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Crop fields, once
Today tall grass has taken
Vigil on the hills
Named for old dead boys

Grass aplenty (surely
Two, five, ten winters
Steeped in lead, bloodied,
Washed clean in rain
Could feed a generation)

And then the sun
Always beating, Drumming
Sweat before my eyes
My life—flashing— a lark—

Here in this meadow
Mankind came to slaughter for a train yard
Between the mountain passes and the river
And the Run, once dried, is spilling over

With blood, with clay, for
Sons and daughters of
Virginia, these American tales
(Contested, my chains for soil...)

Pass whispered between
Mothers and little ones, the words
A lineage: Captain to farmer,
Farmer’s granddaughter

I witnessed the passing of our story
From one generation
And I stood by
IV. Isaiah

If ever on the moors in seeking
Zarephath she faltered—
White of gossamer and lamb—

And the well in running over
Colored bloodred clay
Lapis Lazuli, sweetened to dewpoint

As for what it meant
To those that saw and waited
Prophets and disciples of an
Instant; bear witness to the
World reborn (not premeditated)

At muddy dawn in unloved scrubland plots
Subsequent to love running sacred between
The pages of an unloved tome, a fissure

What is a truth?
Could I reach out
And touch you?

What holds your heart, Elijah?
Who can you see beneath the glass
Who stares back from the bottom of a raindrop
Flashing past before convening
With the ground?

Did you know, my dear,
I stem from the disillusionment of ground
And the resurrecting of fraught winter
Sky?
Did you know,
I am alive and dying to go, now,
To arise from Pelas and walk free in sun again?

I want to love the rain
So that it knows

I want to lavish love upon your
Lips, your hands,
Your neck that holds
Your temples, the gaps between
Your ribs, and vertebrae, and 50 billion stars
Part IV of IX
If after inches piled on inches, days on years
After Good Morning, How Beautiful Those Stars
The rise and fall sank deep and, thus forgotten
Ran aground and floundered in the blind
/
Surely that we two cast shadows, left footfalls
On the ground means even as we cross into the night
There never could be nothing after all
/
And so we know it true that, in our course,
We two did meet, in sunset and at dawn
We know too that in meeting, star child and navigator
Three things converged by grace or void’s design:
/
Three things: first men in Babylon
They say the priests first gazed upon the lights
Waiting eons for the day when once more gods and men would meet
/
Across that time we mad and free gave chase, eyes up
And so we saw among those stars, gold like wheat in the wind
The same void, our birthright, those clouds in hot pursuit
/
So ran the course forever, until one day those men
praying in the blind for slumber, rose and swore on lifeblood
To shun shadows for a lifetime, and to chase, to find or fail
That moonlight that cuts colors on the sea
/
Next came time to chart the course and send you up
Where men, dipped in gold or otherwise banished to frost
Must prove the claim that runs through the very veins
Where blood runs silver, pierces darkness with light touch
/
And so you found yourself before all those stars, blinding in the dust
That gathered, grows from clouds to stars to light, fighting for the right
To take your place among the ranks of all those gods
/
I imagine that you reached it, dear old friend,
For those days when after all calmed down, and dreams turned to dust,
Feeling turned to great faith, to despair, then to life
/
Last of all a story’s where the sky should be
Your propeller coughs on all those words, or is it stars
/
In darkness, I turn my gaze upward to find you rattling around inside yellow pages
glittering like golden stars against liquid tar
rising around the pile of youth inside
/
Because I dreamt it: dreamt you, of you
That after it all calmed down, and the world began
We two once more did meet, outside that realm where men gaze upward
Into eyes that peer through stars swirling in the clouds
/
And I realize that the stars, gold like wheat in the wind,
Pump life into dead space dust-
That the bridge to you was inside me all along,
Runs honey through my veins
So settled the dust on the book, now gently closed
/
Even so I fear the dark, the dust, the air itself
That space we cannot see or know that means farewell
That means I am alive and thus alone
/
So I wish that we could meet there, you and I,
Skyborne, we could take up the flight of birds in time
Where travelers by night chart the course
Bound for that realm where freedom reigns
/
But I’m back on the ground and the world’s still turning
And the stars are not soft and golden, but graying in the frost
/
These memories that surface from the deep leave messages on the mirror
For a moment you are here, and I stay warm
With the words that I speak
I conjure the joys of our youth— now past
Immortal on the condition of our delayed mortality
Emblazoned in the collective memory of our twin souls—
/
As my sight goes soft at the edges, tinged gold
Reality makes way— we advance into the void:
A cabin of logs, on a lilypad of golden light
Floats in the sea of the Ancestors, their august trunks
Shed snowdowned twigs for the Hearth—
/
Stones picked from the hillside, stacked high—
/
The fire is gentle, we warm our hands
And the light of the Ancestors spreads, makes shadows
On the walls, dispels the night’s cold darkness
There is warmth, and us, and home
Have the trees all fallen?
/
In my absence,
Did the lights turn out in Santa Fe?
I’m walking in a shadow,
Cast by who knows what because
The skyline’s bare
/
Now the leaves are gone,
And in their wake the branches
Lie gutted on the pavement
Stripped to shiny bones
That smile and smile,
The call to arms blares out
So sickly sweet
/
A mind rang out across the room
That blazed so hot we’ll never know
And in one blazing human breath
They breathed their last
/
to think they were children
they were just children
/
I feel a great and quiet darkness
Has snuffed out those sparks
That could have ignited the world
And so I wonder
How many million seconds, meant to be,
Now never will?
/
Do good men die so other men
Might learn, or worse still, win?
Will those sparks
Snuffed out in Santa Fe
Ignite this world of apathy
To shame?
/
I ask again,
Have the trees all fallen
Down in Santa Fe?
There is a path through the trees
Where the stream tumbles into the lake
The sound of water mingles with the trees
And the water mingles with reflections of trees
I walk alone under the pale winter sun
I alone walk under the pale winter sun
/
I am a traveler
The wind sweeps leaves into the lake
The trees sway gently in the wind
I am a traveler
The path is familiar but I have not known it before
The wind makes ripples on the lake
I am a traveler
I am wandering in a place familiar that I never knew
The trees are still swaying
/
Man made an arch out of the earth
Brick by brick, it rose to the level of the trees
This is where the old house stood
Even though everyone is gone, and the house is gone
I must make sure everyone knows, here goes
The arch is crumbling into earth again
The arch is crumbling back to earth again
/
I am a traveler
Breathe in, eyes closed
The path stops short up ahead
A pale white film is covering the sun
The trees shine softly because it’s winter
And the world is new
star flecks scratch cloudscape,
amber moon, scalded milk sky:
a night after snow
/
i fear darkness, dust,
air itself; space means farewell, means
i am alive and thus alone
/
the flowers are gray
as hearts forging fallow moons
we die: seasons change
/
So find the time— the
thing you do, the why you’re here—
that is life giving
/
run straight into the deep
where moonlight cuts colors
on the sea
[FR]
Il m’arrive de m’interroger
Sur qui cacha sous les marées de tes yeux
Quand nous tombâmes dans une poche de temps
En pratiquant l’intimité qui nous gardâmes un moment
/
Quand nous parlâmes avec politesse
Est-ce qu'ils me regardèrent depuis un endroit n’importe ou
Ou c’est possible que ton sourire à fossettes
Deux pouces de la mienne - pressas en silence pour plus
/
Tu sais, c'est drôle comme je te vis et je gardai mes distances
Me disant que tu sois occupé, et il ne fut que rien,
Ensuite, vous avez glissé dans la nuit
Et je ne t'ai pas vu depuis
/
Puis, en regardant la pluie à travers le verre,
Je te souvins, et je fis un voeu que nous
Nous retrouvions ensemble sur un coup de tête
et nous nous mettions en place comme si de rien n'était
/
Mais si c'est fini
Il me donne de la joie comment nous passâmes notre temps
Parce qu'il était incroyable
Pour être si proche de toi

[EN]
Sometimes I wonder
What was behind your pools of eyes
When we two fell into a pocket of time
And practiced mutual closeness for a while—
/
When we made polite conversation
Did they look into me from a place so far
Or did your dimpled smile—
Two inches from mine— press silently for more
/
You know, it’s funny how I saw you and I stayed away—
Telling myself you were busy, and it was nothing,
Then you slipped into the evening
And I haven’t seen you since—
/
Then, watching rain through glass,
I remembered, and I wished upon the stars
That we’d find ourselves together on a whim
and we’d fall back into time like it was nothing
/
But if that’s ended
I’m happy how our time was spent
Because, my god, it really was amazing
To be that close to you
(FR/EN)
There were two boys, one man, and a balloon
And one dog, all yellow and purple at this time of day
And somehow the field cut green and low
Made the air feel even stiller when no breeze
Came down from the mountain
/
For a while they sat there looking, maybe west or north
It didn’t seem to matter much; The colors played
Over their repose and they look painted on that field
And I wondered if from the road I was no further
Than they were close to one another
/
Because you knew these five, laid under the summer sunset
So still you felt the windless air hold back
Would be there long after you had left
Would maybe wander for a blade of grass
Captured all alone in a painting
When the gold gleaming cast shadows
On the sweeter air at night—
/
So quiet, just that flickering
On the windowsill
/
See it sigh
See the wax is running low—
/
I knew soon the light would die
So I kept vigil, just me in the soft dark
Prompt: Write a poem about a candle melting, but do not use the following words: Candle, Fire, Melt, Burn
There is a rising beneath
The shape of cresting wave peaks
Where light shines through and down
/
Into the rushes, cupped in the hands
Anemonae— between the bubbles and the air pockets
And pressurized space stained black and white and blue
/
This is the land of the deep, the deathly still
Where only the brave light of pyrosomes
Wan— cast upon the inkblots that pool in human hearts
/
Can fill with air the lungs that breathe
And float, and buoyed and bobbing,
Teach us to feel the warmth of sun again
/
So let it be known I combed the ocean floor
I paid in sleepless solo night sojourns
I sought the sacred in sands, tectonic rifts,
/
And elemental Pelagaic bits
Dark bits that, cupped in the hands—
Stronger now— squeezed— burst to stars
Prompt: The abyssal zone or abyssopelagic zone is a layer of the pelagic zone of the ocean. "Abyss" derives from the Greek word ἄβυσσος, meaning bottomless. At depths of 4,000 to 6,000 metres (13,000 to 20,000 ft), this zone remains in perpetual darkness.
Walking out the door her husband says,
I’ll be back in an hour. He said that last time
After threatening her with violence, she retaliated
With a garden hose, the only ****** weapon within reach.

She turns over the memory of her wedding day looking for red flags,
Remarks to herself how methodical it all was,
Vetting her prospects— a bookish disposition and a stable desk job—
And thinks to herself
It’s a wonder anything came of it at all.

There’s a list of Odds and Ends on the kitchen table.

She closes her eyes to imagine
Ticking boxes on that List of Odds and Ends with a number two pencil,
Three children conducting a bank heist,
On the table a corner reserved for beeswax,
Raspberry jam,
And a bucket of mud.
She laughs to herself.

Some sort of commotion has seized control of the air outside.
Perhaps the children are arguing over
Who holds open the sack, the door, waits outside
Or perhaps they’re coming to collect
The woman wrapped up
In a garden hose, a necklace
Of her own design.

Loaded up on the stretcher, they carry her out, she says
I’ll be back in an hour. The woman next door stands on her stoop,
Clearly she could not have seen this coming.
She forgets her own birthday.
Written from prompt: « She forgot her own birthday. »

— The End —