As you roll the dice, you wonder if you can train a snake to uncoil slowly, so you descend in stages, arriving gently at the bottom. The
snake is an excuse to cancel the light. To return to the womb. To become a root, seeking water, having never seen a leaf, a flower in full
bloom. You feel the ladder, made of mist and hope, always two rungs short of home. But a goal is a function of desire and luck as much as
laboured ascent. The ladder serves the myth that elevation is a need. Because stars and gods live in the sky. Because the higher you go, the
further it still is. You move seven squares forward, dodging a venomous fang, not quite at the lowest step. It has been raining for days. If
there was a sky, it has collapsed into the ground. You wonder how things would work, upside-down. You turn the board around, count down from the end.
Finding a process that works, that cuts through the numb silence and translates stirrings to words is half the battle. I found my way around writer’s block by doodling my thoughts and putting them aside, letting the words come when they were ready. It hardly matters if you can’t draw to save your life. It also doesn’t matter if the words aren’t exactly what the image intended to be. The poem is the journey! Am learning to enjoy it!
the chaos is real tangled inside and out you try to iron it like a shirt but it creases against skin over every warp, every scar, over the forgotten, the elapsed — like the delusion of stretched blue sky that turns as it comes closer, into viscous cloud, into grimy light, dead stars falling into unopened eyes:
the knots connect thick and deep in the end you let them be because to unravel one you have to undo everything — because a patch of garden on a sand dune does not improve the desert, that is not its burden, but it keeps the thirsty traveller walking in the hope there will be another one…
Finally sent something out this year and am glad it found a home. Visual Verse has great picture prompts and I love ekphrastic poetry but it also pulls together a gorgeous contributor page ! Just realized I’ve had 14 poems published there!
Sometimes a word or two would
break the surface, a hoarse ripple,
as if a frog had sighed in a dream
or a fish had stretched and yawned
and then the water would straighten
its creases, the silence separating
us, sometimes, fusing our bodies into
one, the muzzled light opening and
closing wounds like a flautist on
a distant stage. There wasn’t that
much left to say. Not that night. Not
in that place. Not with words, anyway.
we build bigger so we can feel smaller – somehow the small are not accountable for their smallness, benevolence is the burden of the unsmall – our gods are big, straddling skies and holding up universes, anything as large as a truth is more than we are obliged to bear: lies, on the other hand, are weightless.
The Temple by Tomasz Zaczeniuk
Used with permission. Instagram fotowizjer
There are mornings, more mornings
now, when I try to separate love from
myself. I describe my face to the silence
as a stranger would, to another, after
a brief encounter. I describe my love
to the mirror as a bird would explain
light to another, in the dark. I describe
our time together as a fish would
talk of wetness to another, not knowing.
Your fingers comb through the lines,
trying to distinguish reason from craft.
But a poem is only a corollary. A
consequence that has subsumed its
cause. The glass in our window is
neither inside nor out. The sky becomes
a sky only when we look up. You
describe distance to me as a road would
to another, as a beginning or ending.
Afterwards is the number of steps it took to
get home, afterwards is an empty home.
Afterwards is washing that has to be brought
in before sunset, dinner that has to be
cooked, bills that have to be paid, afterwards
is hearing the word ‘obituary’ as if for the
first time and wondering why words like
it – estuary and sanctuary – are about peaceful
places. Afterwards is falling asleep on the
couch because the room you slept in for 27
years is suddenly too cold, the TV still on
because silence is no longer a choice. Afterwards
is breaking the present into tolerable pain and
denial, recasting the past into unrelated
memories and denial, framing tomorrow into
impossibilities and denial. Afterwards is a
phone call you cannot make, a god you cannot
forsake. Afterwards is every moment you spend
forgetting that the blood on the officer’s uniform
came from a body you can no longer hold.