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The Winter Grass1
The winter grass
continually more grey than green
cries out against my calloused feet and palms.
The distant singing of those who pray to gods
still echoes in my ears.
I recall, it's the same stunned feeling
as the moment after the heavy blow
to the unsuspecting soft part of the gut.
They are chanting hollow words,
pressing them with desperation
into the air
like scraps of paper into wailing walls.
I press my own small prayers
into the heaviness
is this place a home
or a cage?
There are no walls
if I wish to escape
doesn't that mean
HairWalking behind her on the stairs, they could see the bald patches, the shiny pale skin stretched tight over the skull. She wasn't wearing a hat yet, or a scarf, or a wig, but she must have known. Putting down her comb, she must have fingered the lost hair, must have held it and stared at it for a long time, sitting alone in her room on the edge of her bed. She must have swept the bathroom floor as a barber sweeps his shop, a ritual ended as the tangles slid from the dustbin to the wastebasket. She perhaps threw a few papers in on top. Sometimes other people came in her room. They would see.
Now she walked bareheaded up the stairs. They all stared, and later denied to one another that they'd stared.
The next day her desk was empty. She arrived near noon, just in time for lunch, and told her friends she'd slept in—broken alarm clock. And now that she was here, she needed to study. No time for lunch, but it was okay, she wasn't that hungry anyway. She slipped into the library and didn't c
Portrait in October, East CoastHe has a sea-washed voice
and when he sings he keeps his hands in his pockets
where the map of the East Coast is,
soft as cotton and double folded:
plateaus and lakes
and islands too small to name
make watercolors across his skin.
He's the kind who walks alone on grey sand beaches
where the logs with sprawling roots
loom like monuments
He has breath like barest autumn snow,
hands like steaming coffee,
eyes like a Polaroid of the mountaintop,
of winter birds and grass
and the ache of the absent forest.
He speaks the language
of broken seashells
and of the bicycle on its side
in the unmowed field
He tried love once
and now prefers guitar
and long drives along the highways at dusk.
Over his turtleneck he has a coat with four buttons
and in October the wind
to the marrows.
Transtromer in SeptemberI tuck my worn copy of Tranströmer's The Deleted World under my arm
and head out, lungs embracing
the air still swirling with a rain so fine and light it could be first snow.
My shoes squelch on the path across the sodden sedge field
and my dark hair curls and flutters in soft pockets of breeze.
It is the time of rowanberries, and
in with the withered grass, there's liriope and velvety henbit,
bur clover and Indian strawberry blooming yellow,
and, where the damp earth is rich in the shade
of the distant dripping hollies, spineless chamberbitter
stretching willowy yearling arms dewed a deep, dusty purple.
The sky promises neither sun nor storm;
the light is shadowless, colored like the stone-green walls of the sea.
The stream is choked with tumbled granite and pinkweed
yet sings to the sky.
Here in the piedmont comes the faint perfume of the fog,
a kiss from a Swedish sea, almost
a presence from another world.
GeeseWhen the frost was still hard on the ground
on the bitter-fallen skeletons of the leaves,
we woke to the cry of passing geese.
I started to stand, but
with one flash of your hand you stopped me.
In silence we watched them pass
through the mammoth shadows of the pines.
They traveled with nothing to hold them up but air
and their own small strength.
There was religion in the motion of their wings,
faith in their movement across the sky,
a prayer nurtured among
the cluster of their bodies.
They're not anything grand, I thought then,
not like these trees or even like this mist.
They're just birds.
But, too, they have wings, and even though
they knew they'd be okay if they stayed,
even though they knew it'd be a hard journey,
they found a way to fly, and now
they're leaving for places I'll never go.
Perhaps in that way they're grander than us all,
than anything else I've ever known.
I curl my body, a flower growing
backwards into a bud again;
I relax my grip
and drift in the night womb
where I am insulated in the muted dark of
where strange, smiling apparitions
with turquoise eyes and shimmering hair
touch my cheek, trace the path
of tears I thought were invisible
and leave smooth skin in the place of scars.
I lose all sense of myself;
I am endless, my soul expanding and breathing and
seeking the edges of all I thought I knew.
The morning screeches at my senses—
sharp and restless—
with one yank of the blinds, with
the bland, insistent alarm clock
red and pounding against
the delicate membrane of the ear, with
winter hands creeping over my skin
(tightening around my fragile paper wrists,
pulling my soul back into my body
with no thought for slow acclimation).
The rasping voice rakes its nails
down my thoughts,
births me into this world again:
a reality of pushing, pulling, tugging,
I am returned to this small self,
The Mourner's SongMy hands miss yours—
I'm still overwhelmed
by the phantom touch.
In dreams my feet still feel
the stones and leaps
and snow-muddied plunges
of the paths we used to walk
on the summer mountains with
their thousands of leaves singing of the sun.
My mind still resonates with
the tragic nostalgic waltzes of Beirut.
My hair still sparks red in the sun.
But your gaze is gone from me;
I am no longer aflame.
After a Painting by Edward HopperFour trees stolen from a Tuscan landscape
curl their tips in the salt wind
as I reach them at the far end of the arched marble bridge.
My red skirt laps at my legs;
my hair is a whirlwind of sooty snow
until I pull on my green cotton cap.
I keep walking. From here, I can see the café
by the water's edge. Our table is still there
in the shade of the awning. On Friday afternoons
you were always there first, leaning your elbows
on the table, condensation beading on your beer bottle
with the brown glass neck. The sun was cruel.
Your wore this soft green cap like a crown.
You glanced over your shoulder every few minutes
until you saw me approach in my beach clothes,
in my sandals and this thin red skirt
the sun sees through.
As I walked down the riverbank
through broad hoops of shade,
you rolled your shirt sleeves up, knowing
that now we would eat sandwiches, and that
shredded lettuce and sauce would drip
onto our plates with every bite.
To cross the long empty stretch of stone today
Forest SeaI step down into the shallows,
the plumes of gentle mud stirring to caress
the bold-bared skin of my ankles.
With the slowness of one who knows
there is all the time in the world for the taking,
I feel my way in deeper, and the water
comes alive at my touch.
I glimpse a thousand faces
wavering in the shards of moonlight,
glaring and fading and shifting.
Curled leaves, those last traces of autumn,
are borne away, like stark, storm-tossed ships,
from my questing fingers.
At last I stop, my toes sinking
into silken slippers of soft weeds.
The last hesitant ripples
rouge my cheeks with kisses,
and my heartbeat throbs, brought alive
under skin turned translucent in the moonlight.
Wherever I look I see stars and a shimmering moon;
even when I close my eyes, they are there,
beacons glowing beyond sight.
The winter air digs its merciless claws
into my tender lungs,
and I spread my arms wide and breathe in,
deeply, deeply, embracing that which brings me alive.
And then the forest sea has all of
The Voice of HeavenThe sweetest music fills the atmosphere
The voice of heaven itself
Surfing on waves of air
Sound so pleasant, beyond orgasmic
Listen to the subtle facets of its audible splendor
Every measure, every crescendo, every lick
Everyone is savored
Never have ears been so graced
Graced by such a precious lullaby
Transcendent silvery tones caress the soul
Knees begin to buckle
Everything fades in haunting mist
Oh, harmonious ballad!
The notes sparkle along their silky path
So smooth, so lovely
Sing them forever
Sing sweet love,
Your beautiful heart let shine!
Light up the darkness
Play your songs again and again
Play your songs in my heart
In the heart you've captured and chained to yours
If only everyone could know their magick
Those notes will resonate in me til I die and ever after
I love you, voice of heaven
Lost and FoundHe has prayed as much
as he said "I love you"
in both cases
they were inaudible
Occasionally you can hear him
when he traces the outline of you
similar to the way
a stroke induced December
remembers to speak spring
like he's seen you before in his dreams
You can hear him
when his eyes linger at your smile
as if he could find faith
from your light
trapped, imbedded in insecurity
his way is a broken record even the deaf could listen to
He will not say I love you
not because he doesn't
but because you can not hear a man
you have yet to meet
but when you do, oh god, you will be brutally aware
Because with love like his
you could drown twice
and not want to come up for air
two can play at this gamehelp.
my heart beats
and my lungs
swell with air,
but I swore
my life would
cease to be
if I could
no longer call
you mine. please
By Suzanne Karbach 27th July 2014
sugarclawyou sang, watermystic
rosehips swaying two hearts
to a shell
and i, niagara
fell beneath, earth tesselate
seeping in infinite squares
but this is no desert love
story you are telling, lies
stretched over acres
o' your sweetscented mouth
One Year // TimelessOne Year // Timeless
I wanted to write something,
About being with you for
A whole year.
But I can’t. (So I won’t)
Because it doesn’t feel like
A whole year.
I feel like I just met you,
I feel like I’ve always known you,
There is something meaningless about
“A whole year”.
It feels timeless.
One Year // Timeless
I know from eighth grade Science Class
That energy cannot be
Created (nor destroyed).
This, I’m quite sure, is the case with how I feel about you.
I think this feeling goes beyond me,
It stretches back through time,
And has lived many lives.
It started, I believe, as a far off sun.
All passion and fire and boiling,
Existing that way for many billions of years,
Until it compressed and
All that energy released into the cosmos,
Undamaged, undestroyed, (uncreated).
For a while after that, it existed as the stars.
Every last twinkling one in the sky,
It nestled a bit of itself into.
Ambiguous GreyMy heart snaps the first time, as frail as a fish bone,
under the weight, not of your words, but of your silence,
your long silence stretching
in innocent pretense over the days.
I go on, perfectly well,
without the quiet song of a pulse to guide me.
I simply retreat into myself.
And I try a pretense of my own: I play music,
the songs I used to live for,
and I try to remember the subtle risings and fallings of feeling
the notes are supposed to stir in me;
I learn that feelings are impossible to force;
I learn that it's better not to lie to oneself;
there's no crime in becoming better friends with silence.
I sit for long hours by a window in the afternoon,
forcing myself into the sun-bright pages of a book,
even on the days when the heroine's true love
presses his mouth boldly to hers for the first time
and no emotions sweep me away, and all I see
are their hesitant kisses reduced to merciless strings of letters,
and I plod along to the next sentence and the next,
and my eyes do not lin
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