Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Squeaky Wheels

The market was miles away
and fleeing further, but the
night was creeping clumsily on.

one foot in front of the other

in a weekly ritual, his boots were worn
right through, right through the green
moss you could see his trail through
the squishy known unknown.

week after week, year after year,
he never saw a soul

through barrow and bog
he pushed his cart, the thump
of the wheels lamenting
motion. which is why he
noticed the absence of sound
for a heartbeat.
silence is an incantation,
invocation. she comes
in it.

she is alabaster,
a sculpture
carved of wind
and ice. he closes his eyes, inhales
the apparition – a sacrifice in smoke –
he smells the veil thinning between the worlds

he shivers with the
bogbreath, the breeze
all hot and cold. it sparks
all around him, an
unseen carnal force.

her arms caress
his wrinkled hands

he lets go the handle
of his cart,
reaches out to her

but she, like him,
is no more here

there is only
the cart

its wheels
the moment
before it

(For a prompt at Real Toads: Ghost stories using at least 3 of these words: fairy, portal, sacrifice, feast, smoke, winter, slaughter, spirit, veil, ritual, trick, & disguise.

I used: ritual, veil, sacrifice, & smoke, I think. Enjoy, and good night!)

Monday, October 20, 2014

From When Our Moon Became a Sun

Can you feel the fire inside you?
Forget it for tonight. Mask it with
the world around, feed it with your
flight. Lanterns swerve like fairy lights,
dodging sober shadows; matches strike.

sparklers sing. cigarettes light.

Somebodies stroll arm in arm, gaze at stars,
cry or laugh, walk alone, sip the past, we all
sink dark into our minds. We crave, we itch,
anticipate: sharpest flints that conflagrate.

Our signals smoke, swarm through
city loops. Round the concrete
paths and blocks, boxes
glass and moving
trucks, round the trees
pruned in their beds,
round the sky to
red smog wed.

Zaps run through
our beating blood,
flooding veins and bursting walls,
building lacks of barriers,

seeking: freedom, found
away. out of body, faint
indeed, branded still, scorches fade
into wild. woods. The edge-of-the-city fox
knows all, knows fall, its saffron leaves,
the pubs of candied corn and trail of acorn orbs.
The fox knows when the moon will rise,
it can place the smell of the harkening skies -
though time makes no scent. *Sniff.*

The fox smells the city air and finds
scents that make no sense. The moon within
the smoke, within the dreams, within
the humans, lies asleep. The Equinox
reduced to itchy patches, ancient,
embered chambers in their raw meaty hearts, balanced by
the choking blood, the steady beat, the broken glowing
from the ill-flamed furnace fanning
the forgotten memory:

the first fire lit by human hands, the
howl of triumph, ravenous flash of the flames
of knowledge leaping up. The world shifts drunk
under the gaze of this smoke-glazed moon, the selfsame
moon that reigned the night, the god of dark binding
humans blind. The selfsame humans with their restless hands,
blistered, fumbling in the dark, throwing out the rope,
lassoing the moon in the name of itchy, aching hope.

lassoed, tamed, and fought against:
the night, a brave new dawn.

(This poem was inspired by Pink.Girl.Ink.'s "Warning the Stars" prompt. The prompt's pretty sweet. Word? Word! Well, word-le. Wordle: it's a thing. Find out what at Pink.Girl.Ink!

Anywho, the prompt resonated with my muse. Images of electric light, magical illuminated moments contrasted to the mystique of night not clothed in manufactured light. A recent camping trip inspired me to contemplate darkness, grateful both for the opportunity to witness a wild night and for the ability to blot it out. There was some ensuing guilt and awe for what humankind has accomplished, and fear and hope for what's to come.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

For the love of...

Art, Books, and Kids

This summer I worked in the children's department of my local library. Now, this library is pretty much the hub of the community, so it looks nice, has caring employees, and some pretty impressive technology. The children's department alone could fit two of my entire hometown library in it, and it has a pirate ship, two gerbils, a treehouse, and hands-on activities. I was lucky enough that when I had to leave, they let me decorate the Storytime windows.

Because of time limitations, I used The Rasterbator (imagine explaining that Website title to curious and insistent adolescent boys who want to use the program to make their own posters) for the bus and some of the background foliage. Most plant and wildlife is local to Illinois, and I added a warning about poison ivy and oak. It's only been a few months since these windows went up, but, man, it only feels like a day. That's autumn, for you.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Falling for Autumn

"Sole Cicada"

(One of my newer shadow boxes, called "Sweeping of Dreams")

both ways.

The trees clicked,
and I thought if I
could just listen
hard enough
I might
some archetypal

I found it at my feet,
the poor cicada,
between death and life

the rippling
the ambered
ready to

Those claws like pincers
tiring, desperate
grappling hooks pulling
up, up, over, down
up - anywhere,
because all the climbing is
about is

Must hold on
to let go.

There must have been
a RIPping noise
but I only saw
a giant
from a
sandy shell,
black mirror eyes
no longer writhing

and then, there! growing, stretching
shuffling wet green wings
sailing in the wind.

The shell remains,

They are fallen


In the new-found silence,
autumn has come.

(This poem may be a repost, I'm not sure. If it is, it's been a while! I found this old poem recently. As I read it through, connecting with its transformative crunch, I remember disliking it for a very long time. It didn't flow right, it didn't sit right... You know how it goes. Funny how different poems resonate at different times. This one has me almost-smiling now. My next post will also be transformation themed - but much more visual. Enjoy!)

Friday, October 3, 2014

"The Imps of St. Martin's Land"

Ah, yes, they tell me I was green
when they found me, me and my brother,
down by the wolfpit. We had passed our
tenth years, mangled as that hole in the ground,
thorny and worn and hungry. Ravenous.
Well, me (and my brother)
had brown hair and ten toes, ten little fingers
and buttony noses. We were perfect

…except for our skin.
Green, green as sin.

“Imps!” they called us,
but we didn’t know. Back then,
our tongues were still our own.
I can’t remember any of that old, sweet
language now, just the new harsh words,
their meaning forced down our lobes.
We heard the worst things, then.

Imps and devils, spirits, elves,
bringers of bad fortune, foes,
bad omens,
groans. Angry glares.
Or worse, the pointed silence
the absence of kindness,
meanness, any –ness at all.

The stillness stretches
into a column, rising,
a column of shadows, moving:
a million moths whispering up,
up to the roof, domed stone. A
real place. A place I’ve been. My
fingertips trace the pillar, dimpled cold.
St. Martin’s Land. My home. My home!

My brother and I grew up there,
our walls the womb of earth itself.
We all lived here, my brother, my
mother, my father, the others.
We lit fires in those pits, and went swimming
down that cavern. We sang each other
stories, danced, filled the village with laugh-
ter, laughter, laughter so we never saw the sun, so
we never had a day. We had our own
soothing words, language of touch, each other’s hands
crafting nets, weaving baskets, scavenging,
cooking herb pies, catching fish, healing, hunting
courage. Were we green? I don’t remember.
I remember the glow of the fungus at night
and the glint of the cavepearls in the fire’s
dying light. I remember the smell of the fur
that’s my bed. I remember my brother,
his woolly head, his dank brown breath
wisps, his smile a crooked line of bright.

Of course, he’s dead. They took away
his dancing, then his song, then his smile.
They took away the words that painted
his world. How could he go on?
As the green drained from his skin,
he clutched my hand, pink on pink,
and in usurper’s tongue exhaled:
“Back to St. Martin’s Land!”

(This is from a prompt over at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads; looking at images of caves, I was reminded of the 12th century old tale I read about today: two green children are found near Woolpit, UK, speaking a language no one can understand. They are raised, and they turn pink, and the brother dies. Later, the girl tells of the great, underground St. Martin's Land, where everyone was green. Wikipedia mentions some interesting theories of why children inspiring the story might have been green.)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Closing the Divide

The end of times
is inevitable,
but I was not expecting
it to stop.

The clock.

It wasn’t just my heart,
breath clinging
half within – half without.
It was the glinty green fly
diving toward the patch of grass.
It was the styro coffee cup
cast down, about to clash with
a skateboarder – whose eyes
were scrunched mid-sneeze.
It was the cloud passing the sun,
the shadow, sudden
sick purple as a prune.


My ears.
How loud the heartbeats,
like sirens, the sudden breaking
of barriers,

the flash of blue between our
eyes, the call of the ordinary wild:

the scrunch and buzz,
the splash between the
darkest end of time
and the blistering breach
of the beginning.

(And so ends Splashing the Divide.)