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  Oct 19 ju
Evan Stephens

It's a lonely acid evening,
citric-salted, hung like a skin

on headlights that rise
& split into orange antlers.

A woman screams "Barry!"
into the alley, over and over,

until night climbs over her
with black, grinding knees.

Sweet Saturday carvings
are Sunday's rack and bone:

after your lobby debut
(your eyes fine as sea-thread)

you spun away, you are still spinning.
The heart's ever-after is knotted:

I thin you with gin, smear
that clever flash of teeth and lip

into the cold hollows of air
that clot the mid-month.

Listen: the alley woman
gave up on Barry.

  Oct 13 ju
She holds back.
Unsure but aware.
I'm polite and considerate,
out of character for me.
I usually just tear them open.
Rip out their secrets.
Hold them up,
let them read what they hide.
See the unease.
Paint the walls with it.
No reservations
about their objections.
I usually,
just don't care.

She holds back.
It's different for me.
I want to be gentle.
I've snuck peeks.
What I've seen
keeps me from trespassing.
Her doors are unlocked,
almost inviting.
She's full of beautiful flowers.
Sunsets and starry nights.
None of the typical.
It's absent but not void.
It's alive and still growing.
I forgot that.
Failing to recall
when things grew in me.
When they felt alive.

I just want to hold her.
Hide her away
from everyone and everything.
I found someone full of life.
A treasure in murky water.
An oasis,
hidden in the inhospitable.
A quiet pond,
serene and clean.
I want her to pour herself out
without my hand.
So I secretly pull things from her.

Hold them up,
let her read what she hides.
See the unease.
Paint the walls with it.

Beautiful murals,
full of colour, movement, and depth.
Happy because she smiles.
This is all hers,
I'm just the instrument,
under contract.
She provides everything else.
I'm just the brush
that paints her canvas
with her many hues.
The staff
that fills with her
clefs, notes, and tempos,
as she conducts her orchestra
through her melodic symphony.
Her beauty inspires.
Her kindness is unmatched.
I want to set the bar so high
so she never forgets
what I see
in her, through me.
Forget your fear, my Love.
Dance with me
under your starry nights
as your music plays,
filling halls
lined with your alluring art.
Dance with the poet
as my words fill your heart
with all, I see, hear and feel.
Close your eyes and smile.
This is all for you.
ju Oct 10
Our garden was spirals of green - Squeeze-through bean tunnels rigged with bee stings, skinny mud paths that grazed knees and bloodied hand-heels when it rained. The field was neat rows of gold - Wide tracks made-good with stone, sipped dry by birch and tall oak. Peacocks and emperors flickered, fritillary swooned to a stop on damp skin - Ragged commas were caught breaths in bramble and …I listened... to Old-Man-Brown - snoring and mythical, to the click-click of chopped veg, to kids playing, to men coming home.

I ran, scrambled the bank, grabbed hold of chain-link, crashed into the garden. I knelt by the pen, let dogs lick my hands, gave armfuls of long grass to rabbits. I danced between chickens, beeped back at quails and avoided wry-smiley ferrets. I made it back before Mum needed to yell, shouted out, swirled my limbs clean from the barrel - Excited because, in a couple of weeks it’d be teeming with coppery fish and I’d give them ant-eggs and worms. I shoved open the door, brushed past dead things. That’s what we did: Fed them until it was time.
  Oct 3 ju
Oh Zion
Call me home
To the shores
Of carcasses
The smell of
Jet skis
Bobbing in the wake
Falling underwater
Let me stay here
For a spell  
/ / /
Oh Lake Michigan
Pull me into your depths
Froth me into
Your waves
Rebirth me
Into a grain
Of sand
Left upon the
Place where
Your waters
Meet land
  Sep 30 ju
Evan Stephens
I am the Empire in the last of its decline,
That sees the tall, fair-haired Barbarians pass,--the while
Composing indolent acrostics, in a style
Of gold, with languid sunshine dancing in each line.
-Paul Verlaine, "Melancholy"

I am the Empire, in decline.
The elm tree is yellowing;
the rain-arm is broadcasting
from the cloud station.

I am the once-loved voice,
now a tired smear of memory;
the ghost of a market thrill,
a bed of smoke, a red register.

I am the Barbarian, grown fat
after the stuttering blonde pyres
are stilled: finger-flickers of ash.
I am the white noise nocturne

after the rerun is over.
I am the cathode ray,
the scent in the glass.
I am the Empire, in decline.
  Sep 16 ju
Caroline Shank
Write what I know?  I am pocked with
chunks of broken moments.
Bits fall to the ground, trip me.
The terrain of my youth is a
moonscape.  I know what I know in
the craters of this place.

Born on the darkside and thirsty, I was
cold.  I found the sun later when I
was tumbled out the door of my
Mother’s leaking house.  Her screams
had become tentacles of maniacal
music.  Or do not call it music for
if you heard it you would not dance.

I am old now.  The view from my landing
is filled with sunlight and children,
“There are children in the leaves,
laughing excitedly”.   (Eliot)
I am paused in this imagination on

When she is quiet,
I sweep her under the porch
where she lies drunk and unlaughing.
I do not let her out.  Yet she
steers me.  Her corpse loud
in her ***** nightdress.  

The terrain of my old age is pitted
with the debris of this haunting.  She
unsings me, makes me lie in
craters from which I climb up
daily only to tumble back down,
to have to begin again
from the bottom each new **** day.

But I sing as I crawl. And
she does not like the sound of that

Caroline Shank
  Sep 12 ju
Evan Stephens
We didn't quite think it through,
did we now?

We just pushed that harrow
even when the fields were underwater.

Now the wires bring us
the yes-no grammar of old love.

Lewd sun, cloud-tumble,
violets dying in the loam:

images lashed to the lens,
the loom, the wine-weave

of the eye... well,
we held on for a while.
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