To Far. A Video Poem by Janet Kuypers.

To Far. Video Poem. Janet Kuypers.
for The YouTube Poets TV Pilot project
Edited by Sara L Russell.


Janet Kuypers 1

Janet Kuypers is a professional performance artist, awriter, art director, webmaster and photographer.
She has had over 70 books published and close to 40 audio CD sets released, and is published in books, magazines and on the internet around thousands of times for her writing and art work in her professional career, profiled in such magazines as Nation and Discover U,where she won the award as Poetry Ambassador and was nominated as Poet of the Year. She has also been highlighted on radio stations, and has appeared on television for poetry repeatedly.
She turned her writing into performance art on her own and together with musical groups, and ran a monthly Podcast of her work for years, as well mixed JK Radio — an Internet radio station — into Scars Internet Radio (radio stations which ran between 2005-2009). She ran the Chaotic Radio show through and (2006-2007). She has performed spoken word and music across the country – in the spring of 1998 she embarked on a national poetry tour, with featured performances, among other venues, at the Albuquerque Spoken Word Festival during the National Poetry Slam; her bands have had concerts in Chicago and in Alaska; in 2003 she hosted and performed at a weekly poetry and music open mike (called Sing Your Life), and from 2002 through 2005 performed quarterly performance art. Since 2010 Janet Kuypers has also hosted the weekly Chicago poetry open mic at the Cafe (, where she also runs a weekly poetry podcast.
You can see video links and short poems as tweets at, and all of her book releases and video releases from the Cafe and her performance art shows can be seen at, to learn more about her you can see her publishing organization, Scars Publications, on line at, or also
Key of Mist. Guadalupe Grande.Translated.Amparo Arróspide.Robin Ouzman Hislop Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop

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To all you guys
dat got hitched on da rebound
take some worthwhile advice—
Blood is thickah den watah
if you not da faddah of da kids.

It doesn’t mattah
if dey young or oldah
she going defend dem
like wun mama lion
wit teeth and claws exposed.

If you taught
you wuz numbah one in her life
you got anadah ting coming.

Da maternal urge
going trump your opinion
every day of da week.

No sense get frustrated
and make tings moa worse
cause you going only lose in da end.

Dat wedding band of yours
going be in da pawn shop
before you know it
and you going be in wun apartment
while she gets da house.

No try grab wun greased pole
and tink you going win da debate
cause da situation going drive you crazy
and out da door.

It would be wise
to listen to dis warning—
If you like stay married
just accept dat you are numbah 2
if she get one or moa kids in front of you.
Joe Balaz writes in Hawaiian Islands Pidgin (Hawai’i Creole English) and in American-English. He edited Ho’omanoa: An Anthology of Contemporary Hawaiian Literature. Some of his recent Pidgin writing has appeared in Rattle, Juked, Otoliths, and Hawai’i Review, among others. Balaz is an avid supporter of Hawaiian Islands Pidgin writing in the expanding context of World Literature. He presently lives in Cleveland, Ohio.
Key of Mist. Guadalupe Grande.Translated.Amparo Arróspide.Robin Ouzman Hislop Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop
Key of Mist. Guadalupe Grande.Translated.Amparo Arróspide.Robin Ouzman Hislop Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop

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Pure Air (readings of nature and life) Poem by Richard Lloyd Cederberg

Pure Air (readings of nature and life)

Word-painting the sights and sounds of ephemeral scenes. Three sunsets in three different locales.


“I know that our bodies where created to thrive only in pure air, and the scenes in which pure air is found. There is not a fragment in all nature, for every relative fragment of one thing is a full harmonious unit in itself.” John Muir. From: ‘A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf’. 1916



Twilight lastly wanes.
Darkness, like a window
Shade, slowly descends
upon the surroundings…


Within moments a pall
of mist has coalesced; a
moist residue feathering
‘round about…

Almost imperceptibly;

the sounds of Gulls and
Sandpipers drift into the distance…


Mingled with a shifting of
ocean breezes, goose-bumps move
like tiny wheels, in waves of trembling,

up and down the spine…


Squinting eyes observe
a diaphanous mist forming halos
‘round the shifting coruscation of
distant streetlights…


Steady, in the northernmost parts,
the moon rises from behind a transom
of steep ridges onto a glistening inlet…


With slivers of serpentine
Incandescence; moonlight hastens
upon the footpath in a wash of
pallid vividness…


We watch, in cooling night air,
as the lesser light frolics on the
Ocean’s surface in ashen flames…


From the imbiber’s pantheon,
across the boulevard, laughter’s cacophony
echoes fitfully across sand and water…


Slowly, the nomadic path of
nighttime envelopes both of us in a
cloak of darkened cerulean hues…




Setting sun extends
shadow fingers across
the vast meadows…


Broadening shadows blanket

drought-parched grasses

in a dimming shroud…


Balanced in thirds
and sevenths, twilight’s
Heart tones sketch the day’s
memories in pallid brushstrokes…


Scrub-jay, Quail, Raven, Sparrow, Chickadee,

and Mud-hen sing exuberantly, across the lake,

in a chorus of salient transition…

These nocturnal cantatas
wrap the soul in a chorus of
elevated harmony…


Remembering sunlight’s warmth;

soaring affections succumb to

the panoptic chill of eventide…


With the threshold crossed,
two spirits spread their wings
and take flight into the radiance
of an unsullied moon…




Across far-flung horizons –
below the suns apex – hues
of late afternoon commingle with

the easily swayed aspects of moments…


Burdened from rising pressures,
surface water furrows like wrinkled
old fruit, as storm-clouds form west
along the Northern Shorelines…


Aboard the wooden Barque:

passenger’s rollick on the leeward deck

where beamish stewards serve snacks, and
budding libertines eyeball possibilities…


The measured clicking of heels echo

near the fo’c’sle where eager faces float socially;

and where, in shifting breezes, the long flaxen

hair of youth hover’s naturally…


A resonance of laughter widens
‘round long-stemmed flutes; amber
liquid splashing drops along rounded
glass edges smudged with lipstick and spit…


The eyes and ears draw all these

darting fragments (of sight and sound)

into the mind, so the adventurous soul can  

paint with words in subtle or bold images…


Time takes us there,
where light and dark commingle,
where hope and fact ignite the flames
of understanding, and where each
breath is present and past…


Continually morphing, in light and shadow,
the line of night traverses the rounded surface.
Slowly, in fluid motion, the once resplendent sun
gradually dips down into another time of respite…


© richard lloyd cederberg




Richard is the progeny of Swedish and Norwegian immigrants. He was born in Chicago Illinois. Richard began his journey into the arts at age six. For twelve years he played classical trumpet. The British incursion of music, however, influenced him to put down the trumpet and take-up acoustic and electric guitar, and, to write songs and lyrics. He toured professionally for ten years. In 1995 Richard was privileged to design and build his own Midi-centered Recording Studio ~ Taylor & Grace ~ where he worked diligently until 2002. During that time he composed, and multi-track recorded, over 500 compositions and has two CD’s (‘WHAT LOVE HAS DONE’ and ‘THE PATH’) to his personal credit.
Richard’s interest in writing continues. His poetic invention is integrative and employs various elements: nature, history, relationships (past and present), parlance, alliteration, metaphor, characterization, spirituality, faith, eschatology, art, and subtext. Avoiding the middle-road; he enjoys the challenge of poetic stylization: Rhythmical, Poetic/Prose, Triolets, Syllable formats, Story-Poems, Freeform, Haiku, Tanka, Haibun, and Acrostic. Richard’s work has been (and is) featured in a wide variety of anthologies, compendiums, and e-zines including: Poetry Life and Times, Artvilla, Motherbird, and The Path. Richard was nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize.
Books include: 1. A MONUMENTAL JOURNEY… 2. IN SEARCH OF THE FIRST TRIBE… 3. THE UNDERGROUND RIVER… 4. BEYOND UNDERSTANDING. The Monumental Journey Series is a confluence of adventure, mystery,  and historical fiction. A new adventure/thriller, BETWEEN THE CRACKS has been published. Also, a new eschatological drama – AFTER WE WERE HUMAN – is being written. Follow the lives of several friends as a race of ageless multi-dimensional humans comes back to Earth with their Creator to rule and reign for 1000 years.

Key of Mist. Guadalupe Grande.Translated.Amparo Arróspide.Robin Ouzman Hislop Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop


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Tremor. Collected Poems by Gary Beck. Video Poem. Entropy

A poetry collection by

Gary Beck

For Immediate Release

Poet Gary Beck once again captivates with his newest collection, Tremors. As a driving force for creative expression, outrage has dissipated and turned into complacency and disconnection. But this complicated life continues to present many disruptions that grow or diminish, but are often disturbing. And as we encounter these bumps in the road, they are often seen from a place of fear and confusion, leading us to ponder whether civilization is declining or if it is merely our own aging bodies and minds.

“Your poems are lovely. You rock.” – Bibliophilos Wanderlust

“Loved your poems.” – Ocean Diamond Magazine

“Powerful work.” – The Houston Literary Review

When I was young
time seemed to pass
tortoise slow
agonizing me
trapped in school confines,
sterile rooms,
draining the spirit
from anyone
not facile.
Time speeded up
as I grew up,
though it took a while
for me to notice
and Albert Einstein
further confused me,
relatively speaking,
with theories requiring math
beyond my entropy.
As I grew older
time passed faster,
school days waiting for the bell,
decaying memories.
Vacations whizzed by
before I could enjoy them
and hardly refreshed
rushed back to burdens.
As old age creeps closer
brief time flees faster
and I am uncertain
that I can still accomplish
anything meaningful
in remaining days.
Tremors is a 124 page poetry book. Available in paperback with a retail price of $10.99.
ISBN: 1941058647. Published through Winter Goose Publishing. Available now through all major retailers. For info or a review copy, contact: Tremors. Gary Beck

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. He has 11 published chapbooks and 2 more accepted for publication. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions, Fault Lines & Tremors (Winter Goose Publishing). Perturbations, Rude Awakenings and The Remission of Order will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. Conditioned Response (Nazar Look). Resonance (Dreaming Big Publications). Virtual Living will be published by Thurston Howl Publications. His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press), Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing) and Call to Valor (Gnome on Pigs Productions). Sudden Conflicts will be published by Lillicat Publishers and State of Rage by Rainy Day Reads Publishing. His short story collection, A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). Now I Accuse and other stories will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City. &
Key of Mist. Guadalupe Grande.Translated.Amparo Arróspide.Robin Ouzman Hislop Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop

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Little Dancer — The Degas Poems by Lyn Lifshin

Little Dancer — The Degas Poems

by Lyn Lifshin

Paperback, 40 pages, $14.00 (list)
ISBN: 0989310671

Available at Amazon

Publisher: NightBallet Press

To receive a copy by mail and to view special offers please visit
NightBallet Press

Femme Eterna


The newest poem from Lyn Lifshin, imagines and explores the world of Marie Van Goethem, the “Little Dancer” sculpted by Edgar Degas. The Degas Poems contains 29 poems.

Now loved, Degas’ original wax version of the little dancer was hated,though his paintings had been greeted enthusiastically.  His sculpture of The Little Dancer, Aged 14, was considered shocking and unsettling, like a little monkey.  It is said one father cried, ‘God forbid my daughter should become a dancer.’  Many were shocked by her pose and the material used: human hair, beeswax, silk.  Degas loved the opera and ballet but this statue was called ‘repulsive’ and ‘vicious,’ a threat to society.  It forced viewers to look at the seamy side of life since most of the young girls came from very poor slums and working class families.  Others were horrified that she seemed to champion ugliness and depravity.  Degas never again exhibited the sculpture.  And, though he painted ballerinas all his life, The Little Dancer was largely forgotten until it was rediscovered with dozens of other sculptures.  His fascination with making sculpture was little know in his lifetime, unlike his portraits, history paintings, scenes from modern life, the world of horse racig, and the theater and ballet.

Christina Zawadiwsky,

“We now recognize The Little Dancer sculpture by Degas as arresting and compelling, but there was a time when she was considered scandalous and disturbing.  Lyn Lifshin’s poems celebrate her creation as a symbol of so many young and impoverished French female dancers who attempted to fill our world with grace, energy, and beauty.  And Lifshin’s insightful and incisive Little Dancer poems remind us to remember her name, Marie Van Goethem, so that she will never fade into obscurity.”

—Christina Zawadiwsky, author of The Hand On The Head Of Lazarus and recipient of the National Endowment Award.

Poems from Little Dancer—The Degas Poems


was Degas in love with her?
Obsessed? Driven? Her
hair bound in probably
stolen ribbons. Not one image
but four. Her hands behind
her as if cuffed, a prisoner
of her poverty, exchanging
her body on stage or in
some rich patron’s bed,
offering a fantasy of ideal
femininity under the
sheets or on pointe on
the stage. And did Degas,
so fascinated by her, want
to know in every way,
what was inside her?


a winged urchin,
gamin aile, the little dancer must
have hypnotized Degas.
Unlike most ballerinas who
never talked, Marie was
feisty, not afraid to
speak her mind. She and
Degas must have bickered.
Could she have imagined all
the statues of her that
would be replicated, after
Degas’ death, at the family’s
request, in bronze. She
couldn’t know there’d be
only one of her in wax, the
only one he’d actually
put his hands on, dressed
in a silk tutu with real
human hair and linen slippers,
maybe her own slippers.
her own DNA


Not pretty or ugly but a
look that not only combines
attributes of both but suggests
a deeper sense of conflict between
appearance and inner life.

The little dancer,
Degas’ little rat
from the slums of Paris.
Fascinated by the street
urchin, Degas wrote a sonnet
about such a girl, that she
might have a good life
without losing the “race of
the street.” Unlike white
marble, something to
admire, brown wax invited
something to be studied,
dissected and penetrated, in
all its implications. Surly,
a mix of arrogance and fear
the little dancer, mysterious
and somehow challenging
men to fantasize that
whatever they do to her body
they can’t have or know her




Lyn Lifshin has published over 140 books and chapbooks and edited three anthologies of women’s writing including Tangled Vines that stayed in print 20 years. She has several books from Black Sparrow books. Her web site, shows the variety of her work from the equine books, The Licorice Daughter: My Year with Ruffian and Barbaro: Beyond Brokenness to recent books about dance: Ballroom, Knife Edge and Absinthe: The Tango Poems. Other new books include For the Roses, poems for Joni Mitchell, All The Poets Who Touched Me; A Girl goes Into The Woods; Malala, Tangled as the Alphabet: The Istanbul Poems. Also just out: Secretariat: The Red Freak, The Miracle Malala and Luminous Women: Enheducanna, Scheherazade and Nefertiti.

Key of Mist. Guadalupe Grande.Translated.Amparo Arróspide.Robin Ouzman Hislop Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop

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Time. Video Poem. Cornelia Păun Heinzel



Cornelia Păun Heinzel is an Romanian writer, journalist, member of International Press, Professor Ph.D. in Robotics with the scientific title of Doctor of Industrial Robots 1998, the Bucharest Polytechnic University, Master in Educational Management and Evaluation, Faculty of Psychology, University of Bucharest, in 2002, Master in Teaching Subjects Philological Faculty of Letters, University of Bucharest, licensed of Philology, Romanian Language and Literature – French Language and Literature, Faculty of Letters, University of Brasov, Diplomat mechanical engineer, specializing in Technology of Machine Construction, Faculty of TCM, Brasov University in higher education and research, a field in which she has worked until today and electrical engineering, specializing in Transport, Polytechnic University of Bucharest. In 2007-2013 she trained experts of the Ministry of Education in Educational Management. She completed three graduate courses and in 2012-2013 received a grant to Germany, MUNCHEN GOETHE INSTITUTE in the area of specialization – MULTIMEDIA FüRERSCHEIN DaF- Das Internet als Quelle FÜR Materialien und Projekte . She has published six books and over 200 articles – published in Romania and abroad. Anthologie Multilingua. Cornelia Heinzel
Key of Mist. Guadalupe Grande.Translated.Amparo Arróspide.Robin Ouzman Hislop Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop

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Jumana. A Prose Narrative Poem by Allison Grayhurst (Parts 1 to 11)



Part 1


            Those crazy days waking up to suicides and promises of camping trips. I needed to feel some warmth in all those corners of metal and skin, but I was not ready. So I waited. Crouching against the morning’s first light, I waited.

            Great surges of compassion always left me feeling inadequate, that’s why I avoided them. I could never really distinguish the difference between love and interference. So I waited, looking for words, left with nothing but the wait.

            For a long time now my life has burned under the rule of imagination. I crumbled in that harsh reality, unable to bear its demand. Imagination! I cried – Where am I to follow you? Over the hills, burying my face in a bundle of daffodils? No, I could not. So I leaned backward to balance the weight of the shadow. I knew imagination was not strong enough to feel the ecstasy of love’s touch. The pierce of blindness lifted (so many times). Again, it was the inadequacy that remained with me every waking hour.

            Then one day, came a wonderful thing. Love. At first there was such a rarity in its touch. But after a while I understood it had always been there, it just needed a focus to make itself apparent. At first, I didn’t believe, so I tried for a weapon in hope of seeing a sharpness behind its hypnotic glare. But nothing came. Only silence, and a rhythm, resting far beneath.

            So I hid, trying to conceal the wars that were bottled up and contained deep within. Then just like that, amidst my confusion, love called to me . . . It’s not what you have, but how you receive it! And I saw.

            There, my live was (rich in the deepest of senses) and still I stood with turned eyes. I pushed everything aside to be but one thing, to be confusion. But when he came into my life, the dull hysteria simply vanished. I relaxed. There was no more ugliness hovering over my eyes, slowly peeling them blind. I felt a crackle of horror, then it was gone. The tremble ceased. In that moment with full force, came freedom.

             Like a slap on the ocean’s ground, it came, rippling a great tide. The twisted face of misery lost its value. It was a miracle . . . to actually be plagued by nothing. There was no struggle, only sight. Only love. The seams of existence cracked, and along with them, the skeleton’s life I held and named from vast experience. I was alone, without potential, without hesitation. The panic of the heart, the scream of inner deficiency, all of that, past.

            How can I explain? It was the last solution. There was nothing else. It was the breakdown. So I said my testimony: How I attempted for life with a series of convulsing shocks. How I sought stimulation more than anything else. I admitted it all. It was then I knew – insanity would never set me on fire, no matter how hot it burnt. It just went on burning, stuck between the lips, waiting.

            I suppose I have always been the lucky one. My strength never lay in endurance, but in change. Yes, I have been lucky.

            I scrambled to the surface, touching the fine exterior. He brought me that, the touch. I let a tear escape. There was no whimper, only that solitary tear. It was the last solution. It was the breakdown.

            He sang. Sensing me inside my most secret attempt to care, he sang. Over and over, singing. Leaving only a soft lullaby, there, tenderly to guide my way.




Part 2



            All my life I have known, anything I ever touched I would have to desert. Now the moon, nothing but a fluff of glimmering haze, teases me. Though the stars are hidden behind clouds, I know the sky has watchers. Don’t they know? An artist never seeks to love or be loved, an artist only seeks to fall in love.

            They always told me to be careful of the small things that enter if the mind is allowed its own movement. But it has never been that way with me. It was always God that snuck upon me when I wanted to be frivolous, or in the very least, personal. Now there is only pain throttling inside my mind: The fire of the solitary pulse. Immortality is just a stain, and the belief in it, just vanity. Humble me. Humble me enough so I can learn.

            Will I stand forever; without fear, just the wind making sparks where it shouldn’t? Now there is only space. I am thrown to nothing with nothing in hand. I am infested with the hollow. How wickedly it scratches further in. All the time, further in. And this is the paradox: As I widen, the possibilities of who I might be, narrow.

            I never cared much for all the things the world is made of. I am bigger than this, was my shout – I am bigger, and I refuse to participate. They forced me to feel all these things then told me to write them down. As if, only then, I have really felt them. My validity to this existence? My blackboard?

            The sky belches forth its loudest cry, screaming in its torment the Ache. Even the expression of intensity must change. Even intensity can get boring – like an indulgence.

            I am called out to face the paradox: I am not a writer. I am not a lover. I am not a kind one. I am none of those things people are. Each day I retreat further away from the world because I do not like the things it brings. That is not hard, but to have none of the treasures of solitude? That is hard. I have exhausted myself into the abyss. I have no surplus and no special thing to call my own. It sounds ridiculous, but I guess I’ve always know it would come down to this – desertion.

            But now, as I touch it, even the experience of pain is snatched from me. All I have ever touched has grown tough and haunted. What will they do when they find out? Will they kill? Will they . . . laugh? A lifetime seems to pass by in one single day.

            Why could I never rest? Why the inner explosion each day? I wonder, is this the great difference between monks and artists? Monks hand over their lives to God, it is surrender. But with artists . . . God steals their lives away from them?




Part 3


            This is my amazement. The cold walker licking the earth, spitting salvia and squandering God for one breath of pleasure. This is my amazement. The one who walks, bag in hand, smile on face, happiness on the tongue. This is my amazement. Those two out there, holding hands, talking in moderation and quiet tones. I see them wrinkled. I see them profound, at peace, and rocking. Sleep will overcome them. Sleep will prepare their death. Death will not be a violation on their lives. This is my amazement. Those who wipe catastrophe away with tears and eventual overcoming. I abandon you.         

            To breathe in. To breathe out. This is my addiction. I may squint but I will never perish. Is this a place where none can follow? Is this reality? Reality is isolating. God, what hangs furiously? What hangs triumphantly? I have seen him. I have touched the arrow. It makes me long. It makes me suffer. How can I leave things equal? How can I hold this love and not be made small? Will this love reduce me? Will it make me an amazement?

            I am the dropping that warms the bird’s wings into flight. So must I admit the criminal? Weigh me down. Nourish me. My soul is pressed against an illusion. My soul has no patience for these things. The world is afflicted and I don’t care. Weigh me down. My soul has fallen in love.

            They built a bridge, a gateway. Love, the great revealer. But now I cry out my claim: Loneliness, I can bear. Love, I cannot.

            I am listless. The pressure sticks. The pressure of prophecy. Who will bleed their name on the sidewalk? Who is it that calls me into this love? Can’t I save the world and despise it at once? Can’t I give them a new truth even if I am a virgin to the old? Why do I pass this gate? I detest the union of blood against blood. The flesh sticks. The flesh hangs on. I have seen. I have tasted humiliation. I have tasted, fleeing full force into the darkness, where others feared but I knew only safety. Tell me, who cannot receive? Am I one of those?

            My caution always took the form of risk. I knew I was strong enough for any collapse, but success would leave me shattered. Anything prolonged bores me. Why make me this arrow? This is my amazement.

            So much has been sacrificed for certainty. The need for a constant fierce movement has denied me so much of ordinary life. Flare not mystery – that is my salvation. My jaw cracks through my flesh and names me wild. My soul has fallen in love.

            They made me a disciple of the rock. Now they bring me the wave. Now they bring the bridge into the outside world. Will I be filled with love just to know its torment?

            It is only brief. Like those, I will walk past, build my mountain, and then join its ground. Time outlives love. I have watched them in heavy labour. I have seen the course.

            No, your bridge is a faraway thing. I abandon.




Part 4


            What a difficult thing to gain back perspective. This is what I have come to discover: In the end even the most trusted of companions will fail you. Reality is isolating.

            I finally saw, my greatest fear was I wouldn’t get slaughtered. My greatest fear was that he would actually love me back. I never did have much tolerance for this thing called ‘joy’.

            But what calls me out? I know any true solitary person is never pathetic. Have I reached my threshold? Something passes over: Strokes of unexplainable depth; strokes of wonderment.

            Most of my life I have spent in preparation of love. My whole life has been nothing more than the re-assurance of my internal life. Every little thing out there was just the support-cast of my condition. I made this god with my every movement. This god, relied on me for its existence.

            My soul is lodged in discharge. My soul is radical, intolerant of worship, intolerant of love. Does deception live within the attitude of indifference? Is everything done in desperation, just the remnants of a lie? Does the door swing, swing, then let loose?

            My catalyst has always been force. But now they tell me – To burn is not enough. They tell me – Experience gives compassion. They tell me there is choice. They tell me – Your sensitivity is your strength. I tell them – But it’s killing me… They do not know. They do not understand.




Part 5


            If say, the cold war of uncertainty could pass me now… How can happiness be accompanied by such danger? I know the deathly feel of his kindness. I know the power of joy. I know of requital.

            Lovers can rise above their separate worth, so gently, lovers in love. I cry to be let loose. I feel like a child pushed into a mood of weakness. The undercurrent. What has suffered? What has broken its paralysis?

            Behind the sun lies the moon’s cool shadow just waiting to be born. But here, in bright daylight, I blink.

            I am witch, not a prophet. A coiler, not a flyer. I want to wriggle in the undercurrent with warmth and delight. I want to fall into the second depth of water. I am not a novice. I have gained the rite of passage. I pant for the undercurrent. I want to move my hand through the flame, to cup it, to say – I have touched without possession. I have touched fire, and I smile, unscorched. I want to tell them.

            This is not grey wisdom, this is the ape revised. The ape worshipped for its own power of evolution. The ape stands apart from the human; it is its own miracle. It is an urging, a scraping into the second depth where life is beautiful, where there is rescue and paradox means completion, where the impossible is natural.

            My mouth is a bread crumb offering the last of my riches. What is the price? Paying is no longer the question. Paying has tripped and fallen on the gravedigger. Paying is abolished. Now the wind flows between us. No ladder. No sacrifice. Now God and I laugh freely.

            I say love is the ultimate danger, the only safety. I say love is what is on the fringe of a scream. Anything unbroken, and yet, still falling. That is love. Love is what rests in the undercurrent. Love is the virtue that stretches itself . . .




Part 6


            I have already heard the news. But what is this? The pluck? I know what I seek. I am thick and tearful, but I will last. And he will see me shine someday. He does not know, but I like the sun. I like the afternoon with nobody around. And even as the seasons move from one thing to another, time will vanish. And seeing the leaves fall, the snow drift, the birds sing, we will not be able to call it ‘God’. It will be a period when people take on a new approach. Never again powdered. Never again snapped. Say, whirlwind. Say, love.

            The night outside twitters grey and used. But I have asked for freshness. I smell him everywhere. Stirred and spontaneous, we will be again someday. But where is he now? Locked in some cubicle he calls ‘dark hole’? An artist’s definition: to live this life in service. Just to have him say – I know.

            I have touched my existence through his tongue. He had my whitest offer, my prayer (no matter how subtle) he contained it all.

            I do not want to recover from him. But my instinct is to exile and it is hard. He does not know, but I have friction pumping into my pores.

            Today I wrote him a letter and it went like this…

Dear love, you were my greatest maturity. You tormented me from behind. You were my remembering. I bow to your wind – o my dart!




Part 7


            From the very first sight of him, I made him my friend. All my life I have tried to live by more than survival. These were the motions of insanity.

            Tuck me in the undercurrent where life is scarcely visible.

            They thrust us into a corner. Into the sullen mystery, and brought us presents too: a warm slice of death; a toy for safe keeping in our tougher hours of pain. What are we to do? We have no discipline, only hunger.

            Equality was pressing hard into the places I left open. I said – let me fall into you. I said – you trample on forsaken ground and that is why I love you. As soft as a broken limb.

            And I saw him like a hard knot resting in my throat. And I wanted to yell out. And I wanted to hold him close. But once (only once) and it’s gone forever. Against the movement. Against the cry. Isn’t love always the same love?

            There was not much to forgive, just to turn on the lights. He did not run away. I know, he just ran.




Part 8


            No one can touch as I coil away, secretly pleading for him to follow. No one can make amendments. Smile or curse, I smoulder alone. Solitude never lacks company, only commitment.

            Darkness sliced the worst of possibilities. But now, let me move my strength to this parable: What are the possibilities? Because he has failed me, has the whole thing been pointless? I commend his honesty, not his fear.

            I said – Fine. It is because I understood. But maybe that was the betrayal – Fine, I understand.

            My hands! Soon I will crush my skull between them crying out – Dedication! When I was in my room he told me – Swim, do not squirm. Do not squirm, bite down. But the force inside the squirm… didn’t he know?

            At seven o’clock tomorrow morning we’ll go looking for our tribe. I can picture it now, arm and arm, waiting for the street lights to go off, waiting for our god to come back home.

            These are my possibilities – reject of collapse. Every wisp of revolt has passed under my skin, and I multiplied. It was the striving, that was my psychology. Didn’t he know? I strove and nothing more. I have tasted love. I have tasted betrayal; walking down lone dark streets, praying to my god to make it home. Is this what I deserve, all wrapped up in fire and cloth, beating my head against my hands? Is this what I deserve, pounding on hardened walls, softly?




Part 9


            I long hid in the ocean’s core chanting for people to pass. I was free to dominate. I was free to escape. I knew my condition. I hid, I plotted. I killed my loneliness. I served my brightest star. My personal sun. In my cave, I was capable of ambition.

            Then they called out to me – Marriage. I heard the echo of belief. In my darkness prowled an intruder. I longed to rouse his temper, to find, to destroy, him. But he had patience. He whispered. So I consented and asked for only one thing, a quick death. I cried – I am not a monk, I am a human being. I made the wind rise. I pierced my own wound.

            But my sun did not know how to die. Once my sun, now my enemy. It was godlike. It was innocent. It must be overthrown. But how? When he has walked away? Why give me the vision then demand me to desert it?

            They showed me a ghost. My lover was a phantom and still they said – Follow him. How was I to revolt, lay down my solitary flag for a phantom? Was I to defend a kingdom that vanished the moment it was touched? They asked me to invade. They asked me – one who is weary, one who has never tasted soil. So I defeated my sun and was rewarded with dust. Not even my sun’s own ashes, just the dirt of another world – that was my prize. They handed me sand and said – Now build. Now construct.

            My sun would not forgive. It sentenced me a traitor. Such bright things do know forgiveness. To it, every moment is immortal. It does not pass, but remains. My sun lives outside of forgiveness. It banished me. It must be overthrown.

            Again, I was deceived into the taking up of arms. Again, I was made a ploy, a heretic for a cause I only glimpsed and never chose. It struck me down.      

            Never again will I stand tiptoe on the face of the earth and dream of my strength. I am such a tiny thing, struck, stuck.

            In the name of this riddle, exhausted, I decline. Now show me: What are my instructions?

            “To live without him.

            And still, even harder,

            to love without him.”




Part 10


            He left me a monument, something I promise to carry, no matter where the journey leads. I spent my life pivoting on God – that has been my only relationship. Maybe in knowing him, I found a cause. Maybe, I am blessed.

            I walk in silence. Freedom has only shown me its face when I yielded. Healing happens in layers. No more relapses. No more jagged movements. Retrograding is for the stars, not for the soul.

            I made my spirit a swamp. I encroached, I devoured. Then they came, found me with my delicacies and made me an outcast. It was the only way.

            I long lived on the doorstep, sucking in what wasn’t mine. I was induced by the smell of my prey. I loved its illness. I became pregnant with its sick flavour. But now, my soul relies on something different. Now my soul is devoted.

            There is nothing that threatens me now. My solitude is not a threat. To know him still stings, but just like that, in layers, it will ripen into something yet unnamed. Have I been given my last chance? Still I lay, wondering.

            Two massive waves colliding, that was what I knew. Then love passed my way, telling me of fantastic things. Telling me – Unless you believe in magic, your life will be empty of it. Telling me of a place where I belong, where the rigid eye does not accuse and nothing resigns itself to being foul and scabby, and yet, is foul and scabby. A place where pity has vanished.

            All things must be complete when they unite. People must not tempt with the lukewarm, it is only unsatisfying. To touch everything with only half ourselves, that is the human destruction. That is what is subtle and disastrous. We always tempt with the half-made. We are not willing to make room for ‘the full’. It is the doctrine of pleasure, the doctrine of war.

            I know of capacity. I now know of potential. I hear the chants of my tribe. For a long time we have been separated. We ramble only because we have lost our language. Centuries have made us foreign. But we will be delivered. The hunger will deliver. And when it does, we will be delivered from it, never to hunger again.

            There is inability in being born just an artist. Will they call me outgrown? Will they crack me and name me inaudible? In the end, I wonder.

            How strange it is to be a soul on this earth. How strange it is to finally know: After all the shaking of bars, I was never captured. How strange it is to know, and then to lose, love.




Part 11


            The answer, I wanted to say. But I grew numb mute in this understanding. And I fell. I fell to my knees in ceaseless wonder. I fell in love.

            This news is all I have.

            He must have been an angel, an angel who could avoid the storm, who could dodge raindrops. But now his mission has passed. There, look out on the street, it is him walking, running away. Say, love. Say, remarkable!


            I was never converted. I was only stretched.





Copyright © 1989 by Allison Grayhurst




Bio: Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Three of her poems have been nominated for Sundress Publications “Best of the Net” 2015, and she has over 880 poems published in more than 390 international journals and anthologies. Her book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers, a Porcepic Book, in Vancouver in 1995. Since then she has published twelve other books of poetry and seven 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 December 2012. In 2014 her chapbook Surrogate Dharma was published by Kind of a Hurricane Press, Barometric Pressures Author Series. In 2015, her book No Raft – No Ocean was published by Scars Publications. More recently, her book Make the Wind was published in 2016 by Scars Publications. As well, her book Trial and Witness – selected poems, was published in 2016 by Creative Talents Unleashed (CTU Publishing Group). She is a vegan. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay;
            Some of the places my work has appeared in include Parabola (Alone & Together print issue summer 2012); Elephant Journal; Literary Orphans; Blue Fifth Review; The American Aesthetic; Agave Magazine; JuxtaProse Literary Magazine, Drunk Monkeys; South Florida Arts Journal; Gris-Gris; The Muse – An International Journal of Poetry, Storm Cellar, morphrog (sister publication of Frogmore Papers); New Binary Press Anthology; The Brooklyn Voice; Straylight Literary Magazine (print); 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.

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