Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Down On The Coast

Calm Day


Down on the Coast



Three ragged rocks in the bay of the heart
smoothed and seamed by the tailoring spray
now pressed flat as the long wave fades
the water stills, the tide splays
with all its faery flotsam 
pulled to a deeper decay.

Eleven pouting lemons in a cobalt blue bowl,
secret and sullen as xanthic mollusks
bitter suns curdling morning to fractions
piercing the tongue with sour satisfaction,
as if to say I told you so
but you just had to keep adding sugar.

In the dim gaslight of a half-sincere dream
the medium saw the house burn down, beam
by beam, red walls glow to nothing, saw drawn
in charcoal ectoplasm all the  burnt debris
daguerreotypes of you, of me
wet framed in blackened ash, ruined before time for tea.

Tonight I dream your absinthe aftertaste
gulping loss, coughing up your waste
choking on the acrid gnosis
with each indifferent clumsy phasing
in and out, never whole in either placing
as you make and unmake the myth of a masked man's face.

Three rocks in the bay of the heart;
name them as you please or will
smoothed and seamed calm; still
mirrors glinting days that in the dark
will founder any sailor lost at sea
who seeks to come to anchor in that lee.




May 2012



Posted for   OpenLinkNight   at Dverse Poets Pub






Image: I've once again borrowed the work of my friend Petteri Sulonen, whose images often inspire. Thanks, Petteri, as always for the use of this shot:



49 comments:

  1. nice depth to this one hedge...the opening visual is cool...Three ragged rocks in the bay of the heart...i like the shift to the lemons...and our need to make lemonade or just sugar coat...smiles...gaslight, very cool, very old world to me...the forth stanza is vivid in the aftermath and i like the wrap around at the end...

    i recognize the deep in this as well as i said but i am running on 3 hours sleep and feeling the affects or a pummeling...so let me take a nap and i will be back...smiles.

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    1. Thanks, brian--that's plenty deep enough to dive on three hours sleep. Get some rest.

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  2. Incredibly beautiful and well-penned. Love "pulled to deeper decay" and the pouting lemons. Hope the medium's vision doesnt come true. The masked man's face and the final stanza are especially deep. Wonderful work.

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  3. I particularly like "bitter suns curdling morning to fractions." And, the closing is brilliant.

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  4. Eleven pouting lemons in a cobalt blue bowl...In the dim gaslight of a half-sincere dream...and then the absinthe aftertaste of course...absinthe was a hell drink before they did away with it...the absinthe you get nowadays is the light version...pondering about the rocks...guess they can stand for lots of things...

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  5. There are so many great lines in this "Tonight I dream your absinthe aftertaste" ...and as Mama Zen points out "bitter suns curdling morning to fractions" ...you have a great turn of phrase, and while this feels dark, it also feels satisfying... great poem :)

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  6. the three rocks are dangerous and can sink a flotilla. you can't sweeten one of them as it is beautifully sour. another part barely cares. the other is mysterious and amazing and not knowable with a handshake. it's quite a package. cool write.

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  7. So much lies beneath the surface. You summon up quite a tempest from the depths here, then loop back to the calm surface once more, but with the ominous knowledge of what lies below. This one bears reading several times! Thanks.

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  8. In the dim gas-light of a half sincere dream...Joy, so MANY fantastic lines in this piece, and yes I can see how such an image could pull wonders from your pen. just wonderful!

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  9. lots of fantastic imagery... fits the photo perfectly... the once jagged rocks, now flat, but what's under the surface?

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  10. Oh my. You start out with some really good imagery and then, like the waves, just drag us out deeper and deeper. I love that 3rd stanza...actually all of them, but the third, wow! The way you put together these words makes me want to hear you read it aloud.

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    1. Thank you. I actually read this out loud several times to get it to come right, Victoria--I wish I could master the tech to read it for all of you.(If anyone wants to send me idiot-proof instructions, my email is at the profile link)

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  11. There are so many wonderful lines in this piece--

    Tonight I dream your absinthe aftertaste
    gulping loss, coughing up sour waste
    choking on the acrid gnosis

    Your sense of imagery is wonderful--Thank you!

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  12. Beautiful work Hedge I specially like:

    bitter suns curdling morning to fractions
    piercing the tongue with sour satisfaction

    It would be great to hear you read this..maybe Kerry can help you with this ~ (I am not good with these too :-))

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  13. There is so much here, and it reads perfectly, both aloud and in the silence of my mind where I imagine your voice sounding like the smooth rocks, sugared lemons and ashes. Wow!

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  14. A very reflective vibe. I wonder if all these images are connected in one past love. One that time, if not healed, has softened.

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  15. There are too many things in this, I haven't time to list; besides, everyone has mentioned my faves. That picture will live in my heart for awhile as well. It actually looks a bit like a stack of mammogrammed breasts, but maybe it's just my age, Hedge!! Loved this one, the lemons and the absinthe and the pressed rocks, like leaves in a book... Amy
    http://sharplittlepencil.com/2012/05/21/always-and-forever-ironweed-dammit/

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  16. Eleven pouting lemons in a cobalt blue bowl....bitter suns curdling morning to fractions
    piercing the tongue with sour satisfaction
    so many great lines, excellent! :)

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  17. Love the tides of imagery here. Dark yet beautiful!

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  18. "Oh dear, I can't write anything. I'm stuck. I'll prolly NEVER write anything ever again."

    (then she trots out something like this and bashes my brains in with the bar. Uh huh.)

    That second stanza is so superb I can't even find proper adjectives. The whole thing is stellar, Joy. I would hate you if I didn't get so much pleasure from reading you at your best.

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  19. Fabulous image - rocks so wet they look like sea lions. I love the music of your language, the occasional pulling back to earth after flights of fancy, the way you bring it all together in the final verse with its elegaic feel ... while the phrase, 'your absinthe aftertaste' rolls deliciously around my tongue!

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  20. Love it - as always you have a wonderful, mythic quality to this.

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  21. flogging a dead seahorse :D

    absinthe aftertaste...

    a mouthfull of green fairy... no ... thats a whole nother pome lol.

    Eleven pouting lemons in a cobalt blue bowl,
    secret and sullen as xanthic mollusks
    bitter suns curdling morning to fractions
    piercing the tongue with sour satisfaction,
    as if to say I told you so
    but you just had to keep adding sugar

    when you can taste it, feel it and smell it - the whole kit and kaboodle... could a stanza contain more flavor?... so rich!

    an experience for sure - more than words an' all!

    thanks hedge

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  22. Yes ma'am:

    "with all its faery flotsam
    pulled to a deeper decay"

    "Eleven pouting lemons in a cobalt blue bowl,
    secret and sullen as xanthic mollusks
    bitter suns curdling morning to fractions"

    "In the dim gaslight of a half-sincere dream
    the medium saw the house burn down"

    "daguerreotypes ... wet framed in blackened ash, ruined before time for tea"

    "your absinthe aftertaste
    gulping loss"

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  23. The language, though ostentatious at times, has a nice, relic feel to it - almost like a rusty bottle washed ashore. Who am I kidding, though? We all have a tendency to sugarcoat or own words. "but you just had to keep adding sugar" :)

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    1. I think that's one of the most patronizing comments I've ever read. And thanks for making me feel a hundred years old.

      Btw, bottles don't rust.

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  24. Such rich layered imagery and for the record you poem is not ostentatious! I really enjoy your words.

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    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence, marousia. Your twitter haiku were amazing.

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  25. Very cool write Hedge. I love the language choices especially the coarse descriptions, like ragged, decay, debris, gaslight, flotsam, curdling, sullen, charcoal etc…also, I think Gaslight is such a neat word, I remember the first time I heard it, I was in my early teens, may even have been 12 years old, but I used to go to all the local comic conventions and at this one in particular, I immediately went in search for the stands that had some damaged conditioned books for like a dime up. Well there there was this old gothic style pulp from the sixties, I've since forgotten it's exact title, but I still remember the cigarette smoking detective and all the dark panels and that's where I read the word Gaslight and thought how neat a word it was. Then it was many years later when, staying in comic world, was a Batman graphic novel called Gotham by Gaslight. So, there's my little history you've unknowingly brought back to me. Great piece, for everything outside the Gaslight as well. You really painted quite the atmosphere with this one. Thanks, loved it.

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    1. I got my original gaslight intro from Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, all of which opus I read voraciously from the age of twelve on, and still do from time to time. It has a real nuance to it, historical but also some sort of nostalgic marker of when technology was still adorably an infant. ;-) Glad you shared your story Fred, and thanks.

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  26. Beautiful poem, Joy....the picture looks to me like it's living, flapped wings or fins in the foreground....

    But the poem weaves around in a sineous fashion and comes alive for me. I think this is one of the few I have read of yours that rhymes? And you do it so well. It's hard (at least for me) not to fall to the cheap in rhyming schemes, but this is masterful.

    Lovely, haunting and evocative poem, Joy.

    Lady Nyo

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    1. I use rhyme about a third of the time, Jane, I think, but I'm trying to llearn to be more subtle with it, and to sneak it into my free verse. Glad you enjoyed, and I love your description of the photo. I felt there ought to be a plesiosaur or brontosaurus under the surface somewhere.Thanks for your kind words.

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  27. Agree with Lady Nyo just above on every point. The rhyme scheme is beautiful - quite subtle in most stanzas, a little stronger at the end which makes some sense, given the poem; it simply very pretty as well as quite sad. k.

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    1. Thanks, k, for stopping by during a busy time, and for the kind reading.

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  28. There’s something about the randomness and specificity of the numbers three and eleven that intrigues here, Hedge. And the image of ragged rocks, of the heart, being smoothed by waves of experience, that’s gorgeous. Those pouting lemons; I think I have never heard lemons described as anything but sunny happiness. But of course they are sour, and so what you do is portend their flavor, not their appearance, the actuality of what happens when we’re opened onto the world. Then the beautiful gaslight, and the absinthe, and again the seamed calmness; no matter how bitter and sour things get, I can count on you to create beauty from and in it. Just exquisite.

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  29. Started reading this to Slashes new album and the intro to Anastaia came on and gave this write such a groves and paced it out with such cadence it bristled.. SO kewl

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    1. Thanks, man--glad to hear it wasn't a moldering relic! ;-) I've been loving your 'muse' poems.

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  30. I really enjoyed reading this. The imagery is so sharp it went directly into my imagination from yours. I have a lot to learn about poetry and you unknowingly are one of my teachers.

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  31. Another immensely accomplished poem Joy. For me, this was sharp with longing and yet strangely desolate. Loved it.

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  32. Not going to repeat all the lines I like here; too many...I envy the way your words spill out into fantastic images...the lemons in the blue bowl..and much more. Coming back for second read tomorrow. x

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  33. Ok- so I started reading this....and I thought- this isn't joy's normal style- but then...then you REALLY got into it, and all this luscious darkness starting tumbling- all the ash, acid, and absinthe - and it totally engulfed me...again, creating feelings of love and longing and loss...just epic...seriously

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    1. Thanks Stu--enjoyed yours very much, especially the reading.

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  34. Every first line opens up a portal to disappointment or irony that is fleshed out subsequently. They're all so polished and self contained--the third stanza is very Eliot-like to my mind, almost self effacing or understated in tone, which accents the ideas even more when you get to the finish line. Super lines everywhere, stones, lemons, absinthe... you cover the waterfront with your imagery, literally and figuratively. Very nice work.

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    1. I've actually been reading(re-reading) a lot of Eliot lately, as per the quote up top, and I think poets with singular voices do tend to get into one's head and come out sometimes in the writing. Glad you liked it, Steve.

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  35. That third stanza is where I felt gripped by this piece. It kept a hold on me until the end. I'm always amazed at the way you weave your words. Nice to be visiting again :)

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  36. This was filled with magic! I loved so many lines, the ending is where it really go to me~ I enjoyed the journey you took us on~
    Stunning...

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  37. The death of love is so hard to say directly, so your poem about the afterglow of its demise is incredibly effective. The metaphors for its loss, so powerfully evoked, are achingly familiar. These landscapes of the psyche that you paint haunt us with visuons of unbearable loss, as all strong passions bring to birth. Your vision of the emotions and the role they play in connecting us to the world is always fascinating.

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  38. Wonderful cadence all through, Joy. Sea music.

    I so enjoyed the quality of language.. felt words in my hands, their weight, their emotional impact. Reallu enjoyed this.

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  39. Love it....The words,the feelings behind them...everything is just so awesome.

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg