Thursday, March 2, 2017

RENUNCIATION, UKRAINE  After Tolstoy    [Stefanie Bennett]
 
 
Best forget why he’s here
And from where he came.
If his step
            Thundered
The blunt black
                      Bloodstone
Of gunfire
Amid the roses...
 
The Crimea wasn’t a parking-lot – then.
A September suburb
Pummelled by
A double
Or nothing
Sequestrator.
 
These days, eavesdroppers
Unerringly
Find him
             De-frocked;
                             Servile, and
Beating
Tell-able words
Into ploughshares;
 
Into a peace
That
Shatters.
Possessive
 
This vice I keep
is like a limb, blistered
and useless. I swallow
it down a bloody throat,
into a pocket of stubborn hurt. There,
it unmuzzles my scream
and shrouds the sun in tar.
 
Why do I harvest the fear, the desperation,
in dreams where the bonds of love
collapse and I convulse
in betrayal's shock?
Why won't it go when my lover is true,
and honest tenderness
is the substance of his heart?
 
This vice I drink like
a hallucinogenic, obscures a living vow.
It has a face like an abscess, reeks
like an earthworm's underground home.
This vice comes cruel
as a hunter's bullet, comes like vinegar
in the eyes, baptizing my nerves
in a thieving rage, until I am
overwrought, fractured, ambushed
by its primal illogical cry.
 
Chosen Kin
 
There is something
that binds us to share
our hardships like a team,
to talk for hours, burying
our inner enemies under the grass
of a richer shade.
 
There is a hawk riding our favourite
window, poems where our coffees sit,
warming our hands, the brittle veins.
 
There is you with your eccentric
brilliance, your diligent searching
and laughter of open endings.
 
There is this time given,
living on the same street,
a season in our lives graced,
an offering of salt and sun,
and a trust between that leaves
nothing up the sleeve, housing our hearts
where only family can tread.
 
Nights With You
 
After all the marvel has flown
and the egg is minced inside
its nest, I feel you in my sleep
as a babe feels its mother's breast,
or a tribe its evening song.
 
I feel my skin brushed with gravel,
feel doubt sealing me inside its zoo,
feel my hope sink like money into a reeling sea,
then you with your labyrinth of love,
discover new ways to restore me, to hold me
close to your taut belly and drown
my breathing on your flesh.
 
I cross through the cabin doors. I soar within
November skies. My secrets are no longer mine.
And morning finds me strong in my footsteps,
patient once more.
 
The Storm That Saves
 
So he lives,
watching himself bemused in the mirror.
He lives his life with flying
pine needles and emaciated toads.
He wants to surprise the careful one
who guards against letting go.
He wants to fall at the heels of morning, dive
from branches into the open mouths of children
first learning the meaning of "mine". He is willing
to wrap himself in snake skin, dip his
features in tar, anything to reach
within a scalp and raise perception from
its daily doings.
He is the grave digger, the bee in need of a flower.
He is the body's sex, the yearning
engraved upon each bone,
a doorway in the tenebrous, compelling unknown.
 
Of Body and Spirit
 
I seek your mouth
of sensual burning,
its sponge-soft pressure
merging perfectly with mine.
 
I seek its subtle textures,
its waxing and waning, the way
it condenses my being into
its single substance, into
a movement of focused bloom.
 
I seek your hair, your blessed smell,
your hip bone rocking like
the whole of the sea over uncharted sands.
 
I seek your voice sweeping the air
with its rich unconscious moan.
 
I seek the taking of your hand,
the tension of our bodies balanced
in mutual, animal awakening.
 
Addiction
 
Today I am preserved from the withering chill.
I am held at a hair's length from misery,
but held and still frightened.
Frightened of my pulse
that beats (poor like it is)
in defeat's domain.
 
All my passions betray
the nurturing hood and spade,
drag me down to horrors that hound, that make
my spirit overflow
with nullifying waters.
 
But today I am spared
the snarl and self-pity,
spared the blank death that outruns
every attempt to breathe, spared
because I asked for a little faith and
was given.

Allison Grayhurst