Sunday, September 17, 2017

Conclave of Imps

Conclave Of Imps

The palms lose their balance
boiled in a cast-iron sky that
rattles its lid in a steam-engine wind.
I walk  here alone, far from the wet-country
bitter with night coffee and gypsy bad dreams.

Dreams start so well--full-skirted, dancing
with warm wine, soft whispers and wanting--
to end as a moonscape of concrete and slag,
a juice of war enriched with uranium,
goose-stepping soldiers and killing machines.

Why does reality invade me like a border state
occupy my  ears with its sugar-rush newscasts
besiege me with idiots and their paper tiger words?
Instead of a candle we get thermonuclear glow,
smothering wildfires, powerless streets.

Instead of sweet reason, a conclave of imps.

~September 2017

posted for Brendan's   Juice

Images: Melancholy Atomic, 1945, © Salvador Dali   Fair Use
Palm Tree in Hurricane Irma, via internet.  Public domain


  1. Some lines can be a poem in themselves... Others are a book, the story of a people... That's how I feel about your closing. It takes the mess that is our current situation and shows it exactly for what it is... and it does it brilliantly.

  2. Guh! It is *me* who has lost my balance, blown back by this piece of stellar stellar writing. I thought, wow, what a strong opening. Then I thought, whoa, LOVE those descriptives "night coffee" and "gypsy bad dreams." Then the second strophe drew me in so sweet, and then smacked me upside the head, good and smart. Ow! But could you stop there? No. You had to smirk and waggle that bar in your hand, tossing out gems like "border state" and all the rest of the perfectly crafted onslaught that is that section. You know people don't write like this, don't you? This well? And then that slam-bang of a closing, as i crumple like a wet shopping circular in a downpour and you use your 4th of July paraphernalia to shoot that bar where I'll never find it. Lord above this is fine writing. (Forgib the gush)

    1. Thanks to the utmost power dear Shay. There is no higher or more valued praise than that of poets one respects, and this comment made my day.

    2. One of your best, Joy, which is saying something. I am gob-smacked especially by the closing stanza. "Instead of a candle, we get thermonuclear glow"............sobering, what humankind has done this past hundred years.

  3. Such fine imagery and direction for this poem. Grabbed me right from the beginning and didn't let go. Well done!

  4. Besieged by idiots...

    Who could put it better than that? I'm so tired of the bandied words we are forced to consume these days. Who do they think they're fooling?

  5. Interesting the turn of dreams from "soft whispers" to "concrete and slag" -- the former seems to inhabit your recent "The Nest" -- like a decent night's sleep, one decent dream amid a more general slide into this infernal reason. Only in a "conclave of imps" could such a thing happen, but there you go. Hard not to conclude in similar measures that the times are hopeless, but 'tis evident here that darkness too blooms and sings. Me, I've given up hope on humanity, if the species can survive and evolve it will only be through a) its machines or b) through some fundamental renunciation of some of our human capabilities. Rotsa ruck. Great poke in the power hive here, Hedge, thanks for coming by the Pond with such a brand.

    1. Thanks, B. I've been forced to have recourse to my back pills of late, and they rather enforce a sleep state for hours longer than my elderly norm--so dreams often chain and morph from one mood, one plot, to another and another...somehow the most disturbing are often the ones that haunt. Thanks for the prompt, and making the effort, amid all the wrack and power fasting.

  6. This line: 'Why does reality invade me like a border state' Wow! So clever and well written, Joy!

  7. Hard-hitting and eloquent. The description of the palms in the hurricane is so evocative. I've only ever seen this kind of weather on TV and
    'The palms lose their balance
    boiled in a cast-iron sky that
    rattles its lid in a steam-engine wind'
    is perfect.
    The shift from the hurricane to the dreams is brilliant, as is the shift within that stanza - the lines
    'a juice of war enriched with uranium,
    goose-stepping soldiers and killing machines'
    sent a chill right through me.
    A conclave of imps - yes, so true.

  8. Love this especially; "Dreams start so well--full-skirted, dancing with warm wine, soft whispers and wanting-- to end as a moonscape of concrete and slag".. Beautifully penned.

  9. I am fortunate in that I have no dreams, not sleeping or waking. I have been asea when those winds did blow and lived through the days of "duck and cover." I do love the protest I see in here Joy.

    The taking away of the good and airy, replacing it with the sugary sweet bullshit sound bites that make the situation less dire if you only hear the words. It may be that I am old and cynical but every day of my life someone or other has told me "we are all dead men walking." *shrug* As long as you and other continue to write at least we will walk into it understanding we did it to ourselves, allowed humanity to be herded into dry gulches from which there is no escape. I may not escape any of it but I would that I am on the ridge rather than the valley.

    1. I can't imagine what it's like not to dream, Mark--but you draw from a deep well when you write, without them it seems. I agree, and hope there will be a few of us left on that ridge if not to carry on, to record the messy end when the valley implodes.

  10. I feel besieged by them as well... the worst are the imps. Alas they swarm us like ants... I prefer to battle the smart, but the fools who only have answers and never ask questions clutter my dreams.

  11. Indeed. . . Years of formal work and busy has now given me time to appreciate the nonsense. What have I been missing all this time? Thanks anyway, I will do the separate reality of reason, music, and dance.


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

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