Saturday, September 3, 2022

Lonely As A Dream


Lonely As A Dream
"Everything's a dream when you're alone."
~Wes Craven
you come through the door 
you see at once it's an old woman's house
smelling of apples, eucalyptus
and yellow books rhyming by size.
Nothing is new.
burns in the bedroom
for the sake of a man's memory
smoking and braiding in soft light
that slips through heavy drapes
like a thief. There is silence.
is there, and emptiness.
The ghost has learned to
keep to its corner, and seldom speaks to
the woman who gambles with words
in the hunger before dawn. 

 the laugh no one hears
at  the midnight carnival,
the road no one takes
winding back on itself, the sprout 
light's pulled too thin, too tall
in its mirror, shadow.

the dream, she knows only 
a sky flat with heat
that eats birds and rain,
a plague without cure
that stretches its dead skin
to infinity.

everything passes. To all things come
this tension of maximums
just before the breaking
and the letting go.
 September 2022

posted for

and earthweal's

Images: Doorway © Suzanne Moxhay, All Rights Reserved   Fair Use
Dangerous Laisons, 1926,  © Rene Magritte  Fair Use


  1. Your first two stanzas are marvelously descriptive and depict a certain scena and ambience so well. Then we have 'Peace is there, and emptiness" a phrase that says more than five words almost ever do. I also love "the laugh no one hears at the midnight carnival." And of course, the rest of that stanza foreshadows your ending, all of it skillfully set up and played out, in keeping with your recent meditations on mortality, one of the great poetic themes, but one it troubles me to see you contemplate so often, even though you express these thoughts so well and so skillfully. Thanks for being part of WG Word list, Joy.

    1. Very glad to have something to contribute, even if it's just the usual gloom and doom. Thanks, Shay.

  2. Solitude is a dreamtime, so much so that you make me wonder if dreams are just signals from that hollower frequency which attends us from cradle to grave. (So much so that our moments of company and companionship seem like, well, dreaming dreamtime.) ((I know, try being really alone, bucko.)) This has such wonderful metrics that it's a surprise there is no rhyme, just the clear water of its falling. Love the one word entrances to each stanza. The "maximum" is drawn between the snowy creep of midnight dreams and the merciless heat of this summer, but that feels like a rosy echo compared to the blare of a fierce intelligence edging closer to the infinite dark. "Write it" was Elizabeth Bishop's consolation, but that's never enough. Still, great to hear such a voice at our dimming campfire. Old gods are gonna laugh. Thanks, and take care --

  3. That is just terrific all the way through. So many excellent images that build and reinforce each other as the poem moves through stillness and time. These particularly:

    "yellow books rhyming by size" [!]
    "the woman who gambles with words / in the hunger before dawn" [!!]
    "a sky flat with heat / that eats birds and rain" [!!!]

  4. "yellow books rhyming by size" So love that line. There are times solitude brings peace and others you are the loner walking among memories. There is so much to feel and see in your words.

  5. Oh Joy this is yet another gorgeous poem from you! I think Qbit said all I was hoping to say. My favorite stanza is with "the road no one takes winding back on itself" Your use of language and metaphor always stirs so many images and feelings. I love this!

  6. Such brilliant writing. You weave this poem so the reader experiences it in a dreamlike state. Too many lines to quote, but, as Shay notes, "the laugh no one hears at the midnigh carnival" is especially noteworthy. When one says "wow" out loud at the end of a poem, that's a really good poem.

  7. I often say I’m an acquired taste that most people aren’t daring enough to acquire. These words may be closer to the truth.

    the laugh no one hears
    at the midnight carnival,
    the road no one takes
    winding back on itself

  8. yellow books rhyming by size... tension of maximums... so sharp is the imagery here, the poem is a visual joy....

  9. Hi Joy! How are you? Such a pleasure to read you once again. I love all the age-old beauty and wisdom that is inherent in your poetry and this one has such presence. The way it opens up and let you into its room full of untold stories, then tells us of the lonely woman, and the circular way it ends. So very beautiful. Love these lines especially:

    "...yellow books rhyming by size"

    "smoking and braiding in soft light
    that slips through heavy drapes
    like a thief."

    the laugh no one hears
    at the midnight carnival,
    the road no one takes
    winding back on itself," - I feel such tenderness for this woman! And also keenly relate to her.

    Hope you are well <3

  10. I've been away from words. Not the common ones, of course, but the uncommon - the condensed words, concentrated, distilled. Rare. So I'm glad to visit here, where the thin sere air is yet redolent, where memory and insight balance, as we do, on the edge. ~


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

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