If it is what you want . . .


If it is what you want . . .



Bleed out

in the dirt and dung of relationship,

leap like a lemming off the cliff

soothe your cracked hands in olive oil,

then take another’s hands and allow them

to join you in this private matter.

        It is in this truth, ourselves with another, that

we test the mettle of our discoveries, the cleanliness

of the mansions we live in.


I see stillness in the saga, retreat

when necessary and triumphant vows

in spite of chaos and the blood-drenched ground.

        I will never be fully born,

whole enough to join the stars in their whistling.

Each time it will be a sunflower plucked,

and the bee along with it,

each time torn awake –

on the threshold of death, only to master

the small stream before it widens into a river.


Each time,

love is a miracle – the movement forward, past

jagged huge stones, decaying corpses.

        Let your bare feet make contact, even lie flat,

naked, face down, take in

the sharp edges, the smell, the sight, then

answer back by rising and walking and

acknowledging the sky.

Say, love, my love,

you are more than habit,

you are the most treasured thing ever pulled from the void,

the only summer worth remembering, a seed

that turned into a thousand-year-old tree and yet still

just a seed, easily crushed, demanding nutrients and care.


Clear cutting, mud-thrashing,

faint smiles that unfold a cityscape of fears.

Barely making it, sure of decline, then suddenly, soaring –

one nod, the same need, mutual reviving genesis.

It is soft sometimes, but mostly impossible,

always impossible, alone.


Make up your mind.

Make a shell and break it completely.

Pick an apple, and chew.



 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst




Published in “Outlaw Poetry” May 2018





Published in “Elephant Journal” April 2018




You can listen to the poem by clicking below:




It is a strange dream


It is a strange dream



to be a woman, this woman,

ripped out of an other-worldly childhood

into monthly nightmare extremes, and

the mess – the demanding insects crawling

under coat sleeves, pant cuffs, arm cuffs

onto belly and breasts, swollen, aching.


To grow curves and be looked at but not seen:

to be told to smile.


Then to bear the weight of another living being

cuckooing, blooming inside – shifting joints, altering

established gaits, and the hunger.


Being with those you bore and birthed

in every stair climbed, in every sleep, each minute,

never without their beings not beside yours, living

the greatest of all imaginings –

heaven in a hug, tangible in eyes

that are not yours but are threaded tightly to your nerves,

riveting through you – their breaths

more significant to your survival than your own, riveting

like fireworks and famine,

in their sorrow and brightness.


Almost grown, then grown and swinging from

bell-towers without safety nets, changing houses,

destroying rooms, forgetting, sometimes remembering, God.

The love, resonating into cracks in plaster, deeper

than the sound of a million singing bowls, singing, salting

your howl, and the chant of your joy.


They are mostly good, and you learn the lesson hard

that the greatest gift you can give them is knowing when

to hold on and when to let go, and you must let go.


The day comes near fifty when your body begins its final chapter –

starts slow, builds unacceptable,

steals sleep, sanity, your strong and capable shoulders.

No one knows, has to know, but you

refuse to keep it secret, refuse

the nagging misogynistic whispering shame.


Your home is blessed, your husband and you,

still mad, making love, in love, vibrating true to your visions,

a home haloed in struggle and uncompromised ideals.

You meditate, make a routine and stick to it, as this transformation


lasts for years. Sweaters on, sweaters off, heat

first on the face then infiltrating your spine, down, down,

spreading like hot poison, flooding every pore.

When it has gone far beyond the tolerable threshold,

then it lets up,

only to return and begin again.


What a strange dream I have never dreamt before –

to receive the climb, lie down with babes, nurse other beings

into their own, to release the cycle, enduring

the havoc of becoming yet anew.


I should not cry but be praising, grateful

to finally spin a journey in this form.

It is a high road, can be

a life-long sermon, and such a strange dream,


weaving me a pair of wings to flaunt, maybe

never flight-bound but always love-bound and

rich, rich as death, a backdrop

to the pale but pounding pulse of dreams,

the nut-meat, nectar

of eternal pilgrimage.



 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst




Published in “Outlaw Poetry” May 2018





Published in “Elephant Journal”, April 2018




You can listen to the poem by clicking below:





Identity (as self to self before God)


Identity (as self to self before God)



Identity as explorer,

as an eagle with a powerful spread,

or as a sparrow, budding delicate, stirring

tenderness in others.

Identity as a mother, as a single flame monk

in the 4 a.m. quiet, under a dome, encased

in creativity and loneliness. Identity

as drink, poverty, excessive cash flow or beauty

beside the grave of the visibly mediocre.


Identity in discipline or free-spirit strength

that enriches the landscape with humour and charm.

Identity as a man whose skin has become core,

and the burden of time has passed through his sky

like a setting moon.


Stoic or gregarious, just the shape of a cloud,

changing, merging with other clouds

than dissipating. Speaking – backwards, forwards –

when the bearer of that identity dares to skip over the madness

of self-loathing, self-congratulating, skip

the moan in summer, the ovation indoors


and be in love,

like when first in love, ever swallowing

the joy into the fear, then the fear into joy,

the how-can-this-be? the will-I-ever-be-pure-enough?

struggling to keep up with such a devouring-bliss. Devour me,


more, more, let it be, be what never rests,

what is always too much, always

electrified, perfect. Heal me of identities,

allow me to step longing for divinity with every step,

engulfed in a splintering ecstasy while longing –

this beat, this beat – folding over, under and

everywhere, mastering the dance,


where my identity is just like a child with a toy,

there to enact a deed of great imagination.



 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst




First published in “Moongate Motherbird” April 2018

Identity (as self to self before God) | Poem by Allison Grayhurst



Published in “Elephant Journal” April 2018




You can listen to the poem by clicking below: