Wax-Paper Dogs

conceptualizations flower-forming on
the warping surface of my eyes
and sliding down into
the recesses of my
ideologies

new
patterns
moving in my mouth
run by to make
close-up transparencies
fracture into translucence
from a distance
like wax-paper dogs
crossing my vision
one by
one

and so my
arms move like
in a dream of honey
in a pattern of unfathomable waste

The Witch-Mother’s Dress

My mother gathered her dress like a memory
Tattered and withered with age
Laid it’s caress in a pattern of symmetry
Lit up her censor with sage
Fear bothered at her like falling pinecones

She took her scissors to sever the fine lace nape
Eyes polished riverbed stones
Yes, by this dress would her firstborn escape
To the far north where every witch goes
When Salemites come sweeping another town

By the strange firelight, flurries alighted
To no avail, they kissed the gown
Tracing the rubies she sewed alongside of it
They pulled the thin fabric down
Cotton swayed about them like butterflies

So was the garment impressed by her vibrancy
Filled with the light of her eyes
Lovely the dress, the violence of it’s primacy
Born as a token of flight
She held it’s shining form to the window

Soft little cries drew her mind from the planned escape
She let the swaying cloth go
Her fingers spidered over the bone crib she’d made
Her child’s eyes wide and aglow
I cooed and babbled at her solemn frown

She took me up from the crib with a heavy sigh
Smiled at my murmuring sounds
Sang lullabies in the still autumn silence
To drown out the noise of the crowd
As the mob descended on her hollow

Animals quiet, the forest forewarning her
My little arm brushed her throat
My mother nodded, the sounds of the morning birds
Gone up in torchlight and smoke
She crossed the little room to the garment

She laid her child on the cloth and drew it about
Wrapping me up in her scent
Wide-eyed and mouth gaping, how close the crowd was now
Singing their hymn as they went
My mother opened the window to dawn

She took a last look as the little face of me
Curled when the curtains were drawn
Quivering lip, the witch took a moment to breathe
Ears crucified by their song
She let me go as the dress swayed and swelled

Framed by the sun, I remember my floating on
Carried by my mother’s spell
Up in the clouds with their furrows and trailings long
Wrapped in the sage’s sweet smell
Passing to the north’s dark and open arms

She watched me float on the breeze she’d arranged for me
Fingers caressing her charms
Now the crowd traipsed like a storm in the willow trees
Brimming with hatred and harm
At the front of them, a weeping handmaid

Some of the townsfolk put force to the doorknob
They screamed o’er the din the crowd made
“Come ye, and look on this widow, witch! Hear her cries
For you have stolen her babe”
The door hinges groaned and gave to their weight

Backed to the back wall, my mother grinned viciously
Tasting the spice of their hate
As they pulled her to the light, she sang blissfully
“I’m afraid you’re all too late!”
The handmaid that birthed me choked on her cry

Then was my mother’s neck looped by a heavy rope
She screamed with mirth as she died
They say she lasted an hour before she croaked
Smiling until her last sigh
And she twitched for days after she was gone

Ah, but the witch will not rot in her earthen tomb
For she lives on in her spawn
Though I was born of the handmaiden’s womb
In truth, it’s the witch who lives on
I drown in fever to finish her work

Author’s Note- This poem constitutes yet another less-than satisfactory attempt to create a good story through a highly structured poem form with a dense rhyme scheme and strict adherence to syllable count per line. I’m posting it because a) it has a few lines I really like and I think the story is pretty interesting, and b), so I can look back and see how my narrative poetry progressed. I’ve had more luck recently with freeverse, so I’ll get back to posting some of that soon. 🙂

The Angel of Disfathoming

Do not undress to fear or doubt my love,
her         whisper in       your ear.
that leaves your will to leave the house undone
You have shown her form to me, my love
you have        let her in
and turned me to an angel of my own
until the coffer rings for you, my love,
i will keep disfathoming
alone and forever
because

memory                                is                           a funny thing
that comes                          abrupt                    a strange thing
to me                            without                     a warning
suddenly    sort of            carving           me     up in smoke

Memory that comes to me suddenly
sort of is abrupt, without carving me.
A funny thing,
a strange thing,
a warning,
up in smoke.

Memory is a funny thing
that comes abrupt, a strange thing to
me. Without a warning,
sort of carving me up in smoke.

in the middle                 of the night
of the memory             a piece severed
a thing little              filled with fright
a sort-of-me            is tethered
that picks between
her ribcage
and her hip

Two Words at Once

picture a language where
every  l e t t e r
represents one single
separate
sy lla ble.

and each letter could be
combined
with every other letter
to form a new symbol
so that the
total number
of symbols
was the number of letters
times itself.

and the symbols stood for
the two syllables
comprising them
being spoken
at once.
so that instead of just
writing a
word
you could write
two words
at once.

words within words
telling tone
and underlying intent
and pronunciation
and nuance
and all thought
becomes
clear
in the page.

harder to write         easier to express
harder to learn         easier to want
easier to lie              easier to tell the truth

harder to tell the difference
harder to care

and would there be
subtext
even to this?
would
something
lurk
deeper
a third level
down?

moving in those
perfect words
like the
vibrations
your throat
makes
without your
permission

How Joy Is

Hey beauty rising, hey pretty day
This is what I wished for as I passed the night awake
Hope the lord to guide me on my way

Bright on the dashboard, cold in the shade
Amber leaf impressions in the day the lord has made
Drifting on the paths that he has laid

Oh the pretty opus, full of life and mirth
Watch the winding trees create an ode to pearly earth
And joy is even present in the dirt

We be things rewritten, we be wheeling song
Father, guide my harmonies and help my chords resolve
And help me when the interludes are long

Amber leaf impression, fall like casted crown
Father, help me see the cloud-shapes hanging when I’m down
And help me keep the joy that I have found

The Lion Approaches

The Lion approaches me, swimming the sea
Bobbing his maw on the top of the waves
to cut up my brain
to dance his gold body through the dark in me
and force me to breathe

Watch me silently
i look out at the sea churning violently
Propped up and lifeless
Limp-lunged and looking to sand for a hyacinth
where bright violet vibrant will never be seen

The Lion’s back brightens the horizon line
fighting the tide while his breath stays calm
i trace my own palm
and wish for my breath to obscure my whine
and make me alright

Hopeless and dry
My dead eyes alight on the faraway Lion
Rhythmic and lithe
Tracing the shore for a mind to unwind
i sit on the dark bank and watch him in silence

He lays his pads on the jagged rock face
Strides on the bank that my body has sank in
i see myself then
A hollow, all cold air, my body erased
And lo, he is tracing

He brightens the place
and i can feel color come back to my face
and breath stutter in
It carves out a path in trespasses and sins
He moves himself, turns to my heart with his gaze

In shining bright highland, the lion aligns me
Washed in the tide, he steps in my head
His form touches every fold as it spreads
And finally, i can feel my thinking breathe

i can move my lips to say what i mean
and all at once, that being is gone from the shore
The force of his body contorts me no more
but the Lion has raised me and left me pristine

Persephone’s Mistake

Raze, raze, twisting blaze
Make my devil not to want
Make my language hard and blunt

Oh, a wilder moorland hunt
Look, a rushing pseudo-child
I put to death the rabbit mild

Screaming in the underbrush
Undergrowth be bit to dust
As I walk the planet’s crust

Keep me tangled if you must
Fetter me in hocks of meat
‘til Hades puts me to sleep

Persephone to gently weep
Over her embittered sea
Washed in dark tranquility

She extends a hand to me
Slender fingers pale and bright
She fills up my head with light

And resurrects my open mind
So that the prophecy is true
So that the day we surely rue

Is closer, in that underbrush
And so, to root it out I must
Be strong of will and dead to trust

The Ballerina God

A window to the city streets
She reached into the cold and dark
She drenched her slender arms in snow

Her diamond eyes shined, apropos
Of hunger calculating, stark
The dancer calmed her body heat

A perfect pirouette en pointe
A sylphid sliver of the air
She borrowed from the undine sky

To calm her nerves and make them writhe
She let the snow float on her stare
To hide the pain of tired joints

And lo, the dancer raised her arms
She turned her face toward the dark
That loomed before the window bright

And in the olden house, her sight
Became some proscenium arch
And in the middle, there was god

It was made of dancer’s legs
A body cut of gentle forms
It danced inside the little void

She wound her body like a toy
Her silhouette limp and forlorn
Her pirouette the way she begged

She took a breath and started in
And made a tightened arabesque
Her ribcage purpled, striped and bruised

Her god at perfect form amused
Her god could drown her like the rest
But she would show it perfection

Adrenaline high heaved and died
Aching sigh moved black and blue
Body strained, contorted, dead

But the dancer moved her head
She pivoted to tight tendu
And tucked her tired heel inside

The child that it had birthed within
Brushed up against her manic beating
Heart and suckled from her veins

She smiled against the aching strain
She laughed so small, so feebly
And roared as she felt strong again

Her tendons, oh, they stretched and swayed
They dragged across her empty veins
Her muscles weakened at the seams

Her head about her like a dream
And when she put her foot to stage
Her vibrant skin broke, parted ways

Her face was open, bright and red
Her eyes the vibrant lights defined
Her swinging hair along her nape

The groping child to satiate
Inside her breast of purpled lines
Until she could not raise her head

But god descended on her form
It’s power in her empty space
And knit her crumbling body tight

So that the spotlight seemed to light
A grand adage, a triumph raised
She laughed and bowed into the void