I walked the Circle

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I walked the Circle

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I walked in a strange place

where light was named darkness

and darkness named light

and knew it was my new home.

 

How can this be? I asked myself,

inspecting each inversion

of authenticity. Gravity, I answered,

wiping off dust, pulling down the thick clouds.

 

Sorrow crept into my sleep, confusion

hijacked my taste buds.

Beauty was seen only

in the plastic, unnaturally perfect.

And the mortal gift, betrayed.

 

Among the ants and rodents I felt safe,

pretended I was their kin, and they welcomed me.

We crept through weeds, jumped

branches and collected.

 

I gave myself a name,

refusing the strength of my true identity,

refusing the insight

I first had upon arrival.

The rivers looked blue that were really red,

the petal of the rose lost its bright juniper green.

Love lost the nipple flow of eternity and I didn’t know

anyone I could lean my head upon.

 

Memory is rounded, has no starting point, is the point of time.

These are the consequences, linear trepidation and

the quenching of fear and the felt-superiority of every nation.

Because the bread crumbs became the feast and the feast

was swept under the rug, willfully ignored.

 

I love my chains, I admit it. I love the deep ache and bother

because it is familiar, inertia, mine. But here

I announce

I will trade it for connection, for inexperience, the courage

of extreme risk.

I will forge in unknown territory, set things right

at least here in my world.

 

I have no king in gravity. I have no sound

forbidden to me.

The war cry is a split tongue and it deceives.

My war cry is the path Jesus takes me on

– walk, run, sit down – that is the way.

 

There are better places.

I love the red tree. I love the folding cold fires, insects

on my arms. Take care. Descend. Pick up speed.

I had a father. I have a father no more.

I had a brother. He never was.

I have children, now they are grown.

Shame on torment. Shame for not not

letting go. Shame on shame.

 

Judgement is set aside, hidden behind the bench.

The bird feeder is up, the bird bath too.

Let them come, the birds, all manner of beast and fowl.

Let them find sanctuary here.

 

All seasons, I am learning,

are holy places, and all colours

are sacred, unnameable, the same.

 

 

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 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst

amazon.com/author/allisongrayhurst

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First published in “Night Forest Cell of Radical Poets” August 2018

https://nightforestpoetry.wordpress.com/2018/08/16/i-walked-the-circle-by-allison-grayhurst/

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You can listen to the poem by clicking below:

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Breaking

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Breaking

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         Bitter patience, counting moonlight beams

on fledging grass stems.

Endure for the law that presses heavy and cold

against your chest.

Endure because there is no leaving

only traveling on.

Weapons put away, dressing

strictly for good form.

The planets rock back and forth,

bump against each other, but like us, are bonded,

unalterably glued to their personal constellations.

        Irrational hope is the shadow I have,

the silent zone of my cortex that defeats reality, yet below

the storm gathers and changes course for no one.

What used to be roots are now tossed away, ripped

on the ridges of sidewalks like bubble gum wrappers.

Storm that has no subliminal meaning, is only storm,

gun shots in the wind. Patience.

 

Wait for the unwanted guest to go. Wait for your life

to mature finally into what you wish it would be.

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 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst

amazon.com/author/allisongrayhurst

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Published in “Chicago Record Magazine” 2018

https://magazine-record.blogspot.com/2018/08/normal-0-false-false-false-en-us-x-none_16.html

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You can listen to the poem by clicking below:

 

Because it is a Stone

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Because it is a Stone

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Because it is a stone

the fire hits it, moves around,

changing shape like a wave.

 

Because grief is not a word

that counts footsteps or encapsulates

the butcher’s madness, just builds like

a deep stagnant pool of a pond – one drop,

one drop, rising.

 

Because all the vegetables have not been picked through,

and more people hold compassion than they do hate,

the tree can grow, the fountain can flow up and make

a statement of solidarity, a sound

peaceful to those who are near.

 

Because the robin keeps coming back

to sit on my lawn, stares at me and waits

for my greeting before moving on.

 

Because hope is red eyes stinging,

but sight unimpaired,

and the darkening shadows darkening

the day-to-day landscape drift –

sometimes far away.

 

Because there is early morning, peppermint tea,

and love abides in everything living,

I can walk another step, another day,

bury the corpse of a treasured friend,

and place something beautiful

(a stone, a whisper) beside the grave.

 

 

 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst

amazon.com/author/allisongrayhurst

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Published in “Chicago Record Magazine” August 2018

https://magazine-record.blogspot.com/2018/08/normal-0-false-false-false-en-us-x-none_16.html

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You can listen to the poem by clicking below:

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Homecoming

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Homecoming

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Time and the matrix point

of nerves that sound off like

a dinner bell, riveting through

the body, vibrating the bones and all

that stands between.

 

You speak of shifting plateaus,

but the paint hasn’t even left the brush,

the walls are cracked, veined and under

the watchful eyes of those who walk the halls.

 

The rules you treasure are intricate masterpieces

of divine tapestry but they are not the mud-sling

upheaval, unpredictable holy heartache,

muscle aches that mark us as we grow old, and touch

each other in the day-to-day of waking up,

sharing the bathroom, the kitchen, animals

who belong with us, depend on us, and sickness.

 

Here is my watering can. It is sufficient. It too has wisdom.

One eye only that blends and interprets all perceptions.

Here is my tale, my acts of shade, shelter and sun.

The seraphim drive home dreams in vows on fire,

born from nebulas and the hands

of the bricklayer and secretary.

 

Yours is one way, powerful, yes, but so are the trees,

a toddler’s temper tantrum, the Lord’s Prayer more so –

clasped hands, no separation, helpless, wordless,

at the beginning, saved.

 

 

 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst

amazon.com/author/allisongrayhurst

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Published in “Chicago Record Magazine” August 2018

https://magazine-record.blogspot.com/2018/08/normal-0-false-false-false-en-us-x-none_16.html

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You can listen to the poem by clicking below:

 

 

Wayside

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Wayside

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I have fallen by the wayside,

scrapped divinity for a taste

of the overflow.

Everytime speaking, I was

silenced like a nailed board

sealed above my head.

 

Summer

came in ruthless heat pulses

depleting the oxygen, terrorizing

nesting sparrows.

The lap pool was chemically soiled.

All manner of fungi bloomed,

as dark bonds visibly materialized.

 

Geometric interlocking

dimensional coveralls – covering all –

left side of my body decaying, chomped at

by an unswerving force, asking for my devotion,

demanding unquestioned servitude

regardless of devotion.

 

Blindly I fell into the river’s fold,

no strength left in my upper arms

so I drifted to the wayside, into

muddy misquote egg-beds

and the hiding nooks of snakes

 

left there to breathe in fish-corpse fumes,

play footsie

with the washed ashore water-logged frogs,

dreaming amphibian dreams.

 

 

 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst

amazon.com/author/allisongrayhurst

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Published in “Chicago Record Magazine” August 2018

https://magazine-record.blogspot.com/2018/08/normal-0-false-false-false-en-us-x-none_16.html

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You can listen to the poem by clicking below:

 

 

 

Promised Land

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Promised Land

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Past the burnt-down barn,

past the tracks of a narrow road

far into wilderness chaos, the clearing is found,

shelves are emptied, floors are once again seen.

The house is open like lips learning

how to talk instead of scream. There is peace

in the soundwaves, animals are

five-times-miracle-recovering

from the verge of death, upright, energy restored.

 

It was a long walk to the podium to finally have your say,

but the effort has paid off, the love given was not wasted

or disfigured permanently, was not solidified into

a lost-forever horrorshow as we thought it would.

 

Gold has returned to our pockets, water faucets are running,

laughter is common, coming from under doors.

Love is like it once was when we had our Rooms of Joy –

when we had each other, explorers of unending light.

 

Around the tree I dance my praise.

Gratitude I never expected,

years of trying to pet the violent horse’s mane,

touch its forehead with a kiss –

now she is still, soft and free.

 

We made it past the dumpyards and the

foreign countries full of war and pillage.

We stayed the course, singing when we could, letting go 

of hope in steady increments of necessity,

unravelling the last thread of our faith

until hell overtook. And in those relentless flames

we still believed and asked for mercy.

Mercy has come.

 

My home is happy once again. My children have returned,

married and bearing the seeds of deep maturity and there,

there, sprouting back after years of dormancy,

those glorious, sacred child-like smiles.

 

 

 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst

amazon.com/author/allisongrayhurst

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Published in “Chicago Record Magazine” August 2018

https://magazine-record.blogspot.com/2018/08/normal-0-false-false-false-en-us-x-none_16.html

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You can listen to the poem by clicking below:

 

 

She said

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She said

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there is a man who walks around town

who thinks he is Elvis.

It is a cliché, I know, the crazy man who thinks he is Elvis.

But this guy is for real, she says.

 

He wears a white low-cut button suit, chest hairs showing,

and those 70’s flared pants.

Sometimes, he even flaunts a red cape.

He wears a black wig that each week

the barber pretends to cut.

(That kind of compassion is rare!)

 

Everyone shows him kindness.

He gets free day-old muffins at the doughnut shop,

and when Joyce is working, she throws in a coffee.

 

How cool it would be to walk around in white,

feeling like a king, never paying for breakfast,

everyone smiling at you, treating you as a rarity.

 

People take pictures, videos, come up to him

and ask him to sing. He never does,

just lifts the one side of his lip

and dramatically flips his red velvety cape

 

purchased years ago

at the local used-clothing store.

 

 

 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst

amazon.com/author/allisongrayhurst

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Published in “Outlaw Poetry” August 2018

https://outlawpoetry.com/2018/she-said-by-allison-grayhurst/

https://outlawpoetry.com/category/allison-grayhurst/

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You can listen to the poem by clicking below: