Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. She has over 625 poems published in more than 300 international journals and anthologies. Her book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers in 1995. Since then she has published eleven other books of poetry and six collections with Edge Unlimited Publishing. Prior to the publication of Somewhere Falling she had a poetry book published, Common Dream, and four chapbooks published by The Plowman. Her poetry chapbook The River is Blind was published by Ottawa publisher above/ground press in December 2012. In 2014 her chapbook Surrogate Dharma was published by Kind of a Hurricane Press, Barometric Pressures Author Series in October 2014. More recently, she has a chapbook Currents pending publication this Fall with Pink.Girl.Ink. Press. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay; www.allisongrayhurst.com
I will stay with you,
acknowledging the four factors that create warriors, faces
of ceramic gods. Taking in these four tides - erratic electrical fumes;
unarguable weight; ripe stiffening; charitable manoeuvring -
this potently controlled receiving, snapping us into a place
where we are never betrayed by our mutual craving
for equal depth and ideals.
The way you look when my eyes are closed.
I see a visceral chemistry
copulating in your vascular system,
changing the consistency of your skin,
showering you with oil. These pressure points owned,
wrapped in dark honey -
a sticky rich worship and weeping - myself,
dripping against you, inside
a red whirlwind of our joined imaginations.
We have walked rooftops, looked down and felt at home.
We worked many nights on forgiveness,
smashing snowglobe sceneries,
defusing any fantastical expectation just to be honest
when we finally awoke, to take each other blatantly,
communing as soulmates should - peeled of barriers,
in fundamental urges and a desperation for speed.
Pliant movement - karma or coincidence?
It matters little, for it is
gathering storm. It reminds me of an unkempt
weak, watery, but is really like the hollow
delicate bone of every bird
built for flight - an aimed and painted arrow, c
apable of penetrating a crust of sky.
This is our alchemy stripped of ethics.
This is us as a curry powder-
and-turmeric mix, mixed, we enhance one another’s
scent and tone. Yes,
I will stay with you, stay with our patterns locked
in perfect spiralling aberration, stay on side streets,
on wet park floors, under our green roof, stay with you,
holding with solidarity our sunken joys,
precarious compulsions, dandelions or maggots, holding
a constant means of God-given restoration.
Fire and more,
like a floating stone trapped in my throat.
To do something with a sting but with skin
that will not scrap or twist, caught in a door. Choices
get caught and limp back, collapsing in confidence
because of the hum-drum yawn of repercussions.
Death is anywhere, a man wrapped in a sleeping bag
walking fast through the barely wet streets of almost winter.
You were almost broken. I have seen it, and heaven too,
pregnant with souls, never born, never beginning.
It is the order of lips as they move to recite a dog’s thoughts
or the solid sidewalk, taking and taking.
I know a sigh is a feeble cry. I know the animals are mine
like pressure is, concentrated tight
where vital organs are supposed to break or function.
It has been a long while since
you watched me and glowed. Broken windshield wipers
collected on my porch remind me of the time you were driving,
days before you died, when your countenance was calm,
and your smile, half formed.
Many missed dreams, hardly turning,
your eyes were things of crowns and deep earth.
Changed by a shifting conversation, you cracked the horizon.
Edify me in the lizard’s stillness. I will be a tulip in the night,
saturated with this meditation.
I have eaten roses, rose up from my father’s sixteen year sleep,
knowing I was loved.
Grace mightier than Natural Law
What if eternity was marked in a mirror,
and we lived there like animated ornaments,
reproducing each dot of matter as reflection? Especially love
drilled into the furrows of fear, or love
withstanding betrayal by latching firmly to devotion?
What if what we perceived as solid is itself artificial
and that true existence is elsewhere, is a multi-layered
holographic construction coating our reality? As if death was
the overture of our lives, rooted in continuance and
At times I can taste myself slipping into the tip
of a Cathedral ceiling.
Weapons I cannot use become suggestions,
there to analyze other highways not meant to cross.
Highways bearing bright moonlight
on their surfaces, like correspondences looked at but never read.
At times my singing is subdued, and I discover these highways
I am not welcome on,
find myself disassociated from their flat hum,
from their pavement platform and
worn-over buckling curves.
Memories are funerals – the hours we spend
travelling their domains.
I spend my time studying trees. Some trees are not beautiful,
but are depressed growths, even in their grandeur.
When flushed with foliage
or sparse, these trees emanate an aura of monotony.
Like looking through dirty glass windows,
watching pointing fingers, listening
to a zoo of indistinct, inescapable sounds,
they have been drained of vitality.
Ballooned and warm, I am transformed
by the pressure to create symbols to improve
an already great equation.
In this way, I hear a toddler cry, and I think it is impossible
to grow up and not carry as core the experiences of kindnesses
given and kindnesses withheld:
For we all know it is soothing to be tended to,
have someone wash our hair.
So what then if there is always a camera
taking pictures? Then
it must be important to be frank in spite of showing rough edges
that spark criticism, disappointment, or a full-body
malaise. It must be important not to falsify speech,
to be able to disregard
pleasantries or other forms of stroking public appeal.
What if I closed the door, turned on the fan, turned on
the light, would I learn to swing or be a domino,
Principals move like wolves commandeering prey
or like a dozen eggs dropped - their effect built on
a single gravitational desire.
What if we are marked, already surviving
forever - each exacting
fraction of ourselves duplicated?
God must muse through such thorough
descriptions of our lives,
an overseer of our personalized library, defeating
what seems irreversible
with forgiveness, erasing without remnant
the imprint and impact of things wrongly given, taken,
left to starve.