear your boisterous voice.
I clasp in my hands the raw fire of nevermore.
Stand close to my mirror,
and help me breathe in and out,
help me take into my own
your generous heart.

    ***

I knelt before his photograph
on the casket and we talked
of gratitude and goodbyes. I saw
compassion’s light, there, in
his dark tremendous eyes.
I felt the tearing off of seven layers of skin.
I held my hands together. Faith,
where is your shield? Your cradle
to rest my shattered spine? Each cell
is reformed by his departure. I am left
in the winter wind without clothing
or a protective tree.

    ***

Cut, the thin clouds
cut a pathway within
where loss is deep as God.
My fingers move like trains
back and forth. Ashes in an urn. Graveyard green
flavoured by tears. I whisper to him when on the gravel road.
I see him beyond the fence, in the coming
December snows. I need him like before,
when hearing children talk, when waiting
for a terrible moment to pass. He formed a giving spirit,
rooted in integrity. Angels come and go,
hovering in my pocket books and on highways
I never cross. They touch the seagulls’
outgoing breath, they write his name
on Scarborough cliffs. I will not mourn
with unholy regrets, nor would I change
the tension in his nerves.

    ***

In closets, memories pile,
their scents and wooden colours
for years at rest in unchanged
shadowed hovels. I find myself
in unfamiliar rooms, emptied
of hope and the driven smile.
I find the walls pulsing, and the floor,
a bruised body I have cried for.
In years, this hot blood of loss
will thin and this tumour of unbuffered
pain will shrink and mend. In years, I will
see his picture and spend a Christmas under a pink sun.
November winds will wrap me in
a sweet and grateful slumber.

    ***

Hammered by a kaleidoscope of memories,
through the grand “if” and the willy-nilly
confines of love. Rifts in the pavement
I walk on today, still stunned by the enormous
and the unchangeable, still frightened of my thoughts
that go into the hard void, into the unfocused
stare and the image of him lying there,
no longer. Up & down craters beyond
this century’s grasp, beyond the books
I’ve read and anguish before encountered.
He answers me in my head, wakes me at 2 am.
He protects me still, though his arms have bent
to the cold, unforgiving ash.

    ***

Appleseeds I’ll never bury.
Evergreens lean towards the greying sky.
He is there like a shadow on my back, there
in the wheat-coloured grass.
He is over the city factories,
his face resides on graffiti walls.
And on telephone wires I see him sit
with the starlings, smell him in the scent
of evening rain. I hear his stories from
the beautiful lips of children. I think
I’ll see him tomorrow again, know his
paternal warmth, the way his smile lifted
the corners of his mouth.
Time is drifting into the homes of strangers,
as death strides beside every dream
living, defiled or lost.
He surrounds me like the sounds of a streetcar
running, and I am running, struggling
to stop, lay down and to be reborn.

    ***

Ocean-cold and wooed by the tongues
of snakes. Miracles abound,
but still grief gnaws a pathway
through my torso. Trees are singing
of the flames I sleep in and the empty
days toss me to and fro, from heavy tears
to rage. How without him in the huge,
unpredictable world? How without his loud
and open gifts? Landscapes where centres break
and colours are no more. I touch the crocodile
tooth, the boiling point of all my bones.
So alone, coupled with the uncertain dark.
 
 
I miss his brown fiery eyes and how
he lived, pampering the hearts of others.
I miss him like I would my very skin, like the shell its yolk,
and the eyes, their vision – Where
is the cure? Where is the farewell
from this gruesome spell? The shock
still rivets in me. Crows spin through the clouds.
Death has been unleashed like the first feel of pain.
 
 
Believe me, you have reached me. Believe me,
this enemy won’t win. I will stand tall for you.
I will hold your hand until morning.

    ***

Pale in the December sky,
the sun is but an insect’s dream.
I leap from cabooses onto the icy tracks.
There are people in the playground,
happy that Christmas is near. There are
buildings with stained-glass windows,
reminding me of the aloneness we each are
bound to endure. Now my father, I wake to find
you hour upon hour at night. I talk to you
in half-conscious streams. In the afternoon,
I break down. Crows sit on my porch,
then follow me through the peopled-street
where I swear your shoes have travelled, once
in a bachelor’s dream. And mother is all
sliced-up inside. Days and days we spend
looking at old photos, trying to dispel
her sorrow and devouring regrets.
My husband holds me like the best
of friends do. He carries me over
 
 
these desert fires. I want to tell you
how good was your influence, how soft
my aching eyes. I want to know you again
after I die, like you were in this life –
my strong, my steadfast guide.

    ***

Old factory fields in mid-December’s light.
Vacant barns and rows of suburban homes.
You pushed me on the swing
and gave me courage to dive.
Sunsets in Spain and the sounds
of the typewriter at 4 am are now part
of my muscles and nerves – you are in me
like a fledgling in its nest or the drive
behind my every restless year. You knew
how the great dream fell, how rage can find
the form of forgiveness, and the bridge
between our two stubborn intensities.
You were my ally in the social sphere, my
guardian in the tower, my place of safety
and self-belief. You held me near
when the curtain opened, and my childhood
fastened to a ravenous storm.

    ***

I live in a room of brown-papered walls,
TV screens and empty teacups. I want
to give up like the hand that lets go
of the cliff or the orphaned boy
left on the streets alone. I’m trying
to keep my head steady, but no abstractions
 
 
relieve me, only pins and needles in my brain
and the intestinal twist that has found
its way within like a permanent companion.
People call, but only this empty dread
makes its bed in my heart.
 
 
I know it is over – the special way we needed
one another. I know I must take the road
to lead me on, past the dried flowers
and 1 pm breakdowns. Shakespeare at
the dinner table and omelettes in the
afternoons – I won’t forget a single
kindness, the way you prayed
on that darkest day in my adolescent life.
Ceilings crack overhead. I knife
a million strangers. I curse the cars
going by and the cockroach on the kitchen
floor. There are no distractions from death.
There are no soothing things to do –
but to wait behind this cold and sealed door.

    ***

The cloven hoof of
this and that blood’s pardon.
I feel the acorn hit,
the crossing of the Nile.
I feel like an Indian summer,
and all the sweat pouring into
the brass cup of mortal knowing.
Time, in time no love is broken,
not the pound pound pound of his
nature, not the be-all of his voice.
I will never hear that voice again,
 
 
not his loud centre ringing, his
male pride, gentle in the sun.
I will never carry his water again,
or tell him – I thank God
for you. For you and your quickened
energy, for the artery of your moral
gestures that gave with ‘yes & no’,
with ‘wrong & right’, the seed
of my shelter and the over-fair justice
I believed in all my childhood life.
I thank God for your walking sound,
how the room rebounded with your
surely presence, and the smile on
your eccentric face, there, when we talked
of a grandchild. I thank God for the breathing space
you gave, and the will to live out my tale.
I thank God for the hemisphere you made
and the beautiful passions you instilled
in my heart. I thank God for you –
my weight, the reason I write
my song.

    ***

If today the closed eye
takes me to where I’ve never
been before, if I meet my father
in the mirror or in a five & dime store,
would this pressure drain like the letting
of blood, would these horror-stricken
days mean nothing now but a bitter
tossed-away cup? If he moved through
a dream saying – Do not be afraid.
Do not let your mind fracture or your lips
 
 
turn blue – would I know him like
last month or meet him with raw wonder, anew?

    The rings around my fingers.
    The friends I cannot keep.
    ***

A month crushed
in the vortex of a python’s circle.
Stale breath filling my atmosphere,
and hope is but soft warm sand
beneath the feet, is a season that
never fades, is not what my hands
can trace. I long for mornings
all to myself, to hear his voice
once more on the phone. But rocking chairs
and crossword puzzles rest vacant as
2 am streets. And birthday cakes are past
like an old person’s dreams. He returns
again at night, alive for one more week.
Rain pours onto my teeth and
nutshells are gathered by the winter’s
black and brindle squirrels.

    ***

With grace I may be replenished.
This dull anguish may be replaced
with starlight in my belly. Or with the
million winds of God’s miraculous justice,
I may return to a little one the goodness
he gave, be offered the chance to feel
the kick, to know no stronger responsibility.
The same as he (with his stoic suffering
 
 
and gregarious generosity) plucked the weeds
from my journey’s path and made me see
with moral clarity the fault of all but love –
so maybe I can be for one what he was for me.
Maybe soon my turn will come.

    ***

Before I knew my own face
in the reflection, I saw
sparrows rolling in the sand
and wished my heart open as the underpass
cars travel through. Before I knew of death
and its yellow-green smile. I offered
caramel-coated apples and chocolate bars
to placate it. But now I stand
beside its smelly aftermath. I feel
its wrenching voice fill my solitude,
and all the mad children of this and
other worlds echo their hell beneath
my many scarves and sweaters, touching
me nude with their growing black hole.
And soon I am just darkness with no size,
no boundaries or vision of outside. Soon
I am embittered by friendships I thought
I had, and mountains of rage churn like
spoilt food in my belly. I am sad too, like
the willow tree in my Montreal backyard.
Sad like my father when his mother died,
and his orphan cry lied sealed inside
like a voiceless fear. Because now he
 
 
is gone and things I often waited for
will never pass. No “Owl & The Pussycat”
for my children’s ears, no more pride in
his sideways smile, or trips to India
or English moors. He will never know
my children’s names.

    ***

Pigeons flock through the fog,
high above the park benches and lamp posts.
Guilt has no shore, but is an endless
sea where jellyfish and stingrays
make their nests and the dolphin
is no more. Our talks by the fireside
will never be again, or his drifting
to sleep on the couch in the winter’s
after-midnight air. On Christmas eve,
all my memories are soaked into
the tree’s red and blue lights. And Grandma
is gone, as well as the dog beside me.
But worst is the emptiness of his vanishing,
is the click click inside my throat
and the razor-burn on my knees. Kneel and pray,
for life is nothing but this and that thing done,
is the touching of two hearts
and the softening of brittle ways, is to keep
the soul’s challenge forefront, then to sing
around the merry table of relatives and friends,
as if immune to bitter unbelief and fear
that drives the nail inward. He is
on the windowsill looking in,
reminding me that long ago
 
 
our once colliding spirits
made the greatest of amends.

    ***

Waves of snow outside the window,
moving like pure isolation, cleansing all
with its cold fury. Last night
I hugged him in a short farewell in my head,
in the blue fog of a dream. And waking
I found peace in January calling. Outside
a city hawk circled, blessing me and mine
with its instinct so talon-strong and
close to God. Families I never knew
have opened my heart. Barnyards and lithe trees,
stretch toward the silver sun. I miss him
at the dinner table and when the wine is served,
when all the things of hopes and wonders
implode within. Into the scent of dried rose petals
death dives with mad glee. Water-towers
cut a hole through eternity. The wrinkled word
I cannot speak. The keepsakes (like hot wax
pouring onto my belly) cause a redness
that releases my broken-heart’s moan. And hanging,
– my flesh, my guilt, my grief –
now and forever merged, undeniably atoned.

    ***

Allison Grayhurst picture
 
Bio:
 

    Allison Grayhurst is a full member of the

League of Canadian Poets. She has over 450 poems published in more than 225 international journals and anthologies. Her book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers in 1995. Since then she has published eleven other books of poetry and six collections with Edge Unlimited Publishing. Prior to the publication of Somewhere Falling she had a poetry book published, Common Dream, and four chapbooks published by The Plowman. Her poetry chapbook The River is Blind was published by Ottawa publisher above/ground press in December 2012. More recently, her e-chapbook Surrogate Dharma was published by Kind of a Hurricane Press, Barometric Pressures Author Series in October 2014. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay; www.allisongrayhurst.com
 

    Some of places my work has appeared in include

Parabola (summer 2012); Literary Orphans; Blue Fifth Review; The American Aesthetic; South Florida Arts Journal; Gris-Gris; The Muse – An International Journal of Poetry, Storm Cellar, New Binary Press Anthology; The Brooklyn Voice; Straylight Literary Magazine; The Milo Review; Foliate Oak Literary Magazine; The Antigonish Review; Dalhousie Review; The New Quarterly; Wascana Review; Poetry Nottingham International; The Cape Rock; Ayris; Journal of Contemporary Anglo-Scandinavian Poetry; The Toronto Quarterly; Fogged Clarity, Boston Poetry Magazine; Decanto; White Wall Review.