betaal

Was I dreaming all this while
Was it just a trick of the light
An optical illusion perhaps
that I failed to notice
that leathery creature
hanging from your back

I see it clearly now
the claw-tipped wings
the serpent’s tail
and the all too human head
waiting, waiting, all this while
for you to utter the word.

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cusp

Coil turn twist tight
breathe in, breathe in
Still the air, the moment
the tiny moment before.

Hover crouch pause think
Hold in, hold in
Freeze the frame, the moment
the tiny moment before

The dice will stop spinning, will fall
The arc will soon take shape
The clock will strike the hour
Anyway, anyhow, any moment now,
the moment after the cusp.

a map

Sometimes, fate, that whimsical goddess
shows you a map
to keep you from wandering
too far beyond her ken.

Mine’s made of marble
with rivers of gold
with cities of black gems
and lakes as azure as the sky

The chart is my comfort
though the lettering is all foreign
and the land- one I’ve never been.

hope

We walked, once, on the same earth
we gazed, once, at the same sky
I see you still, bending over the water
as I add another twig to the fire
It was home, it was a pleasant dark
and your eyes were gleaming with light

I’m left with only that memory of light
and the forest is now merely charred earth
Everytime I seek you, it’s suddenly dark
I grasp at your silhouette in the sky
Is this fate mine, this trial by fire?
Will you pass by, like flowing water?

I’ll wait for the rain and its promise of water
Surely there will be a change of light
Surely I will gather warmth from the fire
And I’ll walk lightly again on the earth
Would that I see a glimpse of that sky
And slip by your shade in the dark

Without you, this house is all too dark
The walls echo the tap’s dripping water
While the mid-day sun in the hot sky
makes only a pretense at light
I’m far far away from the solid earth
I’m still bearing the scars of your fire

But I miss the crackle of that fire
I’d forswear the freedom from the dark
For a minute spent on the old earth
A moment spent in the same water
For, where there is you, there is light
And my heart bluer than the bluest sky

Now my life’s as open as the sky
I’m a dry twig, waiting for a fire
Another day, a world in new light
I have hope,- who needs the dark
I’ll seek the river, my secret water
In time, I’ll be strong in the earth

Trust the light, and face the sky
Smell the earth, and the dying fire
Shun the dark, and be like water.

map 2

All the land is changing
and the maps can’t keep up
All the places I knew and loved
are being overwritten
I have remedied the situation
I now carry the country
On my skin

bells

As I was walking past an old vacant house last night
I heard the tinny symphony
of the wind chimes hanging off the porch.
They sound like bells.
Little fake bells.
Bells always make me uneasy-
they always summon something.

This time they unearthed an image,
an image that was buried so deep in my brain
that I was startled that I remembered it with such clarity.

Stuck so high up a mountain’s side,
in a deserted village of stone.
The night is yet to grow firm
and sleep is dancing just out of reach.
Half awake, half asleep, half dreaming,
I hear the bells summon the shadows-
that slide slowly silently across the snow.
I hear snips of whispered conversations.
I hear the odd staccato bark of the mountain dogs,
and catch a glimpse
of lanterns on the snow.
After a while the bells die down,
ebbing away with the wind.

A bell summons other bells.

fever

what matter if the skin is warm as fire
when the bone itself is chilled as ice