Poetry 4

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    Poetry 4

    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
    .
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    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

    .

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    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.

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    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.

    .

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

     

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