Friday, October 15, 2021

Hungry Ghosts And Thirsty Spirits


Hungry Ghosts And Thirsty Spirits
(a sonnet)

What gift could the dead of the living want
if not to pour again the living's light,
that whiskey warming throats of dreams they haunt;
to sing, to laugh, to lose their drowning night.

My dead are old yet various and new,
the dancing sparks of a youth that ran away.
The love we had so tenuous and blue
flickers out the past and so transforms the clay;

but when you come you paralyze the soul
with heart-remembered cold like glacier melt;
a frozen thing so trapped by pure control
will feel the same negation we once felt.

Take back the miseries living in your eye.
Don't bring me where the sun forgets the sky.

October 2021

  (with apologies to Poe and the entire 19th Century)
 a little something for All Hallows, at dVerse Poets
 Images: Styx,  © Marius Lewandowski  Fair Use
Author and title unknown, via the internet.  Fair Use

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Red Smoking Mirror



Red Smoking Mirror
That was a hell of a poem, that one.
Some captive of war, some harem
woman, spilled her guts to you
flayed away all her hide
to bare nerve.
picked it up and wore it
just like mine, our wrists flapping,
bloody faces making masks
for yours, cut lips singing
all your 
butcher's songs.


It's plain I said, I need to make a pyre
of all these undead fears and burn them out.
Oh no, you said, there's never enough fire.
Make garments of your fears' flayed skins and shout,

for loving's a red coal beneath your feet
and being loved a poem you can't complete.

But I turned off that voodoo child advice
when I saw you line them up like bowling pins
for your mumbled brujeria to hypnotize.
I left; now all my words are my own sins,
spells of blood are broken for a price,
with ravensong in dreams and peace the prize.
 October 2021

 posted for Poetics
brujeria: (Spanish) witchcraft, sorcery, black magic

Process Note:" In Aztec mythology and religion, Xipe Totec [pictured at top] or ... Xipetotec  ("Our Lord the Flayed One") was a life-death-rebirth deity..[the god] was also known by various other names, including Tlatlauhca, Tlatlauhqui [or]Tezcatlipoca ("Red Smoking Mirror")... [he] is represented wearing flayed human skin, usually with the flayed skin of the hands falling loose from the wrists...Various methods of human sacrifice were used to honour this god. The flayed skins were often taken from sacrificial victims who had their hearts cut out..."~wikipedia




Image:Xipe Totec as depicted in the Codex Borgia, shown holding a bloody weapon and wearing flayed human skin as a suit.  via wikipedia    Fair Use

Friday, October 8, 2021

Red And Gold


 Red And Gold

Under my feet bright bodies
of leaves, mast from the oak, crunch
of all the discards of summer, fire's coming
crackle; percussion accompaniment
to sweet smoke of raked heaps burning
where you stand smiling,
match in hand.

Peridot green under amethyst clouds
the after-storm sun bent the grass back
with sudden heat, as you bent my bones
with one touch, onyx eyes
closing on summer's fire
while the last light left brushed the waterfall's
singing to red steam.

Around my skin a white pelt of
frozen water, my remembering numbing as wind,
 howling hard as a cast-out wolf ten states
from its pack, too old to fight
too full not to cry,
 under a sharp sickle moon
that sees nothing at all.

Rolling wheels on warm red dirt
over the creek, around the bends where 
trees hide the climb, mask the descent,
 shaking their gravid buds in the rage of air
pushing me, pulling me,
past the point where words
could make me stop.

Every season dies around me,
every leaf, every white-muzzled wolf
in my wilderness, each golden October
burning red under the match
til nothing is left but the journey
I reverse night
after night in my sleep.

October 2021

posted for Meet the Bar: Cadralor plus Nobel

Images: Autumn Leaves, Lake George, NY, 1924 ©Georgia O'Keefe   Fair Use
Red Dirt Road After Spring Rain, author unknown, via internet.    Fair Use

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

October Light


October Light

 Many things 
are called lilies
which are not, yet these are,
still lilies
by October light
these graceless stalks
brown shriveled sticks
reaching dead hands
for the gone
 summer sky.
Time has burned them
the dry wheat's color,
taken their sundance of petals
scarlet and gold
yellow as morning,
even the memory of
that feasting scent
drunked the bees.
Still lilies grow  
for October 
is the cup earth has made
 for midsummer's wine.
Seeds and stem
bulb and root, burnt or bright,

still lilies, alive by October light,
out of sight, and it's best you know
for pulling hands
kill what they sow.

October 2021

posted for Sherry Blue Sky's
Collateral Beauty at earthweal

Note: While it may look "messy," leaving the ground undisturbed in fall and the dead stalks of lilies and other flowering plants in the garden during winter is important in providing habitat for beneficial insects and certain pollinators like miner bees,which overwinter in the stems. See  Fine Gardening's Provide A Winter Home For Beneficial Insects  and Nesting and Overwintering Habitat for Pollinators: "While flowering plants provide pollinators with food, insects also require suitable shelter for nesting and overwintering. Most bees and wasps create small nests beneath the soil or within dead plant stems or cavities in wood."
Photos ©joyannjones,  2021

Monday, October 4, 2021

Stone Alive


Stone Alive
in the night-colored morning,
far from your 
gravitational pull, your need, 
your wailing hustle that
flickers like sleet,
I dream
the lives of stone,
the green
absolute monotony
of warmth.
I drift
in the memory of
their breath,
alive among the 

October 2021


 posted for Quadrille #137
at dVerse Poets

Images: Stones, © Ivan Shishkin    Public Domain
Colonial Graveyard at Lexington, 1891 © Childe Hassam   Public Domain

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Mirror Moon



 Mirror Moon
There wasn't much left of the moon
when they got done with her.
They walked on her face
turned her rock and dust
blood and bone
to specimens and souvenirs.
Only her bright eye 
stayed open, and her broken lips
still formed the oldest words.
She was seen
because she'd learned to
give back light, heat, the radiation
bombarding her, her severed mouth
buzzing at the mad, at poets and priestesses.
Split between fire and ice
shadow and sun, she made a mirror for
silver darkness, perfectly alone
in an array piercing infinite night.

There was not much left of me
when you were through;
a circled eye half blind,
a mumble of separated lips
lost to reason. I found myself
sistered by the moon; she knew me
still despite the shatter
and with her borrowed light
she let me shine.

October 2021


posted for
Images: Untitled, author unknown via Sunday Muse Fair Use
Night, 1905 © Mikalojus Konstantinus Ciurlionis Fair Use

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Mantis In The Kitchen


Mantis In The Kitchen
"A name is the shortest form of a spell."
The mantis in the kitchen
knows my name. He
stares with ice eyes glistening,
watches me
watches me
tilts his mild triangular 
faceted face
as if to say, I'm busy,
but later..
I'm never alone for 
the things you've possessed
surround me,
watching me
watching me,
mingling our names
in an insect clatter.
The ice eyes meet the fate
of all our glaciers. The mantis 
pales and shrinks as
we liquefy in the heat
where even names melt,
leaving a duplicitous aquavit;
the honey of sweet
the vinegar
of change.

~August 2021

 posted for Open Link
at dVerse Poets
Note: Akvavit or a distilled spirit that is principally produced in Scandinavia, where it has been produced since the 15th century. Akvavit is distilled from grain and potatoes, and is flavoured with a variety of herbs. ~wikipedia
Images: Praying Mantis In Morning Light With Chai ©3D Storyteller All Rights Reserved Fair Use
Cannibalism Of The Praying Mantis Of Lautremont, 1934 © Salvador Dali    Fair Use

Saturday, September 25, 2021

The White House


The White House
Fall is sky
of milk and water, of
sand and blood, a field of ev'ry fruit
and folly, gathered around the slant white house that
rocked its boards like a boat and took in
the moon's footloose orphans.
The white house 

grew a child;
it seemed safe there by the
warm muddy lake,rough beach of red dirt,
trees bent over brown water by the weight of locusts'
spell chanting out the night, the old gods'
didgeridoo. There were
always dogs
in the yard,
toys on the floor, music
in the hall, food in the kitchen, bells
of laughter rung on blue sheets, your bright virgin eyes
umber as winter oak, wild as wine,
alight in the white house.
Now the child
is grown, you
are gone, and nothing is
safe. The white house, drifting in its trees
by the clouded lake, is a slow rocking boat un-
manned but full; October's hand turns wind
 to firelight for moon's
last orphan.

September 2021

posted for 

Process Note: This poem is written in the triquain form, consisting  of seven line stanzas with lines of 3,6,9,12,9,6,and 3 syllables respectively.


Images: Old house, author unknown, via Sunday Muse  Fair Use
Autumn Day circa 1986,  © joyannjones