Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Stephen Mead In the Protozoa of the Centrifugal Church of Rain Forests Whose Resonance Quells All Amnesiac Zeitgeist

Rain Dreams 

With the sun
subliminal but
a constant
foothold on
protozoa, yeast,
hot springs, these
seeds of life streaming
beneath an oil spill's hemorrhage.

gushing over
the purple heather

Thunder claps, cracks of veined
neon yellow bright
in this dry drought
stricken village
the militia slashed
like a pregnant rain forest.

That too is
somewhere else
is it not
Big Daddy War Bucks,
another place

the pockets dropping
coins like bombs
while some  (in the book
of many) Plain Jane
Old Maid saves the day,

mindful, eyes on news,
in a crusade of watering,
singing to

Sitting Still

We are centrifugal, impelled with the inward faith of a tree.
Can you believe it, that these leaves shaping space
Are really rooms filled with furniture, air open
& wide?

Here we are
Either five years old or one thousand,
All ages overlapping, lost tracks of meaning
Still resonant as a church.

Who’s singing?
What voice is calling”  “Follow, follow,”
As though the mind’s eye must be guided
Through both memory & the real?
Do I see, hear as I think, or is each sense simply
Made up along the way?

A café now, or, no, just our old kitchen,
Two lovers glimpsed between summer
Breathed curtains, your lit candle, my cigarette,
Our faces read by that imperceptible
Leaning into
The light cups
Like a moth.

My darling, I haven’t been as centered since,
Though the contentment which brimmed is an ocean
Moments, motionless, still carry.

Testaments (for Anna Akhmatova)

Beyond misery and madness, beyond
blitzes, tartars & prayers
for death, my life
dissolving autobiography
infinitely interchangeable
along time's constant zeitgeist, the radium
of amnesia killing memory until, by surprise,
posthumous breaths again stoke the vision,
refute evidence of destruction:
TB, blacklisting, the beloveds taken away...
What is this, this something
which twitches like a cat
or snow slowly fanning to reveal,
in clear moments, Leningrad rooftops?
Hands, gazes, embrace chocolate earth,
the rich silt massaged and tossed forth
toward a sky bursting titanium.
Dark flakes hit the whiter,
a mixed squall against blue——
Knowledge, experience outlasting all which sought
to drive spirits down,
& succeeding in part
with the encampment of skin...
Here survival is not virtuous, but a fact
which nearly refrains from rejoicing
yet does not   does not
for the soul is an oath swearing to witness
the sting of strife
(in the lungs)
and still
(with whatever voice is left)

A resident of NY, Stephen Mead is a published artist, writer, maker of short-collage films and sound-collage downloads. His latest P.O.D. amazon release is an art-text hybrid, "According to the Order of Nature (We too are Cosmos Made)", a work which takes to task the words which have been used against LGBT folks from time immemorial. In 2014 he began a webpage to gather links of his poetry being published in such zines as Great Works, Unlikely Stories, Quill & Parchment, etc., in one place: Poetry on the Line, Stephen Mead

Allison Grayhurst Licks Skin Acid For Alchemical Purposes While Loving Those Centuries Gone

Steel and Spice

Inch across
the bell-cups of lilies
in the dead oblivion
of decades of reality’s denial.

Inch into the sweetness
of a lilac’s centre,
nourished on imagination everytime
over the bite of bitter soup.

Gather the crows in your morning sky,
ask them to envelop you and then ask
their forgiveness.

Hiding your panic
in the promises of miracles, licking the acid
off of your skin to make for a good story,
for the belief in an undamageable surface.
Mistaking silk for bread, counting on
God’s kindness to come on the brink
of desperate need.

Will you now
be a slave to the feast of worms or
strip-mine until what little gold you find
feels like abundance?

Maybe you are safe, living in this
burning garden, protected with a poet’s peace
and by a faith that bypasses gravity’s consequences, but
has consequences and demands of its own – ones
you must live by and dedicate yourself to keep

turn a blind-eye to practicality,
and press all fear into a resounding prayer,
existing on the substance of
divine gifts, gifts that are final,
that have no price to pay except that you
leave yourself leaning, tied and planted only
to this holy dreamscape liberation.

Alchemy Completion

Far enough
to line the bed with
lavender clouds,
pull off the covers
and be entombed.
Fine sleep and soft
tenderness warming limbs,
wetting where it warms,
soon to cool – breathing like
singing, lines smeared into
unified devotion, matching frequencies,
backward, forward leading toward a tower
to leap off of, a bed to stretch on, sink into.
It is holy, mud-caked, drawn curtains torn
from their rod. It is thinking in intonations
and shades, a cascading buzz riveting from
bone to bone – two spliced and joining opposite halves,
a power equal in its mercy. Far enough,
just there, drawing breath on the summit, dissolving
boundaries in sensual elevation, far enough
continuing, collapsing, swallowed
into the pitching current.


Held still
like apple butter held
smooth on the tongue, catching
grief in a cage, on the surface
of a name – would it be
kissing or pinning a broken coat-zipper
together – once the fog has left is there
anything left to hold out for? Hold still for,
like a hooked fish releasing the struggle?
Being alive in the dream-state ambiguity,
meaning full then meaning naught and
how old are you?

Your horse, Dee, steady
in the sunlight, glinting a wild connectivity,
intelligence gleaming across a chestnut coat,
bowed head, permission to pet granted and then
sleeping in a stall, talking out loud when everyone else
had gone home. It was not a dream,
not until she was gone and then it was a dream
lost, and maybe never there.

People love their trees
the ones they think they own. But I never loved a tree like
I loved the willow tree in my Montreal backyard. I never
loved anyone who hadn’t died at least a hundred years
before I was born until

there was you, rounding up the stones from every table,
sitting alone only to stand up again before the seat
warmed, and ‘perfect’ made sense but nothing ever expected.

Dee and the willow tree. I left my body and flew
into the sun.

Why can’t I leave my body and fly into the sun,–
meals take care of,
sex and you, a beautiful summer star.

Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Three of her poems have been nominated for Sundress Publications “Best of the Net” 2015, and she has over 950 poems published in more than 400 international journals and anthologies. Her book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers, a Porcepic Book, in Vancouver in 1995. Since then she has published twelve other books of poetry and seven 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 December 2012. In 2014 her chapbook Surrogate Dharma was published by Kind of a Hurricane Press, Barometric Pressures Author Series. In 2015, her book No Raft – No Ocean was published by Scars Publications. More recently, her book Make the Wind was published in 2016 by Scars Publications. As well, her book Trial and Witness – selected poems, was published in 2016 by Creative Talents Unleashed (CTU Publishing Group). She is a vegan. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay; www.allisongrayhurst.com