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why must details be written in invisible ink

by Alfred Booth

my Steinway’s stained ivories sang of elephant’s breath
years later I learned of their photo gallery red extermination
my grief has since been tuned to burnt umber disbelief
mother called my eyes Saint Giles blue, struggling
to overcome the dead salmon of her maiden name
my studio with exotic plants was bathed in India yellow rays
north, east, and south windows framed in Key Lime green
the incarnadine of South American rhythms vibrated wildly
I traveled to places built from almost heavenly bricks
got lost in shaded white mornings and fading grey rivers
and still had a lamp room grey distortion of religion
we buried my sister in rectory red draperies
her eyes had been the color of borrowed light
mother’s wardrobe went from ammonite and periwinkle
to pure black that intensified her Esmerelda eyes
.
.
I could not walk in your shoes
by Alfred Booth
.

1
yes, the splash of these old tears
shared in private with you
as if we’re still adding ice to whiskey together

20 years ago, I’ve grown old, you see
with the third degree burn of loss
a jealous, nonetheless faithful, companion
though I spoke many nights with your pain

I was not privy to your pillow talk
forced always to imagine
the snap of those explosions beyond grief

 

2
how many hours did we spend
pacing angry hospital halls
waiting for reassuring words, before
the final noose, its dire driven success
kidnapped corners of our lives
as unwilling gifts to ignite your ashes
staggering from such ripples
I could not look at the claws of death
that marred your beauty

do you carry huge chunks of us on the quiet paths
you were convinced meandered there?

 

3
you were not flawed, not broken
we learned to map out your grief with life
its betrayal, its ugliness
and distilled our beating hearts to light
the depths where you cowered
in our strength
we lost your fight for a zenith of the absolute

 

4
the scattering
four months later, a last moment
when all your bearers of life tried not to weep
you wanted festivity lighting the village square
we were valiant actors
in your midsummer epilogue
but I, unarmed for this pitch black
solitude, scrambled
though dire brambles and untended vineyards
the demon sadness
pushing me beyond my barriers
deep
below the farm house high on the hillside
I howled with the misunderstanding of a wolf
and sought his communion with the wind
that played dice with your
dispersed ashes
like your accordion’s twisted melancholy
and let my voice reach out one last time
an anguished song of loss as loud
as the contortion facing your death
as strong as your peaceful eternity
but always
with a lesser grasp than the weave of thorns
that took you from us

.

.

Alfred Booth is an American professional pianist who lives in France. He folds origami; its patience often inspires poetry. When he not at the piano learning new arcane repertoire to stretch his horizons, he teaches would-be amateur musicians to put enough bread on the table. He has studied extensively harpsichord and the cello. Currently he has an 82-poem volume journaling a recent dance with cancer and a 34-poem chapbook of ghazals looking for a homes in the professional world of rhyme. A large handful of his poetry can be found in the e-zines Dead Snakes, I am not a silent poet and Spring Fling. He keeps an online portfolio at: https://www.writing.com/main/portfolio/view/troubadour.

.

.


.

evening on brant point

by Dean Schabner

Better a blacknecked goose
takes flight — one, startled —
then another — better
they wrest their nightgray
bodies from the dark marshpool
as the tired sun
sighs out red gold
into the dimming sky.
Better the still air
suddenly fills with
frantic wings, beaks
calling confusion, alarm
across the outstretched bay.
Others answer — hear it —
brants, honking too –
whitecheeked buffleheads pipe in —
all running, splashing up
the black surface,
desperate for flight,
not knowing why —
Better a flowerburst of chaos,
instantaneous,
wild honking,
clattering beaks,
reedy voices deep —
calling the marsh,
the upreaching reeds
and tidebared shore
to rise, too —
to take wing,
and for that instant —
Oh, throw yourself open —
an instant, but only just —
before the voices find harmony,
wings — rhythm,
and evening
gently settles
on the bay.

.

.

Dean Schabner lives on Jamaica Bay, at the far edge of New York City, with his daughter.

 

 

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.

 

 

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