The Early Bird Gets the Worm

Weighing me down all colors
sucked into the sky make the dark
stars are shells, little insights
early robins and raccoons know
what’s hidden in the sump of night
clouds turn navy-mauve
this is niche upholstery
where the worm, that threadbare cuss
is moving in the oak leaves

Canadian geese at this hour
fly muttering
their beginning psalms
speak low

I am awake
when dreams linger in the scenery
the amoeba treasure, the flexible cellophane spirit
the ghost with burned eyes
shredded off the moon
shows me what’s only visible
before first light.

copyright Mary Winslow 2017 all rights reserved. It's 4:17 am.

Snail

The snail, a mouth hanging out the door
split into dreaming and living houses
my cage blown by the glassblower
I was a fool
was spun around and around
Out spills the rubber of the inner life
tenderness supped
on the strong broth of resentment
coughed through my nose
fed to me spoonful
after spoonful
then I was roasted into glass
so I could carry a facade
to shelter the soft spots
respectability turns opaque
my home, a work of art-hurt
rage-marbled wearing it on my back
moonbeam coiled
all this weight
glistening from sorrow
as I move
and carry
my heart-bone grail.

copyright Mary Winslow 2017 all rights reserved.

The Season of Tyranny

Winter brings hard thoughts homogenizing
famished skins are frozen to chalk
each cold breath smokes the air white
the landscape wizens
green shoots fall
in uncouth, rough fisted weather
pilgrims in the dark
their footsteps tracking dried mud
migrants' obliterated heel prints
are nothing but snow-filled moon rinds
suffused with injustice and hardihood
fed on thistle and bitter hours
they feel the flinty looks of strangers
ravening thinness of the season
that carves off their names
these suffering battalions
naked dryads in February
but when kin to sun and acceptance again
laureled in dulcet ceremony
their hard visages are transcribed
and look successful as any May
voyager enjoying an easy chair,
companions, and the shade of spring.

copyright Mary Winslow 2017 all rights reserved

Picnics are less about Bibles and more about food
watermelon, the church sprinkler running cold
on green unruly grass those thinning vengeances
ice cubes clinking like trinkets in our glasses
the chummy simple lemon pudding
lemon wedges like quarter moons in brown sweet tea
barbecue on paper plates and paper towel napkins
hot dogs and buns out of a plastic bag
babies wailing in cloth diapers
we’re so busy eating there’s no one to scold
I get the green hose off the sprinkler
to fill a squirt-gun and hold the hose to my mouth
water runs over my tongue.

Thunderheads with white troll faces
deviled eggs, devil humidity, a wet dog nose
pressed to my skin ice pop and freckles
fresh and crisp moments growing
profligate swarming things

I shout into the summer for an echo
humid haze sweeps it up before it goes any distance
tangled in the smell of honeysuckle and mimosa
the fragrance of musty Bibles and frying catfish

Talk of Jesus and mayonnaise potato salad
shade trees
this is the nature of worship
on Wednesday evening.

copyright Mary Winslow 2017. Just a random remembrance of growing up in Georgia. Hope you like it!
 5d Mary
Jeff Stier 

Slender green shoots
press through the
still cold ground
hands of the earth
lifted in prayer

Their strength is manifest
their exertions
carpet the land in green
their tender prayers
press forcibly against the sky
and keep it
at the distance
God intended

In the fall
invisible seeds will carpet the land
buried they will be
but in spring
they begin to speak

These buried corpses
will not only murmur
they will sing
in lush green voices.

I pray I will be there
yet once more
to join in the song.

The title is from a James Baldwin quote I jotted down while we were watching the film I Am Not Your Negro: "all your buried corpses now begin to speak."

I took the concept in directions the author never intended. Apologies to Mr. Baldwin.
 Apr 6 Mary
SK O'Sullivan 

today is the colour of the gull

white seeps through
clabbered grey

early remnants graze
across the barrens

between doors
the dirges of fishermen
singing

a litany of those lost

lapsing into murmurs

the slow swallow of cold
thickened sea laps

at the pebbled mouth of the cove
grief returns

climbs worn paths

gathers violets among grasses
lays them upon hollows within

emptinesses beneath
weathered stones below
the seabird's call

Mary Winslow Apr 5

Was this James Joyce’s daughter Lucia, I wonder?
Similar enough, an odd bird cawing at the ilex and cypress
decked out in laurels
sultry for the shades who leapt
like fire onto the rug
and burned the house down.

We all know such longing when you go mad
and yearn to touch anything real
dream of corporeal success
because ambition always rides us
milks us for the taste
that comes of lightness
we stay with our crying wounds
and slights
success and optimism offering
promises everywhere.

You say this madwoman is large as the dead
but aren’t we all at times
melting our past into tears
and hurts?

So, we dream we are royalty
while we are going mad amongst dusty boards
our life worn thin
We’ve all been sneered at while raving
offering a bedlam of answers
taken by light to the heavens
and you are quite right
that she turns herself into the fire in the stars

Sometimes we are all full of such stars falling on us
they cripple and crab us with their heat
we go cold to speak to their spirits
and we roll like she did
fighting this skin raging
until we find the blazing metaphor
the one perfect dance
that lets us rip off our struggling suits
for flight.

copyright Mary Winslow 2017 all rights reserved. This is based on a Dylan Thomas poem that I suspect was about James Joyce's daughter, Lucia.
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