Unbound

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Flying Blue by Mark A. Harrison

Didn’t have the greatest start to the day; remembering this scene cheered me up a little.

Unbound

bubbles of mirth rising up
cascading over the edge
of her smile
her laughter unbound
against the clear blue sky
a snap in the wind
of a flag unfurled
she runs through the grass
arms held wide
making airplane noises
she doesn’t realize
as she runs towards
the startled huddle of geese
that they are frightened
there is only joy
at the scatter of a dozen white wings
the sound they make in the air
her own hands clapping in delight

– T.H.

Bittersweet & Light

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House vine in silhouette by T. Haney

Two for today, to make up for not posting a poem last week. As suggested above, it ends on a lighter note than it starts.

1.

lemon honey, and other
bittersweet things

We welcome arrivals
with trumpets, strewn flowers,
a red carpet kicking up dust
as it unfurls down the long steps
cake so sweet it makes your teeth ache

but we seldom celebrate leavings
except clandestinely
deep in the shadowed places
of our hearts, the sharp, hard
corners, where we secretly relish
the wounds of our enemies
their petty losses, their private
moments of agony;

it is a fragile triumph, a filigree
of burnt sugar and clouded glass,
shattering at the merest touch
so we hold it close
to our chest, tenderly
licking our lips at the bittersweet taste
until the moment sours, dissolving
to dust and ashes in our mouths

we turn with a blossoming smile
towards the next new arrival,
the next accomplishment of strangers
while quietly wishing for the next
delicious ache, the next precious emptiness
left behind by what we once craved.

– T.H.

II.

Our chain-link fence
has become a glorious jungle
a knot-work of vines
tying the greens together
so it’s impossible to say
where the grapes and silver lace begin
where the euonymous and Virginia creeper end
crickets hide in tall grasses
a beautiful cacophony
fills the night air
people strolling by
do a double-take
as a bolt of chickadees
explodes in an ecstasy of scattered sound
neighbourhood cats prowl
imagining a wild forest
fish swim hidden
amidst rush and lily
I sit under the ancient lilacs
in the periwinkle shade
my toes in the fallen leaves
and imagine the whole world
is just as fine as this.

– T.H. (written back when we still had koi in the backyard pond)

 

Where Else?

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Triumphant Bloom by Mark A. Harrison

Was reminded of this one today while following the winding trails of the bike paths along the river down to Little Lake.

Where else?

I.

This is where I’ve always been
my soul lives here among dirt and weeds
cedar hedges as big as houses
burble of frogs in the distant wet darkness
sparkle of white burbling chirp among branches
leaves twisting and falling and budding again
my soul scrapes mud off its boots in the evening
is rises in morning with the earth’s turning
and remembers winter only dimly
snow like cotton candy fairytale ice cream
icicles tinkling as wind blows through
trees and fences, half frozen lakes steaming
like cups of tea with the sun’s dawning
my soul tumbles over small smooth stones
a little brook dreaming a mighty river
it rubs its nose and cleans dirty fingernails
breaths through imperfect hazardous skin
every day drinking air fresh as mountain springs
cold clarity of emptiness, wholeness in absence
my ears ring in the stillness
in air thick with silence
my soul’s back twists and bends and aches
my soul’s feet are bare against hot dry grass
soft mounds like fox fur, sleeping in sunlight
their blades cut your fingers, leave burs stuck poking
like porcupine quills
Yet my soul forgets splinters, manure & blisters
rust twisted metal and barbed wire fences
it knows only earth, bark, knot, feather, fur
music of grey geese heard but not seen
a confusion of seasons
Where else, but here?
Where I’ve always been.

– T.H.

All these little armageddons

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Planet, again – By Mark A. Harrison

This one seemed apt, given the way the world stage is set these days

All these little armageddons
that happen every day
just a taste of the apocalypse
in your own special way
When the world comes crashing down
and your friends have all left town
and the oracles have nothing left to say

Do you trip the light fantastic
before the final end?
Do you go out with a bang
or with a whimper?
Do you take them all down with you
or make the demons your best friends?

Oh, you’ll find out just how far that you can fall
and you might think that it’s not far at all
but it’s always so much farther than you think

So why not take a little drink
a little sip of strife and chaos
why not blow the status quo to smithereens?

Because deep down you still remember
a certain Sunday in September
and the way a certain hand once felt in yours

You’ll see her face on every stranger’s face
and even when you find a place
you think that you can finally be alone
you know you’re never truly on your own

Until the day there’s nothing left but skin and bone
and the shadow of a heart, like an echo, or a mark
left smoking in the wake
of a nuclear storm.

– T.H. (’08)

Flying with crows

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Oil & Light by Mark A. Harrison

flying with crows

I sometimes imagine
I’m flying with crows
over autumn fields
and deep river valleys
telephone wires catching
the last of the evening sun
shining white mercurial fire
against the slate dark sky
hills lying like a giant’s body
elbows crooked, cradling a head of stone
how long does it take
for forests to grow up and cover
this still sleeping form?

I don’t believe in miracles
or divine intervention
the universe is what it is
but if I could find the market
where they sell time
I’d find the merchant with the cold, dead eyes
the one who never smiles
and while his back was turned, I’d steal
as much as I could carry;

I hold onto each year like it’s a ledge that’s crumbling
I want to reach out and strangle time
want to steal more than I’m allowed
I have so much more I want to do
but someone cut the brake lines
and here I am, reaching out for anything
to grab onto, to stop this insane headlong rush
I’d write myself a thousand lifetimes, if I could.

– T.H.

(a shortened, edited version of a poem I wrote when I was eight years younger than I am now)

Writing the World Away

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Kiss 3 by Mark A. Harrison

Nothing like 1800 words of freshly written prose to put a spring in your step on the way home.

This is what I live for: when writing a scene is like bringing life from the void, only it’s easy, and the only thing stopping you is the low battery warning, and looking up to see that the baristas are sweeping up because the cafe is about to close for the night, and thinking that maybe you might want to let your spouse know you’re still alive before it gets pitch black outside, then walking home in the gloaming under the street lights with all the spring blossoms shining like small stars and thinking, yes, I can still do this.

Now if I can just make a habit of this, the next two years (minus a month) might seem like an ever-so-slightly smaller version of eternity.

Ancient Matters

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ancient matters

elephant cousins
creating bastions
in the damp loam
weaving shrouds
to cover their dead
slide themselves through
the ebb and flow
of the long grass
they can be silent
when they choose to be
respect for the ancestors
no misconceptions here
only history

-T.H.

Metal from the Sky

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The Problem – by Mark A. Harrison

Reminded of this one today, hiding with cats in the shade, out of the beautiful baking sun, April masquerading as July.

Metal from the sky
sun-blasted desert on all sides
distant smudge of hills on horizon
dusty roads straight on to eternity
until they melt into the heat
shimmering like water

everything is sweat and dirt
thirst in a parched throat
powerful as the need to breathe
you could walk for miles
before finding a well
yet farmers mist their fields every day
row upon row of sprinklers
a smear of green against the brown/yellow/grey
sucking water from high in the ills
from deep under ground

here one dreams not of opulence and riches
but of a long cold shower
clean sheets not caked with dust
clothes not soaked with sweat
and endless pool of water to drink from
popsicles, ice-cream, fresh fruit, towering trees
a wind that doesn’t sting your eyes.

Metal came from the sky
it might have been a dream, or an hallucination
brought on by loss of blood, dehydration
it might be a meteorite, hurtling from heaven
a car flying off a bridge, to the dry river bed below
a helicopter, against a white sun, in a clear blue sky
or it may be none of these things

it is not always clear
when you meet the man in black
whether he is friend or foe
demon or saviour, killer or healer

maybe he is all of these things
and then, maybe he is just a man
climbing out of his car
scrambling down the side of the ditch
to pull you free from the metal
that surrounds you, crumpled, broken, bleeding
the engine leaking black oil into the sand

You cannot feel the ground beneath you
as he drags you up the hill
lays your head down on the gravel shoulder
you watch, together, as the metal burns
black smoke climbing into the sky.

– T.H. (2008)