05 June 2015

So Poetry and Art Walk Hand in Hand

so--poetry and art walk hand
in hand, each keeping close track
of the time, internal
rhythms ticking away, turning somersaults,
this capering pair

trundling past once shuttered
storefronts now blazing with
music, adorned with tinseled
crosses at the crossroads

they do not rush through the
thrum hum of the traffic--they
take note of the ever changing
composition of the sunset over the river, the
evensong of the birds, metrical and sweet,
dripping honey as the sky darkens to dusk,
then night

using every crayon in the box
to write their manifestos, while the
blades of grass pierce the sky, the
lamb lying down with the lion,
and she asks "what is not
art, when I am with you?"

the china, twice fired, their
roses not yet off the bloom,
shudder, slightly, as poetry
and art, now arm in arm,
tramp past the shop window,
mixing desire with memory thickly
upon their palette, the pages
of their book no longer reproachful in
their blankness

Framed by Light

framed by light, the lines
graved in his face a studied relief, a
map of all that has been, a hint
of what may be yet

as he (so noisily) hammers out
a new piece of art and
the crickets sing in counterpoint,
our summer chorus

his ranging limbs forming the metal
into the shape he wills, forcing the
detritus of last night's battle into

the shining baby, knife sharpened,
sprung from the slick grey coils ever
tightening and relaxing, directing those

messy digits to sift through the
dross for gleaming gold,
the path lit by fireflies blinking out
their morse code

Weaving and Unweaving

weaving and unweaving she listens
for the noise of suitors in the
anteroom, waiting on her word

as the scenes in fine wool are
worked and unworked, the strands of cadmium red, the
cobalt blue, twisted, nooselike, round her
finger, cutting the blood off, distaff and spindle in hand,

imagined scenes of her husband's journey, the
roiling waters between rocks, born
along by pride and brawn, this

circumnavigation as the threads pass through
the heddle, the labor of the day patiently
undone as she waits, as she wonders


metalwork of past years, past
purpose, repurposed, hefted,
heavy-shouldered, to new
uses, to engage our eyes
with their inventive winks
at the fires of the foundries,
the spark of liquid iron not done yet,
and all the water in
the world cannot dim their brightness

the worth of the smith
resolved, rejoined to make new
the creation born out
of dust, the ribbed
metal, a heap of bones
made into a
singular race of
creatures such as you
have never seen
or will see again

linking an industrial past to
a vision of the future, shaping
what is to,
what will be, rising, again,
ever headed for that blue plain above
of heaven and stars
ever bursting to make
greater, even brighter stars,

and the sparks from your
hammer illuminate the
night, lighting the path,
resolute, unbending

A New Woman

he'll mold her, yes, from the
clay dug out from a river
bank, the birds calling, each

to each, as he forms her, feet
first, then the lithe limbs that
may carry her away from him,

some hollows, too, in the palm of
her hand, so she may offer him
water, when he thirsts, the shells

of her ears, porcelain, translucent, listening,
always, but only after she has been twice-fired,
vitrified, this self-made woman

New and Improved

It's all new and improved, the
soup cans tower skywards,
each label bearing a message
of some import, terse as a
fortune cookie

remember names,
cross your t's and dot your
i's, speak in lost languages
only the select few will
comprehend--in other words--get your ducks
in a row

catch her hand as you sail over the
stile (unguarded at the
moment) by the gatekeepers
in their thickstarchedshirts, the
thorns mark you,
still, it is worth it, to
press past and,
dew-damped, pull yourselves up
to scratch worlds of words
upon the walls again,
recalcitrant children, finally grown,
tramping along rural lanes,
the symmetry of nature
mirrored in the lines he
sets down, deliberate, across the
canvas, each stroke but
a small part of a larger
whole, wholly his, and,
part and parcel, parceled
out in those bursts of
inspiration that come
tapping down like rain on
skylights, insistent
as his heartbeat
pressed against hers

22 February 2015

Stones, Crying

the very stones of the walls cry out
against coercive confinement (what
horrors have they seen, that they weep
so, even in summer, dew-heavy) bracing
within their grasp the dying rooms,
the thickwaxed floors

Joseph Ward
Mary Kate Fahey
Joseph Madden
Annie O’Connor

who will give you a voice and spell
out the letters of your story, one by one,
the drops of blood red pearls strung, one
after another, the recurring hurts, generation
upon generation, the black shame of it?

Michael Ryan
Christina Quinn
Patrick O’Malley
Eileen Fallon

too many names to say, and, yet, all of
importance, their frail bodies damned and doomed by
triple devils of fear, misogyny, and superstition,
abomination of abominations, washing and
washing the laundry of others, the theft of their children

John Joseph Murphy
Angela Daly
Paul Joyce
Margaret Scanlon

know that you are not forgotten.

30 October 2014

Blood Pudding

fat crackles as the tea
steeps and she tells stories
of catching the blood from
a stuck pig for
puddings, the stream of it
making a sort of music
against the side of the
pail, until she dropped it

as we butter bread fine-sliced by
machines and place shrink-wrapped
rashers gingerly on the pan, they
sing to us in a different
language, our stories similar
but dissimilar, the trading of
open fields for closed
classrooms, the curlew’s cry
for the strut of city pigeons

*published in Florida English 14 


the writing, blue on white, was
a spidery lace, the delicate clump of
shamrocks fallen to the
parquet floor, the red-white-
blue-red-white-blue of the
envelope bearing foreign stamps
echoing the gold tasseled
flag we daily pledged to as
astronauts soared through black voids and
we drank Tang

in a cavern of bricks, blond,
red, thick-mortared, stone upon
stone, strung together by washlines,
narrow, sickly hedges
leaned up against some, catching
the last of the afternoon sun,
shadows lengthening upon the sidewalk
before all was dark again,
grinding of wheel-noise on the elevated tracks ever more
pronounced, now, under the
blinking of stars shining
on other shores

*published in Florida English 14