Identity (as self to self before God)

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Identity (as self to self before God)

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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

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First published in “Moongate Motherbird” April 2018

https://motherbird.com/identity-as-self-to-self-before-god-poem-by-allison-grayhurst/

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Published in “Elephant Journal” April 2018

https://www.elephantjournal.com/now/identity-as-self-to-self-before-god-poem-by-allison-grayhurst/

 

 

You can listen to the poem by clicking below:

 

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Animal Culture (rules of commitment) in progress:

 

Do animals have culture?
Yes! The great wisdom
of Earth spoke.

And She spoke –
Having faith in God
is trusting God’s faithfulness.

***

Art either gives what is longed for
or what is unexpected.
The best art gives both, simultaneously.

© by Allison Grayhurst 2018

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Transfigured

 

Transfigured

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Each day I wear my grief

like metal mesh. I see you

as a spirit burdened to speak.

You try to comfort this field

of wounds. You tend the amputees

and bound the screaming with soft song.

But it is hard for you to stay,

to not let go completely into the light.

I let you go. I make this year my bridge.

Though my heart has ruptured and cannot heal,

and I am forever overcome with this sadness

of our love silenced by brutal, unnamable death,

I will build a new house, dive with both hands

into my yard until the evergreens grow.

I will contain you as more than memory –

in my harvest will bloom many sunflowers

of your great generosity. And your fiery blood

will sprout the roots and flesh of passion fruit.

The maple tree will grow large like you, protecting all

within its strong and tender shadow. And children

will be drawn to this yard, to play there amongst

the tall dramatic grass, and then sit still to watch

with wonder the many shades of sky, reflecting

the warmth of your paternal sun-setting colours.

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Copyright © 2000 by Allison Grayhurst

3005

amazon.com/author/allisongrayhurst

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First published in “Turk’s Head Review”, July 2014

 

 

Now That I Swept

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Now That I Swept

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I swept the veranda

I swept the hall

I swept in corners I turned

a blind-eye at before.

The encasing cracked. The bride’s dress

was lifted out of the attic into sunlight.

There was paint on the windows. I scraped

it off, exposing galleries of creepy-crawlers

and prayers half-prayed

still writhing on the floor, struggling

for breath and completion.

I showed courage, even killed my longest ties,

bought bread at a new store and accepted the storm.

 

This home-swept sterility has outlasted fears,

sermons of aestheticism dug deep to remove

the pus from my wounds.

I count – one – two – each heartache

quietly. I turn the gas on and wait for heat.

 

I am not comfortable without clutter.

I cannot soar in this crate,

with manicured belongings and my attention given over

to such ruthless unending details. The old has died.

This new is not my home, but my desires will layer up

again, roll in the wind again, collect

broken robin shells, leaf stems, and shed animal fur.

 

***

 

It will feel like home sometime after

I am sure my fears have been defeated,

when I can trust myself not to pillage,

loiter or take for granted.

Blessings, hair-ties, a time of ginger tea.

 

I swept and now everything is clean.

I swept, and slowly I will let life back in,

but not before inspecting the truth of its charm

and the smell of its comfort.

Where it twitches and cramps, I will bear witness

to its intricacies, suffer the host as a hymn

 

hymn, hymn, to hold over the flame, in spite

of the other voices I hear, despite the echoing screams,

strip it, swept clear of shame and these stultifying drift banks

I have swept

of a coward’s hidden-away rot and rubble.

 

 

 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst

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First published in “Outlaw Poetry” April 2018

https://outlawpoetry.com/2018/now-that-i-swept-by-allison-grayhurst/

 

You can listen to the poem by clicking below:

 

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Animal Culture (rules of commitment) in progress:

 

Do animals have culture?
Yes! The great wisdom
of Earth spoke.

And She spoke –
Having faith in God
is trusting God’s faithfulness.

***

Art either gives what is longed for
or what is unexpected.
The best art gives both, simultaneously.

© by Allison Grayhurst 2018

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Seeking the Balanced Degree

 

Seeking the Balanced Degree

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My mind is painted bright blue

like a pair of favourite jeans.

My belly is bread for thieves. Here

the crime awakens:

I drink from the eternal teat

of responsibility, from the lake

of suffering I must ignore

to breathe a steady rain, to scatter

my guilt amongst the weeds.

What happens when your all is nothing?

or when the truck runs you down seeing only

anonymous hairstrands and entrails?

Knowing love’s limitations,

like one knows the snows or the teeth

of an animal, is the tension that frees.

An enemy is at my table.

A horse is buried under American sands.

My heart is water:

It longs to quench the hot summer skin of sparrows.

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Copyright © 1997 by Allison Grayhurst

3000

amazon.com/author/allisongrayhurst

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First published in “B-Gina Review”

 

 

Acceptance as Recovery (the blinds are drawn)

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Acceptance as Recovery (the blinds are drawn)

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The light wind,

the heavy wind

belongs beyond the flesh

and gravity’s consent.

We are stopped at the threshold –

a pomegranate in the water, floating,

soon to be devoured.

 

When the child grew up,

apparitions of abandonment remained,

blistering the eyes now and then with salt.

Hot fear, unease in the gap between

the mind and doing.

What is this? A waterfall to stand under,

to try to master the onrushing force, and climb?

 

I think you never belonged here

that is why you don’t eat or own your own skin like origin.

I think you were a jellyfish on another world,

a fluorescent swimmer without a skeleton,

barely feeling the torrent ebb and flow around you.

I think you glow like something brighter

in an already bright sky,

You reject the stone, anything that burns

permanently into your flesh,

demanding you to be human.

 

You came a long way and went a long way to the other side.

You are one-of-a-kind, a creation who is always

in the process of equally praising and escaping.

You gather your light like gunpowder.

 

It is hard maneuvering on this primitive plane

of terrifying unpredictability.

It is hard to be so bright, so see-through,

and not to be part shielded, and where not shielded,

long lines of jagged division,

fractured roots and core, damaged.

 

 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst

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First published in “Synchronized Chaos” May 2018

 

 

You can listen to the poem by clicking below:

 

.

Animal Culture (rules of commitment) in progress:

Do animals have culture?
Yes! The great wisdom
of Earth spoke.

And She spoke –
Having faith in God
is trusting God’s faithfulness.

***

Art either gives what is longed for
or what is unexpected.
The best art gives both, simultaneously.

© by Allison Grayhurst 2018

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Make a Bridge

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Make a Bridge

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Make a bridge,

follow its framework,

fall      fall

off that bridge into

an ice-cold pond

where the underbelly is

readying for hibernation.

 

Be cold under that bridge,

remember who you are –

the maker and the one who fell.

 

It is good to paint

delirium and devotion

as one and the same.

It is good to arrive secret in your niche, never

letting anyone know you are there,

if you want to stay and not be up-seated.

 

Make a monster

to keep in your pocket

that you can caress or make squeal at will.

No one will hold you accountable as long

as it remains unspoken of, vaguely secret.

No one will ask you to make

another bridge – one will be enough.

 

In time, falling and freezing

miles below the surface

will be the milestone, the lasting legacy.

 

 

 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst

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First published in “Synchronized Chaos” May 2018

 

 

You can listen to the poem by clicking below:

 

.

Animal Culture (rules of commitment) in progress:

Do animals have culture?
Yes! The great wisdom
of Earth spoke.

And She spoke –
Having faith in God
is trusting God’s faithfulness.

***

Art either gives what is longed for
or what is unexpected.
The best art gives both, simultaneously.

© by Allison Grayhurst 2018

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Healed

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Healed

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Bone and sleeve, blessed

a thousand times over –

first it enters through the back, a wave

of rare wind flooding the pores, then through the front,

a deeper rush that separates the skin

like rock into sand, making granules, softness

to cup loosely in hands.

 

You never viewed me dressed in my own hues. You tried

with your guilt and pity, clinging to the ruthless rules

of worldly absolutisms, rules void of miracles,

void of the greatness of God. It is not your fault.

 

You were born in a poverty den, surrounded

by uproar and mouths of many hungering siblings.

Violence and servitude, and so many trapped ghosts

filling the stairways, settling

in the corridors, peering through paintings. A home

where spirits latched on to doorknobs, the nails in floorboards,

bred like bugs under pillows, in closed-door closets.

I cannot blame you, later

you earned and kept your independence,

but still the one thing remained your master

like a severe hand coming down, dominating,

throwing cutlery across the room, thrashing

your childlike joy to pieces.

 

My lungs can’t function in that haunted landscape.

I am rising new born, rising with no sense of

separation. I move beyond my temporal bloodlines.

I will not own your wounds as truth. Even still, I love you.

I bless the bell. I bless how far we both have come – new homes,

clean of bad breath and the tormented

tightening-grip of others.

 

Miracles are fish that somehow know

their way through the oceans.

Miracles are stones, glorious as stars,

 

or a rat in winter guided

to a dumpster feast.

 

 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst

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First published in “New Ink Review” April 2018

https://thenir.wordpress.com/2018/04/03/five-poems-allison-grayhurst/

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You can listen to the poem by clicking below:

 

.

Animal Culture (rules of commitment) in progress:

Do animals have culture?
Yes! The great wisdom
of Earth spoke.

And She spoke –
Having faith in God
is trusting God’s faithfulness.

***

Art either gives what is longed for
or what is unexpected.
The best art gives both, simultaneously.

© by Allison Grayhurst 2018

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