Poem for November 23, 2020

Once I wrote about the rain—
A November night when rain was past
& I was very young or less than half
The age I then became

In those days I had to find pain or invent it
I knew a little but I was safe
From the long pain
The winnowing & worrying & whittling pain
Cutting every last moment
Down to splintered ice

I was young in that November
& thought nothing real of rain or night

Poem for November 17, 2020

Have we ever stepped out of the greylight?
Always we walk in the glooming-gloaming
Born in dusk & returning to it
Feigning steady farmland in sun
But we hunt at heart & we are roaming
Greylight children with our twilight burdens
Laying down to die beneath the stars we named
To feel less alone

Poem for October 22, 2020

Autumn brims with beings I have never been
& holdings I have never had

Cherish it— I still know how

Memories of what I’ve nearly found:
Here the edge of woodland all aflame
In reds too red & golds too gold,
There the young woman in the flannel
Scarfed & mittened & black hair flowing beneath the cap
Across the field by the woods she walks
Carries coffee to a boy she loves
Sips her own & sits to watch the very last carnival
On the last night before the dark breaks out

I was almost her—
I am always her

Poem for September 24, 2020

Poison in the garden —
Poison grew within the garden

Every herb a poison —
Every plant a thing to mind and tame —
But some too much
& we knew
So we uprooted

Lesson from the green witch to the millions —
Know what makes a balm —
Know what makes a bane —
Make no place for the toxin
If you would be undaunted

Poem: Heat

I’ve moved somewhere more rural, though still close enough to Boston that I can continue working there. I’ve already found that my new habitat is better at helping me write poetry, which relieves me because of how many years it’s been since I wrote any poems at all. Unfortunate, however, that this first poem is in response to a terrible disaster in the region.

It shall go with fire & fire,
as the water shall be still,
with the red and gold flowing bloodlike to the sky.
Not one safe home, every earth-vent open,
belching death from the hard hands—
we say hard from heartless,
we say not laborers but stone lords—
and ever there is much to spend
on starting fires,
and none for ending them.

Wood booming, breaking, ashing,
bodies sheltered from the home,
the home sent them out,
not wanting them gone,
for in the flame cries a soft voice
that there had been love.

When we go it shall be so,
with fire & fire,
all regret hoarse from smoke.

Llywelyn Jones

Poem: first hymn of the new liturgy

the mist was drifting
and the light was gold
and the strings were cutting
the mist was drifting
and we walked slow
over brick and under glass
the mist was drifting
and the leaves were gold
and the feet were tapping
the mist was drifting
over this, the city
in the minutes till sunset.

i had barely lived to see the ending
born and bled and looked ahead at the ending
in the mist on the city by the sea
it was a magic hour
seizing me in my few decades.

out the window, grey
and all the world grey
wet grey
and sinking.

D. Llywelyn Jones

Poem: What it is I wear

It masquerades,
stolen word for a creature
that cannot name itself,
for an entity
that existed before there was life as we know it
will continue to exist when life as we know it
has perished.
Phonetics evoke more than etymology—
it is no tribes,
no tongues,
no buildings.

It does wear black,
it does paint its face,
it does garb itself in certain patterns
and certain cuts.
It does smoke and it does drink.
It does bedeck its bony places
in silver and leather, gems and lace,
silk and velvet and latex alike,
and it does bedeck its fleshy places with ink.
There are songs that it knows,
there are songs that it readily learns.
These are not the meaning,
not the cause.

It does belong to the young,
and to the unchallenged,
and to the first time struggle,
and to hormones fertilizing follicles and erections.
It does belong to the aesthetes.
It is a dalliance.
And then it belongs to the old
aging alongside or returning to it
like to a childhood home.
It belongs to the seasoned,
to the lifelong fighter,
to the bitterness of time.
It belongs to the activist.
It is a commitment.

It survives without humanoid embodiment,
without earthly music,
without reasons,
without memories.

Dry leaves. Grubs that strip the skull.
A rip and a shriek.
Standing alone on a barren mount.
The tightness in the throat
before salt spills from the eyes.
The last waltz. Pleas and refusals.
Eulogy. Memento. That half-cooked heart.
Drowning (always, of course, drowning).
Faint snaps and clicks
over a deeper thud.
Extinction and forsaken hope.
What words are cried through the rain.
Tombs, and sleep gained only after sobs.
Night, not as idol but as compulsion.
Sliding denials. Smudged reflections.
The home that was burned
and the forest razed.
Ash mistaken for snow. Tubes sprouting from skin.
Subterranean transit. Doors closing.

every instance of that perfect word,
“fuck.” And yes, bleeding, and yes, pain,
the sort of pain conjured by slicing metal.
Prostration before whatever force drove the first hands
to bring the first paint
to the first cave wall.
(The oldest known cave dwelling holds a bear skull in it, an altar to decay created thirty millennia past.)
A legend, a cult. Nightmares of fire from the sky. Writhing.
Covering ears against the horns of the wild hunt,
only to uncover them.
Bodies without wills and wills without bodies,
only to mock the foolishness
of all who imagine bodies and wills are distinct.
Pomegranate. Cold. Crawling through mud.
The walk to the executioner.
Rust and tarnish.
Screaming as the deer is skinned.
Bastards birthed and gods ingested. Hordes.
The night wind drying sweat from the neon-bathed face,
as the body leans against the brick wall
and finds breath after deafening rhythms.
Shots of vodka, bottles of rum.
Mutilation. Yes, what they call the devil.
Collapsing at ill news.
Electronics under skin,
electronics surrounding skin.
The shuttle at the loom. The rising chorus.
Gunfire and thunderclaps.
When the fabric tears.
Hunting in the snow.
The sinuous body caught in the tryst.

Candlelight. Bells. Chimes. Vigils and silence.

Kindled stars over grey seas.
Must walk to the beat funneled to your ears.
Pennyroyal. A hand pulls the cord.
That woman stands at the dulcimer, quick-fingered.
Final cries and exultations. Moons and milk.
A rush and a murmur. Lying in stupor.
Madness and steadfastness.
They’re gone; they’re gone.
Conjuring. Hymns. The bar is closed.

Those black figures grind themselves over the sidewalks,
fueled by such tokens.
They loiter and linger like crows
with a stolen word
for their world,
lurkers for something’s loyal opposition.


Poem: I bring the razor back

I bring the razor back
and the razor has four blades.

the hair on my head
rich enough to sculpt and paint
and it has been ethereal long
and it has been clipped in confusion
and it has been growing in this my third spring.
I bring the razor back
and it bares my scalp in stripes
leaves a shadow curtain draped atop—
I bring the razor back
and make bare my fey heart.

the speckling of my chin
traces of a test forsaken
and it had grown with the hair of my belly
and it had grown with the hair of my breasts
and it had grown with the hair of my legs in that my second spring.
I bring the razor back
and it hides this mark in stripes
protects me from eyes and tongues and hands—
I bring the razor back
and make bare my fey heart.

the down of my doom
sprouting troublesome oh I remember
and I had heard it should not be here
and I had heard it should not be there
and always I doubted this part of my role even in my first spring.
I bring the razor back
and it bares my scars in stripes
scrubs pits and legs and loins—
I bring the razor back
and make bare my fey heart.

I am an animal
warm and fleshy
and the hair grows thick upon me
mane and ornament.
I’ve pruned myself so many times
I do not know what grows a rose
for me and for you too.
If I should learn the fourth blade’s name
then may my stroke be true.

Oh how that is my vow and art—

I bring the razor back
and cut quick to that fey heart.