Bowl of candy
It falls and it dies, dried
blood on a tombstone –
palliative care, parallel petals
of varying hues. Leaning against
a concrete pole plastered with posters of faded
dreams, dreaming their last gasp – ambulances,
lawnmowers, bird sounds – feeling the sun’s
rough tongue circle and slide with moist intensity
over the sleeves of my new jacket.
I feel the civilized crowd, absent of judgment,
crossing streets, side-stepping grates. What does it mean
to be disguised as a butterfly or hospital nurse? Pacing
the torrid tea stores, listening to the woodpeckers, wishing
I could be so industrious. But my hands were made heavy and
I continue dragging my head like a rock, lifting it
into the sky, over airplane tracks,
and vegetable patch gardens.
Sorrow is open, festers like boredom,
breathing an unmarked passage
through my vascular system. Wobbly and wanting only
to be taken, to let my thoughts be devoured
by survival and sensation –
one more week of salt without substance,
to be a mole in a wave
of fragrant calamity, to awaken in a bed with hands
covering my chest and trembling in the shower stall –
walking, walking – vines and the roots of old trees –
whistling in my ears – flint and enlightened temperatures,
silver and worn. How does everything enter?
Am I the sea? Am I a balcony or a rooftop?
Away from this place, I will never be pardoned or at peace.
Maybe this is just wilderness and burning,
but never once did I know stagnation or
was I afraid.
Copyright © 2012 by Allison Grayhurst
First published in “Jellyfish Whispers”
You can listen to the poem by clicking below:
“Allison Grayhurst intertwines a potent spirituality throughout her work so that each poem is not simply a statement or observation, but a revelation that demands the reader’s personal involvement. Grayhurst’s poetic genius is profound and evident. Her voice is uniquely authentic, undeniable in its dignified vulnerability as it is in its significance,” Kyp Harness, singer/songwriter, author.
“Allison Grayhurst’s poems are like cathedrals witnessing and articulating in unflinching graphic detail the gritty angst and grief of life, while taking it to rare clarity, calm and comfort. Grayhurst’s work is haunting, majestic and cleansing, often leaving one breathless in the wake of its intelligence, hope, faith and love amidst the muck of life. Many of Allison Grayhurst’s poems are simply masterpieces. Grayhurst’s poetry is a lighthouse of intelligent honour… indeed, intelligence rips through her work like white water,” Taylor Jane Green, Registered Spiritual Psychotherapist and author.
Book reviews of the River is Blind paperback:
“Throughout (The River is Blind), she (Allison Grayhurst) employs
reiterated tropes of swallowing and being consumed, spatial fullness
and emptiness, shut- in, caverns, chasms, cavities; angels, archangels,
blasphemy, psalms; satiation or starved. With a conceit of unrequited sex
as “my desire”, nocturnal emissions, awakening in the morning, the poet lives
at capacity, uninhibited, dancing,” Anne Burke, poet, regional representative
for Alberta on the League of Canadian Poets’ Council, and chair of
the Feminist Caucus.
“Allison’s poetic prose is insightful, enwrapping, illuminating and brutally truthful. It probes the nature of the human spirit, relationships, spirituality and God. It is sung as the clearest song is sung within a cathedral by choir. It is whispered as faintly as a heartbroken goodbye. It is alive with the life of a thousand birds in flight within the first glint of morning sun. It is as solemn as the sad-sung ballad of a noble death. Read at your peril. You will never look at this world in quite the same way again. Your eye will instinctively search the sky for eagles and scan the dark earth for the slightest movement of smallest ant, your heart will reach for tall mountains, bathe in the most intimate of passions and in the grain and grit of our earth. Such is Allison Grayhurst. Such is her poetry. THE RIVER IS BLIND is a must-read,” Eric M. Vogt, poet and author.