Jonah: Before

November 11, 2013  :: 0 comments

Suppose you were Jonah.
What would you do?
When you woke again, shocked into predawn dark,
Would you blame it on bad food?
Troubled times?
Would you shake your head until it throbbed,
Trying to clear your vision?
Would you jump from bed,
Pull on clothes,
Run out the door,
Gun the car motor to drown out
Your beating heart?
Blood pounding in your temples, would you
Leap into the clatter of the busy, busy world,
Yell and gesticulate, language of the market,
Grin and chatter, language of the office,
Rustling papers, humming machines,
Roaring motors, clicking precision,
Dull numbing thuds –
Would you reach for potions or liquids or smokes,
Anything to blur,
Anything to smear,
To cast doubt,
No,
It was what I did,
It was what I took,
It was what I drank,
It was pressure,
It was tension,
It was lack of sleep,
I’m not crazy, no,
It’s the way the wind blows here,
It’s the way the winds blow here,
Elsewhere, the winds don’t do this,
Elsewhere,
By sea,
By ship,
There are no voices in the wind,
Elsewhere,
Jaffa,
Or beyond

Jonah: After

featured in the poetry forum November 11, 2013  :: 0 comments

Jonah doesn’t follow me around.
There he is, under the bush.
He isn’t sulking.
He isn’t talking.
He sits.
Heat rises off him.
Hum and glow halo him.
You can approach, or you can go back,
It’s all the same to Jonah.
Under the bush, eyes to the distance,
What he sees is not what you see,
Or maybe it is. Who can tell?
Jonah will not talk,
At least not to you.
Jonah is in a place
Beyond words.
Words must be found
When questions are asked,
But it is a long way back
From a place beyond words.

editors note:

What comes after provocation of a proud people to rampant repentance? A pale-pated, under-appreciated, pissed off prophet. No question… – mh

Poetry Is

featured in the poetry forum September 2, 2013  :: 0 comments

Poetry is
what you do
instead of what you should be doing
or maybe because you
aren’t doing it.

Poetry is
you stop,
and everyone else is going on,
and still you stand. The gap grows greater.
You run ahead and fall into step
and then you stop
again.
Again, and again.
And meanwhile, the sky darkens.
It’s raining, or it’s not.
Rain and sun and winds that stir
The skin on boiled milk cools and curls
and you are off again
where you should not be.
A thousand tasks beckon,
and still you stand and dream,
counting your fingers,
holding your hands up against the sky

editors note:

Well, um… I guess, yes, that’s true – what? Was the moon silver or blue just then? – mh

Piss Poem

featured in the poetry forum May 3, 2013  :: 0 comments

I dreamt last night of puddles of piss,
Babies being held up naked over the floor
And the pale, stinking results
Seeping slowly over the floor tiles.
I dreamt of brown-edged rusty stains,
Reek rising from them. Dreamt of water,
And the sound of water in pipes,
And the non-water outside the pipes
Dappling while porcelain,
Caught mid-drip and drying.
Piss, indeed,
And who to clean it up but me.
Me, armed with rag, sponge,
Scrubbing brush,
Me, with my container of scouring powder,
Itself piss-smelling evil sand.
Me, following my nose down to the ground.
What is that?
What is that?
Your piss or mine?
Fine. Clean it up.
And who to clean it up but me,
The Piss Cleaner,
Left to deal with the piss and shit
Not to mention the string beans –
O Literary Reference
Where do you get me now?
And who to shake a stick in my direction
Unless it be the stick of the mop handle
To clean up the piss.

editors note:

Would we judge this custodial caste? Let him who is without piss throw the first mop. – mh