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Poetry

A selection of personal work from across the recents years.
 

Medea Cleans the Blade

Published in The Drunken Canal

You were born inside the knife
My heart walking,
Evidence of love made bone, hair, an appled cheek.

 

You were born inside the knife Carved rubies of a love, a lie A long stretch of losing,
A slow defeat.

 

You were born inside the knife
Only ever half mine and always
My biggest proof of what belonged to me.

There was never another way.

 

I would spit-shine the coronet again,
Place poison on the twisted metal again,
Jump scare the ram from the pot again,
Curl my hands into claws again,
Drag myself inside out, exile my mind,
turn it towards the green blue sea,
the white sun, the frothed water on the edge of the cliff.

Look how I have adorned you,

Everything he will never hold.

I was always the knife.

How to See

Witness all the movements of leaving,

how the body gives itself away.

 

Witness the breath of hunger,

how fingers tremble in search.

 

Witness the avalanche of return,

tumbling desire and restless motion.

 

The first thing to do is to open your eyes.

Witness water coming in from the window.

 

Witness water swallow itself,

that cannibal tide and wave after wave.

 

Witness death on the small scale,

worms on the sidewalk after the rain.

 

Seek out heat from the fire,

embers going upwards and the ash falling.

 

Tilt your head and squint.

The long sleep punctured by blinding light.

 

Witness light,

learn to bear it. Learn to bear it all.

Mischief

In your wildest dreams you watch as the things you’ve built

shimmer and crumble— you are eating grapes as Rome burns.

You are Ajax and the sheep are dead. These dreams come monthly

and they sustain you. Upon waking you are dry-eyed and in a cold sweat.

 

Often you are lost at sea and stranded by a shipwreck of your own doing,

all that lusty steering with your eyes closed takes its toll.

You push others off the raft and open your mouth to catch the salted wind.

You wake trembling and smiling, light crawling over you from an open window.

 

When you find yourself Medea in her cave, as you sometimes do,

you haul your children up under your arms and let them dangle there while

praying for swiftness. Even you have your limits.

This dream stays with you for days.

 

When you cannot sleep you walk to the edge of the road and watch for deer.

You relish their mournful calm, that animal gloom. 

If the deer do not come there is nothing to do. 

You will not sleep that night.

 

You will instead walk up and down the lines of the road

waiting for light and sound to come and with them clarity.

 

You try in this time to repent for the dreams, for the taste of grapes

which you cling to even now, even here in the open,

even with the deer watching you from inside the woods, refusing to come to you,

refusing to lend you their gifts, or even to look you in the eye.

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