Saturday, August 13, 2022

At The Hospital


 At The Hospital

Pendants of light
reflections reversed
bent on slick white tile
random voices
in chained rooms
living out their untold
fortunes. Are fortunes told
or are they read,
written in a book of days
all numbered
not visible except
through curving crystal?
Or are they droned
the same tune every time
inside the skull,
mortality's earworms?
I am indifferent.
The gypsy broke my cup;
my tea leaves spilled.
circa 2019, rev. March 2022 

posted for earthweal's

Images: Sun In An Empty Room, 1963, © Edward Hopper   Fair Use
The Fortune Teller, 1933, © Brassai            Fair Use 

Wednesday, August 10, 2022




 Lightning falls tonight
along the border of change.
Summer made a brass mirror
hot as Hell's floor to flare
the prairie grass to fire. 
Now her demon child
walks the storm.

We built a tall white tower
a colossus to catch the wind
for us to eat. With a flick of
staggered shot the lightning felled it
melting it
like an interrupted dream.
And so it was

when you and I
met to hold the lightning
in our palms, flaring in
a mutual fire, to give back
the reflection of love
from eyes of brass. Too much
heat cracks the shell.

Too much
of the electric touch
and towers melt,
lightning falls singing
a crackling song that says:
no one can own me
only the end I bring them.
August 2022

posted for earthweal's weekly challenge:
 (with apologies to Brendon 
for shamelessly using his theme title)
Note: Last night we got one of those wild storms that pop up along an advancing front. Most of it missed us here at my location, saving some very welcome thunder and rain, but parts of the state got flooding downpours, downburst winds up to 75 mph, and a lot of lightning, a bolt of which melted this wind turbine in Custer County and set it on fire.
Images: Volcano and lightning, author unknown, via the internet. Fair Use
Burning Wind Turbine, Custer County, courtesy of Oklahoma News 9 Weather, Fair Use 

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

August in America 2022


August in America 2022
August is
a box of eyes
pretending there is no
stab of light
a beach of scalded feet
of knees scraped raw on underwater sand
bleeding a string of dead flowers
and too many ants.

May sang once I remember
November wailed but August
holds a hot hand
over summer's mouth stifling sweat-damp
nights of thirst with silent fever 
like a rash
of rumors
 hallucinations of
drowning rain.

No one wants August
to do anything but leave
even if it means red winter
but it stays
only peeling like old paint
spreading like the sour smell
of smoke
in a burned house
backbuilt from blood and sickness

where even the ants
die by fire.

August 2022

posted for dVerse Poets Poetics:
Images: The Enchanted Beach, 1950 © Salvador Dali   Fair Use
Ants © Dunja Zubak via   All Rights Reserved   Fair Use

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Eyes Of A Sailor


Eyes Of A Sailor
(a 55)
 My eyes grow rheumy
swimming in moonblur
but witnessing still
light's cut, color's fill,
shadow's indigo blot.
Light the blade, color the cloth,
blue shadow stitching together what's lost.

Old cells' ramparts
falling unfixed; 
wind pulls their dust,
time washes waves
over mitochondrial graves,
but memory sails its unsinkable boat
holding afloat
my far-sighted ghost.

July 2022

posted for earthweal's
Images: The Boatman, and Boat of the Mermaid, © Sabin Balasa  Fair Use

Tuesday, July 26, 2022




(a quadrille)
I don't want to write poems
fiddle while Rome's monde nouveau
becomes a flambeau.
They're a medicine-show elixir
a too-loose wrapping
on a fountaining vein.
But I have nothing else
as Arcadia burns
but this glittering salt
to seed rain
on a grassfire wind.
 July 2022

posted for earthweal's
dVerse Poets
Arcadia is a region in Greece, historically designated as the home of the god Pan, and synonymous with an unspoiled, pastoral wilderness. (Many towns across the world have been named after this spot, usually--tho not intentionally--ironically. I live not far from Arcadia, Oklahoma, a self-conscious tourist trap on Route 66 near an eponymous manmade lake. So far, it has not burned down.)
Images: Torch, 2008, © Wu Guanzhong    Fair Use
Media photo of grassfire, Beaver County, Oklahoma 2022   via internet  Fair Use

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Century Song


 Century Song

For a hundred years
it seems
I've waited here, wasted here,
full of parch and motion, a salty throat
from drinking too much ocean once
though it's been
no more than a lifetime
or a breath

held under a thousand passing thrones
of aqua-green
where I counted days as quicksilver fish,
as coral bones, marked each dagger flashed in
 mouths of sharks, each scale, each whale
singing to all her kin while I
I drowned alone.
For a century
it seems
I trod this water milling, to breathe the years I knew
still held the spark, 
the flowers' poppy dream, the moths unflamed,
the coyote's bark
longing for the moongleam
on your reaching arms.

For a century
or two
the heat is master; 
the dust that birthed you,
the sun that calls you on.
It blisters me as the freeze of aeons
boils a distant steam, until night's mantle
falls across the blaze, and in the end perhaps,
too many too-bright ghosts and burning days
earn me a last cool breeze
a breeze and a flashing of that dream
where you
come back for me.
July 2022



posted for dVerse Poets
Images: Waves, detail 1969 ©  Javier Torices    Fair Use
Study for the Spanish Dance, 1869  © John Singer Sargent   Fair Use

Saturday, July 16, 2022



The earth is aching where I walk and never learn,
her broad abiding back riven and split
by the wedge of heat and maul-strikes of the sun;
she was never meant to look so desolate,
nor the sickle moon give up her soul to burn.
Sere ghosts of a dead storm blow like yellow leaves
to the grassfire hell-combustion at full day's cairn,
bellies swelled on dust and smoke until they heave.
But still I see young hawks on thermal towers,
hear the cricket scrape his withered legs and sing,
know it's a fool who digs a graveyard for the flowers
for life is the deathless husband of these things.
I am an iron weight that soon must drop;
earth is a heartbeat fire cannot stop.
July 2022

 posted for earthweal's
 Note: Temperatures here in Oklahoma are expected to stay between 100 and 110 through July and into August. We haven't had extended extreme heat like this since 2012, and it was awful then.We pray the power grid holds, the A/C doesn't die and just huddle down and try to make it through the wildfires and heat exhaustion, but many parts of the world are seeing temperatures like these where they have never existed before and are unprepared for its force, enduring great hardship. I extend my sympathies. Take care as much as you can; it sucks, and it can kill.
 Images © joyannjones, july 2022

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

The Burning Tongue


The Burning Tongue
There is a burning that
makes the same smoke
from flower or flesh.
Air is dead.
Sound will not carry.
Words will not form
on a tongue blackened by 
summer's brass palm, for weeks
held radiant over earth's dry mouth.

Heat is a cloud-killer, builder
of invincible domes in steelmelt
sky. Dust catches fire.
Only the insect machines
still rattle. Yet every morning
in the stillborn dawn
there is a gasp of birdsong,
begging and faint, staccato, sharp,
freezingly sweet. 
In fever dreams
I gasp along, for every note,
for any word, for a charm
to make this yield
of burning tongues
sing out
in oldest music, 
wilder words,
the sparking chant

that death-heat kills even itself,
that someday it might
still be worth the parch

of trying to keep living.

July 2022

posted for earthweal

Images: Dead Woman's Crossing, Oklahoma  by Nathan Gunter   Fair Use
L'oiseau blue,© Marc Chagall 1968     Fair Use