Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Years Before His Resurrection
            On the sidelines
in a tale as lasting as fairy tales
he recounted the details
of his Russian heritage,
several centuries past.
            Through an open window
he stretched his neck and laughed
at all the sidewalk walkers
walking beneath him.
            With tortured eyes and soft, cold skin,
he spent his time playing piano in candle light, sometimes
counting his collection of exotic butterflies.
            He longed for death or for some substance
in the wind. He caught the night between
his eyelashes, reading Nostradamus outload.
            Behind closed curtains he nourished the cavity within
by reciting the prayers of obscure saints, offering appeasement
to his guilt that no hope could overcome. He was not
            a typical man, not proud, not tender,
but full of churning lava, full like a storm cloud
before the storm, like the belly
of a soon-to-be mother, full and focused
like a predator sensing
the frightened heart of its prey.

Something New
I hold my love before you
in the silver eye of winter.
I nudge myself from a restless year,
dancing upon the crust of a breaking wave.
I feel the taste of Japanese ginger enter my mouth.
My head is full of phantoms. My fingerprints
are held hovering inches from fire.
Starships and everglades are overturned.
Thumbs are caught in car doors.
The blunt scythe of Death carves, shredding
history’s figures of ruthless pride.
Ideas of beauty change from century to century
but not ambition, not the way
the ego demands to be heard,
regardless of brutality or waste.
I open the empty pantry. I write down names
on the pieces of a shattered lamp post.
In the silver eye of winter,
I hold my love before you.

Out of Dreams
            Like clay brick eroded
by rain, thoughts sear
my better part, calling me
to the altar, to kneel and
discipline these fantastical wanderings.
            Like an egg yolk pierced, I spill
my substance flat across the frying pan.
            I live in the time just before dawn.
I curse the crocodile but praise
its authority. The clock strikes seven
and I have lost my sparrow for good.
I have waited for the change, wished myself more
than this life, making a remedy from imagination.
            I will walk the straight line as an experiment, walk
to feel like a buttercup flower tied to the forest floor -
satisfied with its display of tiny splendor, at peace
with its place amongst the aged trees. 

Whenever I touch him
Heavy shackle
around my shell.
He says no, no,
to the great descent
to hands locked in the wind,
on pillow or sheets.
October sun beating on my covered spine
So many walls erected in the name of home
He talks of black birds glowing
or running into webs as wide
as a tree’s open arms.

The River
Toads and kestrels shape
the river’s being.
Being what? But song
and bird’s breath
and even lovers who need
her current, her living fury
that communes equally with the sun and moon.
Seedlings and butterflies,
the river engulfs all in her rushing blood.
Death reflects beautifully in her
foaming shine. And the devil’s rage
the salmon’s struggle, the child’s tossed-in penny
shapes her surly figure, is wine to her thirsty veins.
Branches and stones
vanish in her womb where never
the light has crept. Snails ride
her flesh to shore.
And though she is tired, she never rests,
desperate to embrace the sea, to ride
his undulating loins, and be bonded forever
to his salty grandeur.

Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Five times nominated for “Best of the Net”, 2015/2017/2018, she has over 1200 poems published in over 475 international journals and anthologies. She has 21 published books of poetry, six collections and six chapbooks.She is a vegan. She also sculpts, working with clay; www.allisongrayhurst.com
Another Night

Once again waking
to flashing blue lights.

More guns,
more assault weapons,
more mass shootings,
more death.

Darkness pierced by sirens,
angry screams,
air spinning with smoke.

Blood on streets
slick and slippery.

My weary eyes want
to stay shut and
my lips pray for
long nights of silence.
Joan McNerney

Bar Fly
At Jewel Box Tavern
lights are always dim
so you can’t look closely.

Wearing stiletto heels, she
traipses along followed by
billows of cheap perfume.

Dressed in a second skin of
electric blue velveteen
covered with silver glitz.

She looks for a mark, some
clown who carries thick wads
of cash and a stash of coke.

Tapping the shoulder of
the willing joker with her long
lacquered fingernails.

First she must meet him
in the back alley to pay up
with her pound of flesh.

Showing its age, her face
is coated by pastes, crèmes,
thick rouge, blazing red lipstick.

Her brown eyes encrusted with
liners, mascara and shadow
revealed a certain sadness,

Secreted in the dark and dank 
women’s room, she snorts
that magical white powder.

Nothing matters now.
There is no despair
only this embrace of bliss.
 Joan McNerney

Sneaks under shadows lurking
in corners ready to rear its head
folded in neat lab reports charting
white blood cells over edge running wild.

Or hiding along icy roads when
day ends with sea gulls squalling
through steel grey skies.

Brake belts wheeze and whine
snapping apart careening us
against the long cold night.

Official white envelopes stuffed with
subpoenas wait at the mailbox.
Memories of hot words burning
razor blades slash across our faces.

Fires leap from rooms where twisted
wires dance like miniature skeletons.
We stand apart inhaling this mean
air choking on our own breath.
Joan McNerney

Eleventh Hour
Wrapped in darkness we can
no longer deceive ourselves. 
Our smiling masks float away.
We snake here, there
from one side to another. 
How many times do we rip off 
blankets only to claw more on?

Listening to zzzzzz of traffic,
mumble of freight trains, fog horns.
Listening to wheezing,
feeling muscles throb.
How can we find comfort?

Say same word over and over
again again falling falling to sleep.
I will stop measuring what was lost.
I will become brave.

Let slumber come covering me.
Let my mouth droop, fingers tingle.
Wishing something cool…soft…sweet.
Now I will curl like a fetus
gathering into myself
hoping to awake new born.

Joan McNerney

This Savage God
Calamity hides under cover
lurking in corners ready
to rear its head.

It lies in neat lab reports
charting white blood cells
run wild.

What is this savage God
who pushes us down to comas?

Sneaking along icy roads
daylight ends while sea gulls
circle steel grey skies.

Brake belts wheeze and whine
snapping apart as we careen
against the long cold night.

What is this savage God
who lunges us into storms?

An official white envelope
stuffed with subpoenas
waits at the mailbox.

Memories of hot words
like razor blades slash
across our faces.

What is this savage God
who rips open the heart?

So we stand on the edge
breathing mean air
smelling fear.

Fires leaping out of rooms
where twisted wires
blaze from walls.

What is this savage God
who stabs us with flames?
Joan McNerney

Helpless I do not know if good intentions prevail among the elected, among the appointed, leaving me apprehensive that the fate ...