The first hanging in the hall
Just within reach, but
High enough not to disturb traffic through the short hallway
When pulled with adequate force
To be unfolded like steps to a
Royal carriage, or
Ramp to an airplane, engines idling on a foggy tarmac, or
Castle’s hidden passage, or
Spy’s escape route
Swinging open, the portal breathed like the opening of a crypt
Dumping frigid air in the winter
Exposing first your groping hands, then your face, then your whole body to
Ferociously hot vapors in the summer
As your legs disappeared through the ceiling in the hallway, just outside the bathroom door
Your spirit infiltrated a nether realm of deep shadow and claustrophobic closeness
Objects registered in the conscious mind as chair, chest, lamp, cabinet
Round boxes (that turned out to contain ridiculous or amazing hats)
Walking sticks and umbrellas
Picture frames, some with phantom pictures (as if they were really empty!)
Piles of magazines and newspapers
All illuminated by the half-light of grills along the roofline
Easily imagined as prison bars, or portholes, or
Wrought-iron grates connecting to unseen streets or passages
In distant destinations on National Geographic maps or
Uncomfortably close realms of the
Or light creeping in through your legs from the retreating world of the hallway
Or light from a flashlight, a handy tool for any treasure hunter (worth its weight in gold!)
Be sure to walk on the planks of wood to avoid the
Vacuum of space
Reach of captured creatures
Grasp of the “damned” (not the curse word, the souls of evil people!)
Trolls (especially trolls!)
The air is heavy with dust mites
Alive in this place
Rendering the air as if water in the sea
Or as dust stirred for the first time in centuries with the opening of this holy (or unholy) space
As dust used to conjure the magic of fairies or magi or warlocks
As smoke in a warzone
A burning three-master
A downed bomber behind enemy lines
A crippled submarine running silent after a torpedo attack
A vaporized mechanical warrior in a galaxy far away.
The second chain?
A light switch you pulled
To find the box of Christmas ornaments for your Grandmother.
The third chain?
The attic fan, of course.
The house gets really hot and still from time to time
Just be sure the side vents are open...
Thalia and Melpomene
A poet and a writer, I
break a poem
just for syntax’
just to satis
fy a rule To finish off that thought
To justify some excellence or utter a disclaiming claim
please leave the blessed thing alone to stew in its own juice
you’ve said it nowa poet beLeave writing to that other self
Even if you are a poet, commas should still matter!
If you do not think so, then let’s eat Sweetheart.
You and all others who want to take words and then
“to boldly go where no one has gone before.”
(Do not get me started on split infinitives!)
Emote all you want. Unleash your passion. Bleed on the paper if you must.
Would it kill you, however, to do so with several complete sentences?
What happens when even brilliant, far-sighted people wax too poetic?
You get, “All men are created equal.”
This ideal may be one of the most important claims ever made
by those who wish to govern justly. It also started a rebellion
that led to the establishment of the longest standing democracy.
Nevertheless, it is in the passive voice!
It also did not include slaves and is sexist to boot!*
Penultimately, please get right with the Oxford comma!
That means you, and you, and you!
I am a writer (and a poet). So, bleed away, my other, poetic, self.
Find comfort in no punctuation, but please do not confuse all of that
[unclear antecedent] with good writing.
* From Old English “to bote,” meaning something included in a bargain.
And So We Sleep
Falling asleep, I touch the night
As consciousness creeps out of sight,
Replaced by dreams out of control
To mock the mind and time they stole;
To fill the gaps left by the stress
Of days filled with ungodly mess;
Responsibility gone mad
And joy and hopes and dreams turned sad.
Yet consciousness of love retains
Sweet melodies of life’s refrain,
Of joy and hope and dreams, a song
To sing with those who came along.
And so, these melodies of life
Become the antidote to strife;
They are the angel choir we hear
When loved ones whisper in our ear
And spark a dream, or calm fear,
Or make us laugh, or shed a tear;
When beauty is too much to bear
Our souls cry out, a song to share.
And one of those who came along
Will offer us their inmost song,
Rekindling trust that love will keep
Us safe tonight, and so we sleep.