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Nov 2021 · 310
A Little Book
Sharon Talbot Nov 2021
I keep it closed and locked,
In an imaginary, leather binding,
With its many pages compressed,
So that memories far apart
Are easier to retrieve,
Like scooping pearls
and shells on the sand.
There are stories of great adventure,
Tiny incidents like crystals
Shivering in the sun.
Lovers I knew in ancient times
Sleep among the pages
But come to life as I read,
My eyes caressing them as
My hands once did their skin.
Colors of eyes and hair remembered
Leap to paint the air around me:
Yellow sunlight and bodies moving,
Both electric and languid
In tangled sheets or long grass
After passion passed.
Some flashed like fireworks,
But others burned long and slow,
Not ready to love, nor to let go.
Smiles across a playing field,
Surprise midnight visits on holidays,
Costumed for Halloween with tiny stars
That shimmered on the stairs next morning,
Or inebriate feasts on the Fourth of July,
Tanned in the water and soothed at night.
There are short liaisons with friends
And long affairs, living with lovers,
Imagining it lasting forever
And battling the serious and inane.
Thinking everything will say the same.
And underlining all these times
Is the solidity of just one true love.

Finished November 14, 2021
Oct 2021 · 520
Only Susannah
Sharon Talbot Oct 2021
Things sometimes fall apart
Among sisters and brothers,
No matter what they once were.
Childhood picnics and dreamy games,
Memories of trips with Dad,
Since Mom was tired of us.
We would climb Appalachian peaks
Or drive to look at the Mayflower.
Every summer there was a golden week
A lakeside cottage and all-day swims
In crystal water, becoming mermaids.
But time passes and bitterness accrues.
Imagined slights grow like slow tumors,
Never excised but nurtured by some.
I go to college and am freed
From the poison of ignorant rage,
From the creeping depression left
Like diesel fog on an endless floor.
Four or five years of delight pass
With only hints here or there
Of a sibling’s misery at home.
Of a once close sister, Maggie,
Who is ignored and never loved
By any man she pursues.
She blames me for it, for reasons
I have yet to fathom.
Of a brother, Francis, deluded, drugged,
Steals the family car in a rage
And drives to New York City.
Of Deirdre, the middle sister,
Whose friend who knows men who feed
On her ignorance and rebellion.
Only Susannah tries to rise above
The maelstrom of misery.
I send her to a school far away
And she sheds despair, at least.
Decades drawl, children are born to us,
While the bridge between us, obscured,
Sags and frays under weight of rancor.
Christmas dinners and birthday parties
Turn into chores, invitations kept as scores.
Petty grudges, like acid, sever the bridge
At last, all ties are abandoned.
When we are all grown and scattered,
No one speaking to anyone else,
Unaware, uncaring about the others.
Only Susannah visits me and smiles,
With no ulterior plan for insane revenge,
Or accusations for errant slights.
Her once dark hair is grizzled and wild
And her girlish skin now creased.
But her treacle eyes, “black aggies”,
I used to call them, still shine.
Only Susannah writes a letter,
Wishing us well and
Healing scars made by others,
Returning the word “family”.
To my basket of small treasures,
I carry with me
Into the twilight.
Oct 2021 · 354
Two Queens
Sharon Talbot Oct 2021
When we were children
My sister and I rejected
The role of princess.
They were pretty but weak--
Always needing to be rescued!
And we preferred the chiseled faces
The greater command of queens.
We stood on our beds at night,
Wool blankets turned to velvet capes.
And we declared our power
In broad, silly proclamations
Such as “Queen of the Dolls”!
Or Rulers of the Woods
That stretched off to the east
Of our little house,
That became a castle
Guarded by hooting owls
and Baskerville hounds.
Arms outstretched, our capes
Made leaping sparks
And we shouted in our glory.
After tiring of commands
We launched ourselves into the air
And for a moment, ruled the earth,
Suspended above our queendom
Until we fell onto our beds
And laughed with joy,
For were we not landing
On stacks of feathers,
Piled high to avoid a pea,
Laid there just for us?
Memories of fond, brief moments, when my sister and I were transcendent.
Sep 2021 · 379
Sixty Years
Sharon Talbot Sep 2021
I woke up on your sixtieth birthday
And realized I’ve been with you
For half your life!
Yet to me it seems sometimes
No more than the blink of an eye,
No more surprising than a sigh.
Yet then, I think of the joy
The kindness and love
You have given me as naturally
As you might breathe.
Then the aching passion that began
Long ago, now burnished with time
Still burns like the fire inside a jewel!
And each day seems like a hundred years
In which I hold you even when you aren’t near.
I would wish for another half of all you are,
But then I realize, that would never
Be enough.
To my husband.
Sep 2021 · 343
Expiration Date
Sharon Talbot Sep 2021
There is one on some loves,
That flourish like summer flowers
And bring seemingly endless joy
To lovers entwined
And hypnotized by the notion
That this will bloom forever.
But as years pass, some flawless
In execution and mutual care,
The flower begins to fade,
As if its color and fluid are drained,
Perhaps by the force of love itself.
And, unknown to the two,
They glide apart slowly,
Like two ships on the tide,
Until one day, they reach a horizon.
Each looks out for the other
As they have done before,
And call out in hope, then despair,
But they are unseen, far away.
They may try to sail back,
Beating furiously against the tide,
And finally, admitting defeat.
They each collapses, crying, shouting,
Blaming life, fate and humanity.
After months spent on the rocky shore,
In tears or questioning why
And often getting no reply,
The memory of passion fades
As new flowers bloom
And life’s garden summers on.
Sep 2021 · 383
A Haggard Angel
Sharon Talbot Sep 2021
A haggard angel
Stands behind my back.
Is it me or you?
For three decades
She had graced me
With words of love
And fits of anger.
I helped create her
And yet hurt her .
And suddenly, she turns
Away from me,
Still loving me, I think.
But all she wants,
She tells me bitterly,
Is to be alone.
She leaves and I wonder
If she will ever return.
I stand on a garish train,
Thunderstruck, unmoving,
As I watch her storm away.
Suddenly, I feel what she does—
The pain and sadness.
I created her long ago
And know why she is livid.
And now she returns the hurt,
Leaving me as the empty one,
My insides vacuum up sorrow.
Am I now the angel,
Fallen and haggard?
I can't remember what inspired this--probably a film or novel about lost love and irony.
Aug 2021 · 515
Golden Box
Sharon Talbot Aug 2021
You sleep in a golden box, it seems,
On India patterns of rose and tangerine.
The brightening sky sends amber light
Through ecru lace and lowered blinds.
I imagine your lithe limbs stretched out
Beneath the coarse blanket you love.
Your rustic side has always shied
Away from luxury and ease.
Sometimes you even refuse to eat,
So I tempt you with a favorite repast
Things meant to break unwarranted fast.
And often, I ask you to show me
Your lean limbs and boyish length.
As you poise upon the scale
That balances youth and strength.
But at night you leave our tryst
And drive a phaeton of amethyst
To a place no longer gold,
Where you make diamonds out of coal.
Where they drain you 'til day is dawning
And batter down your soul.
Yet it seems you revive each morning
In your pretty box of gold.

July, 2021
Apr 2021 · 663
A Stream
Sharon Talbot Apr 2021
Poems flow in a stream
That winds through me
As I guide them,
Through meandering, uneven
Places in my life,
Or once in a while,
The smooth runs
Where fishing seems easy.
And I collect the pretty stones
That come to rest,
Water-washed, shining,
Along the river’s bank.
And often, there is a pool,
Green-blue, with clear water
And trout shadows, swift
And still, making a brief home,
Suspended above the sand.
Those are the ones I choose,
The surface touched only
By tree-filtered sunbeams
And beckoning on summer days.
It seems sometimes to me
That poets travel backward
Up to the source of beauty,
Where the water is still pure,
After struggling up through
Rapids and waterfalls,
Or wading through swamps
Down where the stream ends
And a wide river opens up.
Giant rivers can be majestic
But they often bury the gems
Brought down from the
From mountain caves and highlands
Swallowing them to swirl,
Mixed-up with the jewels
Of other poets’ streams.
And from remembrance
We gather our dreams.
Does sorrow fill the traveler
Who reaches the dark places
Where springs emerge
From some place we cannot see?
Mar 2021 · 355
Where Do People Go?
Sharon Talbot Mar 2021
Where do people go
When they are dispossessed?
When the home they know
Is no longer seen as theirs,
When their beds are tossed out,
And those boxes beneath the stairs
Regarded as trash by the soulless ****
Whose only motive is greed?
I have seen images of them in a group,
Walking down a road to nowhere,
Or out on desert sand, wandering.
Where can they go and not be harassed
By owners with no sympathy?
What boat will carry them to another shore
Where they are met with friendship
And not seen as enemies?
How strange and terrible to see them,
All walking in the same way,
Heads down and shoulders bent,
Many carrying a child
Or remnants of a home enfolded.
When they reach borders,
They are stopped and questioned,
Crowded, as are sheep in a pen.
So many are turned away
And some, desperate they become,
Board small boats with promises
To take them to freedom,
Only to founder and sink,
So that the sea becomes
Their last, dark home.
Others consider themselves lucky
To find a tent or metal van
Which they must take away
From those with property,
And keep moving, herded
Like those same sheep,
Yet now almost wild,
Huddling together with strangers
Near a fire in vast and empty lands
That play slow and vivid sunsets
To soothe the rootless host?
They tell each other stories
Of their home or hard journeys,
Give counsel to evade the dogs
That prey on those who wander.
And on those nights in endless lands,
And a dome not veiled by earthly light,
But dazzling the wanderers
With millions of shimmering stars,
That sends dreams of others gone astray
And they lament their fate as their own,
As unknown brothers and sisters,
Who, bewildered, weep for them as well.
This built on itself from a worry about where the people go when they are old or lose their homes. I then had images of people in a similar dilemma, at borders, such as the U.S./Mexico one, or refugees in the Middle East, or those made "nomads" by economic collapse and the decision to live in tents or vans, out under the sky--free but vulnerable. Also, some of this was inspired by "Nomadland".
Mar 2021 · 211
Noir
Sharon Talbot Mar 2021
I am lately entranced by neo-noir,
The criminal mysteries of Europe
And the wilds of Canada and Britain.
There is rarely running, screaming
Or endless car chases through
London, Ottawa or Ystad,
Unlike the reckless pursuits
In Manhattan or L.A. streets.
These detectives don’t sashay
In long coats or wear black leather,
(Except for a couple).
They wake up hung over,
Like Wallander, or grieving
Like Perez from Fair Isle
And Matthias, self-exiled to Wales.

Bodies surface or are found
In gorgeous forests.
The detectives overcome depression
To quarrel with irrational superiors
(Who may themselves be guilty),
Yet they don’t yell like sergeants
In the gritty precincts of NYC.
They drive their Volvos through
Rolling fields of rye and rapeseed.
And even the mysterious quarries
Where bodies are found in Poland and Wales
Are beautiful—not like the junkyards
Of Barstow or east coast borderlands.
Some detectives are lucky, like Matthias,
In hiding in Hinterland.
He walks the shores of Aberstwyth
As Wallander does the fields of Malmo.
When suspects are caught, they aren’t beaten.
Their jails are neat and clean;
The prisoners get mattresses, pillows and TV!
The police question suspects casually,
As if they would rather be in bed.
The female cops are clever and quiet;
They rarely show their anger
When chided or ignored,
But carry on with dignity
And show the others
How work is really done.

At last, the assailant is charged,
Sun sets through the mist,
Sheep graze on manicured fields.
Village streets glow with low light
Reflected off rain-washed stone.
But despite the ambiance, people die
In weird ways: falling off of towers,
Shot while picnicking in costumes,
Lynched by a group of church goers
Floating past in a lake or river,
Or set on fire in a flowery field.
It’s as if the deaths are staged,
To match the serenity of the old world.
The slow machinations of justice
And drained eyes of the officers
Comfort me like a sedative
Always there, watching over their flock
As soothing as a soft, wool blanket
Hiding a frightened child.
When I am asleep, let
Matthias run along the cliff,
Let Wallander drink his wine
While Endeavour swoons to opera
And Cardinal stands in the birch grove,
All as semi-sedated sentinels
In the dusk or midnight sun.
I only ask that American blues
Take a page from these good constables
Across the sea or north of the border;
Imagine the settling peace
In the wide, new world,
If people of color were never smothered,
Or shot when carrying a phone
And people protesting were not gassed,
But spoken to with weary eyes
And a mind prompting peace officers
To listen, protect and serve.
There is something about the ****** mysteries of other countries than the U.S. In Canada, Great Britain and Sweden, for example, the police seem to hunt criminals in a relaxed, sometimes depressed way (Wallander!)  that fascinates me...even mesmerizes me!
Mar 2021 · 641
Katrina
Sharon Talbot Mar 2021
Children of Louisiana,
Swept away and drowned,
In the river’s flood
And the ocean surge.
Never have recovered
Fully from the rain falling down,
And of a city that was purged.
Ignored by the government
And its fellow man,
Follow in a long line of sufferers
Since the melting, ice age glaciers
And even a tsunami in the North Sea
That wiped out Doggerland.
Dark Ages got darker as people ran
And Britain’s white cliffs were sheared.
Times got better and then got worse,
But the people carried on.
Now, the floods are a weekly thing,
A blip on a newscast,
As lost as the victims in a mess
Of other disasters,
Of wildfires, droughts and don’t
Even mention the quaking earth
Or volcanoes! We can’t take credit
For causing those!
Rich men in their castles,
Feasting and clapping each other
On their fatty backs,
Rolling in the spoils and spills
Of oil, on the flaming water of
The American plains.
Sheikhs in old Mesopotamia
Whine about oil pipelines,
Promised to them by President Cheney,
While the people starve.
Bloated oligarchs spread destruction
All over the world, from
The Congo to Chernobyl,
Melting icecaps and raising the sea,
Sinking islands where they don’t live,
Vacationing in the Maldives,
On special rates before those go under.
They won’t fix Miami, but let it sink,
But not before they plunder
The empty towers built on foolish dreams.
Of course, they’ll be the last to go,
Crammed into mansions up in the Alps,
Fighting with the European nobles
Over who gets a crumbling palace
Now sitting on the last ice floe.
A few American cousins round each other up
To catch the Dixie Flyer down to New Orleans,
Trying to hide from the polar vortex,
A dazzling case of ignorance and greed,
Only to find the tracks buried in the sea…
Down in the mud of the deep, brown sea.
Mar 2021 · 680
Ardor
Sharon Talbot Mar 2021
You come to me each night
After all the crowds have left.
Never telling me your name.
And I, having stood for hours,
Begin closing down in the glow
Of blues, vermilion and rose
Reflected in plate glass,
From neon names of luxury.
I move to synthetic music
On an old stereo and let my
Eyes play tricks with the light,
The vivid letters and logos
Snake round and dance
Against the incipient night.
Just as I relax, you arrive,
The last one here every time,
As you were on the first.
You no longer pretend to consider
A preference, nor wander
Around, feigning interest in
Things you might not want.
Last night you brought flowers,
Twelve lilies in a Venetian vase.
Now this night you say I should
Dine with you somewhere,
But dinner is a euphemism.
You stand close, even as I turn away,
Occupying my eyes, though still,
I see your dark hair, straight shoulders
And the lean, solid strength of you.
I try not to think of your lion eyes,
Almond-shaped and topaz, that glow
With desire and will show a certainty
About me, lessening your need to ask.
As another song starts, I turn around
And you wait, amused almost.
“I have something for you,”
You say, conspiring with Venus,
And hand me a gift.
“You shouldn’t have,” is automatic
But I unwrap it while suspicion taps
On my shoulder, like a tiny demon.
Surprised, a cascade of softness falls
Through my hands, like pouring cream.
Holding it up, I see an evening gown
And think how strange a gift it is.
But it is as alluring as you,
The cloth is the blush of a thousand
Sunsets that sigh like silk
Dragged across a lover’s limbs

I ignore the thought that this color,
So full of innocence and petal-shades,
Clashes with your dark, consuming insistence
That I feel your desire and can’t turn you away.
You can blend kindness with tenacity,
So I am apt to let you in.
Agreeing to your proposition,
I suggest a dance with me.
I want to hear all the music in the world:
Pianos, violins, qanuns, sitars and humming bass,
With luscious voices luring the darkness inside,
Causing the lights to dance and our feet to move
Into that zone of heat that is riotous now,
That I felt all day, knowing you would come
To me again and I know now what will ensue.
And yet, as my body moves toward you
Without moving, my mind holds back,
Delighting in the wish, prolonging the unfulfilled
And I see in your pained gaze,
Under lids heavy with lust; you feel it too.
Why is it that we think of lovers
More intensely when they are far away,
And are closer to us on a distant shore,
Then, when their arms close round us,
We wish almost to be apart,
So they could reach for us once more?

Based on a dream
March 4, 2021, 12:50 AM
Dec 2020 · 474
A December Night
Sharon Talbot Dec 2020
We live on the dark street at night,
Rows of old houses huddled in the cold.
Only one small door has a hesitant light
Glowing yellow against wooden gold.

Flowers and weeds are crushed and dry,
Wreathing withered, brown, grass yards.
Frozen blades crack as feet walk by,
Only wild things cross the hay-like swards.

Old people huddle near the wood stove
Or bake bread and pies in the oven.
Their little dogs are let out for a minute’s rove.
Even they shy away from a world so frozen.

The world of black and white
Dims sight and stultifies the senses
It dulls imagination.
So one goes to sleep and waits.

Waits for morning and
The first ray of sun
Reminding one of spring
And the light, warming the street.

December 2020
This was my impression when glancing out the front door late at night. I was cold and seemed much darker than usual, which was fitting.
Nov 2020 · 2.6k
Happiness is…
Sharon Talbot Nov 2020
Happiness is an empty street
And a fast car.
Happiness is a clean, cold pool
You plunge into on a hot day.
Happiness is someone in your bed
Who’s gone in the morning
If you don’t want company
Or who stays if you do.
It’s someone who is happy to read the paper
Or take a hike with you.
It’s not worrying what others think
About you and your beliefs
And the wisdom to know who counts.
Happiness is strength,
Enough to fight the world
Or luxuriate in things gone well.
Happiness is attracting and repelling
Without having to try.
Happiness is a an aching fist
And an attacker’s black eye.
Happiness can be a warm gun,
Depending who gets hit.*
Happiness is not waiting for love,
Then falling in love in seconds.
It is knowing that you are fine
With or without a vow,
Yet being able to say “yes”,
When lightning strikes
And “no” when it’s just a cloud.
Yet happiness is not being sure
And bathing in uncertainty,
Of the pleasure in mystery.
Happiness is loving, faults and all,
An intensity so focused
That you’d gladly die for the one
Who was sent by some mixture
Of sunlight and shade,
On an ordinary afternoon,
Happiness is his body in yours,
His sweat on your skin in summer,
And body heat on cold nights.
Happiness is loving a little boy
Who looks like both of you
And knowing that love can transfigure
Time, exceed itself and encompass
More than one.
Happiness is contentment
In realizing how much you’ve had
And say you’ll feel rewarded
When your random life is done.
Happiness is the legend they tell
About you when you are gone;
The feeling is theirs and maybe yours.
Happiness is knowing that, if you go too far,
That there is no heaven or hell,
Or if there is,
Then anyone can play guitar.

September 9, 2020
I was reading about the Beatles' song "Happiness is a Warm Gun" and then listened to "Anyone Can Play Guitar" by Radiohead. That reminded me of how much the traditional idea of "heaven" has always bothered me, as well as the grandiose things we expect out of life. Why are humans so given to hyperbole about life and death? This was supposed to come out as a much simpler poem, but well, there it is.
*NOTE: 1-11-21 - In light of recent violence in Washington D.C., I wanted to explain that this line pertains mainly to an article about the Beatles' song (specifically, John Lennon's comments). I believe in the right to self-defense, but in no way condone gun violence, to make political points, vent anger or for any other reason!
Jul 2020 · 571
Paila Marina
Sharon Talbot Jul 2020
The former Chilean soldier,
sits with a straight back,
eating Paila marina,
the same thing he makes
every Sunday, although
his wife and children are gone.
He delights in the long-ago flavors,
the rich swirl of saffron fire,
the unlocked mussel shells,
ginger-skinned shrimp
and floating onion slivers.
"Served without pretension,"
the saying rings in his memory,
the deep voice of his abuela,
as she stirs the liquid gems
in her wide, copper ***,
shining on a darkened stove.
“Only some things really matter,”
She often explains.

He always waits silently,
squatting nearby, inhaling the scent,
mouth watering, eyes catching
the lift of her great ladle.
She will turn and smile at him,
the way no one ever has.
He is warmed and fed already,
before even tasting the meal.

Now he is rich, wanting nothing,
sitting in his well-appointed house,
sipping the best wine
and listening to soft music.
Yet he sees and hears none of it.
Only the world in his bowl
is real to him now.
Jul 2020 · 301
Girls and Boys
Sharon Talbot Jul 2020
Imagine the bombed-out fields of Japan,
Wandering families with no food.
A little girl soothes her brother,
Who is so hungry, he must cry.
“Let’s imagine a menu,” she tells him
And the tears stop for a while.
Many years later, her son will say,
Of a balloon without a skin,
“There’s no point if you don’t imagine it.”
Imagine Britain after the Blitz,
Young man roaming the streets
Mind craving, surviving on 45 records
From the USA. How could he help
But become an artist and rebel?
Picture the canyons of New York City,
Where galleries peek like jewels in the dust.
The girl from Japan and the British boy,
Both imagining something more.
She sets up a ladder to the sky,
He wanders in and climbs it
And to all his questions, especially “Why?”
She has imagined a small and simple “Yes.”
You can probably guess which girl and boy this is about...
Jun 2020 · 284
At Fourteen
Sharon Talbot Jun 2020
At fourteen I learned to sail—
The difference between true wind and gale.
I learned that babies do not come from prayer
And wondered if we were all wanted,
As my mother often said.
At fourteen, I stopped myself from caring
What kids on the bus thought of me,
Or whether I ate school lunch alone.
How unnecessary had been all that fear,
When I learned that I liked myself
Without their praise.
At fourteen, I learned that other girls
Cared only about pimply boys
And the dates, rings and ownership each claimed.
What a small, unexceptional life, I thought!
But at fourteen, I was too selfish
To pity them, much less humor their desires.
At fourteen, I realized that my dad was imperfect,
When he dodged the excise tax on his car.
Did he commit this tiny sin to rebel
Against an unappreciative wife,
Or did he feel the vicissitudes of life
As I had just begun to do?
At fourteen, the world was opening
Like a lotus flower in a teacup,
Soon to spill over and fill my soul
With longing for passion and logic,
But for something else ineffable.
I would find in later years
That the wanting itself could be enough
To stir those depths into song or quiet joy.
Of all the things in my soul and mind
And in the world beyond, I would learn,
That the only absolute is inexplicable—
The only perfect, human thing is love.
May 2020 · 505
Stranger
Sharon Talbot May 2020
A virus lives quietly
Until one day it appears
As suddenly as a madman
Raging in the desert
In quest of methamphetamine.
Or an outlaw on *****,
Shooting up streets
And striking people down.
It has no origin we can see,
No place that it calls home,
But ravages civilizations
And adopts their clothing,
Wears their armour
And steals their ships,
Like the Sea Peoples
Of ancient times.
Feared even by god-like Pharaohs,
The kings of Knossos and
The Mycenaean warlords.
It attacks the very essence
Of its victims, becoming like them.
Walking through their streets,
Dancing as they do and
Welcomed into their houses—
Hiding in plain sight.
It drifts down as they sleep,
And bonds with their cells at night.
I was writing a poem about the mysterious Sea Peoples of the Bronze Age, who ravaged empires and people all over the Mediterranean. As I wrote, I noticed parallels between the current pandemic and previous ones; the virus must hijack others' cells in order to reproduce, as if wearing them like a costume!
May 2020 · 308
A Fair Wind
Sharon Talbot May 2020
I heard about the sloop John B.
When I was fourteen.
I had learned to sail in a storm
And the story gave me daring,
Although I had lost control,
Tightening the sail
Instead of letting it out
In a sudden gale.
And just in time, a boat passed
With a man who shouted,
“Loosen the main sheet!”
As the boat heeled to starboard,
And I nearly capsized.
But discovered a fair wind
And the ease of a beam reach.
So my first time was the worst,
And best…
But adrenaline fueled desire,
To do this again and again!
This is a fond memory, which really happened, but I like to apply it to life, except when I'm feeling adventurous!
May 2020 · 500
1983
Sharon Talbot May 2020
Stick my phone into the wall--
hoping no one trips on the cord.
No mobile phones in this dark age
and computers haven't come of age.
My TV has cable but the picture's curved.
Static makes it look so old
and my frozen dinner's gotten cold!
I shut it off and think: at least
I've got a huge stereo
with a dual tape deck.
Listening to New Wave
is much better than televised dreck.
Maybe someday they'll make it digital
but it won't be quite the same.
I'm as happy as a person can reasonably be
in the year 1983.
A kind of fond, snarky memory of times past...
May 2020 · 471
Heaven, Above and Below
Sharon Talbot May 2020
Another sunset spans the sky
Deserting its view of shambled streets,
Fleeing the dark silhouettes and wires pierced high.
On feathered wings it fades and bids good-bye.

What a reminder is sent to us each day,
As sweeping clouds look down before dying,
That beyond this desolation, they still will stay;
No human form can stop their flying.

The eye is jarred by every scene,
In which the darkening hulks arise,
And yet are conquered by the sky, it seems;
We are left to dwell below; to guard this prize.

Who, staring aloft, would never desire,
To rise up and dwell among the splendor,
Rather than stay below in tangled squalor?
Yet we must be content with remembered fire.

(Not finished)
This was based on a walk I took on a December evening, along with some great photos of the cirrus clouds and twilight. The buildings in town were all silhouetted black against the sky, emphasizing its beauty.
May 2020 · 320
The Meridian of Pythagoras
Sharon Talbot May 2020
Night so often brings a lack of force,
But in this other world
That hums alongside ours,
There is a golden line riding in the sky,
A horizontal meridian
That runs like a road,
Across the plains
Where invaders roam
And you should not travel
On your own.
So hang onto the line and fly
Above despair or fear,
Until you reach a darker cliff
And enter the realm
Of Pythagoras.
Along with his elfin helper,
Who spun the golden line
Steered by Pegasus.
And slung below the stars,
Thin as a spider’s web
And strong as steel,
He gives frail dreamers
Safe passage from world to world.
Above the winding roads
And forests of dark mist,
Those of Eriador, Earthsea and Hyrule
Sail like Odysseus past rock-bound isles
And Sirens’ songs and Loki’s smiles.
But what lies beyond those hills,
The dubious mortal asks.
To which the winged horse replies,
“Only those who dare
And trust me safely to consign
Will ever know where leads
The Meridian of Pythagoras,
The endless, golden line.”
This is almost all the substance of a strange yet wonderful dream I had (complete with this title), in which things that make little sense or seem off-kilter when awake were magically believable. You should be able to tell some of my interests in fantasy and my lack of skill in mathematics!
Apr 2020 · 369
Or Not...
Sharon Talbot Apr 2020
Choices, so many choices:
Nordic noir or French comedies.
Bluegrass but not country.
Right wing or left wing:
What is useful and what is not?
Random violence doesn't help the plot.
Summer but not autumn
Moss gardens but not lawns.
The grass isn’t always greener,
Or didn’t you know?
British country houses or French chateaux.
Fishing for trout but not bass.
Sailing but no boats with gas.
Cycling but not motorcycles.
So many choices on which to pass.
San Francisco but not Las Vegas.
The Caribbean but not Florida.
Watching films of the desert but not being there.
Admiring the stars but not flying there.
Impressed by the horseman but not the cavalry.
Settling for Ubuntu but too tired for Kali.
Lumping things together is a bad recipe.
Living in Boston but not New York.
Eating peas with a spoon and not a fork.
Living like Dickinson but reading Walt Whitman.
Staying inside is nice; but run outside, shouting if you can.
Watching Downton Abbey on TV but not the screen.
Drinking mocha latte coffee but not tea with cream.
Loving travel round the world but hating the trip.
You can go exploring with your eyes but not your lips.
Deciding what's worthwhile isn't hard; just be resolved.
Critics tell you this or that, but can’t decide what's art or trash.
East or West Coast—why get involved?
Shuttle between them in electric hot rods.
Don't get bogged down with picking a god.
Followers always end up dead and all that matters
Is where they bury or burn you or scatter,
Whether you are declared saint or sinner.

But if I were one of them I would reconsider:
You can be a prophet, the calf that’s golden,
If enough of your votes are stolen.
You can even rule the world
If you ruin lives, steal countries and hurl
Thousands of lies online. These are the stakes.
"Lawyers, guns and money": that's all it takes.
The only real price will be your soul.
But do you believe in it when you get old?
Better make a simple choice.
Speak simply in a honeyed voice.
I read the news today,
Telling me which words to shout,
Make people ignore that time is running out.
Learn to step on them and which crimes to flaunt.
And how to get everything I want,
Then I can enjoy it as the storms rage round,
Live on the mountain as the sea waters drown
Everyone else—do I only need to save myself?
I've got a bombproof mansion underground.
I can hold out fifty years in such a spot....
I would be safe and comfortable,
But then, maybe not...
Apr 2020 · 296
White Sand
Sharon Talbot Apr 2020
I awoke in the desert
At night, with starlight
Illuminating the white sand.
There were sharp mountains
In the distance, with flashing lights
And beams that searched
All around me.
I crawled to hide behind a
Gnarled shrub that snarled
At me and caught my clothes.
And at last I fell asleep.
But woke to the same
Sand, white as bones,
But now, black-clad ghosts
Float past me, weaving
In and out of each other,
Their robes fluttering
In the hot wind and dust.
The only humans I see
are children,
Who scamper and smile.
Though they seem to be alone
And poor, they have their toys:
Pots and pans, old sticks and a doll’s leg,
Blackened at the  joint.
Perhaps children in some other place
Play with the rest of it, content.
But I notice that they are looking,
Always looking for something.
ماء! نريد الماء!
Ma'! nurid alma'a!
I want to answer
But cannot.
I don’t know what they mean.
Sharon Talbot Mar 2020
Lost on the plains of ancient  Ílion,
Treading the windswept soil and stone,
I sense the ghosts of warriors and horsemen,
Of dark-eyed women and jealous kings.
Their history scattered, burned and ruined,
Pressed by time and scavenging hordes,
Yet restored to life in song and verse.
When poets and imagining hearts were stirred
To find heroes among brutal soldiers
And reasons for violence masked as greed.

Shades of blue lost to time reappear.
In their winding brains goddesses walked,
Holding an aegis made that bore a Gorgon’s face
Or gods who guided arrows and chose the dead.
Bards ever kept alive the rival gods
Before whom King Priam bowed and Achilles defiled.

Across the grape-blood waters of the Hellespont,
Aphrodite savored her own victory and watched
As Paris still kept the women she had given him.
Love was not among her calculations
Nor those of Zeus when he forbade hindrance
By the gods, who yet battled among themselves.

As mortal enemies fought the coming of allies.
For ten years, ships and horses swarmed to aid
The unbowed city, even Memnon and Penthesilia,
Both slain by the sword for reasons then forgot,
So their sacrifices failed to dent a lust for blood.

Yet armies tired and war ended, as all wars do,
Through fatigue or fire or the scattering of slaves.
Now time has whitened the ruins and sands
And Boreas sweeps away the shards of stain
That dyed the cities’ walls and columns.

The scarlet buried below Herculaneum is gone,
And saffron gowns on dancing virgins,
All the horses’ indigo manes and hyakinthos
Sandals of Achilles, whose mother dyed them
Before he sailed, forgetting his Stygian bath.

He was clad in red to hide his blood,
So when wounded, his men would not cower.
Yet one arrow alone took his life; how telling
That more valiant men lost theirs closer to the soul!

Gone are the sheep, red-fleeced with madder
And argamon robes of brides and Cybele’s priests.
No sacrificial lambs or holy men walk here now,
On the bone white land and relics of a kingdom,
Yet the north wind, the lone god, continues to wail.

March 5, 2020
A salute to the Trojans, who fought such violent foes, the Achaeans (known to the West as Greeks), and the importance of their various colors, especially blue, purple and red, between what we see there now and what once was. I wanted to give what I viewed as a possible perspective from the Trojans.
Feb 2020 · 344
In the Shadows
Sharon Talbot Feb 2020
We were born in the jungle,
Living in the shadows,
Clinging to our families
In the dark, under the trees.
Life was good then,
We had picked fruit from branches
And swung on them for joy.
And there was no greed
Or jealousy.
Over millions of years,
We lived in harmony,
Until the forest changed;
The garden shriveled and
Faded away as we watched.

Our lives were rearranged.
Some among us ventured out.
Giving to our sin: curiosity.
Down in the street
Canyons of concrete and steel
The powerful gather
Hors d’oeuvres are served,
Placating the hunger of the powerful,
This is never stated;
They will keep taking
As long as we allow it.
One day, some loner, a rebel
May emerge from the shadows,
Dark-clad, filled with inchoate rage*.
He will find like-minded souls
Who use the new inventions
To topple the oligarchs,
Empty their accounts
And give them to the world.
Chaos may follow,
But out of it a new humanity
Might arise.
My hope for a revolution, a redistribution of wealth. *NOTE: I realized after reading this a few times, that the "dark-clad" loner, "filled with inchoate rage", might be seen as a terrorist or religious extremist! NOT SO! I based him on the character Elliot Alderson, the brilliant and disaffected computer acker in "Mr. Robot", who successfully destroys a corrupt corporation, whose toxins killed his father and his best friend's mother. So, there's an element of revenge mixed in with ideological activism. My view is that IT is the only way to take down corrupt institutions. In the U.S., voting has been hijacked by the very rich and by other countries. Elliot also wants a redistribution of wealth, but without causing harm to anyone.
Jan 2020 · 440
Milk-white Sky
Sharon Talbot Jan 2020
His plane sailed into a milk-white sky,
white mare's tails spiraling in pale water.
Mind and time became elastic as he
vanished away and then returned.
I look for days like this in winter,
with hints of soft sunshine
and opalescent clouds.
Sometimes the harshest season
is the kindest, and paints a scene
that soothes artist and lover,
when wishing hands part the cloth
of reality with dream.
Or when the earth itself
Seems to remember soft interglacials
And seasons seemingly spun
Like cotton candy to soothe
The wounds inflicted by us.
Earth is like the mother spider,
eaten by its young.
In summer, I watch the trees and flowers. In winter, I watch the clouds. Then it occurred to me that someday these will be changed or gone and that only we humans will remember, or the earth itself.
Dec 2019 · 314
A Northern Window
Sharon Talbot Dec 2019
Glance out a northern window
and Winter suddenly beckons,
just five days after Solstice,
begging me to think again
on my habitual dislike.
The marble-white stratus above
looks as soft as a woolen blanket
covering all the strange things
outside this world's sky.
A vacant calm descends.
And I am content to be quiet
as the scene outside,
Bucolic and static as
A winter scene by Brueghel.
I trace the bare branches that weave
all around, seeming to huddle
near closed and shuttered houses.
They emit a silent desire to be known,
uncovered, naked models to the season
and sharp as a line drawing.
All the stillness leads to reflection
on the world we forget in summer,
the hidden moles and groundhogs,
insects that no longer irritate,
allowing us to cease effort
and sit at the table in the sun,
eating stew and drinking mulled wine.
But those of us who are curious
walk in the snow, hearing sounds
we never noticed: the crush of crystals,
the crack of frozen branches.
Or when the snow falls,
there is a softening quiet,
a restful pause in the air
and we are entranced, standing to listen
without effort, to the soundless sound
of mind without thought,
of Winter.
Dec 2019 · 357
Lost on Christmas
Sharon Talbot Dec 2019
Two men from the city are lost
In the northern woods,
on Christmas Eve.
Fear has not set in yet
and they wonder at
the paper-thin trees,
that seem painted on parchment
in the mist and moonlight.
One absorbs it in silence
while the other sings as he walks:
“Jul, jul strålande jul.”
"It's a Christmas song,"
he tells his companion,
who tries to shut him up.
How differently two people can react
to magic and moonlight,
to loneliness and mist.
One sings on in silence:
“***** över vita skogar,”
While the other’s head is filled
With numbers and plans
and dreams of saving of the world!
But little does the singer know
how much the redeemer wants
to know that streaming light,
that unfettered joy.
That comes with a struggle,
Not just to survive,
But to right the world for all.
Inspired by an episode ("404 Lost") of the program, Mr. Robot, in which two cyber-activists are lost in the snowy, moonlit woods of Upstate NY. The images of the forest and the two (actually 3) men walking in the moonlight was riveting!
Dec 2019 · 381
Another Day
Sharon Talbot Dec 2019
Another day and things are the same.
The sun shines through lace,
Obscuring my view to the chaos outside.
In here, it’s serene,  no pressure
To perform or produce,
Although I do.
No expectations of talk
During the day.
Everything I need is around me:
Books and notes and discs
With the record of my thoughts
And flash drives with feelings.
I have filled my rooms with
Things that fascinate and inspire,
Even after many years.
A red chair with printed pillows,
A prayer rug from Iran
On the wall above Buddha,
Brought a century ago by a lady
On her Grand Tour of the world.
My little, golden friend
Laughs at this excess.
Her photos of Florence and Venice
Cause feelings of nostalgia,
As if I was there in 1910,
When duster-clad ladies bought them
In Saint Mark's square,
Hand-colored by poor artists.
And on the other wall,
My young father gazes at me,
From the distance of sixty-seven years.
There are other houses from the past
And streets in my town
That almost look like now.
There are dark-finished tables,
Gracing the space between
The walls and the world and me.
Brass lamps glint out
Like beacons in the shadows
That trail the creeping evening,
For I am a mental traveler,
As Karen Blixen said.
She told her tales to Finch-Hatton
And Berkeley Cole,
On fire-lit evenings,
Like Scheherazade on her carpet.
I have no adventurers as my guests,
But instead, send my stories to a virtual world,
Hoping someone will listen and be inspired.
But even if the words remain unread, unseen,
I am content to write, to spin my tales
For my own ears and the future.
Nov 2019 · 291
There is a Bay
Sharon Talbot Nov 2019
There is a bay on the Oregon coast,
Shaped like a scallop shell
And ringed by rounded stones.
And from the darkening sky
Droop billows of blue and gray
Hanging and lit like Chinese lanterns.
Humans in the damp Northwest
Appear to drip from the clouds
In rain-washed colors
Of blue and violet,
Whose tattered clothes
Are softened and soaked
From ragged wool into rich satin.
Still others bask on shores
Of pebbles rolled by the sea,
Bone white and cloud-gray.
Down and up, down again
The light rays vault,
Painting bipeds into the land.
There are no reflections
But rather water in the air,
Looking like rain
Even on cloudless days.
Their world is saturated
Like the scarlet gowns
Of Waterhouse’s Ariadne
And the ponds of Monet,
Green as the British Isles,
Blue as the Aegean
And white as the Pantheon ruins .
Much like an ancient tomb,
The majesty of mortal lives
Commemorated in stone
Is here splashed in the air
And in every forest or cliff.
Hushing people into silence,
So they conduct the most
Serious customs in whispers,
Knowing how voices echo along
Water droplets
And mountain shadows.
Nov 2019 · 275
Death of a Tyrant
Sharon Talbot Nov 2019
You’re gone at last, so at last I can think.
Insulting! Humiliating, not to be able to fire back,
As you put me once more on a mental rack.
It’s no wonder that I want a drink.

But by now I want so much more than strife.
I want to scorch your villainy with shame,
To crush your “triumph” and ruin your name,
And make you watch how you poison life.

Yet I am stuck beneath your wealth,
Undone if I demur in the least.
You spring upon me, a mental carnivore’s feast.
While I resort to stealth.

My father watched your villainy from the beyond,
from the so-called “Heaven” in which you planned to meet him,
As if that will ever happen! As if he would want to see you!
Is enlightenment part of the afterlife?  You should hope so.

But since you finally let go of your empty  life,
I do not miss you, don't mourn you or feel that confusion
That people say I should, that I'd be torn with strife,
No, no! Not at all—I feel nothing at all.
Nov 2019 · 318
Winter Storm Warning
Sharon Talbot Nov 2019
Winter Storm Warning
For tonight, chance of snow:
Chance of conditions you do not know.
"Friday night, snowy, windy,
May last ‘til Sunday,"
Maybe one day,
You’ll be laid low.

Pack all the supplies you can,
Into a bunker or four-wheel drive van,
Throw in some extras, like a tire that's bare
And tell your kids, “Let’s go.”
But where? You pretend to know.

"Anywhere, anywhere I don't care!"
Away from the house with the giant tree,
That might fall and crush you, mother and me.
Away from power lines crackling on ice,
They’re explosive and electrocution's not very nice!

Up from Cape Hatteras,
Barrels the storm,
Where we’ve heard horror tales
Of strong gales and anxious watch,
Do we trust our lazy guts or the isobars?

On to New York,
Where they never quail
In the face of danger
Though the winds might wail,
Past Block Island with towering waves
To the Sound and the fury and gale.

We grit our teeth and batten the hatches,
Tell stories of worse weather watch to soothe,
Keeping voices low and emotions smooth.
Yet weather folks, hysterical, predict our fate,
Willing the worst, making us wait.

This time the flickering power stays on,
Our street isn't flooded
And the roof's not gone.
"All that fuss for nothing!" say the young and brave,
While you have that same dream of an old, rogue wave.
Probably inspired by an actual storm warning, how frightened people (especially kids) can be, or how calm. Some of the silly planning is included, things that won't really help.And the way it often amounts to nothing, but whose fear always hovers somewhere--in the back of one's mind, or in dreams.
Nov 2019 · 211
All of My Life
Sharon Talbot Nov 2019
All of my life I waited
For you.
Walking on a path sometimes,
Or wandering in a mountain wood.
Even escaping to the tropics,
To let the sun burn my desire for you
This way or that.
But each time I looked behind,
There you still were,
Not fully formed at first,  
But a shadow.
Or sometimes light.
Then there was a sense
Of possibility, hiding in the air
That shivered around you,
But caused my course to veer  
Ever so slightly toward you,
Like ancient footprints in rock,
Deciding for me.
I never believed in Fate
Until I met you,
Standing in the doorway
Of a cottage, outlined  
With October’s warming sun.
I did not see your face then
But I knew.
And decades after
The same certainty abides,
Alongside any other gales
Of emotion or  
Temperate joy.
Around you a brilliance
Hovers in my soul.
Where you walk
Beyond my sight,  
My eyes still see you
And my love  
Follows in your path.
Inspired by my husband.
Jul 2019 · 728
Up Against Our Will
Sharon Talbot Jul 2019
Young man with your shining hair
and brightness in your smile.
Your eyes see a golden future
as long as the days are short.
When you open your heart to another
Do you pray to the jewel-hung sky?

Young woman swaying down a street
With your golden hair
Legs caper under a flowing skirt.
Your lips taste only sweetness
as new as the world is old.
When you give your body as you recline,
Do you spread your arms to the gods?

I see you narrow your gaze
at the old woman hobbling
reaching out for the dregs of life.
I hear the pity in your voice,
the sorrow for her and you think
you have a choice
to run from that image,
to say forever young.
You may even laugh at the old man
puffing out his chest
and imitating youth.
I know you're thinking
this will never happen to you.

So enjoy the brightness of your eyes,
the smooth skin and straight spine
that propels you through the spring
Let yourself believe that the leaves
will always be neon green
and the wind warm and soft.
Twirl down the lanes and
fly over mountains and seas!
For all of us did that once
and were as unwitting as you.
None of us, for all our fear,
ever really saw the gulf
of eighty or ninety years,
or certainly not the lack of breath
and the pain of each step,
each turn on a bed
that now feels hard as stone.

We gaze from windows
As you gambol past,
And know you fear to be alone,
Not seeing that at last,
We say good-bye to wind and sky,
that everyone sinks into the earth,
Leaving the power, in our last sigh,
We invoke another birth.
Inspired by the song "The Killing Moon", by Echo and the Bunnymen. I like the phrase and the song has many references to the cosmos, birth and regeneration.
Edited on July 9, 2019
Sharon Talbot May 2019
I never really liked Hugh Grant,
'til I saw him in "About a Boy",
It's not as weird as it might sound;
This lonely kid likes to hang around
And play with Hugh Grant's toys.

Wait, I didn't mean THAT! I meant CD's,
And he teaches Hugh about life...
Hugh's a loner & his life's a mess,
The kid's mum is SO depressed,
Thus their neuroses fit like peas.
(in a pod)

See, jerks in school chase the boy each day,
‘Cause he wears old, hippie clothes.
One day he hides at Hugh Grant’s pad,
Listens to music that’s kind of rad,
So he shows up every day.

Hugh and the lad start hanging out
He buys him trainers, shows him what to wear.
But soon, the kid wants Hugh for a dad,
And though it makes Hugh selfishly sad,
He kicks the poor kid out.

"Killing me softly" is the Mum's fave song
So the other kids beat him up.
In a school concert, Hugh sings along.
The mom is thrilled and cooks some Tofurkey,
Hugh joins the crowd; Thanksgiving is quirky,
And Rachel Weisz picks him up.

She’s got a son who’s kind of ******,
Over his Mum’s divorce and he tries to be Goth.
He roughs up the boy and mom is stunned,
'Cos Hugh Grant lied about having a son
So she tells him it’s a no go.

In the end, Mum doesn't commit suicide,
Though the kid DOES waste a duck,
With a loaf of Mum's 10 lb., whole wheat bread.
Everyone laughs and it clears their heads.
Mum & Boy and others get glad,
And the boy's mum finds him a new dad

Rachel forgives the boyish Hugh,
After seeing his good deed.
He loves the kid, the mum and her.
Everyone gathers for Xmas at Hugh’s’;
He wears a paper hat and agrees:

He's no longer an island and needs other folk.
The Boy gets a pal and Mum no longer sulks.
Everything is saved by the new Hugh Grant,
And at least he doesn't wear LEATHER PANTS!
A silly "review" of a great film: Inspired by Hugh Grant’s lame leather pants in that film about an over-the-hill 60’s singer in Love Actually, and then his much more believable character in About a Boy.
Sharon Talbot May 2019
I lean on you;
You need me;
We’re in debt to each other.
It’s simple, you see.

You work hard
And bring home the bread;
Without you, I’d starve
In my solitary bed.

You live in our home
Like a worker drone;
Without me you’d freeze
And be all alone.

Without you, I’d starve
Or live in privation,
We’re the lone citizens
In a private nation.

Though we never make love,
And rarely touch.
We must stay together;
For the world is too much.

Year after year,
We’re apart yet near.
No one dares rock the boat;
We’re so precariously afloat.

We could languish like this until we die;
We seem quite normal to the untrained eye.
And apart yet together, we could stay,
Until the tides of time just wash us away.

Finished on January 3, 2011
Apr 2019 · 317
Scream, Memory
Sharon Talbot Apr 2019
Scream, Memory

Accidents don't happen on holiday,
do they?
Standing in the shower, I stare out of
a tiny window at the setting sunlight.
In a row, children on a rustic bench
chatter through their colored ices
and kick their sandaled feet.
Soon, a tall, bland man appears
with smiles for all--this is his family
and he is happy.
His ambiance is like a drug so I leave
my caravan, barely dry,
Wanting to speak to him and not knowing why.
His good fortune draws one to him,
Yet I find another reason.
He directs me without words
to a desolate room and a gown.
And I remember...that I have not remembered
lately. And my collection of names is dwindling,
memory leaking like a wire basket.
Even before I don the ugly robe and lie down
on a cold, plastic bench,
I know what the diagnosis will be.
The cylindrical tunnel looms and his nurse or wife
motions to it as he still smiles.
The machine roars like time passing
And I emerge carefully, not wanting to know.
Seeing my expression, he turns on me:
"It is bad news, but also sad."
He tilts his head like a bird, self-satisfied.
His vacuous delight belies the words.
What the hell is the difference, I think.
And like a falling tree, reality splits the dream
And knocks down my life.
I weep, uncontrolled.
It does not help to swear
nor to hit the wall with my fist.
But would it help to slap the doctor?
People crowd around and tell me to stop
but, as I had to when my father died,
I continue to rave.
For, what is simple to them
I will not make so to me.
I will mourn and censure Fate!
And if I still must,
I will not go gently
But scream all that I remember
Into the fading light.

April 19, 2019
This is the rough remembrance of a nightmare about Alzheimer's, which I had after doing some research on memory. I wonder why I was in a caravan, since I hate those! Does it symbolize our temporary status in this world? The doctor LOOKED nice and kind, like a 1950's hero, but was merciless and cold.
Sharon Talbot Mar 2019
These words keep arriving by post,
By phone and through the air:
They say, “I love you the most!”
And he’s always unprepared.

I dismissed them until I knew
What they could mean,
What they could do.

They let a young boy believe
In a dangerous fantasy
Of the young or naïve,
And give himself to ecstasy.

He’d already given himself away
To a girl who “merely loved” him;
He was swayed.
He was wounded by a whim.

How could his young heart
Know the anguish of love spurned?
Of changing minds and false starts?
That passion fades as quickly as it burns?

He was “crushed” when it ended;
His response, pure and true.
Still that phrase he insanely defended!
“I love you, I love you, and I love you”!

How hollow to me it still rings!
My beloved son in pain.
What makes a girl do these selfish things?
What is it that they gain?

Young hearts now seem to lack wisdom;
They’re so eager to believe.
Yet they haven’t the caution
It takes to give love and receive.

Summer, 2006
As a teen, our son kept falling in love with girls who used his feelings and then threw him away. This is just one episode!
Mar 2019 · 293
If I were Newland Archer
Sharon Talbot Mar 2019
If I were Newland Archer
What would I now do with my love?
Would I torment  her, ask impossible things,
Surrender to her irrational command
And let the others make my future plans?

Oh no! My beloved Ellen was wrong!
To think that I could stay the course,
That marriage could end like a closing door,
And leave the future in May’s serpentine hands.

This time, if such a chance were given me,
What would I do to make safe our love?
I would give up all I had thought so dear,
My frivolous books, effete pursuits, so she could be near.

I was unworthy, the first time, I know.
I consented to her feeling that I must go.
But now I would re-arrange my life, dare any disdain
Just to kiss her wrist in unfounded faith.

Would I again leave my Love if told to choose?
No! I was weak before, thinking that I had no chance.
Yes, oh, yes! How could I ever bear to lose
My Ellen and our enchanted dance?

I know I have wronged those who trusted me,
But don’t blame the unwitting authoress of my woe!
For it was my own frailty that blinded me,
My disregard for those things that
Any man with a heart should know.

I see now that if to May’s wish I did not bend,
She would see my surrender was great to me but small to her,
She would find another, as resolute women do under duress.
And instead of a false life, Ellen, I could be alive with you!

                                    -----------------------­--

Written if Newland Archer (of the novel "Age of Innocence") had listened to no one and abandoned not only the wife who shanghaied him into domestic servitude, but his own priggish insistence on doing the “right” thing for the wrong reasons.

Semi-finished, June 19, 2011

Sharon Talbot
Mar 2019 · 447
Temptation
Sharon Talbot Mar 2019
The first one happened in the dark,
On an awkward bed in too much haste;
It was not really what I wanted,
Not a meal but just a taste.
The second and third were foggy at best,
A handsome face or long, blond hair,
The connections, sweat and smooth chest,
But the memories are still fair.
The fourth one kept hailing me
And I almost saw him there,
But his pursuit was like a drug
Too flattering sweet to miss;
Unknowing pain dispelled with a winter kiss.

Other trysts would follow:
In an empty room, on a stripped-down bed,
In a forest that covered a hill,
Inside a corner room,
With nights in white
Cotton and you missing still,
While floating snow fell.
I saw your face out in the storm.
No one there to keep you warm.

A summer lad was tall and fair,
His arrogance disguised as a dare,
Flaunting traits you wish weren’t there,
But a bacchanal makes up for OCD.
Until his obsession is directed at me.
Imagine Apollo in a haze of J.D.!

He took me home (unsuspecting) in his car,
Across the Valley, but it wasn’t far
Enough for me to endure his howls
About my lack of even temper
When he inspected other girls.
I stopped his rant and smashed a car door.
Yet he called the next morning,
Insanely wanting more.
And I told him that:
If a ten ton truck had crashed
Into his tin VW and we were mashed,
I couldn’t think of a worse way to die,
Than to be pinned there by his side!

So to you and all the others I bemoan:
Don’t take me back to your home.
I have no use for your romance,
I don’t need your wants,
And you don’t want what I need.
There’s a bed of my own where I prefer to sleep
And in the sunrise I will keep
A sweet liaison with coffee and birdsong,
Of synthesized music all morning long.
With a new gold dream beside me.
And summertime inside me.
There is a light and it never goes out;
Those who don’t see it have been shown out.
Mar 2019 · 330
Age Cannot Wither
Sharon Talbot Mar 2019
Custom cannot wither, nor age enslave
My infinite array of memories.
I came of age upon a wave
Of ideals that anchored
Changes and elders outraged,
Appalling them into rage.
They often responded
With violence, yet we endured.
Even when comrades were shot down,
And protesters run to ground,
The promise of a new world grew in secret,
In the impromptu families in hill towns,
Or the remnants of Haight-Ashbury
And the minds of Lost Boys and Girls unbound,
In the survivors of Kent and Jackson State;
Our dream died not but elected to wait,
And In the choices of all
Not to succumb to servility
Nor women to proscribed maternity.
Equality stayed the rule instead of resignation.
Now, age has slowed but not stopped us
And we reach out across the air,
Teaching young ones, as passionate as we,
To distrust despots, ever serve the cause of liberty.
Sharon Talbot Feb 2019
A prim, lavender skirt and a napkin on it,
Tells me this is serious, and I mustn’t
Rain upon it, not say what I think,
And much less what I feel.
You have found a lover
And she isn’t me,
I wish I was an eel
That could glide away
Into the primordial sea.

On second thought, it makes me
Wish that we had never met,
That I’d never looked at you and loved,
Or at least never brought you home.
It was there that it all began;
I assumed your were mine alone,
And now I am empty man.

Oh, my love,
For the first time in my life!
You did this to me,
Without knowing, charmed me
Until I was undone.
But accidents will happen;
It was only hit and run;
Such investigative fun!
Don’t tell the other one I feel this way.

On second thought let him…..
Follow me into danger
Since a gamble is good as a rest,
Or the off chance I’ll get shot.
After all, this admirer’s the best
Of a mediocre lot.

But he knows about me, I’m sure.
He’s gets so little reward,
But takes credit for what I do
And hangs upon my every word.
He listens to me in the dead of night
As you used to do.
It’s comforting that he’s not you.

-Unfinished Lament
Jan 2019 · 587
Little Slivers
Sharon Talbot Jan 2019
Time slips backward over little slivers
Of love and broken lives,
Gathering them up, using the soft mess
Of once-blessed feeling mixed with
Grand passion,
Until it knits together the pieces of
Hate and love like a potion:
Unseemly, neither black nor white...
And we refuse to see it.

Time rolls forward as we ignore it,
Over hurt as well as joy,
For we have taught ourselves to lie,
To say that nothing matters in
The “grand scheme of things”...
And so our life passes us by.

Until, one day, we discover
We are alone even as we stand
Beside those we love.
And we know them not.
Where love resides,
There loathing and resentment
Peek from amidst the ruinous
Muddle, which we created,
Simply unaware.

We two may stare into each others’ eyes,
As if two strangers,
Wary of false hopes and lies.
Stale passion bonded to forgotten vows
Leave us helpless, caught in a patterned
Web of half-truths and hidden threat.

Soon we are reduced to stiff civility,
“Sly apologies and polite regrets”.
Love dies more slowly than the ability
To end the dance or forget.
We settle in, like corpses in a crypt,
To the slow departure of ourselves.

As the mind rises up above the scene,
We take it in, gawkers on a highway,
Aghast yet unable to refrain
From still more self-flagellation.
Another empty day drags by
And in our lonely, separate prisons…we stay.


Rediscovered on January 20, 2019
Thankfully, I'm in a much better place than this...at least for the present, which is all anyone can really say...
Jan 2019 · 1.0k
The Biker with a Rose Fetish
Sharon Talbot Jan 2019
Perhaps his duality would always be
Irreconcilable,
For had he not been made this way
by genetic chance?
A hulking man with gardener's shirt
and biker's leather pants?
He might speed along a coastal highway,
Wind in his greasy hair,
Unchopped Harley shivering,
Eyes watering from the wind,
or was it because of sheer depth of soul?
As he peeled along, avoiding fatal curves,
Did his thoughts of roses blooming
keep him from launching himself
into the fog?
Were the droplets on his face,
full of salt from the sea,
the same as those he saw
in the morning dew on his flowers?
He was a not a Hunter Thompson,
who might return home to drink and write
reams of rage against the foul Effendi,
who beset him at night
after descending from their mansions.
Yet he too needed respite and beauty,
an Owl Farm in his mind,
Or a hotel on Sunset Boulevard,
Safe under the canopy, among the palms,
His security, not a typewriter
but a garden of perfect roses
that he would tend and breed,
Keeping beauty alive to feed
His hidden desire for peace and order.
Like an old man in the country,
The “rose rustler”he played
Lived in a little house,
His unassuming paradise,
with a cat, as secretive as him,
a lone goldfish in a bowl,
who looked out each day on
manicured paths and brick walls,
worthy of any English manor,
with acres of flowers,
dozens of colors...
but every single one a rose.
This whole thing sprang out of a title from a photo site, combined with an excellent book I read, "Freak Kingdom", by Timothy Denevi, about Hunter Thompson's "Ten years of fighting against American Fascism". If you read this, it would help to listen to Elvis Costello's "Brilliant Mistake" simultaneously!
Jan 2019 · 1.7k
Fishing for Trout While High
Sharon Talbot Jan 2019
Half a mile downstream from the crumbling bridge,
The river began to break up too,
Into washouts and rock-bound pools.

Aged promontories, sandy shores, from
Primeval rivers, compressed by time
From granite, stood sentinel over the rush.
Against these broke hurtling, grey-green waves,
Spitting high in defiance at the rocks’ impasse,
Slowing but briefly, swirling angrily
On their way back to the waiting sea.

Upon a high outcrop, I took up my post
Rod in hand, watching the helpless worm
On his way to death, by whatever claimed him first.
I had not put him there, being squeamish,
“Mindless flesh,” a poet friend had dubbed them.
Still, my companions rigged him on the hook,
In exchange for keeping their joints burning.
Not smoking, I thought, but taking puff after puff,
As my bait was laid on the rack for sacrifice.

We scattered after all our poles were baited,
Claiming ancient pools and all inside them as our own.
I stood highest, near the fiercest waters that shook the rock,
Braced in the March air against the icy spray.
I was there, I told myself, because two men
Needed to catch a fish and prove themselves.
Yet they faded like ghosts into the gloam of evenfall,
As absorption overtook me, and I began to care.
Cast after cast into the roiling waters
Just where the waterfall fumed and broke.

Soon, it was only my goal, and nothing else,
To wage an age-old war against a artful foe.
Each strike brought me hope and each loss determination
Not anger but resolve to outwit them at a game
Invented eons ago by humankind,
And learned by trout to save themselves.
What happened after was of no concern to me,
But let me catch them for the sake of having it be.
The contest alone was all to me, it seemed,
Yet winning the only outcome I could see.

I had pulled three young trout from the churning water,
Energized despite their mediocre size,
When there came a tug just beneath my perch that taunted,
Promising the battle I craved.
So I cast the remnants of my sacrificial bait
Upstream, where currents swept it beneath my feet,
And there he was! No doubt the oldest trout in the hills,
Lingering below me to tease my newfound lust.
I set the hook well, so I thought, and reeled him high,
Fifteen inches long and heavy as he twisted in mid-air.
He thrashed like a madman above the rock,
Just beyond my reach,
--Then was gone…

When all was over, I had three fingerlings, not much,
While my helpful companions had none for all their work.
I told them not to fret, that it was merely luck,
But I knew better. When they asked me what I did
To catch the few, wee fish who now sizzled in the pan,
I answered haltingly, already memories fading of my quest,
Finally telling my rivals that I knew not why
Capturing a fish meant so much on that day.
“I do,” said one with a laugh.” I asked “Why?”
“It’s easy to explain,” he said…”you were high!”

?
Sharon Talbot
Based on a true story from long ago.
Jan 2019 · 246
Leaving You for Now...
Sharon Talbot Jan 2019
What is our maker, why does it put us here to die
What is Life if it must end,
What of our sense of beauty,
Of mesmeric minster air?
Or the way light bends on a summer afternoon,
The way the mourning dove croons,
If it must be taken all away,
When some of us must go and some of us to stay?

What is the love we feel,
For one another—deep, fearsome and real?
Why put it there for us to overcome,
Since the tension of love is not for some.
Or why take it into our hearts,
Only to wrench and stab us as we part?

Especially those who love only a few?
They open themselves to one or two—
Pour every part of their being into one soul,
Ignoring those who can't make us whole,
If only to watch it drain, or disappear as they depart?
Taking with them all our mind and heart?

Why do we expect an explanation
Of this cruel phenomenon,
The findings, trials and accommodation
That we build our lives upon?

And yet, with hope, however weak,
Stanching up our wavering hearts,
We tell ourselves we’ve found what we seek,
Something deeper than knowledge or art,
Until we are torn apart.

No religion can explain it.
Psychology tries and fails to name it.
We are creatures of mist and desire,
Of logic and deliberation,
Whose desperate brains whisper “Find a cure!”
And we wait only to have experts demur.

But deep within our harrowed souls,
We know that, for only a few,
Does this equation work,
And for the rest of us, it pales.
We plummet toward the hangman’s ****
And yet thank him for his gruesome work.

For our few bittersweet tales of life,
And that relief we feel comes at last,
Though we’ve no reason to believe it so.
We merely seek an end to the heartrending past,
Even if it just marks us as life slows.
And watches us as we go.

Does anyone care what happens to the lonely,
Or especially the aggrieved?
I doubt they do; they care about only
Themselves, their desires and taking leave.
Then they swiftly exit, and discard us—the bereaved.

Sharon Talbot
August 11, 2015
Thoughts about impending death.
Dec 2018 · 519
By the way...
Sharon Talbot Dec 2018
Live blog: Romney and Stanton vie for Iowa win.
Dead heat in the dead of winter
What do the Iowa results really mean?
That Romney's less of a robot than he seems?

Oh, by the way: replacing a bulb, can save you 50 dollars or more!
But it'll cost you ten times as much, at your hardware store.
Starbuck's hikes prices despite the lull,
People stupidly betting on Powerball,
Selma Hayek's trending, y'all!
(We don't know why).

But what's all that compared to shootings?
Soldiers flying and not being sniffed,
Suspects nabbed in Utah killings,
And GOP runners had another tiff.

Personally, I'm more fascinated,
In the Aussie hybrid sharks!
This might mean global warming's overrated,
Or that animals are way smart.

Mideast peace-talks stalled, I read.
Have I not read this before?
Oh, yeah, back in 1972.
When psychos killed athletic Jews,
Who might win
And Olympic village was off view,
While the Israelis dragged people in.

That year, Nixon was re-elected
And we thought we'd never see worse,
Yet now the nation is infected
With a yellow-haired, inhuman curse.
Blog goes to sleep...

Begun long ago and finished in 2018
I was just fiddling around angrily during the 2nd Bush election and later, kept adding to this. You can tell who the latest victim of my ire is!
Dec 2018 · 265
Knock on Any Door
Sharon Talbot Dec 2018
Knock on any door
And you may hear the cries
Of children, deep within a house,
Whose parents smile at you
With that eroded grin we all know
Like the stony leer of a gargoyle.
And yet you can do nothing.
Not yet…

Visit any friend at their house
And hear the silent pleas
Of a wife and mother
Who endures the fear and pain
For reasons the mystify us.
At least now.

Walk the floor of any factory or boardroom
And you will see the man who bows to his master
While, at home, he treats his family as slaves.

Visit the mansion of any president,
Minister or king
And you may see the ragged masses
Of those who built the walls yet have no home,
Who work the farms and have no food,
Who tend a country and are refugees.

Thus, in the cry of any child,
The fear in a mother’s face or
Silent rage in a worker-slave
Or immigrant dispossessed
And you will see the tyrants who rule,
The fathers who strike and bosses who fire,

Yet all of these serve one master
With many names:
Property,
Greed,
Violence,
Primeval rank and…
Power.

To this power,
There is only one answer
And to alleviate the suffering,
of those oppressed,
Only one thing.
The title comes from a film about an idealistic man trying to help youthful offenders in the 1950's. He sees the larger picture: these troubles arise not in a vacuum but as a result of a corrupt and broken society. I say that civilization itself fits this description when we ask why people suffer.
Dec 2018 · 380
The Wall and the Rose
Sharon Talbot Dec 2018
The secret of love,
Of remaining together...
Is not what everyone supposes.
It is not always the bringing of gifts,
The candlelight dinners
Or bouquets of roses.
After the bloom is off
these loving flowers,
Irritations and troubles arise.
There are clashes
Over little things.
And lovers forget
The vows they made so easily,
Violating them with anger.
Old resentments from the past
Rise up to poison with enmity,
The nearness that will not last.
Those with wisdom shun these fights,
The sad agony of lonely nights,
Lying awake and wondering
If love still exists, or if one matters,
To the other, if one cares at all.
Over time, self-protection grows,
And the lover builds a rancorous wall
Where weeds choke sunlight from the rose
And the other cannot hurt you.
But the play still goes on,
Like a song that still repeats,
Over and over unnoticed.
And a pantomime of caring
Begins to form, with hollow smiles
And half-hearted promises.
The Rose now lists against the wall,
Pale and tamed, like a common plant,
A vegetable in a kitchen garden.
And lovers expect passion
From a dreary fruit like this?
But once in a thousand times,
Deep roots that began long ago,
Giving rise to the first flower of love,
Last beyond boredom, thirst and drought.
Thorns pierce their hearts through the wall,
Bringing tears of surprise and recall.
The lovers find after the rain:
They have what they have sought.
And that which they sought is all.

Summer 2018
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