Monday, December 31, 2012

The Greenhouse

Greenhouse @ Noordwijk

The Greenhouse

"…only a wall of bad dreams separates me from the dead."
~Federico Garcia Lorca

Part 1

Shape without form
bones hollow tubes
delicious conduits for melons of yesterday's light
emptied, love that drips
from fingertips hung over the side
of a dolphin's drifting bed
silver drops of mercury 
up my face
hung dangling to the sky,
a root that reaches eyeless
toward a cavity drowned in moons.

My heart still
louder than the crocodile in the ivy
clicking castanet teeth in sambas to
a deaf rose
in the greenhouse of dust and wine.
Shape without form,
a dream so badly made
it's no different than waking.

Part 2.

Many of these nights
I dream the greenhouse
bench-full of musky geraniums,
doubled lilies, spreadfinger poinsettia stars,
clay pots of green bay, mimosa, impossible olive
arrayed in some sequence that
confounds Fibonacci
with its lack of gold arab tumbleweeds,
its rote root and utterly unpredictable
prime free knowing,
counting up to its number
of green secret selves.

I pass through the sleepless emerald-lidded city
a tumultuous order
going bench to bench in the humid jade drip,
pressed to compound the hours left to me,
make cuttings of minutes, 
grow them on, to let myself become
the décor I tend and sell
and finally know
the earth's sweet mouth
tumbling unpollinated silk flowers
to bright oblivion
in her kiss.

~New Years Eve, 2012

Images: Header: Greenhouse @ Noordwijk, by wot nxt on flick'r
Shared under a Creative Commons license 
Footer: Geranium, by Odilon Redon
Public Domain via

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Last Dream of the Snow Spirit

This is another repost, intended to keep the blog on life support while I enjoy a break from the internet. I hope to be back after New Year's. 
Until then, best wishes to all my bloggy friends and readers.

Moonlight Kinetic

Last Dream of the Snow Spirit

The Snow Spirit is old, psychotic and white.
Icicles hang like devil’s teeth from her soul.
When the black wind rackets in the twelve-hour night
they gnash a rattling storm till nothing’s whole.
She weights down the housetops, steers toy cars to flight
kills birds in the air with breath as dark as coal;
and yet all things old and wretched once were young.
She’s forgotten what she was, or what she’s done.

Was she a blue irreverent river sprite,
who crossed some bitter god with her defiance,
made ice to live a millenium in white?
She seems to see instead a green alliance,
herself a leaf that danced in dumb delight,
ten million sister leaves her full reliance,
woodborn in a place of sun and wind made song.
But she’s old and mad; her memory’s often wrong.

Or didn’t she drip, a lanquid amber mist,
over fields and woods at dusk, all warm wet airs,
a drink for fiddling crickets, a slippery wrist
that washed down idiot mice or hipshot mares?
Perhaps she was the ripened pale poppy’s fist
a wild wind’s daughter whose white and jagged tears
bled the sap of sweetest rest beyond all thought,
punished now for the ignorant death she brought.

Whatever she was, whatever form now lost
and transformed into harsh new symmetry,
she was not this moving famine or this frost
that wracks the world with its frigid ministry.
She imagines her leafgreen soul is what it cost
to pay for this unwanted eternity.
Still she dreams as she dances the sky apart
she’s not a damned storm hag with a stonecold heart.

She can’t see her own mad eyes, her ice-boned thighs.
In  dreams she’s one snowstar with a million more.
Sisters flown like white leaves across the skies
dancing a wind ballet on a cloudpaved floor.
She dreams the sodden snow is white butterflies
with life instead of death humming in their core,
choired clouds of frozen wings who’ve just begun
to live, melting in the early winter sun.
February 2011

Ice Age #5

 This poem is written in the ottava rima form, each stanza consisting of six lines of eleven syllables rhyming alternately, ending with a differently rhymed couplet. It is irregularly metered, but conforms to the eleven syllables per line format original to the Italian, though perhaps not to the Italian pattern of stresses. English ottava rima is often written in iambic pentamenter (10 syllables)as well. 

Ottava rima is traditionally used in the writing of heroic or mock-heroic work, from Boccaccio to Lord Byron to Yeats.

Title Image: Moonlight Kinetic, by Petteri Sulonen 
Many Thanks, Petteri

Footer Image: Ice Age #5, by Alex RK

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Yule Goat

This is a repost of an older poem just to keep the place from going completely moribund.

Happy Yule to All!

Goat watching

Yule Goat

In December’s dark descent
across crackled breaking sky ice
slivered with dagger snow,
bells ring in whitened night, sharp
hooves stamp on the cloudcloth
shaking pearl dust stripes on
viridian spruces, candelabra arms
turquoise and white pinwheels
circling their wands
of bitter bark raven haunted.

The god of thunders 
pulls the sun's shadow,
flickering hammer tucked
in his brace of clouds,
drives his twin goats
toward the time when day
and night are strait, equals at last
as Odin's wild hunt 
passes damned, mad,
howling overhead

The Snarler and the Grinder
fleet of foot, heedless of fate
run on; tonight's feast, tomorrow’s
feat, killed for meat this starveling
night, raised at dawn.
Spread the skins and 
let each bone 
fall with care so
those here reborn 
race again on the solar wind.

O bright black eye
split with too much knowledge
devil’s mask, canting voice
of the abyss, god's bearer, hunger's enemy
come bless us this Yule with your
yellow stare, ignite yourself
against the hag’s winter storm,
flute your flames through a straw ribcage. 
Watch us make the old dance new again
under the reckless stars.

December 2011

In Norse myth, Thor was not only provided with his mountain-shattering hammer Mjölnir, his magical, strength doubling belt Megingjörð, but a chariot in which he traveled through the sky pulled by two goats, Tanngrisnir (Old Norse "teeth-barer, snarler") and Tanngnjóstr (Old Norse "teeth grinder") spoken of in the Prose Edda, who could be slain for food at Thor's discretion then resurrected with the power of Mjölnir and returned to the traces.~ from wikipedia: 'The Yule Goat is one of the oldest Scandinavian and Northern European Yule and Christmas symbols and traditions. Originally denoting the goat that was slaughtered during the Germanic pagan festival of Yule, "Yule Goat" now typically refers to a goat-figure made of straw. It is also associated with the custom of wassailing, sometimes referred to as "going Yule Goat" in Scandinavia.' As always, I've taken a few liberties with the letter of the myths.You can read more about the folklore of the Yule Goat here  and the Wild Hunt here.

Header Photo: Goat watching, by on flick'r
Shared under a Creative Commons License 
Footer Photo: The Gävle goat burning, author unknown
All copyright belongs to the copyright holder

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Still Life Reviving

Naturaleza Muerta Resucitando, by Remedios Varo

Still Life Reviving

A moment
where pain fills then falls
from the heart's high point
draining out from

A flame
that destroys nothing
to build itself,
fluttering cloth in

A wind
circling buoyant,
that inflates without informing,
transports, supports, returns to

A flower
blooming without a pension
to pleasure a bee,
for a flame-juiced globe spitting

A seedspark 
that blows,
sailing match to wick,
no need to know why.

~December 2012

 Posted for    Poetics   at dVerse Poets Pub
Karin Gustafson hosts today and asks us to write to a holiday(or not)theme of presents/presence. This painting seems to me the embodiment of a presence unseen, life perhaps, as the title suggests. Remedios Varo(María de los Remedios Alicia Rodriga Varo y Uranga) was a Spanish-Mexican, para-surrealist painter and anarchist. She was born in Spain in 1908, died in Mexico City in 1963, making this one of her last paintings.

Image: Naturaleza Muerta Resucitando(Still Life Reviving) 
by Remedios Varo, 1963
All copyright belongs to the copyright holders.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present

Ghosts of Christmas Past?

they're never past
at all.

Passed, perhaps,
they linger in the hall
a scent unseen
a sight unheard, a laugh unlaughed

Watching, drinking, playing rapt,
unwrapping revelries they  made
when they had form.

Some were torn
away too soon and swept too far,
still hearing laughing cries not sudden tears,

And once each year
they show their hidden smiles
 smoky, floating, gone but smiling still.

Laugh? perhaps they will,
make a sudden joke, a flame 
leap up, or old remembered song
and then

a new dance will begin 
free from old sins.

December 2010

I'd like to apologize for some of my extremely depressing poems of late, and thank everyone who has taken the time to read and comment on them, and on all my babblings, for their understanding and compassion. You are too kind, and too many to mention, but in particular, to Shay, Karin, Kelli,  Scott, Kerry, Sherry and all the other Real Toads, many many heartfelt thanks and best wishes. To Brian, Claudia and the dVerse Poets Pub community, and to G-man and the 55ers, thanks for the opportunities to write you create, and the support and encouragement you give. To those readers I have lost this year, Brendan, Ruth, Truly Fool, The Walking Man and others, know you were valued and are remembered and missed. Right now writing seems very far away, but I'm hoping to get back in the spirit in the New Year. 

Till then:

A Very Merry Christmas, A Happy New Year and additional Happy Holidays of Any Variety Not Previously Mentioned
to all my pixelated internet friends and readers who make this world a little brighter with their own 
ability to shine
Thanks for everything.

(Originally Posted for Moondustwriter's Christmas Eve Eve Poetry at the inimitable One Stop Poetry)

Photo:  The author as a young thing, with Santa, 
(c) copyright joyannjones 2010-2012, from the author's files

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Extended Musical Interlude

Between back problems and getting ready to go out of town for the holidays, looks like there will be not much going on here for a week or two. I intend to set up some automatic posts of older poems for the time I'm actually gone, but until I get back there may not be any new writing. So, here's a rather disparate array of some favorite tunes to listen to on and off till I return . 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Lost Bear

Lost Bear

Lost bear
collapsed under the streetlight
drunk on smells
of trash and tea leaves
full of cold beans, coffee grounds,
dead things; silent
you sleep heavy, turning garbage-grey,
wishing for berries, silverslipping
riverflash of trout,
white water, winter-wild
repose in caves of dreams;
to wake in warm dark
with wholeness welling,
two cubs pushing,
life scrabbling
in place of
what's forever

~December 2012

Posted for   real toads
Sunday Mini-Challenge: Dolls, Revisited
Margaret Bednar brings us more photographs of the amazing dolls created by a group of enterprising and very gifted students. The doll I chose was created by Elizabet Puksto.

 Process Note: I normally don't read others' prompt responses before writing, but today I read Fireblossom's first. Rereading this now, I think I owe some of this poem to her take and original theme. Thanks, Shay.

 Optional Musical Accompaniment

Image: Photo by Margaret Bednar of Doll by Elizabet Puksto