Night Gallery

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What Leaves May Come

Dance of the Shadow Leaves, a Triptych.
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Drum

Drum over me
God,
I am water
under the bridge,
threaded with silk
and sewn with bones
flowing,
undammed,
into the percussive
folds of a liquid body,
my name
and past
ceded
to babbles of foam
upon a colossal, quivering
crash of silence.

 

 

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Solitude #43

In my solitude,
I have found myself
wanting to shrink
even further,
into a speck of light,
like lint from a star’s navel,
or a velvety swath of dark
absented from its tailored source;
 in my solitude,
I long to amount
to nothing
except a low-humming,
radiant pulse,
unsigned
to deeds
and claims,
and masks
worn out
to fade.

 

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Burn

The out of womb blues,
torch song on code red alert–
Slow burning for home.
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Baby Romantics

Baby Byron didn’t yet have language,
so he twisted and contorted
his face into a mask, a distressed aria
sounding his discomfort.
That it was existential, and not hunger, thirst,
tiredness, or physical pain, meant nothing
to him. Without language
as a stingy placeholder, the word Existential
was no more than a whiff of flatulence,
or evil wind stirring the mobile
of planets and stars above his head,
that he gawked at night after night,
amused by their rotation and melody.
He was, lately, gripped with an urge
to toddle from point A to B,
two-legged, as he had seen Baby Blake do.
Baby Blake, angel-locked, always smelling
of sour milk and dandelions,
and gurgling verses that brushed against
Baby Byron’s soft cheek like so many
wet feathers. Baby Wordsworth, he was a mouthful,
and he’d randomly strike Baby Byron on the head
with that rattly club he carried around.
Baby Wordsworth’s fierce tactics
could bring hot to Baby Byron’s face,
and water, stinging, slashed
pink on pink. If Baby Byron could
have found the words and made them
obey his tongue, he might have
expressed his utter contempt
not only for Baby Blake and Baby Wordsworth,
but also for the imbecilic gestures
which he made, seemingly involuntarily.
There was a palsied, halting, jilted
quality to the things deep inside him
from which he demanded
grace and fluency.
Yet, despite his yearning, he shit himself.
Needed a running tap
of breast from which to draw.
If left on his back, as he frequently was
(planets, stars, round and round,
again and again, oh god, nausea)
he’d waggle his limbs
like an epileptic beetle.
Is this all there is, Baby Byron pondered,
not in words or language, but more of a pressure
just below his navel. Terror, awe,
and a mutable series of paroxysms?
Through the vertical slats, Baby Byron
could hear Baby Blake reciting an ode.
Or choking on a piece of small hard plastic.
It was hard to interpret Baby Blake.
Baby Byron shifted his attention
to the cosmic mobile. For the first time,
he noticed that one of the stars
was slightly darker than the others, a stain
setting it apart as unique. Pleased with his discovery,
Baby Byron claimed the dark star as his own,
his short reach
toward eternity
an awful row
and first word away.
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Dive

Writer’s deep sea task,
how to breathe underwater–
Air of faith, no mask.
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Cherish

camellia
Blossom,
hue of vetted contradiction,
between cherish and fade–
Hours, like thorns, slow burn
to chasten.
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Many Ghosts

wem_ghost_fire
Many people in my life have been consumed by fiction. Fiction is a monster. Fiction is a glutton. Like ego, like an insatiable wrath, it never gets enough, is never satisfied. Fiction has consumed and absorbed many people in my life, many realities. There have been many casualties.
Once people pass into fiction, dream, memory, I am left with ghosts. I am left with spectral imprints. I have loved too many ghosts. I have spent so much time and energy loving ghosts. I have had relationships with many different ghosts. Or maybe it’s the same ghost, with cosmetic variations. Hard to say.
When reality slips into unreality, you lose Love’s warm vital touch. There is nothing quite like Love’s warm vital touch. It is quite human, quite humanizing. When you fall in love with unreality, when you spend a lot of time and energy relating to and loving ghosts, you yourself become a ghost. You become a ghost haunting your own life. I wonder what it would feel like to not haunt my own life? To love the reality of another person. To honor and nourish Love’s warm vital touch, the livingness of Love’s touch. I wonder.
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Josef Sudek

Josef-Sudek-in-Mionsi-Forest-1970
It was his mantra–
Hurry slowly, syllables
resigned to vigil.
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