Congé

The lamplight’s my companion on this trip
to nowhere but the pages of my book,
and outside night is falling drop by drip
by drab- light’s not the only thing you took
with you. I’ve promised that I will not look
back now on then and sometimes I believe
myself when I tell lies, when I unhook
my moorings and prepare myself to leave.

I want to be the only one to grieve,
imagining you’re well set on your way;
but words are not the only shrouds I weave
and someday they will bind me where I lay
myself down all among the starry sky,
remembering the good in your good-bye.

Kicking down a Spenserian sonnet for this month’s YW poetry slam. I only screwed up the rhyme scheme three times. Go me.

In diesen heil’gen Hallen

Listen: the Pied Piper’s flute
is sounding over the hills; the last glow
of the sun is fading with it. Come, I’ll wrap

you in fleeces, in velvets, I’ll wrap
you in mink. Remember when you played the flute,
how proud you were, sitting in your black dress, in the glow

of stagelight. I can still see you glow.
You are fire, are the coals that wrap
round the dimmingly coruscant trunks, burning like the sound of the flute.

The flute sounds its last; the footlights glow and fade. That’s a wrap.

The Orrery’s Tale

Night’s window is a makeshift looking-glass
Reflecting only spheres of wood and brass

You taught me words for dreams I did not dream
And hung them round with stars of wood and brass

I tended gardens sown with bagatelles
Where statues cried their tears of wood and brass

You crafted clockwork hearts and wound them up
Their mechanisms geared with wood and brass

You cried out; canyons echoed with your voice
I listened with these ears of wood and brass

When empty skies stretched over my bare bones
You built me wings veneered with wood and brass

The dragon’s heart beats metronomic time
I’ll measure out my years in wood and brass

Another ghazal for you.

Piracy

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You gave me a half-choice: stay here, take your hand, go alone.
I decided. My words fell unheard on the sand and the stone.

The sirocco blows wild; spread your wings where the plains meet the sky.
Shadows scatter beneath you like birds on the sand and the stone.

Can you see, love, below you the houses and spires of the towns
rise like hoodoos, their worn edges blurred on the sand and the stone.

Desert canyons scribe patterns; decipher the strata and map
treasures hidden where cinders lie charred on the sand and the stone.

With the clouds as your islands, make port in the sky and the sun;
I will anchor you here, standing guard on the sand and the stone.

I called after you, begged you to stay, but my voice was too faint
and my name erodes, leaving no word on the sand and the stone.

Quick shot at a ghazal this week for our poetry slam at yeah write. I’m torn about the difficulty of this form; on the one hand the requirements are pretty simple, but on the other hand like many “simple” forms writing a good one takes a whole lot of time and editing and rejiggering.

Echograph

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A sliver on the screen, a ghost
of what will come, a shadow
waiting to become a bump,

and underneath each bump
of furrowed autumn earth a ghost
of last year’s harvest casts a shadow.

Watch where light and shadow
fade into each other, where they bump
into chiaroscuro’s ghost.

You are no ghost but premonition’s shadow, little bump.

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