I’m up early
as always
swimming in the currents of
a sweet morning
in summer
in Oregon
as if for the first time

Much like the morning
years past
when I woke
with a new girl
in a cemetery in Eugene

We went there to escape the heat
slept on a blanket
naked in the night

So alive were we
and in love

Practicing, perhaps,
for the day when sleep
and death
converge.
Walking the steep narrow street,
My lurching steps thrown off by cobblestones,
My shoulder suddenly brushing
the sweating walls
Of the stone row houses —
I see my reflection like a visiting spirit
distorted in wavy glass windows
Half-shuttered, and framed
By flaking trim, slivers of soft
blue paint drifting to the paving stones;
above my head, filigreed balconies jut out
Filled with clay pots of Spanish lavender
And trailing succulents,
As the breeze sucks
the blinding white lace curtains
to flap among the medieval simplicity
Of the worn walled town.

The church bell clangs its hollow ancient call,
And I hear a sweet song,
reverberating among the stone.
I look up to see
a delicate caged canary,
its forked tail and soft belly just visible,
its beak open and throat throbbing
with the passion only
a caged bird knows.

I think of the goldfinches—
The wild canaries—
As yellow as dandelions,
that fly to my thistle sock
At the edge of the forest,
their wild song piercing
the still summer air,
Their wildness quivering in their
Very flight, undulating from branch
To feeder, to take the thistle as a gift
and give their song,
freely,
in return.
  Jul 30 Jeff Stier
Lazhar Bouazzi
The first thing I saw early this morning
When I pulled back the light green curtains
Was a hectic blue 'n orange butterfly
Wavering in the fair sun of my garden -
'tween the enclosed well and the laurel tree.

On a sidewalk, red and radiant,
Strutted two damsels together;
A turquoise skirt wore the one,
A chocolate T-shirt the other.

Jubilant they were together,
As the cadence of their laughter
Waved in the air like Tunisian silk.

No harvest did my screen display today,
No mountain range did loom far in the distance;
All that was shown were a laughing sidewalk,
And a quivering sun in a small garden.

(c) LazharBouazzi
Jeff Stier Jul 29
There are tricks
the eyes play on us

Tonight
when I stare into the darkness

I see rain

A summer of drought
and I see rain.
Jeff Stier Jun 23
First,
I strive for beauty
I wait for the bell to chime
the lightning to strike

Today, it seems,
the skies are clear
those chimes of midnight
are silenced
they boycott my breath
heap ash on the urgency of ringing
and leave me dizzy
in my decline.

But if the past
truly is prologue
it will all come round again.

Language will make its magic.
Sweetness will ooze from
the open wound
of my heart.

There will be words
in the order and rhythm
in which they were intended.

And poetry will breathe yet again.
  Jun 14 Jeff Stier
Mary Winslow
She sang to the Lord with cymbals after Holofernes
was foiled by the hand of a woman

Holofernes symbolizes the rugged root of an invading army
and unwanted intimacy, she took the man seed

Judith is a private poet who railed and raged saying, “whosever fears
the Lord will see their enemies melt like wax”

No one would mistake her closed thighs for arrogance
the beauty of her countenance was her victory

Like Persephone, she took her offering to the Underworld
knowing the humility of supplicating on others’ leavings

The head fell into seeds planted beneath her tribe
grew healing from man-brokenness into wings and leaves

Renewal every year means virginity can be reclaimed
as it regrows a flourish ascending from the soul

Spring returns thus, so no man ever claimed her after the once
she planted renewal arriving in each bloom and regrown shoot

Judith found the truth as the flowers hoisted their lips to the sun
in the season of maidenhead with its thousand new blossoms.
©marywinslow 2017 all rights reserved. This is another one that I sent to Calyx and they've lost all trace of my submission and my very existence. I'm glad to be able to share it on HP.
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