Off a dirt road in West Virginia,
set far back in a weed-infested field,
an abandoned wood-slatted home stands,
kneels really, in the shadow of the
Blue Ridge Mountains. I imagine
it is free of worries that wore
the floors thin, free of the coming
and going that loosened nerves
and hinges, free of cries and laughter
now that only the voice of the wind
comes to roam its empty rooms.
A rooster might alight on the rusty
tin roof, but his cock-a-doodle-doo
alarms only the interloping field mice
asleep beneath a cast-iron stove
or the wintering bats suspended
from rafters by the hooks of their toes.
In spring, wisteria will climb
the grey, sagging boards, peek in
through broken-out windows,
like a cover-up to apologize
for the family that moved their lives
into a shiny trailer home closer to town.
I like to think the abandoned house
is happy, burden-free, collapsing into itself
like a body that has had enough of living
and is ready to let go, to relinquish
its heart to any weather, thankful
to be at home in nature.
But she had loved unwritten things instead,
I pondered as night’s windows filled with gray
and all the things the rain had left unsaid.
To live not of the heart but of the head
has been my curse, each memo to its tray,
but she had loved unwritten things instead.
That such unlikes, by wry chance, should be wed!
What, in this voiceless autumn’s disarray,
of all the things the rain has left unsaid,
but walks that road, kneels in the flashing red,
as if she would awaken where she lay,
for she had loved unwritten things instead.
Who knows where noon’s flecked sidewalks might have led
had I let schedules look the other way?
And all the things the rain has left unsaid
might have voice still, the A string that was dead,
the improvised sonatas she would play,
for she had loved unwritten things instead,
and all the things the rain has left unsaid.
There was no funeral, but we hung bronze
Soleri bells in the palo verde tree that shades
your spot. I thought you might prefer that crazy
sculpture of a bird you bought made of hatchets
and springs, but it sits too heavy on its garden
refuge and we leave fixed to its future.
Instead, we put up a hummingbird feeder
that drips liquid sugar, an offering sweet
as baklava to your final desert home.
We placed a rock shot blue with lapis lazuli
and a sphere of green blown glass. I helped dig
the hole and thought of a poem but never
wrote it down. We offered no prayer
to the afternoon and we did not carve your name.
But each time I make Greek coffee in your copper pot,
I turn over the empty cup as you would have
and read a moment of you in the grounds,
like a psalm.
by Anthony Watkins (Goodreads Author)
There are no bears in the money. There are eagles and lions and tigers, and the queen. The Tigris and the Euphrates whose stripes change ever so slowly.
The bear sits in the market place. In an alley café, reading the Financial Times while drinking coffee in the sunshine ever so slowly. The sun shines now on the queen. She glitters like she is, while the Tigris shines like gold and silver and the big cats stalk the thirsty antelope.
And the antelope has no money but waits in the ante room, waiting for its anti-life to end. And the tranquilizer dart takes down the cat, and the dear little deer darts away, to live another day, to die another day, for there are no bears by the river. There are no bears in the money which the antelope does not have, or does not carry.
My parents’ friend had a Dodge Dart, back when they were tiny and covered with wrinkled sheet metal. Back when I was tiny. The friend is long dead and I am covered with wrinkles. And the Dodge dart is back for a third time around.
The bear finishes his croissant, and lumbers off, for a bear will never dart. And he cannot drive except prices down. Prices of pork bellies and timber and silver and gold. He bears no currency only money and there are no bears in the money.
by Emily Axelrod
On the path to the studio
tarweed sticks to my shoes
and in the warmth of late afternoon
releases its musky scent.
It is the smell of dry brown hills,
of horses sweet with sweat,
of dried manure and valley oak,
the bouquet of my childhood.
By the creek, nearly dry
from summer’s drought,
the blue heron searches
for a small fish swimming
in the trickle that remains.
Hawks circle above,
wings carving the dry hot sky,
and a garden snake basks languorously
against the stone wall.
Once I was 12, then 20, now 60
And still the parched land binds me
to a distant history
of grasses blowing brown
in hot summer wind,
of cracked earth and lizards’ skin
and the memory of my cheek
against the horse’s warm neck
as I inhale her damp perfume.
We will always be here, you said.
This town and you and the rusty moon
Under the browned trees and the night sky.
The permanence, a brick house,
Built to withstand earthquakes and silent explosions.
Inside I am never the same.
It’s a smack in the face
The beauty of you on the last night
Before the world comes back to claim me.
My heart, a packed suitcase,
Exchanging blood and oxygen for the salty ocean
And the forested mountains.
Did I mistake the tenderness of your words?
With my open hand on your heart,
My head on your chest.
I said I love you,
You want me to be happy.
Zipping up the moment like a tight pair of jeans.
My friend, we are oceans divided
By the comforts of home,
And the soft curve of loneliness.
I was the one who left
Resolved you would never consider that
You are the point inside where joy begins.
We shrug it off
And pull away without exhaling
Until sleep restores the unfussed mess of us.
by Rose Mary Boehm
Unquiet, furless animals,
her hands are comforting each other
on light-blue cotton
and a piece of creamy silk.
Still there is beauty in her face —
all folded in upon itself.
Her eyes have found a focus
in the Milky Way;
her ears are tuned to broadcasts
from distant nebulae.
Acknowledging my touch
she almost turns to me.
Her puzzled voice is hesitant:
“And who are you?”