June 5, 2015

Three Poems By Tom Sheehan: For One Woman Raised on High (haibun) (or Love behind the Door)

Sheehan has 28 Pushcart nominations. In the Garden of Long Shadows and The Nations (Native American fiction collection), were recently published by Pocol Press with solid reviews (see Serving House Journal.) Now in the Pocol production cycle are Where Skies Grow Wide, Cross Trails, Between Mountain and River and The Cowboys, the last five titles from Pocol Press are all western short story collections. In addition, a new collection, Sons of Guns, Inc. was just released (print and eBook) by Nazar Look Books in Romania and is on Amazon.

For One Woman Raised on High (haibun)
                   (or Love behind the Door)

Ah sweet marrow ganglia matter of mind what inviolable pleasure brings me to my typer this time of night in the moonspill mooncream what draws me this way and that from my outer to my inner am I all questions in this mushrooming quiet and dark of night this sound of dead foxes hanging thinly with leaves the den not returned to mother hunted while hunting and dogged down this deep of night this dread of sleeping  while my mind can still wander its taut way over the wave of things can extrapolate conjure figment articulate touch smell know once again the musk I could die for right now this instant this eternity for my nares have the memory of fingers and the dry pulp beneath my nails is your residue of love I cannot manicure away ashes of our fire.

I see suck words on lips I see the drip of syllables phonetics of some word rock buried in you as deeply as mine sunless and miles deep past the six hundred miles an hour that our impulses travel from mind to extremities of selves to fingers of satisfaction to fingers knowledge to lips say to eyes move to pits of breast set into teeth like caraway seeds (oh I love the working memory as my tongue worries a pit like a cavity beginning –I form words for you at the touch) what tangible ghost of nights past is near me touching like grass or a spider web not quite there who the spirit travels its hands and lips and words against my ears my self my all as if Chapman’s Homer has its speech and touches to me I, I am alone atop Darien this abominable night though I have shares and am shared oh shared by madness oh stung by stars and simple grass

Oh listen believe me daughter of words holder of the precious word rock I am moonmaster starriser suncatcher burster of cometing yea a farmer plugging word songs but a listener of your night watches walker of your dreams the evil-doer doing done that far thin voice of a star moving on you oh dream death at morning light Ah it is lonely the fox is dead I hear the dogs cry above the clash of leaves the horn empties its wail on wind the den not returned to the young wait cold and hungry the burrow walls close in in cool pneumatics the ferret comes slowly at first teasing his mouth waters saliva runs oozing like sperm his back arches he tingles Oh love I’d love to come to your mouth to have your lips holding me is volcanic thought furnacing the blade of your tongue is ever merciless why are you so unkind to me why cut memory’s cut do my veins intrigue you my capillaries crawl like others crawl except when you loose your tongue You are mad! mad! but I bid you I bid you come at me once all mouth, all imagination all energy I would know no other night nor own one I am doomed pusher of thought darer of deeds worder of words I am doomed who such lip when such thigh take the angle of my eye lest I lose that nearing breast bring your mouth where you’ve caressed use your tongue as gallant blade my private parts to invade.

I moonmaster master of words roper of stars brander of herds of Pegasus flock beg your tongue talk let it be known beneath your bone I love your curves and wanting nerves sleep comes now sifting through me pushing its delights into the barest ends of me the torture of a sugar remembered thighs intersect triangle of nerves coming away slowly as  old rusty sleds downhill excruciatingly lovely from the pitch of parting.

I shot at a doe.
    Oh, I missed that fawn! I missed!
         Tawny leaves at dusk.

Last Words for Big Syd, Nick-namer

You gave all of us names,
out of your presumptive fiction,
from football and baseball statistics,
organic names out of beefed-up Byron’s
Unpublished Poems as you called them,
from a freak spin on the basketball court
when the ball tipped in off Tutu’s fingertips.

We come now called and bidden
to share your leaving us, daring us
to be civil in the whole matter, still
laughing up your sleeve about this clap-
trap and silly ties and jackets on a hot night
when you know your veins are cool
and glacier-slow.

All of us you’d fool,
you said, slipping out of bounds
before we’d even know, leaving camp
when we would least notice the huge emptiness
you somehow carried in your back pocket
like an unexpended plug of tobacco.
You knew something we didn’t.

The walls are made of virtual speech.
your nouns and names sound like posters
having voice. More than one friend  thinks
you might sit upright and laugh before the night’s
over, before we close down the fragile cherry-
wood lid, ticket finally punched, you said,
a Boston & Maine conductor taking tally.

Myself, I thought you’d never go,
knowing Red Sox, Bruins, Baudelaire,
too full of the sense of imagery at hand,
the cautions of similes and other like tastes,
too brave to call when pain tore like blowouts
through your heart. This is about those named,
Big Syd,. They’ll know, so aged now, bent
of crutch and cane, stooped with weight
and date, who sit elsewhere too long
at the end of day, brothers of games,
partial to meter, moves, recognition
of undreamt young underfoot.
You who tagged us all with
names, like Next Tuesday,
his day duly appointed
before yours.

Listening to Apple Cry

They've all gone now, fire engine-red Macintosh,
under batter with cinnamon, gone to day school
on yellow buses with brown-baggers, or bruised
to a freckled taupe and plowed under for ransom
and ritual.

Some have had visible life crushed out of them
for Thanksgiving cup squared up on table linen
beside beaten squash, ranks of asparagus,  Macs
whose red remnants, sweet at long draughts, take
the tongue.

Standing on stiff lawn downwind of winter horde,
I drop the first cold moon rays of November into
fractured wheel of apple limbs and hear old bark
beg away, the orchard lines astray, blow--downs
making history.

A pine ridge, thicker than a Sox catcher’s mitt,
grabs half the wind riding off Mount Monadnock
and squeezes out wrenching cries that sound like
wounded pendants on broad necks of far thin stars,
heaven's to be.
Deep in the Earth, in a thermal tube of its own
making, an earthworm  grows toward a rainbow
trout sleeping under ice and waiting  to be heard,
last of an apple’s pips this side of grass, rootless,
begging to be soiled..

~Tom Sheehan

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