From the Corner of My Eye
Torn from the spirit proclaiming,
and now revenge has abducted the anchor of
my feeble wisdom, has cut my coffin in half,
punishing with the anguish of duty and survival first.
Again I sing, disciplining myself
out of the clutches of madness, and
the dialogue of infants I hear in a terrible
dream that blames my rage on all the living.
I am yielding to the charms of my enemy's poison,
to the aftertaste that promises an antidote
but gives only a look in the mirror or a bath towel in the morning.
I am grieving my imprisonment, welcoming
the nightmare because resistance is but
a shadow struggling against a real thing. I am
taking the canopy off my bed. I am gleaming with
guilt and the sheen of ingratitude.
Forward is the highest goal, to keep moving
in spite of words like 'freedom' and 'happiness',
in spite of our nature and our greed to
accumulate, to be outward looking for distinction,
or to obey what is in place because it is all
our private thoughts can explore. I made a sea creature
with clay and two hands. I kissed a cloud
with both eyes open. Let the world be crowned with
its two-week-vacation glory. Let my hourly wages
get the better of me. I am fixing to fail. I am reaching
for something strong like belief. And over my shoulder,
I see a gift of a thousand roses.
I will hold you one more time,
I will not be afraid of your passing.
We will bond on the eclipse of your life,
our eyes locked in gratitude and unspoken
Thank you for sharing my home, for being
a part of my family. For so long, I missed you.
For so long, we have loved one another with
unsurpassed equality and depth. Your gentle intelligence
has carried me through many storms. Just
to be with you, sometimes, was all I needed. This one,
I will have to walk without you. I will have to say goodbye,
my sweet and perfect soul, goodbye my pet panther,
goodbye my many-lifetime friend.
We are lucky to have loved one another.
We will join again where there is no bleeding,
no dulling of the skin. Bless you, go easily into God’s arms,
go freely: You have loved. You have been loved.
You are eternal.
My Love is Waiting
In the bald winter
where only the cold grows,
my love is waiting.
Strands of sorrow like
straw stream from his fingertips,
and his clothes are the shade of indigo,
resurrected by his constant desire.
Clouds clear at his feet and coffee is poured
on his behalf whenever his hands need warming.
He is sheltered in the alleyway garages, takes his cue
from the pigeons. His legs are long,
like candlesticks they stretch across January streets.
My love is waiting for the blanket of my flesh, waiting
to salt his emptiness with my touch.
He watches from the balconies.
He is mad, ruled by the erratic radiance of music.
He is waiting on the branches of the elm,
waiting for the night to clear,
waiting for my heart to open and claim him
like a birthmark.
You stand at the entrance, robbed and dazed,
alone with the rain.
Your school is poor, much like water on a grave,
it cannot restore the yellowing clover. But I believe in you,
in the parting of your eyelids and the outpouring
of your creativity.
I saw your eyes, written with the depth of the wind.
Your sorrow is not easy,
but the power of it within you
will play out into an unimagined liberty.
A longed-for communion
will possess you and bring you barefoot out of exile.
I don’t know why this disappointment must claim victory
or why joy and intimacy
were not open mouths, parting, to match your ageless purity.
I don’t understand the burning, the collapse, and why
the Earth is so hard. But I understand you,
and what a blossom of magic you are.
You are meant to know this sorrow before
you can be happy. You are meant to dance out your grief,
your rage, the incapability
of others. Balance yourself here. I will help you.
I will kiss your hand. This is not random. Disaster is yours.
But the animals know, and I know, you are close
(so very close)
to the last release before
Interval of Parting
I will keep quiet
when my sea is sucked into the sky,
keep quiet about my hundred
strokes that take me nowhere, quiet
about my anguish and requiems.
We will be different - for now, we will
not know one another so completely.
For now, I must go it alone, my struggle hidden
except in prayer and solitude. I will build my own nursery,
bandage my wounds until they are no longer visible.
I will sleep close to the angels, feel my only safety
in their ethereal arms.
I will turn even further to God, depend
on only God to love me fully
and see me through - through this wilderness
of leghold traps, of paper promises
and cowardly predators, through this funnel
that tightens and seems to have no end, through, without
showing the damage of this fishnet, without you,
you who are going on your own journey and cannot help me here
Bio: Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. She has over 675 poems published in more than 315 international journals and anthologies. Her book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers in 1995. Since then she has published eleven other books of poetry and six collections with Edge Unlimited Publishing. Prior to the publication of Somewhere Falling she had a poetry book published, Common Dream, and four chapbooks published by The Plowman. Her poetry chapbook The River is Blind was published by Ottawa publisher above/ground press in December 2012. In 2014 her chapbook Surrogate Dharma was published by Kind of a Hurricane Press, Barometric Pressures Author Series in October 2014. More recently, she has a chapbook Currents pending publication this Fall with Pink.Girl.Ink. Press. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay;www.allisongrayhurst.com
Some of places my work has appeared in include Parabola (Alone & Together print issue summer 2012); Literary Orphans; Blue Fifth Review; The American Aesthetic; Agave Magazine; JuxtaProse Literary Magazine, South Florida Arts Journal; Gris-Gris; The Muse – An International Journal of Poetry, Storm Cellar, New Binary Press Anthology; The Brooklyn Voice; Straylight Literary Magazine (print); The Milo Review; Foliate Oak Literary Magazine; The Antigonish Review; Dalhousie Review; The New Quarterly; Wascana Review; Poetry Nottingham International; The Cape Rock; Ayris; Journal of Contemporary Anglo-Scandinavian Poetry; The Toronto Quarterly; Fogged Clarity, Boston Poetry Magazine; Decanto; White Wall Review.
I'll close with some music. The first song is John Coltrane's "Equinox": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5m2HN2y0yV8
Next is his "Naima": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYQA33HbnFI
I'll finish with Miles Davis' "Sketches of Spain":