poem13 Apr 2015 09:00 am

Dancing_skeletons,_'Dance_of_Death'_Wellcome_L0006816

It was not the owl, with moonlight in its feathers,
that gathered me up from my earthen bed
in the woods. It was not the owl, with its tarnished
beak, that called me to service.

It was not the bear, with its bee’s hive trumpet,
that summoned me either. It was not the bear,
with its sleepy growl, that opened the door
of the root-house.

It was not the wolf, with blood on its tongue,
that brought me blood when I was bloodless.
It was not the wolf, when the moon leant close,
that howled me awake.

It was not the worm, in its coat of tunnels,
that stirred me from death. It was not the beetle,
nor the mouse, nor the feral pig, that turned me
out of my shut room.

It was the cold, that fell from the pines when snow
was merely a rumour, that filled my mind
with life. When not even bones was I, or rotted flesh;
then did the cold rouse me out.

In my skin of pine needles, rotted lifetimes
of the trees, I am the blur deep in the woods.
I am the wavering light with each step you take.
I am the chill that clings to your thought.

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poem30 Mar 2015 09:58 am

ant_shield

Initially just a blip in the new hi-tech
dark spectrum telescopes,
The thing came through the sol system
At a good clip; two grad students
from Bangladesh first spotted it
still outside the orbit of Saturn.

A Chinese ice miner
happened to be inbound
right place-right time
asteroid-gleaned snowcone slowed it
Brazilian tug nudged it into orbit.
It was imaged with all the best telescopes
some massive mottled thing
jagged at one end,
reason for being here problematic
but eroded symbols down the side
proved it no mere rock.

Then it disappeared for a while
static burst stage-magic-style poof
no trace remained
tensions flared:
Who took it? Where was it?
Talk-show coverage bloomed;
died.

Several months later,
tiny hillocks appeared.
The mounds rose smoothly
one and a half to two meters tall
spiral trail curling precise as Roman roads;
entrance at the top.

Nocturnal emissions from apical vents
unknown insectoids descending the spiral trail
venturing forth in search of food
perhaps data gathering as well

In Georgia
(The one once part of the USSR)
An amateur entomologist
Excavated a nest
During its quiescent daylight hours
Discovering thousands of spider ants,
he called them, linked together
Right antenna to left, left to right
spiral within a spiral, all connected,
circuit complete:
tiny ant-like aliens linked.
A hive mind?

Autopsies revealed neural connections
Sheathed within telescoping
antennae, whose termini
lock in place when adpressed

But so many mounds, such
prolific breeders. And impossible
to monitor the wilderness remnants
of our entire Earth. Mounds multiplied–
an exponential, deadly increase.

A conference convened in Beijing
where learned exobiologists
exolinguists, exosociologists and the like
discussed how best to deal with the visitors
whilst the UN, NATO, and similar groups
probed the alien military threat

I guess it was about a week later
the venomous Thinning began;
yet survivors were fit and healthy
in Indiana and a part of Laos–
in retrospect a generous allotment
considering our minimal fertility now
and we were spared the nuclear war
we probably would have inflicted on ourselves
when we reached 10 billion or so.

I do miss the feeling I used to get
looking at the sprays and clots of stars
wondering at night
who might be out there.

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poem23 Mar 2015 06:27 am
"Cetonia-aurata" by I, Chrumps. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cetonia-aurata.jpg#/media/File:Cetonia-aurata.jpg

“Cetonia-aurata” by I, Chrumps. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cetonia-aurata.jpg#/media/File:Cetonia-aurata.jpg

 

Blessed is the day. Blessed is the bitterness
of burning leaves. Blessed are the lonely
notes of iridescent insects.

Do not mind the crow, his fierce bark.
He will guide us through the ghosts.
He is the patron of the lost and potsherd.

Blessed is the desert. Blessed are the blind
their fingertips touching warm fruit.
Blessed are the scarlet blossoms.

Bees thrum in and out, trembling
the flowers. They are scentless, dusty,
like the eyes of the prophesied dead.

Blessed is the dawn scattering its flushed seeds.
Blessed is the light that cups our breasts.
Blessed is the milk.

The morning hours will evaporate
these spirits like frost, will shed their skin
until there is only hunger.

Blessed are the forsaken, the hollows
where their hearts have seized.
Blessed are the stones which sow this sad earth.

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poem16 Mar 2015 10:15 am
"PikiWiki Israel 12326 Plants of Israel" by צילום: אורן פלס, Oren Peles. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PikiWiki_Israel_12326_Plants_of_Israel.jpg#/media/File:PikiWiki_Israel_12326_Plants_of_Israel.jpg

“PikiWiki Israel 12326 Plants of Israel” by צילום: אורן פלס, Oren Peles. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PikiWiki_Israel_12326_Plants_of_Israel.jpg#/media/File:PikiWiki_Israel_12326_Plants_of_Israel.jpg

Their barbed-wire brambles cutting into your skin,
they hold you tight as you heave and gasp for air.
A guardian brushes away the sweat on your forehead,
his fingertips soft and round like acacia leaves,
leaving rubbings of soil grains against your skin.

The flowers can start to erupt any time now –
you can feel their stems coiled in your throat
like a tickling, disconcerting promise of the future,
soft springs wound up and crickets clicking time.
Small insects move in your stomach and heart.

A weeping willow cries out the signal to begin
and the guardians press you down on your knees,
the undergrowth catching your calves, attaching –
like to the like, kin to kin. You can feel the forest
spread into you as your breath pushes out.

You shudder more with promise than with pain,
and – eyes closed – you miss the first glance
but hear the appreciating hisses from the trees.
You do not need to see flowers to recognize them
from the touch they leave behind on your palate.

White flowers unfold from between your lips
and green stalks strain outward. This plant you like,
more than the complacent oats and sunflowers,
well-rounded fluffy marigolds and dusky roses.
It emerges from you and eats you from the outside.

Morning glory. Ololiúqui. The Christmas vine.
Xtabentún. Turbina corymbosa. Many names
but only one sensation. The vines will invade,
breaking your skin, turning calmly on you,
their root and singular life-source. Their parent.

You cannot scream, only whimper and gasp –
there is no room for sound except in your thoughts.
The guardians lower your body onto a rough bed
of weeds and decay. You cannot move any further.
Insects crowd out your nose and take to the treetops.

Rain patters on you softly, tree-branches opening
to the night sky, allowing you peace and rest.
Your mouth is sweet with nectar and ambrosia
and you smile as tears wash over your face.
The bursting season will soon arrive again.

Bogi Takács is a neutrally gendered
Hungarian Jewish person who’s recently moved to the US. Eir speculative
fiction and poetry has been published in venues like Strange
Horizons
, Apex,

Scigentasy and GigaNotoSaurus. You can visit eir website or find em on Twitter, where e runs a semi-daily recommendation series for #diversestories and #diversepoems.

Payment for this poem was donated to Keshet.

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poem09 Mar 2015 09:31 am

In celebration of the International Year of Astronomy 2009, NASA's Great Observatories -- the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory -- have produced a matched trio of images of the central region of our Milky Way galaxy. Each image shows the telescope's different wavelength view of the galactic center region, illustrating the unique science each observatory conducts. In this spectacular image, observations using infrared light and X-ray light see through the obscuring dust and reveal the intense activity near the galactic core. Note that the center of the galaxy is located within the bright white region to the right of and just below the middle of the image. The entire image width covers about one-half a degree, about the same angular width as the full moon., By NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/CXC/STScI (NASA JPL Photojournal: PIA12348) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Spreading, ink blotty,
into the galactic arm,
changing as needed
or fancied, everything drifts,
the walk, the talk,
what you pack into your cells,
what you need to breathe,
till the Talking Faces don’t know what,
even more than they never did.

But what the fuck,
I’m a xenolinguist,:
we only care about real aliens
(which we’ve still never met);
gene-drifted post-humans
are just like the pre-galactics,
who lived & died, stuck on Planet Dirt.

My buds went full methane head,
Jovian diving, looking for
a million floating cities,
some sought deep-space sailors,
suited & suitless,
creeping helium, boiling lead,
und so weiter,
but found nobody home,
nobody BEEN home, dig?

Our ancestors killed off
their hominid cousins,
and no one else crawled out
of the collective unconscious anywhere.
We’ve looked–genus Homo is IT.

And, monkey with the cerebrum as you will,
but the brain-stems haven’t changed,
(oh, we could, we did,
but the uniformly brutal ends of
countless colonies of reversionists
proved we can’t civilize our inner lizards)
we are ourselves, whatever the suit,
the tongue, milieu, or place,
ringing changes on a tongue flick
primal stream of the eternal snarling now.

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poem02 Mar 2015 09:29 am

Walter_Crane07

 

Everyone must sleep at the end of the era
It is the only way that thoughts fly free
making patterns, a new weave
I had to be the template
the apex of the royal line
heir and loom of changes to come

But nothing is instantaneous
Not love, not change
nor the turning of the world’s wheel
So wheel and spindle it was that spun
into a realm of sleep, of make believe
of imagining my freedom

I dreamed a world where days unravel predictably
curses by mad half-women have no weight
and fear of a spindle prick is only for the pain
No uttered prophesy fringes a birthday with dread
nor magic from the craft of one’s hands
and the only spell is one of making

I dreamed a world where love’s blossom has few thorns
All choices made on waking are with full knowledge
of my desires and patterns for my future
are woven of my own designs
Arranged marriages are only made
when all the parties agree

I dreamed a world where princesses have voices
beyond singing from their gilded rooms
and beauty whether sleeping or awake
is not for sale or inheriting lands
Decisions to plant something new twine
respect for intellect and innovation

Worlds are imperfect things
and dreams are circumspect
their stories running counterpoint to logic
warp and weft difficult to disentangle as briar roses

I awoke to find my world consists of one day at a time
Half-mad I’ve grown with menial drudgery
for what else can a disinherited princess do
My dreams and wishes fall on disenchanted air
No craft of mine is better than that of machinations
and the only spell is how to succeed

I awoke to find love is distanced by an apparatus
making a one-night stand unfulfilling
as a prince’s demand for loyalty if not for love
My choices are limited to who might return my call
and arranged meetings are only made
for sex without a need for courting

I awoke to find every girl a princess
demanding the latest fashion as women
smear concocted potions, unguents, dire pastes
and try magics to hold time at bay
I have tried to nurture the shoot of new beginnings
but find it strangled out by greed

Everyone must sleep to escape the nightmares
of the day, to pretend we soar higher
away from a life that pricks us
I made a mistake using the last zephyrs
of magic to dream a simple desire
lacking complexity that living really means

Nothing is easy
not love, not change
nor the turning of our lives
So I dream of the welcoming narcotic jab
that will spin me into a realm of dreams of hope
of imagining freedom

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Uncategorized23 Feb 2015 09:19 am
Orpheus by Forest Rogers

Orpheus by Forest Rogers

Understand, I would not
have followed her through those cold gates,
the horn twisted with the gold,
would have clung to the chill of winter,
the hint of frost.
But her ghost cried to me, called to me,
wrapping herself around my chest.
Not there.

Yet I saw her, I saw her
everywhere:
the cry of a bird,
the snatch of song,
a colorful rag,
her favorite figs –
Her. Her.
No. Not there.

I saw her. I saw her everywhere,
heard her, heard her everywhere.
Lingered over her every word, her every move,
lingered, lingered over every thought,
squeezing my memories like grapes,
until only the driest, darkest ones remained.
Each shadow –

Her.
Not her.

Caught, my breath, caught.
I slipped singing through those cold cold gates,
past the slow slow river, the endless shades,
the slow boat to the cold grey halls.
I sang, I sang, and fetched her ghost,
watched it merge with the shadows I clutched,
slowly spinning from my mind.

You ask why I turned, why I did not wait
for another glimpse of the cold blue skies,
to hold her beneath the trees’ sharp shadows,
beneath the living wind. Why I turned
at the very gates, the far sun shining
on my hands. I turned.
I had to know.
Her ghost, or the shadow
of my weaving,
a shadow of
my memory and song?

Bound, she and I, to earth and dust,
I, a little longer, until I slip past those gates a second time,
and grasp her shadow, not our mingled own.

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Uncategorized15 Feb 2015 05:25 pm

I’ve got a batch of poems ready to go up over the next few weeks that I’m very happy about.

And more happy news — Mary Alexander Agner was nominated for a Rhysling for “Worlds Apart”, published here last Spring.

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Uncategorized10 Aug 2014 12:57 pm

I haven’t forgotten you, I am just having a hellaciously busy summer. I will be back as soon as I can.

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poem09 Jun 2014 08:47 am
202px-A.C.La_Primavera
Meet me on the edge
Of my frozen world where
Your green is tipped in
White
So I may speak my love
For you before Time’s tides
Drag me away

Even our toes may not cross
Into one another’s space
But if our lips brush
Feather-gentle on the line
We’ll share lightning in
The snow

 

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