Beautiful illusion

Beautiful illusion, this lantern-press-magician-pulling-roses-out-of-hat-poster.jpg

trying to juggle fire –

trading one ache for another.

Sun and moon withhold their light

and spend their time drinking instead.

Shoulders, steady and strong,

but cold, are small consolation

against the high-cliff dive

into welcome water.

When do heart and shadow 

walk together? Does one see

the other? Would they dance

if they met?

 

Centrifugal encounter, the quest

for the peace of another 

that renders only pieces

of another. No eye for eye,

tooth for tooth.

No. I and eye,

and tooth with tooth – grins

hiding smiles

hiding pain.

 

Beautiful encounter – when

our illusions become too illusory

even for themselves.

And shells crack.

And blood meets light.

_____________

Picture found here

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A Pint and the Brooming Hillsides

pint of bitter.jpg

Not everyone who lifts a glass

can do so with hands made

for prayer to the new gods.

The stolen reserves

of forgotten men

and their women of renown

steep in basements and gutters,

and tenements with shuttered windows.

Still, the backward glances

help remind the waffling ones.

 

It was near ten o’clock before the fellas

found their way to the table

of friends,

of insiders,

of wagging tongues and nodding heads,

of tacit agreement on disagreeables;

of the ancestors.

 

That’s when the best stories were.

That’s when I saw the words

most intended for song and not

for crouching in little doorways.

 

What was it you said before

we sat down to drink the air?

Something about

not enough garbage cans in laybys

or those fucking American hamburger joints

stealing from the coffers of your grandfather’s

croft house memories.

 

One more then, to close the wounds.

wordlessness

Sometimes he gets stuck in the dictionary so

long that his brain becomes alphabet soup.

He wears his skin tattooed with another’s thoughts.

And he waits.

No, he frets – and sour apprehensions

swim atop a slowly scumming pond

of wilted words, reeking of lost sleep.

 

And, if reflections in the coffee shop window

are meant to serve as metaphor,

they only spur on the edict

of secondary pictures mirrored from

another’s doubting face.

 

Come then, if you must,

shadows from a cold mist to

rattle and rustle the bones.

Come, take up residence beside

one with a plasticine pencil,

pliable to cautious hands –

worthless in sweaty palms,

squeezing desperately against

the inevitable.

 

In this reverie to a ghost –

vestibule in an empty house,

birthing only the vestige of coffee-stained

intentions, a writer paces –

penning wordlessness.

 

We are eucharist

You and I – we are eucharist.

We are the slow quench and

burn of wine made well from

flaming water.

 

We are from yeast – all that nourishes

made perfect in a moment,

but only after stealing a well-oiled

gaze into the mouth of dreams.

 

We are the holy cloth, drawn lightly

upon the lip of the cup, still damp

from shared spittle and wine-made blood.

It is the kiss of the saints

blended well in silver,

refined, reflective.

 

In the comfortable day, boasting

hours poured into containers shaped by

mystery, there can be no other.

Only a thin breeze of moments –

under your fingers.

_____________

Dedicated to my lover and friend of almost 30 years – my wife, Rae Kenny. 

Pushing breath from blue

By Valerie Dodge Head
By Valerie Dodge Head

We push out, breath from blue,

like the breaking waves, alone with their thoughts,

and catch ourselves among the reeds.

Passing alone through districts of enchanting knowledge,

we cough up our meal of bones, still hungry to drown

inside a conundrum bigger than our shoes.

______

Our little oceans, best of our times, rimmed ‘round

with shortening days, the noose of our shrinking

humanity; allure, the currency of dreams.

Still, one swims in what one drinks and drinks

what washes down and around all that looks

for more horizon. Let the four-quartered moon

sing what is only heard when deafness prevails.

______

The tragedy of the good, the irony of evil, foisted

upon hearts ill-suited for the journey in.

So it seems that the only way to bleed to life

is in the unmooring of our punctured ships.

There is more room to bleed when splintered lie

our longings, long held, and drawn and bloodied

souls buoy once more upon

______

the silent, soothing sea.

 

Special thanks to dear friend and colleague, Valerie Dodge-Head for her masterful artwork which inspired this piece.