Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"On Climbing Mt. Snowdon"

I walked the coast, those smooth round stones my trial of ember.
An ocean baptized me, accepted my tears with waves and tides.
I crawled pregnant hills,
listened to the stories stirring deep in ancient caves
safeguarded by crumbling stone kings.

Windswept and raw like a beet,
I screamed
when I found myself tangled
in the roots of the mountain.
Here, my tears were foreigners in the cold brown earth.

As I climbed, I
lost my bones, my breath, my flesh,
the mist of my strength struggled up, up, up-
It got stuck
on frozen waterfalls,
on pikes of icicles.
And when the spirit reconvened
by the glassy gray lake
it feared being trapped in woolly white clouds.
Shapeless, it tumbled off the path.

There was the stern glare of the Man of the Mountain,
his eyes, nose etched in stone
and thin-lined mouth of water
frowning as he gurgled and he groaned,
“Get up!”

My howling legs obeyed
over the razor-rock path
where the mountain sheep bathed in sunlight.

I climbed till the mountain birds
swooped at my face
voices whispered warnings,
whimpered, “Fool!”

I climbed ‘til I almost believed them
AND THEN I reached the peak.

A snow globe world whirred,
birds landed subserviently.

It was an ending
dimly lit doorways
and sober choices.

For a moment,
a pause.

Oceans bowed to me,
Continents shrank,
Clouds fled from me,
And the Mountain sank
to its knees

with me,
all the way.

This is my third entry for the West Coast Eisteddfod poetry contest. Have I mentioned I'm so excited about the West Coast Eisteddfod? Even though I can't be there, the fact that there is such a large passionate group of Cymru-philes in the states makes me very, very happy!

The link application doesn't seem to be working right now, so here's where you can check out the contest:

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Second entry for the West Coast Eisteddfod Poetry Contest:

Floorboards creak beneath my feet.
Darkness edges off this scene.

Bit by bit I see
ever-blue skies, pregnant,
piers painted then weathered
gray, ragged
boards that quiver when the sky
churns, sloshes,

You and I squeal like children,
put possessions overhead
between the air of river
and our painted faces.
We tap-dance-scramble to
the unwavering, brave beacon,
the curved café with walls of
glass, and steel.

Inside, water drips
down our noses.
I peel off my pea coat,
the faded sweater duster.
Remove the patchwork hat,
the shaded scarf
You lose clothing,

We sit across, exposed
staring at the meeting of sea and sky
old lovers
pricked by bitter endings,
dizzy one more time.

There was rosehip tea
and fruited cake.
We pretended to be
anything but two college kids
with barely a quid and
no borders.

There was a rainbow, after;
dome connecting coasts
separating sky and sea;
one sighed and the other mourned quietly.

That’s as close to home as I’ve ever been.

Friday, August 19, 2011

"Blood from the Wind"

Here is one of the poems I am submitting to the West Coast Esiteddfod's poetry contest:

“Blood from the Wind”
(inspired by a line from “Culwch and Olwen”)

a hundred years
in those seconds

he turned his head

the wind unwound him
blue vessel by vessel-
I peeled his skin off

At the top of the cliff,
I shouted his name
to the crabs
and the rocks
and the bitter sweet sea.

The salt air spit
him back
my tears tasted
of blood.

Like blood from the wind,
I blossomed.
From nothing
to something
was born.
Had borne all the sorrows
from all the long years
and buried them in
my womb.

Green mound of sacred earth
shrank, miscarried
as the wind brought
acidic mist.
The swirl ate the world.
No living thing.
Not one,

someone, anyone
breaking teacups,
sweeping the shards,
a sliver in the heel,
red footprints.

I followed them
but they led nowhere,
to the middle of the wind.

Fog spun,
the world turned-
I was wrapped
in a white robe.
Stars belted me
vines tethered me.
I watched the sea swell and freeze and melt and burn.
I watched cities grow and shrink and grow again,
candles, oil, electricity.
I watched tombstones become gardens
and tears become streams,
felt the piss of the world
hiss at my feet.

My soles burned.

They brought great paintings
and offerings
jewels and paper money
crops and livestock
because they thought-
They thought what?
That I could cup the sun?

My arms were too short.

They started hacking at my calves,
looking for the past or the future
in my veins.

They climbed me
leaving holes
driving stakes
plucking hairs
drawing blood…
looking for a

Pan smiled at me,
his cloven feet
dancing circles around my life.
The pain, the purity, the promise
the protest…
it could have been easier.

I doubt it.

To be alive is to be used-
bits of bone and blood
pieces scattered,
trying to find
a Whole
through a hole.

Cloudy with a chance of rain,
winds of a hundred miles per hour.

Stay indoors,
find shelter,
hold on to anything

Hold on.

I’ll crawl
to you.


The months have gone by and all of life has changed several times over... so why am I coming back to a seemingly abandoned blog?

I'm not quite sure.

My new nephew is already seven months old and eating green beans.

I've been to Wales again. It changed me, again.

I taught college classes. Now I know it's what I need to do.

I moved to Chicago and Monday I start my doctoral program at UIC.

But all of these little things I post, the little inspirations that make me tick, haven't vanished into that good night. I find myself overflowing with poems and photographs, ideas and artwork itching to get out. This blog seems as good a place as any to get them out.

Confession: I'm still working on that damn inspirational short story I promised to post forever ago. It's embarrassing.