Category Archives: Poetry

“The Café Stool”

“The Café Stool”

The café stool at the corner bus stop spins
Lukewarm as his miles concentrate on the coffee. The counter reeks
Of vinegar and last night’s cream and stranded weeks
In tufts of cusps and smoke and maybes render standard wins

As dust bunnies in an otherwise long night’s wait. The daily turn
Puts miles on both the urn and that old stool.
He’s going nowhere fast but yes, he knows the rules.
He’s been to school. He’s got a lot to say, and bile to burn

Before he bags the keys, and hits the road
For all it’s worth out there; and tell me, now, what’s

It worth? Another dime, another cup of time forever cuts
A path between the long and short, and both are simple codes

For what he means to say, “I’m here and going nowhere,
Fast, but, if you’ve found the exit, let me know, and I’ll be there.

Oh, well, and since you asked me, yes! The twisted lips,
Emaciated torso, darkest circles,
Smudges, really, orbs―a pair―and matching icicles
For breasts suggesting that they’re beyond suggesting; tips

Of fingers, possibly, or weaknesses supporting barbed wire frames,
And all this while naked, reading The New Yorker; raked, reclining, draped
Across a thing or two. A second piercing, pain, or whatever can be scraped
Together to perform the task achieves its consummate utilitarian fame

Expressed in motifs on the menu or à la mode made decorative and dative
In function, deliberately neutered as are the midnight waffles.
Yes! There’s so much that can be found in any diner or rendered awful
In some missing space or blank provided―the passive or the active

Voice required―sired, producing tired generations of sensations
To the point that what’s come in on the bus becomes the stuff of veneration.

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“You Own the Year”

“You Own the Year”

You own the year and years before you
As I the year and all that’s passed;
Your signs are rising; eternity is steadfast.
Quo vadis, then? I who serve eternities am overruled
By sheer numbers, countless previous dispensations viewed
In retrospect and circumspect as vast
And spacious notions of impermanence and impasse.
I see before the fact in part— imperfectly at present—pursued
By spoils of  wars and rumours coupled with a dubious acquired taste
For bitters, acerbic memory gained close at hand or lost at sea.
Nothing in this world is or is so stable
That it is not utterly dependent, created, removed and recreated on the table
Of bounties throughout creation; what God has willed to use or waste
Shall be not be more or less than what it is, and what is not shall never be.*

***

* “Protect me, O my Lord, from every evil that Thine omniscience perceiveth, inasmuch as there is no power nor strength but in Thee, no triumph is forthcoming save from Thy presence, and it is Thine alone to command. Whatever God hath willed hath been, and that which He hath not willed shall not be.

There is no power nor strength except in God, the Most Exalted, the Most Mighty.”

–His HolinessThe Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, pp. 190-191

“Happenstance”

Catherine Manchester

“Happenstance”

Happenstance and glory of a measured breath, the sun and moon
And distant scintillating light deranged and rearranged
To suite the insignificance of magnificence of a single scene and page.
Another sentence, a paragraph in which I find myself within a backlit room
To mark the hours the Doppler shadows all misfortune casts.
I have revelled in these signs, these periodic tedious monotonies,
Their very rising at once the thrall before the fall, monopolies
Of time and times again that only now appear to mask
Because when all that is has come to pass I happen to be standing here
A witness to creation’s synergies newly birthed. In the cold stare
Of noonish sunlight I sense with fragile accuracy the beneficial glare
Of all my peculiars, entities and particles that occupy the ear,
Delight the eye, and not so subtly remind me that I am,
And need not doubt the ground on which I stand.

…painting by Catherine Manchester…

“Bathetic Moments’ Voiced”

AirForc3

“Bathetic Moments’ Voiced”

Bathetic moments’ voiced, a tremolo; a single cigarette, a candle
In a valley, the briefest transfer from so little matter
To so innocuous a spark is seen perhaps for miles, the latter
End of someone’s random afterthought, the ancient mantle
Of exchange expressed in grains of sand,
And this so far from source, so utterly homely
Yet brilliant in its insignificance and still the only
Vindication of its kind through fogbound skies on land.
There is a barrier between the two
An enigma, twice a paradox,
Two thrice wounded souls within a box
That sits astride a gleaming paragon of simple views
And simpler decisions. Dilemmas offered to the least in time
Retain their energies but sacrifice their matter in a simple rhyme.

…art by AirForc3 on deviantArt…

“Spell It for Me”

“Spell It for Me”


Spell it for me then, put it to the page;
Write it deftly in the margins if it satisfies,
Constricts, confines, and somehow justifies
The ciphers. Calligraphy implies a beauty caged,
A likeness petrified in seraphs, sighs beached in shadows, letters
Equal in significance to the words they form.
The lady doesn’t hesitate; both the single bee and all her swarm
Are natural metaphors in ancient scripts, instincts left unfettered
By the need to suppress or press a thought or bind
Its witnesses further than to cut a simple precedent,
The humble suggestion of a rhyme, a harbinger of content,
Coded, possibly imploded, sealed in what the mind defines
As patterned premises that merely tempt conclusions to evolve.
Haste? No time to waste before the riddle’s solved.

“Lord Knows”

China2

“Lord Knows”

Lord knows a little candour here and every muscle hurts,
There, and if He’s good at it we remember that we prayed; skirt
The issue if you’ve a mind to. Sooner or later, someone gets the point
With their hundred butts in a basket and their no’s out of joint
With the times…and people; even the seasons yawn crawling
To freedom through the pipelines, conduits, and air ducts, and mauling
The lungs because process is the watchword and filters’re worse than air.
Well, someone’s construct forgot to think on this and care
Enough to clear the air and slit sufficient throats when they had the chance:
It follows: shallow breathing, simplify the vocabulary. Thus, at first glance,
Truths are obvious because at last everyone understands—nothing short
Of brilliant timing—worthy detection, to be sure, merit in report,
But then the process stalls, the casualties mount, the issues dodged.
Not even Mao lives forever: Obama lives here, you know;
even so, his house is his mirage.

“What Peace of Mind?”

“What Peace of Mind?”

What peace of mind can find a living here?
Pundits’ fantasies will not stop the tears, the midnight cries,
Incessant lies, and still the public yearns to know what we despise
From commentators and the late show comics. Do we fear
The truth and turn the other way when asked
If what comes down the pipe is truly past
Our tacit understanding? Reasons? Seasons? Are there tasks
Beyond endurance here, or is it always first and last
A matter for the courts, the press, the cold realities
That simply digest information and ingest lucid cosmic facts:
There’s them that’s got, and them that’s wracked,
The rich, the poor, the lack of morals backed. Atrocities
And blessings rank as equals, ours to fricassee, ours to fear.
There’s them that’s got, all right, and them that no one hears.

“Gandhi’s Truths”

“Gandhi’s Truths”

Gandhi’s truths are motionless beneath an image born,
A version’s accent that only seems to change; perceptions lie.
The eyes, the ears, the touch, all senses testify
Before the centre. Memories, chattels of the intellect, are torn
Between the ëgo and its mirror. He will board that train,
And see his own distinction — one-way ticket bound
Zephyrs tell him what he only thinks he knows. Hounds
And adverbs pursue him, winds he cannot name remain
constant comments as he moves through distances
That never crossed his mind. The earth is twinned,
The gears are jammed, yet breezes, golden prayer wheels, spin.
The pinnacle not the single shot of infamy―not the sun, but suns―an incident
Within a galaxy’s corruption far beyond its crucibles, hopes and cosmic excess:
Energy and matter never tire while circumstantial certainty leads destiny to rest.

“That Moment”

That moment,  these several when
The nothing further can be done, no real choice,
No option, no rest , no celebration; tasks, the last of many—voiced,
Now silent as were the über-years of work—will one day bend
The purest light, memory’s prism’s massive missive of relief and thanks
In weighty sentiments and fondest farewells, cheer
And season’s musk to see me on beyond reticence and fear
To take some few steps–arrogantly, yes, perhaps–toward paths that rank
Above all present trumps and common peculiars of this earth:
I have the fewer moments through to the very ends of means, I know,
And will it so for these hours. The unwieldy flow
Of days are proof enough that life’s lavas might well have spent their worth
Just so. Miseries of days beyond this present brief strife,
Born within the urgencies of time, are seeds of beauty
harvests from  shadows and their hints of an even better life.

“Suppose Evolution”

cain1

“Suppose Evolution”

Suppose evolution the ablution of time as revelation, but gather why
We migrate. All know, of course, or should, what land
We live in, what the borders to the dream, the strand,
The stream of all acts, axioms, atolls of sanity sealed in wax. Try
Reason cupped in raw emotion in the Courts of History, ours
To bend and cherish in or out of season in the time
It takes to be or not to be the first and possibly the line
Drawn in haste in quicksand in the briefest span in feeble hours
Of loss and victory. L’Chaim! A toast to fine
Distnctions drawn between the posse and the Law!
Repeat the gaze, Govinda, and if you see the flaw
In personal salvation, seek penetration through strength of heart and mind,
Hubris in negation and his sibling’s futile crops–annihilation in rage and greed―
While Abel lies silent in the eye of Cain’s infernal whining in the weeds.