poem


poem28 Oct 2019 08:00 am
By Unknown – Popular Bible Encyclopedia of Archimandrite Nicephorus (1892) RSL, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=67647037

F. J. Bergmann


We had become convinced
of their existence, as one who,
without opening his eyes, feels
the weight of the gigantic
arachnid on his paralyzed breast. More
than human. Or possibly something less.

They sent no advance notification
of their arrival or intentions:
telephones rang with a hush
on the other end of impulse;
intransigent monitors and speakers
flared with oily white noise.

We had been unable to sleep
for countless nights, due to uninvited
nightmares. At least, they had the heads
of horses, but the bodies of huge
female spiders with sleek ebony pelts,
weaving their own milk-white silk

adhesive saddlecloths strewn
desultorily about the sleeping-chamber
(nor were our fatigue-induced waking
hallucinations any more pleasant),
gauzy as the opalescent haze
manifesting among the ghostly astilbe

at the bottom of the frozen garden.
Certainly they must have been there,
as animate vapors in the chilly mist
subliming from the rime-laden lawn.
A nacreous quality in the haze
gave the lie to their deceptive absence.

We met them again as vibrations—
compressions and rarefactions of dank air
spiraling outward from condensation
that splashed into shadow wells
far below ruins overarching
the craters where we stood.

With our eyes firmly shut, we believed
we heard them enacting rites performed
at an ancient temple now indicated
only by broken curves of marble
and melted, mangled pipework coils
from which the wine no longer gushed.

Perhaps they might have spoken
one of the legions of languages we had
lost. Possibly, if we had employed
those devices rumored to have been
developed for military malfeasance,
they could have been persuaded

to materialize in tangible form. Maybe
we could have evolved receptors
capable of detecting their emanations,
given time. They made their final,
ostensible contact with us as creatures
indistinguishable from dead leaves.

The flock rose up in a storm-driven gust,
fleetingly brushing our cheeks and lips
with their crisp tendernesses, whispering
what we took to be their goodbyes.
For hours they streamed upward,
onward, into a steadily darkening sky.

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poem21 Oct 2019 08:00 am
The Love Potion by Evelyn de Morgan

Mary Soon Lee

Chose this path,
the barred doors,
her father's face averted
as she left the village.


Cast herself out
to the hut in the wood,
the cold corpse of the crone
who was witch before her.


Hard hours digging a grave,
the earth iron with frost;
hard work, a hard price
so that no man would own her.


Hunched at the hut's hearth,
chilled beyond bone;
back, fingers, arms aching
from her grim labor.


A blackness darker
than the shadowed shelves
slipped loose, edged its way
to an empty bowl. Cat.


Cat's accusing stare
as quietly, slowly,
trying not to startle it,
she offered it food.


Cat's small softness
beside her when she woke,
a gentler, older magic
than any she learned after.
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poem07 Oct 2019 06:00 am

Ken Poynter

We hit it off from the start,
Cinderella and I.
 
At first boot, one light’s length after her
Self-diagnostic, she began
To map everything she could of me,
To sort and prioritize her dataset about my proclivities
 
Better than my own memory could muster
Using its own rounded pictures of my past.  Events
Which make me who I am, and which
I have long since forgotten,
She has in binary instantly fixed.
 
She completes me.  Within days
She understood my many appetites,
Knew the signals not even I expected
For silence, conversation, solitude or sex.
Perfect on the outside, it’s the miles and miles,
 
Rack after rack after rack
 
Of programming, that I fell in love with.  Our initial
Two weeks together were the best two weeks
Of my little life, so far; but, when we get
Slung at last out of this Earth’s gravity
To begin in full our journeyman’s trek to
 
Andromeda, I will happily unpack each element of her,
Begin to enhance my primitive biological,
Sweat and sweet life ever thunderously more
With countless crossing subroutines,
And the microcode of cozily programmed joy.
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poem30 Sep 2019 08:00 pm

Gerri Leen

You, tin soldier
Who are lauded
For your immobility
You, who stood and stared
As if I didn't already get enough
Of that from Jack
You, who fell for me
With no words, no laughter
No...lightness
I'm paper, dainty as air
I'm made to dance
To stir, to flit, to fly
And you're made to stay,
To plant, to squat and guard
And never let me go

I was happy when Jack
Pushed you out the window
Him, I knew how to manage
Your creeping solidity
Terrified me far more
Than his black dust
But then you returned
Stinking of fish
Your flat, dead eyes
Triumphant as if you
Had done something—anything
Nothing, you do nothing
And they call that steadfast

I thank whatever deity
Protects paper creatures
Grateful that you don't burn
You melt, like snow and ice
Things that ruin a dance
As your body turned into a
Choking metal heart
I was freed in a burst of flame
They make paperweights out
Of such things as you are now
While I am a wisp of ash
A cinder, dancing on the wind










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poem23 Sep 2019 08:00 pm
By Victor Ion Popa – Șt. Petruțiu, Ion V. Drăguleț, Victor Haiduc, Victor Ion Popa, Mironosițele. Nu-i pentru cine se pregătește. Eu tac, tu taci, el tace… ea vorbește. Bucharest: Fndația Culturală Regală Principele Carol, 1938., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58181310

Cameron N. Coulter

The ghost of the Carmelite convent never really wanted to be a nun. She had never made a 
vow of silence either, almost most people assumed she had. She had wanted to do what she
was put on Earth to do, she wanted to share her soul while whispering under the starlight, but
the other nuns were bad listeners. The priest cut her off during confession. One time, he fell
asleep.

The ghost of the Carmelite convent was a perfectly chatty soul, to be honest. It's just, no one

ever stopped to listen. Folks always leaned across the room into another conversation. Even
before she was a ghost, people found it remarkably easy to look right through her.

When the ghost of the Carmelite convent became a ghost, no one noticed. She had been

dead for six cold days before they discovered the body. The truth is, she had been a ghost
long before her heart stopped beating. No one paid attention at the funeral, and the rest of
the day continued business as usual.

I hear she still haunts the benches and bell towers of the convent, just waiting for someone to

speak with. Once you get used to the cold spots, I hear she's really very sweet. You will go
talk with her, won't you?
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poem16 Sep 2019 08:00 pm

Anthony DeGregorio

Ghosts in the windows of apartment buildings
Along the Metro North Harlem Railroad Line
No longer look up or scramble to spread the curtains
For a better view with every rumble of each passing train,
Or to scare a weary commuter, or the 
Weekend passengers heading to the city 
For a play and dinner perhaps, maybe just a stroll
Through Times Square to observe lives and sights
They would never see back home in Valhalla, NY,
An hour north of the city, who may casually glance
Upward in the darkened direction of a broken window, through its
Spiderweb of cracks, and into a sagging cobweb of time-
Infested silence, catching a hollow eye socket or two 
Of the lonely apparitions.  
They have grown bored with life they no longer possess,
And remain suspended before TVs
Tuned to seventy-year-old movies
Whose stars are as dead as they are.
Translucent couch potatoes, their
Skinless feathery fingers 
Attached to complex remote controls
In futile attempts to depress the proper buttons,
As they drop Princess Leia vinyl wine glasses of Scotch, or
Neon-red Elmo Sippy Cups of vitamin-rich carrot juice
They’ve forgotten how to grasp or even drink from,
Struggling with anything tangible in the urban morning darkness
Of abandoned rooms and vacant lofts.  An orange aura of 
Juice-infused mist veils the simmering air.  A warm carotene pulp oozes, 
Puddles on the floor, condenses where their feet once felt the plush carpets and 
Stained hardwood of the living.  Exasperated, they head to windowless bathrooms 
To squat and rise repeatedly upon sinks and wicker hampers, their vacuousness 
Twerking to the moist drone of lavatory Muzak from ventilation fans.  They 
Long for an assumption into the fetid rapture of humidity’s exhaust 
Before finally giving up after unsuccessfully trying to flush themselves 
Down high efficiency toilets, and squeeze through hair & scum-clogged 
Drains, sadly unnoticed amid the uncanny melancholy of afterlife.
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poem09 Sep 2019 08:05 pm
A Jolly Dog by Currier & Ives

Betty Hufford

When the aliens pick their pets,
they won’t choose me.
I am no pup
with Jack Russell energy.
 
Despite frequent brushing,
I shed prodigiously.
I’ve been known to snap,
talk politics around me.
 
I dropped out of obedience school,
having laid down long enough.
I do enjoy a walk
but abhor the leash.
 
Perhaps there’ll be a no-kill shelter
run by some lonely ET
who finds me cute
in an other-worldly way.
 
I’ll nest in worn blankets until
I bite the hand that feeds me.
One small bite for mankind.

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poem02 Sep 2019 08:12 am
By John Haslam – originally posted to Flickr as Local Wildlife – stained glass window, Dornoch Cathedral #1, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7853097

Shveta Thakrar and Brittany Warman

For Sara Cleto
On dappled wings,
Dusted with snow, with secrets,
She drifts through the dreaming,
Through mists to home.
 
The stars blink, placid,
As she plucks them for her feast.
Hungry her belly, hungry her heart,
She gulps down light like berries.
 
It is hard as tree bark, as unforgiving,
This journey of wind and wonder.
The owl maid bared her truth once, twice, thrice,
Unfurling her majestic cloak of feathers.
 
But so few men dare to see true,
Past the plumage they might snatch,
The secrets to expose, the soul to ensnare,
Into the rich depths of shadow and spark.
 
And so she leaves offerings for a peaceful solitude,
For freedom: silver coins and blue shells
Meant for witch goddesses and fairy godmothers,
Quiet prayers for indifference, for strength.
 
The owl maid soars on, wings embracing the sky.
Fools are soon forgotten, even friends,
All left to mutter of the one who stole away,
While she seeks out new hearths, new homes.
 
She is free, she is whole.
Her soul needs nothing but
A feathered nest, an adventure,
Stardust and stories.
 
But long nights can still grow lonely—
And dreams of gentle fingertips on down,
Gentle laughter, the man in the moon,
Become whispered spells in the dark.
 
What lips could shape a spell for her,
She who is wild in ways, fierce in will?
What heart would not quail before her mysteries
But only ever extend a kind hand?
 
And then, one summer night,
Sunshine echoing in each star,
The owl maid opens her eyes
And discovers an old, dear friend beside her.
 
Here is one who knows her truly
As she knows him.
Here is one who knows the spells,
Has only to speak them at last.
 
“I know owl wives are rare,”
He says with a smile,
“Too bold for domesticity,
Too enchanted to hold in your hand.
 
“But if you will fly with me
On nights like these, and nights darker,
I will give you adventures, stories, and stardust.
I will help you build your nest of feathers.”
 
The owl maid gazes as only owls can,
Finally seeing the magic right before her eyes.
She plucks from her cloak a single spotted plume
And places it firmly in his palm.


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poem26 Aug 2019 08:00 pm
Depiction of the demon Belphégor, a demon of discovery and of ingenious inventions who often takes the form of a young woman, from J.A.S. Collin de Plancy. Dictionnaire Infernal. Paris: E. Plon, 1863. Page 89.

by Robert Borski  

Behind, and forward, 
the two symmetrical strings 
of zeros splay out like
triskaidekal scourges,
but now, half-way through eternity
(for this is how long it takes
to summit the midpoint of 
[10^30 + 666 x 10^14 + 1]),
the Number of the Beast
has finally been reached, numbingly
recited by the scorched lips
of those condemned to count
to the prime's terminus as punishment.

Nicely done then, my pretties,
says Belphegor -- accountant-prince of Hell
and prototype of every math teacher
who ever wielded chalk and found
sexual satisfaction in the thorn bushes
of differential calculus. But he, in fact,
can barely wait to announce 
his next assignment --
prove the primality of the number 
named in his honor. 

Just be sure to show the math.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belphegor%27s_prime

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poem04 Aug 2019 06:58 pm
The State Ballroom, St. Patrick’s Hall, Dublin Castle. F.J. Davis, c.1845.

Davian Aw 

the ballroom is blue with the glaze of evening
white marble ethereal beneath chandelier lights
on the stage, the poor, savoring the final few
moments as themselves.

announcer at podium playing the crowd-
ten thousand six! ten thousand six hundred
from the lady with the cat; do I hear twelve?
twelve thousand?


hammers fall amidst cheers, over and over
crystal vials fixed in place, gears turning, that cursed
machine building up to a deafening roar;
bodies drop to the floor in a grey haze of grief
vials glowing bright with stolen gifts.

bidders claim their prizes.
on the stage, a young girl
hears her voice emerge in sweet melody
from the throat of her buyer,
bowing to thunderous applause.

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