Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Monday, January 30, 2006
From the Backs of Birds
I could walk through this meditation and picture
myself in the desert where the sun creates illusions
we dare not believe for fear of being wrong—
that you are the great illusion.
West of the dinosaur quarry I once found an entrance
a narrow crevice in the cliff I imagined would open
the sacred moment when light breaks the sky and
Moses motions me to remove my worn shoes
at the foot of a burning bush that speaks in a voice
I knew God would have if I listened with good ears.
All I wanted from this was to hear my name
as if it were something you had heard before
dropped from the mouths of adoring saints
painted by Da Vinci or perchance seen scribbled
on parchment the texture of moths wings.
I have sent numerous prayers on the backs
of birds special delivery imagining the words
would make it into the good book or
the poor man's scroll the rabbis and prophets
read to you as you stare into the eyes of
each star in the universe as if they were
all the souls of all your children right there
But I do not know the final resting place of prayers
the words that one offers with a sliver of ones own heart
maybe our names get discarded
maybe our quivering pleadings are swept off
the white alabaster-shell tiles out of heaven
maybe they stick in the clouds and fall in the rain
maybe I taste them in heavy storms
maybe they fall off the leaves of the aspen and juniper
and I realize nothing about their presence as I run and
squash them underfoot.
Maybe you could see me differently if you turned
the tables and pretended not to know the secret
if you waited patiently upon the head of the wind
with sore ears blasted from the cryptic squall
like a thousand startled crows in the sky
trying to decipher the seventy-two names of God
and maybe if you waited so long for the vision
that your feet grew roots and your heart grew stones
you would question your own ability to see
the air above your head split open and through
the clean incision see God peer out of the hiding place
maybe then you would know of man's search for meaning
the desire to hear his given name spoken by you.
mouths peck pecking,
slurp and gulp.
Handies gribble grabbing
We crumb, and lick at ourselves
with tricky thinks
and starven fingers.
Our juby bits are sunny flavours
and rise above weepened troughs.
Elementals swirl in cyclone clouds
and astral configurations
on the Euclidean plane,
where transitivity colludes with symmetry.
Point to point our oddness
swallows tasty fine. We shine
our sun spines.
Light prickles and celebratory toasts
greedy up the slake of thirst.
Our foody bits are spicy grand,
Sunday, January 29, 2006
to twist needles into my heels.
One sharp tap, and small pressure inwards
until I gasp and splay involuntary fingers,
then he moves to the next point.
When he has mapped my pain, I’m left to reflect
while pinpoints thrum along legs and feet.
Last night's beast licks up his lips for a kiss;
he is all mouth and wet,
plunging response from my throat,
spooled up from my groin.
I feel the flame of ox-blood
rouse. I’m so afraid to let it flare,
knowing my lust will measure
and consume his if unleashed.
So afraid that where I open myself
I will feel phosphorescence morph
into rat's feet scrambling through veins,
afraid if I release my own beast
we will be consumed by his ravenous juices.
The concupiscent slap, grunt and gasp,
mistakes lust for effect or fullness,
the craven act, for freedom.
Perhaps this harms no one,
but I myself, in my deepest core,
feel the re-direction of energy flow.
When the acupuncturist returns
for another twist of his fishbone-fine needles,
fragile silver elucidates my life streams.
I hear the scrabble as rat feet
flee the glow.
Like a chameleon,
Like an insect that looks like a stick,
Like a butterfly whose markings are the bark of a tree,
A dog with no bark at all,
An invisible cat,
A cloud in blue sky that disappears on examination:
He invented a self for time and place;
He talked his way off street corners;
He sang for Mormons,
He chanted hari Krishna hari Krishna,
He dabbled in love,
As though he were one who could sustain an emotion
For more than a minute or two, he made commitments
And broke them. The only feeling he knew well was fear
And the only end he had in mind was survival. Some
De-frocked monk said, “He’ll always land on his feet.
Friday, January 27, 2006
the time we were shooting birds
and you said
each bird flew off
shaken by how
we remind it
of its freedom.
You are always saying
We can never be more alive,
never be more adept
at calling each other
by the names
we answer to.
How that is sometimes
standing on the shore, naked to the moonlight
(or was it in the daytime, fully clothed against
the January winds that blew?).
How I loved you, but not
your mind, not that febrile
imagination that would chime
at odd hours when awake --
No. Never that.
It was your feet. Long, thin
with two large bunions, asymmetrical
in their design, opposed, one on
the inside of your left big toe
and one below that nubby, curled
and crumpled digit that graced
the outside of your right.
Those hard, white and red, rough surfaces
gave me delight, my hand
swarming over first one, and then
another, sllding up from the arch
or down, across those yellowed nails
you cut too close
-- so close I saw the scabs
you left behind, dark, blackish lumps
of your dead blood.
So short a time we had, so quickly
I heard you'd died, I cried
all night. I walked along the pier
barefoot, and caught a myriad
of slivers in each foot. How cruel!
The pain I felt, it still
endures, for those slivers are
my memento mori, far more
than any pleasant memory
of the sweaty, unwashed soles
I used to hold, with sand between the toes,
of Kafka on the shore.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
flannel that softens
and fades with age.
Praise to checkered
slippers knitted by
elderly aunts from
left-over yarn, thick
slippers to cushion
& warm our wandering
feet. Praise to happy
pom-poms, to antique
lace; praise to hooded,
over-sized robes with
rolled sleeves; floor-
length robes of terry
& fleece. Praise to satin
& silk; praise to clinging
fabrics carefully folded
into ribboned boxes
by hopeful lovers & well-
wishing friends. Praise
to boxers and too-big
T-shirts, snatched from
the closets of intimate
strangers. Praise to high-
heeled slippers & slippers
shaped like rabbits. Blessed
be all that keeps us warm,
alley cats & pomeranians,
cuddlers, snugglers, back-
spooners, quilted duvets
& comforters: Praised be.
my brother home, he was well
into the wasting of the disease.
He looked like an animated corpse.
He asked me to hold him, to share
his bed -- it had been so long
since he'd been touched, held, by
anyone. And so I did; as I did when
Judd made the same request, years
later. There is something inexpressible
about sleeping in an embrace with a man
you love -- however you love him --
waking in the night to feel his bones,
the nearness of his death, in your arms.
As I write this, I sit in my bright sunroom.
The parakeets sing for their supper; sun
gleams on the snow in the garden. I am
eating a slightly over-ripe apple --
I am contained in life, breathing long past
many of those I have loved. The white
orchid opens. It smells sweet.
my window corners,
winds scrape gray clouds
against a blunt steel box
meant for hauling rodeo steer.
The only colors bleed
from spray paint canisters,
leftover graffiti lunch
those dark-smiled boys
eat in boredom.
I want sunfire,
Long Island ice teas
in anything other
than depression-era glass.
My boys iron
wobbly cursive essays
on scarred oak desks.
I wait for school's end,
one leg bent under my body
in a tired woman's asana,
torso tipped toward April.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
on the island of Insanity, high
up on jagged cliff, teeters a
lone sanitarium. Room 281
has white concrete walls
and two women in hot pink
Reb: I'll be damned, I'm rooming
with Mae West. Wat up Mae?
Mae: I expect to be here, but not
Reb: You got that right.
Mae: Is that a gun in your pocket?
Or are you just glad to see me!
Reb: Uh, no. It's my pretty little
Bedside Guide. Want a peek?
Mae: You certainly make it sound
Reb: Something tells me you'll really
Mae: I wrote the story myself.
It's about a girl who lost her reputation
and never missed it.
Reb: He who hesitates is a damned fool.
Oh wait, that's your line. I'm losing
Mae: To err is human,
but it feels divine.
Reb: I just miss my man.
Mae: A hard man is good to find.
Reb: Tru dat sister. Tru dat.
Mae: Good sex is like good bridge.
If you don't have a good partner,
you'd better have a good hand.
Reb: Let's not think about that
just yet. What are you in for anyway?
Mae: I used to be Snow White... but I drifted.
Reb: Yeah, me too. But it wasn't the
seven dwarfs that drove me crazy.
It was .....those damn
Credits: Mae West's dialogue copied
from her original quotes found here:
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
--moments before evolution
The wind! The wind!
Yes, the wind is blowing. It keeps you young fellas
a float in good fashion. Without it, you'd all be shark
bait, and you don't want that now, do you?
Yes, without the wind, you'd be shark bait. It keeps
you all afloat, so you can make your discoveries
on the islands not meant for human eyes.
Yes, you'll find Caliban sitting atop a rock waiting
for your language to apply to his island--where wind
brought you. You'll tell him he was part of something.
Part of something?
Yes, you'll create something out of what you found,
just like I did, only you've yet to learn how to master
the wind--control the direction of the compass.
Master the wind?
Yes, give it time, you'll soon know too. You'll create
as I have, master the wind, and bring people
where you wish--and you'll lead them abroad.
Yes, where they've never been--you'll give
them reason to believe in what they've only
wondered. You'll keep them guessing.
Kerry James Evans
Monday, January 23, 2006
During the weigh-in Goliath looked at Muhammad Ali with
menacing almost Biblical eyes, x-ray eyes that burned all
the atoms along his line of vision. Ali for his part kept
jawing insults, “you giant panty-wearer”, “your mama this
and that..” and other worst things that should not be
repeated publicly. Anyway, Goliath weighed two tons and
Ali just a few ounces. There were wooden banners all around
proclaiming, “The Thrilla On The Sermon Hilla”. The fight
details would be carved in stone later.
“You can’t trick me with the
goat-herding Ali shuffle
or the rope-a-dope goat!”
Goliath thundered Shaq-like
as he looked at Ali
from the height of a basketball goal.
“You think you bad
like Sonny Liston’s dad
but you can be had!”
The butterfly Muhammad Ali
floated in front of the giant,
ancestor of Andre the Giant,
but bigger than Danny Devito
appeared to an ant---
you know, Androcles’ lion’s ant.
and took a step forward
Muhammad Ali appeared bored
but he had a great tan
of which even Goliath was a fan.
Just at that moment
Ali hit him with an upper cut.
Goliath , confused, uttered profanities,
screamed, “You slut!”
At which point Ali
hit him with a religious right cross
“you ain’t the boss
of me.” cried the giant
as he collapsed dead from the head.
“I told you, I told you
you was gonna get it in the end.
I float like a butterfly
and sting like a bee,
you cross my path
and you incur Allah’s wrath!”
Suddenly, Ali was struck with a nervous disorder.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Into lofty plateaus, the canyon bowed
By the gritty Colorado River,
The azure sky inexhaustible. But still,
This is a kind of youth: echo my name.
Echo the hollow call of the wooden flute.
An elegant earless lizard darts out
From under a prickly pear cactus, and I find
There are steps made of earth
And wooden rims that descend down
Onto the rock face, and I am drawn
To them, I am drawn to adulation –
I have been summoned.
John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln
Charles Darwin and God
Marilyn Monroe and Pamela Anderson
Reb Livingston and Mae West
James Joyce and Gabriel Gudding
Amy King and Elizabeth Bishop
Mohamed Ali and Goliath
Andy Warhol and Michael Angelo
Good luck everyone.
Who was it that invented
the invention that outed the outhouse,
otherwise Elvis would have died
out in the backyard of Graceland?
Oh, how Esperanza (she’s Elvis’s biggest fan)
misses the King in Vegas,
the swiveling hips, the pouty lips,
the sweaty forehead
and the sequined jump suits.
Her Teddy Bear is gone,
her racecar driving Romeo raced away---
she’s a Hawaiian Speedo widow.
In the end, the commode
was the last to kiss his ass,
the toilet paper Memphis Mafia nowhere around.
His girlfriend fast asleep
unaware she would wake up
and not be a princess anymore.
The commode with tearful eyes
looks about the room, but it can’t see the future
because it always looks behind.
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Pink bunnies romp
on seersucker fields
and hop downstairs with me
and my fluffy, flop-eared slippers
to breakfast in my first motel.
Bumpity thump, from stair to stair
mother's crossed arm toe tap
waits at the bottom.
Knobbles of candlewick cuddle
the bulb of my pregnancy,
little froglet plopping
in its skin pond.
Feet and fingers,
breasts and belly,
swell to burst their ripe,
overripe, pods. Rings and slippers
no longer fit. Laid aside,
in seclusion together, we await
the harvest dawn.
In the blood silk of a man's robe
I wrap myself with green, gold,
and navy medallions. Badges awarded
for outstanding bravery. Scars bound
in seductive winding sheet, my wounds
are held in check. Sealed and cauterized
in fabric flames, engulfed like witches
on a pyre of sticks. My feet burn
in soft beaded jandals.
I seek the path to Shakyamuni
or some more restful god of pink
dressing gowns and rabbit slippers.
This is for the man who stands at the sink,
who forgets he’s washing dishes,
who forgets he’s a man, a father, a son,
husband. This is for the man who stands
at the sink, rapt at the illusion: His hands
severed at the wrists by suds dying
slow deaths in the dishpan is so convincing
that he briefly misses each finger
and wonders how he’ll live without being
able to touch ever again. This is for the man
who stands at the sink crying as he rinses
a plate, yet the cold water rushing over skin
and porcelain does not wake him from his reverie;
he is Helen Keller putting it all together,
the secret is being spelled out in his hands right here,
right now. Every breath is a small epiphany;
he breathes because he can’t not. He breathes
because he can. His are not tears of grief.
From where he stands at the sink, he can see
the full moon rising. He can hear his wife waiting
in the living room as he places the last plate
in the rack and dumps the dirty water down the drain.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
to the God of Twiglet.
He has his fingers down my throat,
the staple denial in my stomach,
re-emerging like a last chocolate biscuit.
The steel board of muscle
a requirement I don't understand,
but understand I must acquire.
And satin-skinned, slim, bliss,
worn as a lampshade
wrapped around a live flame:
my moth life.
Bikini body waits in my closet
rattling its skeleton.
Smile the lip-enhanced trout pout
and lipo-suction your gut
until conformity encases you.
Was there ever any doubt the outcome?
I have fought a brave fight, made a stand,
now I worship at the idol of
the Twiglet God, who demands
flesh be displayed in the contour
of bone and muscle;
soft curlicues in shell colours
flare his nostrils
and are relegated to funeral garb.
His manifestation is minimalist,
for mouths to regulate;
stomachs to compress themselves
in walnut shells.
The priesthood maintain his flock
from doctor's chairs, laboratories,
and editor's offices. The discourses
of science and medicine
Temptations constantly test the faithful:
fried food served beneath golden arches,
sweet tastes wearing bright foils
and fancy boxes, sugar sodas
and soft dough breads.
All sins must be repented
with push ups, sit ups, squats and long runs;
sweat beads worn like a thorny crown.
Thou shalt bake, but not eat.
Thou shalt serve food, but not sit to dine.
Thou shalt not covet thy master's crust.
Thou shalt not query the right of a penis-driven society
to dictate the size and shape of the Goddess.
Thou shalt not despise those (sheep)
who grant them their power.
Thou shalt cease to labour upstream.
Turn and flow in the restful current,
for even Oprah has succumbed to its sirens.
Successful deprivation is rewarded
with longed for adulation from priests and flock.
I will sew my mouth closed and allow neither protest
nor sustenance to pass my lips.
I will be uplifted to the Goddess conformation.
You do not know me,
I am but a brown mouse
yet, your brilliance slides from
the corners of my mouth
I lick my lips slow as
molasses, where it's always wet
a steady tongue, curled
I am bent
under blue layers
this eternal canalization
spears fly from your throat
condemn me to a wanting damnation
of light, not heaven or hell
good or bad, just a strange suspension
into single seconds where there is no
guessing, no quiet apprehensions
you have a strawberry tongue
and I want to touch it
it to touch me
bubble under warm, sinned spit
I cannot explain this, I will not
it's not what you think
because I know what you are thinking
you are not want or need
not desire or dream
there are no gushes running
down country streams
no sexual desire-type things
It's much flatter, there is
a far simpler truth
to gods and rock stars
Michelle M. Buchanan January 19, 2005
--an Ode to Elvis
My brother and I stayed out till dark
catching rabbits, so we could be your
friend, but you killed yourself, so they
say. We have our doubts and we travel
up to Graceland to sing you the lyrics
to our latest, only Justin takes after
you--strumming the same four chords,
but boy, do we have a chorus--knock
a mule on its ass. We live in Tupelo,
so I guess we ain't got much more
to do than think of you hip thrusting
the wind while your leather snakes
snap with the bass of the drum. Uncle
Tommy said you forget about him
after you left on your big record label,
and ever since, he's been a Jack-
of-All-Trades, living in the middle
of a junk yard, sinking in Mississippi
red clay, a regular sow in a sty.
Even if it is true, that's his problem--
his responsibility. So don't worry
about us, Elvis, you go on shaking
those hips, making that leather pop
on those thighs when you hit a note,
when you feel something inside jump
out like somebody done got hold of you.
You've given us salvation from the South--
you've given us hope.
Kerry James Evans
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Your mission if you choose to accept it is to write an ODE. For this challenge you must pick one of the following person, place or thing for your praise and glory.
2- Your slippers and bathrobe
3- Dr. Pepper
4- Your favorite blogger/blog
5- Charles Bukowski or Richard Brautigan (your pick)
Best of luck.
Over and Out.
(inside joke for my friend Don McKay)
Them Canadian poets
they’re as cold as ice floes,
buggers frozen in the nose,
too far north to make a difference
and when the polar bears come to fish
even French boys speak in glish.
The say that Leonard Cohen
is their only major poet
but if it wasn’t for Suzanne who would know it?
Them Canadian poets,
they’re as cold as Hudson Bay
when the north wind blows both ways.
Their entire poetic output
can fit on the tip of a needle
or on the butt hair of a Saskatchewan beetle.
Monday, January 16, 2006
As soon as you think you know the game,
suddenly nothing is the same.
Christopher T. George
The above poem was written for a "casual contest" sponsored by poet Julie Carter on her blog, to write a Julain. I get the idea that the "julain" is Julie's own creation: a three-line poem of regular meter with the two last lines required to rhyme. See
Julain Contest--Deadline January 31st
Give it a go!
Sunday, January 15, 2006
That my chapbook is now out from Burnside Review Press, where it was selected as the winner of their first chapbook contest.
"Daphne & Jim" is not your everyday run-of-the-mill chapbook of poems. It's a choose-your-own-adventure book, based on the events of my parents' disastrous courtship!
So I wnated to take this opportunity to feed y'all a link:
... and to offer a free copy to anyone who'd like to read the lil thing for a possible review. B
ackchannel: sweetlorelei at msn.com
(and... oh, yeah! I had a baby, which is why I've been scarce... http://mosecentral.blogspot.com for nudie pics)
Saturday, January 14, 2006
called my poetry "the rubberization of time"
because I stretched themes and characters back
and forth in time and truth.
Henry’s Drunk Conversation With Dylan Thomas, 1964
“you’re wanted by the Polease
and my wife thinks you’re dead.”
Junior Brown’s homage to the work
of Yoko Ono
Oh, fuck you Dylan Thomas
thinking you’re John Lennon
cheating on Cynthia with that Jap
anese artist, tartist.
The hell with Fern Hill
that little mound of dirt and lust.
Huh, do not go gentle into that good night.
Well, you know what?
Stick it up your behind!
You’re the fool from Liverpool
sitting with a black bird on a hill---
nature will send you the bill.
When you were young and easy
you made the rest of us queasy.
Drinking yourself silly in New York City,
sucking on the future New York school titty.
You can’t mourn the death of poetry by fire
outside of a Bismarck North Dakota pagoda.
It was, after all, my dirtiest year in heaven.
John running wild in Hollywood with May Pang,
wham, bam, thank you, ma’am.
Once, waking up in the white giant’s thighs
in the Welsh countryside,
God’s Beatle-haircut in the middle of Abbey road
didn’t bode well, but I don’t know if it’s Dylan or John
who’s been shot.
Let’s see what you got!
Give poetry a chance,
give peace a chance.
Nobody’s been invited to the cavern dance.
John’s playing the guitar in a star,
Dylan’s writing in a slur
as Caitlin purrs.
The bartender in Beatle boots
is in cahoots.
Aren’t the children getting tall? Dylan cries in his beer.
Henry nods in acquiescence,
the hell with peasants.
A naked John Lennon clings to Yoko
on the cover of Rolling Stone.
You can’t nickel and dime
the goddamn crime!
The New York skyline glistens
like twin towers if you hold up two fingers.
You stupid fool, you shouldn’t linger.
Oh, fuck you Dylan Thomas thinking
you can replace John with the screaming hymens
of 12 year-old girls on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Friday, January 13, 2006
through seven saw me exposed
in the glare of camera lights and microphones.
I cried then, but not for you, or for me
or the child I would lose, the one dressed
prettily in lace lapels covering an azure
smock overlaid with pearls (if only in my mind).
And last week I saw eight, and nine, with
their wives, one slender still, one gone
to fat around her waist and thighs.
No one waved. I did not mind.
Ten? Where have you been? No longer
do you write? Have you died?
I remember your long arms, being hugged
by you as if by a bear, strong and wide.
Do you still sing at night? Does your tongue
honey another's sighs?
Eleven, twelve, thirteen . . . you came so quickly
and I never stayed behind. One of you loved me
and two of you paid for me, and that was
all right, for a time.
Fourteen, did you marry the fiancee you claimed
back home? Is she still as pure and simple
and chaste as you said, or have the years
ended that lie?
Fifteen, dearest, what have I done?
The divorce papers arrived long after
we had finished with our life. I still drink
a cappuccino every afternoon at five
and see your hands, and suit, and tie
that never came untied. Thank you
for the house, the car, the monthly checks
you faithfully still sign.
Sixteen, do you remember what I look like?
Is it presumptuous to call one night
a love affair, and holding a weeping woman
in tangled sheets an act of love?
I think not.
Seventeen, I know you hate
my guts. Bitch! I see it in your eyes
even if I do not hear it from your lips.
Unlucky for us both, we still must meet
each day at work. Hard looks will suffice.
Eighteen, a silly number, and you
with that silly name. I confess
you are an ugly sight, but you made me smile
and often laugh, which was more
than all the rest ever could.
And last, my dearest nineteen, I wish
we had never known each other's name. Do not
tell my daughter, and I will promise this:
to keep my eyes downcast, my mouth
shut tight, my memories mine. Just
do not lapse, do not ever break
both our hearts at once.
Au revoir dear boys. I won't forget.
or that I never had it better.
I was born
on the feast of Vesta,
goddess of the hearth,
patron of torrent and rush
maker of all things that boil blood.
Lava, combustion, and lust.
That is why paintings
of sunsets envy my skin,
and fires wish their glow
could match the crimson
embers that glisten my eyes
after I gorge in love making.
So, my little decadence,
when you see my head tilt back,
and my mouth perform a silent howl,
when you think my eyes and skin
are about to melt off the flesh
don’t think its you that did it.
It is only my essence
manifesting itself towards its maker
calling forth the fire
that made it.
fulfillment the wings I guess
to think that a being resists anyone
in space or on a cliff
to think that a being resists
the tower one reading in a book
'they shall whisper the end and...'
the etymology: will, well, wealth;
nothing about flying
so you say, ok, I'm going to a well
or you place the epigraph here, for example:
where it's easier to see
(it's harder to argue
and next(‘time,’ ‘unseen’,
we have ways
of saying it
we will not
go down into it
we will not scour it, not bite more off of it
than we can)
(still the ears hear things)
when I held you up to it and I
(stared)(stared at it)
and I said hush
hush I said
don't even breathe
on that burst
yr sense for breaking
into the words
and when i said
I didn’t mean it
I didn't have to
say such things as 'I was'
'be the light,' 'stroke
it the light do
(described me I mean)
(the thirsty sinner)who was(‘up close’
the wrong way
in the car
and yet the mirror was
right behind you)
*for out of the boulevard (at night, light froths, so meticulous,
and I could be a ping
in your motor
of yr demise
this makes a difference
you could forgive it (with footsteps
and I would be happy)
I would be the one who
the next time
although I'd do it
I'd do it better
I'd will you to
*flecked with suspense
begging to be described as the one who
(what only happened to me once was
I got to the center and
you missed it and)this fanatical being was there this one angel who
could do something who
could swat the world with his wing
and he did it
and the world said
and it was terrifying
it divided you
*for I have stood
a long time
under the circle
a long time
my mouth away
from the shape
and the things
in my mind
and I have stood
a long time
and all the dirty mirrors
and who you were
and who I was
and what we both knew and had to say
although it wasn't what we said
not what we said
Thursday, January 12, 2006
People looked at me with dog faces,
Basset Hounds and Dobermans,
snapping at children
and sniffing after blood.
Last night I walked into my house,
no one was there and
no one was going to be there,
and the cat.
Last night the walls laughed
and the sink gaped
a stainless steel 'o.'
They had no cuddles for me.
I turned on my computer
where usually I can forget
the ice shelf
and how cold my feet.
I found a man
twisting his wedding ring
trying to find a place in the circle
that wasn't round
so he could make a gate.
I found another man
who wanted to say naked things to me
on the phone at 1am.
But the walls kept bending
I could hear the sink in the kitchen,
and I dared not look down
at my shoeless feet.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
by: Dylan Thomas
There is no loneliness in this ocean,
my sweet-tongued love
deep down where no man can go
I puff with tentacles that flow
like hot-coal red
hair, a dance
I float, somersault
the black water
where other things
It is quiet, oh so quiet,
not shark or eel
or sweet-tongued octopi
can come this far
so I stay right here
content in my
when you see a bubble surface
in the center of still water
think of me and remember
you will turn to ash in air
and I, salt
dense and brilliant
Michelle M. Buchanan Jan 11, 2005
~ after Dylan Thomas
Serpent, mermen through your
tides and roe; your stones, their source
dolphined on the earth, the sea
glides dry from your hair while
magic turns your clocking; voids
die through salt, corals, beds
coloured and latched in your oiled
unraveller. Lay where once your weeds
sank, your lids, a tomb. Wind. Break.
Where dry screws spun, your ice
steers the scissors. his channels,
a knife; love's shades, a root cord;
sage sea-faiths, your green splice,
fruits hung loose through his eye. Your
children who go shall not cry. His wet
tided dead; my face, your wet left
ghost -- invisible waters till once
your green and knotted sky.
It's not JUST a calendar! The Most Intriguing(and Sensual) Male Poets of 2006 calendar now on after-holiday sale!
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
or what (if any) complex shaft drives
the incarnating chain engaged
around your gilded teeth.
Sprocket sun spinning,
sodden with formless beings,
ether bodies that drip and melt inside us…
eternal and fleeting, as time.
Here we are…the hollow spheres,
the little gods, scratching your vessels
with polished brass from
our collective chain gang.
Here we are… the stand-ins
let us wrestle our fate in unison
clinging and clanging our hands together
pretending the noise we make is pleasant.
Monday, January 09, 2006
Ygrasil, January 2006: an appreciation of Barbara Ostrander's poetry by Christopher T. George.
Christopher T. George
The Poetry of Barbara Ostrander (1956-2005):
The Poetry of Barbara Ostrander:
Intensive Care Nurse
Raxaul, Armpit of India
Yeti Airlines From Raxaul, India, Back to Kathmandu
Shucking it down to the cob
story goes like this...
I'll Never Get Used to These Words
The Editor/Publisher for Ygrasil, A Journal of the Poetic Arts is Klaus J. Gerken.
The below poem I include here because it is one of Barbara's best, and says so much about who she was--
As I wrote in the introduction to the poem, Barbara began writing poetry as a child and a number of her poems are about her time in Africa. I view the following poem as one of her best, sensuously binding the love of her husband with longing for Africa, while ever mindful of the wildness, beauty, and dangers of the continent.
I wonder if it is the way you pace
soft-pawed by the window
that makes me think of home.
You watch for me to reappear,
a lion on the move.
Or maybe it's the way your nostrils flare
that brings to mind the gazelle standing alert,
knowing it's being watched
I map out beneath my fingertips
the parched plains of the Serengeti,
feel along your spine and hips
the urgency of the dry season,
poised for the rains.
Your heat soaks my skin,
consumes like a bushfire,
leaves me stretched spent,
a lizard on the windowsill,
limbs languid and still.
I smell in you the raw nerves
of Africa unleashed,
close my eyes, breathe deep
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Damn your dry eyes! Damn your unforgiving glance!
We divers need not bear the tides in frequent doses;
Here, splash your corralled beds and green fruit,
while children frolic with their shadows:
Say boo and we progenitors unwind the woven seine
you imagine you thought up, brought home as souvenir –
Fishermen will cast their nets, believing or not,
And I will eat their catch while you wish for sacred tears.
flesh-divorced, withered from small cues,
where once our wet reposed.
Here draws its owner to his own
sallowed remorse, a dull, cold home,
away to lone alone.
Here dries repeating drop by drop,
a fanciful and naive hope,
by nail, by hook, by hoop,
a female bitterly deposed.
In sail-less, sheet bound grief we've stalled,
despising all we chose.
Naught can you wash when stone is shored.
Friction tides attempts to crimped ghost-loam.
The time is spoiled past soil.
Where bleached your lace-proud presence roils
a story, linen-pocked and shed
to restless bed retombed.
Slick as a faceless oil this mark
shall spread as nothing may remove
holes caused by feckless loss.
There shall be darns where stitches tacked.
There shall be moths instead of vows
till all our tares be sewed.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
before it came to me. It came to you
in orchids and fire. It came to me
in silence, and snow. How suddenly
the earth turns, the message changes
from dark to light. Bats hang quiet
in their caves. The barn owls stir.
Fog seeps between the mountains
into this high valley where I sleep
and dream of strange flying machines
and benevolent monsters. Are you
waking now? Are there orchids?
Is there fire?
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
sad face elongate, pale to a rippling
sheet, so anxious in your search for me among
unraveled rope splices and green bottom stones.
Seaweed cradles my head.
Coral forms my rough cot.
Fish bend for their nightly prayers
at phosphorescent gown's hem.
You pine for a pink-cheeked mirage, dear heart,
her legs still wrapped, laughing, 'round
your waist; not this dead lover more
suitable for Chambered Nautilus or
finned thrashing playmates of the deep.
Taking pity, at last, I drift up
through the fathoms, press ectoplasmic
lips to your warm ones, murmur words
you've waited for these long months
of vigil, until Sirens circle to bear me
out to where only the bravest dare follow.
Monday, January 02, 2006
When once the knuckles of my poetry
turned like a screw, ghost in the belly,
time unborn like freedom,
where once my little hands hollered,
eyes blinking, I saw your faces
waiting out there somewhere.
I did not know
the other worlds
mentioned in the echoes.
If dolphins glided on the waves
and the noises of the sea
came close to me,
if earth and sky approached,
it was magic---
the singing in my mother’s heart.
The serpents rose out of the foam,
the beach divided sand from sand
but I had no faith in such desires.
at the turning of the tide'
Your gentle sea turned up fish eyes
and sucked in a dry wind,
but mine has burned itself to death
in a vacuum of sage and serpents.
The paper skeletons of seahorses and spiny fish
rise and fret the sky with a bone lacework
as dead men writhe in Davey Jones'.
All my lovely locks of coral
open crusty apertures and vomit
ash on a waterless shore.
My hands are wire, lit to a phosphorous
deep-ocean extravaganza, as they expire.
My sea is a fire, reproduction white,
where monsters incinerate innovative bubbles.
Our misunderstood creations are stillborn.
Replicas of flame, lit with half
a borrowed match.
My daughter is in love.
My daughter is in love.
I danced with my baby girl
on New Year's Day. Her laugh
sunk into my skin deep as I dipped
her low. I saw her face
in her face and thought of
dancing a decade ago.
Her turtle shell chest,
now breasts soft and new.
Boys then men will touch
them. Fat baby cheeks gone
now hold quiet secrets.
Terrorists are hiding all
around us. This is urgent.
Do not open the door, keep
your eyes open. Insurgents
I remember life before September
11th. We danced ignorant. I
am happy being ignorant.
I want to go back as bad as
a mother wants to run back
into a burning house to
save her baby.
I want to run, run back
and dance her around
the living room
on a Tuesday afternoon.
Michelle M. Buchanan Jan 1, 2006
Sunday, January 01, 2006
Four polished tines reverse the point of gathering,
until an eachness hurts back to a solo line.
Time is flush with warm excuses for taxonomy
until we wend our way to tincture
that will transcend mere twin lives.
You made me whole before I learned to die.
The brilliance of your shadow warmed me
as no sun had done.
I still wander through a recollected heat
to keep my hands from chilling young.
At an early point of living one replaces thought with speech.
The listless pairing of named reach
recoils at the indelible demand field
that makes leaving life a gesture of infinity.
When we have loved we have assigned our souls divinity
that draws strength from future keep.
And if the comatose indulgence of our sunning
spawns our sleep, we will be tamed
by what is possibly equivalent
to every gleaming symptom of a sun too deep.
No matter how many of these first days
I have experienced,
no matter the arbitrariness of the calendar,
the clock, the people
count and measure with hope that this new year
will be different, better,
and I am with them in such hopes, so
I celebrate on quiet Jan.1,
I replenish the cat’s water bowl, I read
Mandela and write poems.
a crystal pyramid rises.
Brittle musculature constructs itself, bracket upon tress.
Ground into the polished surface are ridges
fluted by piano. Griffins and unicorns wander
through the long smooth electronic grooves,
weaving between the flash and chock of percussion.
A cacophony of wild and disturbing children murmur
their unquiet dreams. This is my son's nightmare.
A sunstrobe of sound gurgled through the water
of mind amalgamation, striation of music over all
that he finds acquiescent in a universe discordant
A heartbeat swells between breath rounds.
He has recreated the foetal in utero stasis,
a dangling reminiscence of the primordial.
We swim the Pleistocene amniotic canal together,
the coming, the becoming. I, the mother, he, the renewal,
a new beginning from essence and potency. A faithful promise
of our infinite capacity to create our own legacy.