Without these things
of rainbow and insight
I stand, fragmented
by despair, fleeting as daylight,
composed of failed hopes
and held-back tears.
Young, like truth is
when first found,
are the swollen joys
of new understandings.
And secret still is
the unsculpted future
that rises unexpected without
The muses of this universe hold faith
and doubt equally
in their impregnated beams,
and me with my hideous cowardice
that grows stronger with age, hides
the things that challenge
and direct me to an edge, ignoring the
simple surrender needed
to grow and to deeply be
This city sobs
when hearing its own wind die,
takes in its industrious hands
the sluggish and the bitter.
And the few who rebuke
this smog-breathing serpent
lean depleted in each other’s arms,
hoping to embody something beyond
the world or melancholic pain.
And here, wanting, each slave is born, each
mistrust upheld like a perfected attitude.
People hold conviction without vision,
walking the subway floors, staring
out to empty highways.
Stale are the nutrients of each wished-on star.
Stale ambition bleating into
each small ear.
Lament now the corpses in caverns,
in parades and family restaurants.
Lament the eclipsed beauty of impulse,
the restraint of every compelling break-a-way.
For just one hope to tread behind
Jesus’ sandal, freeze,
then crack all chains.
I would delight
in the struggles of individuals
conquering the downcast clouds
that hinder and fill a soul
with stagnant woe.
But like I am, sick with human
needs, political and ungenerous, I face
the storms and hide my pleas inside the
Naked, lovers divulge
their infinite shades. Lovers
lean like dried up trees against
an autumn’s ground, lean
for mercy and for each
But love they do
in the wintry airs
trying to overcome
personality, embedded habits,
each other’s foreign sphere.
I am pale, forgetful,
I lie awake all night taken down,
breathing the vaporous stench of
decay, in nightmares,
while kneeling before
the brightest flower.
I watch you thinning,
my anguish private,
for none will accept my five open
senses, the reasons for my withered will.
I cannot embrace my interior
with humble affection, but must
know the labyrinth’s breathing tide;
mysteries renounced, complexities explained
by pensive reason.
Where I sit, seeking the inaccessible cure,
madness comes to kill through dissection,
definition and spiritual systems decreed.
In water I am numb,
drifting dazed through dark
I think of whispering to your waiting grave,
of netting grief and memory,
starving each of their sustenance
But then alone, in death, in life,
connection is our bread,
our higher air that beckons and repairs
the cracks that would kill on
How long to hold you in this sandpit sinking?
How long to watch your unwilling heart fade?
That I am through with annihilating snares
Through with the brutes of cold consuming despair
Through your life yielding to
sudden disease, through the closed door
that echoes strong sighs like screams
down corridors of love’s
last stroke . . .
Longing for nether fields,
I want to run
in these subterranean, primal places, want
limbs of fire, eternally
red and dancing over the waking darkness.
I want to seal you
into the living Divine.
I am suspended, believing
the horror will not come, believing
death will not make
a skeleton out of you.
- 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.