Saturday, January 30, 2016

Eye Spy

Eye Spy

I spy with my little eye
a unicorn on a piece of pie,
an iron cross and a butterfly;
I spy the day I die...

Asleep I was
a wasted storm, a wandering
rain in stony void, blowing
over shabby
sparrow bodies on the scree,
over cast-off rocks
warm from the hand of lust, thrown to kill
in hunger and in pain, keyhole-seeing,
bent, your face again.

I awoke
rigid in a night
of fallen birds, back
still pressed on the wheel of love,
your bear-brown eyes, your
warmth on mine, your laugh as close
as dawn to day
before the waking
breaks it all away,

alone then, and more alone to come
locked in a crime no exit wound explains,
for the angel and the demon boys agree
they'll never open doors for the likes of me.

~January 2016

posted for   real toads

Images: Sanctuary, 1965, by Max Ernst. Fair use via
That Which I Should Have Done I Did Not Do, 1931, by Ivan Albright.
Fair use via


  1. This poems feels as if it should be read in whispers... As if saying the words too loud might awaken something we don't want to see. I can't quite tell if the speaker is enjoying the experience or is afraid... most likely both; and not being able to tell makes the whole thing more ominous and nightmares. The tone sets me in-between, in that half-numb and dark place where we can see all and can do almost nothing. Scary...

  2. God, this is just gorgeous. It has a very subtle rhythm almost like a waltz. Hypnotic.

  3. I love it, Hedge. Having read a few of your dream/nightmare poems, I thought this the perfect challenge for you. The sparrow bodies/ fallen birds really stand out for me.

  4. The sad yearning, the knowledge that the moment is fleeting, the acceptance of the loneliness, so poignant and so very real.

  5. Hey Joy--very tight lines here with the metaphors subtly carried through and wonderful rhythm and rhyme throughout. I also really liked the sparrow/bodies; fallen birds, and especially the part about as close as dawn to day and the waking breaking it all away--that is just beautiful and extremely descriptive--the part with the crime and no exit wound is very powerful (well, the whole thing) but so intriguing--and there is something about the iron cross and the I spy at the beginning that is very intriguing to me, one thinks of fly boys, soldiers, pilots and I don't think you mean that, and yet there are recurrent phrases of that type of planned destruction--the cast-off rocks making it all feel so random, collateral damage--as do the birds, the scree, the no exit wound--it's a little bit like the collateral damage in the war between the angels and Lucifer's forces and all the little guys caught in the fall out. Anyway, very cool. k.

    1. Thanks, k--no, that intro was just where I started--nonsense rhymes that hold various symbols and float around like the objects in nightmares that can be very commonplace yet puzzling, surreal or frightening in that context. And free-associating on them as you have done is sort of how we work our way over that landscape. Thanks as always for your thoughts and insight.

    2. Hi Hedge--just reading it again and thinking of it terms of a vision of "day I die," which I hadn't thought of exactly before--you know, my eyes gloss over things--and that creates a different feel as well, the after-death landscape, and the stuck-there-ness of the end is definitely nightmarish--purgatory-- agh. Neither this nor that, and the landscape certainly has that desolate feel--k.

  6. To me, this is kind of a negative reversal of "His eye is on the sparrow...". Here, there is no mercy, no concern--except on the part of the dreamer--and no redemption. A nightmare to be sure.

  7. Oh I knew you would love this.. and this is a nightmare of perfection.. the sparrow bodies, and the loneliness is a great way of looking it... I have to say that nightmares can be so many thing, and the only thing is that terror... the inability to act... there are so many great daemons out there, and frankly I wonder if they are not all for real.

  8. I love the way this is so many-layered, the changes in perspective making nightmare ever deeper.

  9. I love the use of the sparrow and the bear in your poem, Hedge. Really excellent work!

  10. This is such excellent writing, Joy. I especially love the sparrows and the bear brown eyes.

  11. damn, I wish I had / could write this.

    are you familiar with the band Death Cab for Cutie? there's this one refrain in the song "I will follow you into the dark" that somehow resonates with the last 2 lines in this pen, even though the sentiment and tenor isn't a match at all.

    If Heaven and Hell decide
    That they both are satisfied
    Illuminate the No's on their vacancy signs
    If there's no one beside you
    When your soul embarks
    Then I'll follow you into the dark

    1. Thanks for turning me on to that song, M--just listened to it--very simple and beautiful. Age is what gives me the material, here--it's all about salvaging the rusty,dinged up treasures from the ruins, digging up the bones...I don't think my themes have changed much over the decades, but the eye has. Thanks for the compliment, as I envy your way with words more than I can say.

    2. I don't listen enough to new music. I suppose I should replace the ipod and speaker system that got stolen that time i was volunteering at the local JC. (bastards.) there's a really, really good radio station in LA (Santa Monica) call letters KCRW. They stream live and also podcasts. The broadcast "Morning Becomes Eclectic" show (M-F, 9-12 Pacific), its companion Weekend Becomes Eclectic, and the streaming Eclectic 24 are generally pretty good. A DJ who I wish was on more - Anne Lit - worth looking up her podcasts.

      Anyhoo, have a fruitful break. I'm wondering about April this year.... hmmm. ~

  12. Ah, that's the worst sort of nightmare, the kind you wake up to. You really shine here, Joy.

  13. Beauty rusting to desolation, density dissolving into shadow. The images here tear and claw at imagination's prudish robes and drag it into the dark deeps to freeze and brood. In love with this poem. :)

  14. Creepy good - I love the voice here - it sounds almost like an incantation!

  15. It is dark melding or nightmare and reality. Powerful writing!

  16. This gets to both the keyhole challenge and to the next, brudberg's nightmare fling ... And the perspective is one that cannot be told truthfully contra-sexually, I mean, I don't think a dude could write about the neck-hackling risiveness of when a woman is espied upon. To be just dream ... awakened for the bear's freight and breath ... then left ... an archetypal one-night stand that's closer to rape than fleeting eros, though back when who could tell the difference, or now? The speaker is the victim, but the poem is far more powerful in losing than a boy could ever understand. Dunno if there's any compensation for that but the reader still richly benefits. Sorry to be so slow to come around, H., best.

    1. Life happens, B. Sometimes it forces us to pay attention to things other than the muse, or musings of others. I'm gratified that you feel I am speaking from a particularly female viewpoint, but this poem truly isn't about rape, rather about memory and loss--I've had several readers think it is exceptionally grim though, so I suppose my hand in treating it has not been as light as needed. The voyeurism, is of course, the speaker's/dreamer's, looking back through that prying hole into the past. Still, I know it carries a weight and freight beyond this--an old theme for me, and perhaps I am wearing it out. Thanks for stopping by--it's always interesting to me to see how you read things.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats