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Terreson's word hoard (5)

So my word hoard threads have proceeded back in time. With (1) a sample of my second to most recent collection, (5) is taken from my earliest collection. It is called Bitter Root and Sweet.

My earliest surviving poems were written in Fribourg, Switzerland, 1974. It seems clear that my themes stated then have not changed since, still keep in play. All that has changed might involve style, syntax, and depth perception. I submit the same is true of all art: themes keep the same through out an artist's lifetime. The real work amounting to finally getting those themes right. I'll start (5) here.

Cold of Nothing
(or the last time I saw she who Boethius said he saw)

Lady alight night has flown and gone away,
and in her haste she's left me
to the tangled sheets and turning frost,
turning this room back over
to clarity's handmaid, Freedom.
And I still don't understand.

I watched her in her slumber,
I saw her when she stirred.
Like a bear struggling from sleep in spring
what she wanted was to awaken.
But to dispell sleep's narcotic
is not an easy thing,
and to open the eyes, to behold the home,
this is sometimes no welcome.
It must be when the bear feels vacant,
for sure it's when she conceives her hunger,
and it's also when trying to untangle
the tightening white sheets
is not an easy matter.

But she never did fear the dawn,
she never worried the breath bursting her chest,
and she never traded the surrender in pleasure
for pleasures she could have stolen.
So why did she have to leave?

Lady alight night left and went away,
and this was when her handmaid ushered in
her only companion in waiting,
or the cocaine cold of nothing.
And how's it possible to clothe such a fix
with a mantle of desire,
how can you ever contain
such simplicity in movement,
and can I really hang
the mysterious name
on this cold, ungiving night?

And then, but then, but from this window room
I heard a woman's desecration cry.
It was a woman's shrill scream
drawing these tenements into the night.
When falling forever, freedom shudders.

(Boethius was a late Roman, Neo-Platonic philosopher. Imprisoned by the Visigothic king, Theodoric, and while waiting for execution, Philosophy came to him. They had a conversation in which she offered him consolation.)


Last edited by Terreson, Jan/11/2015, 9:06 pm
Aug/18/2012, 12:37 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
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Re: Terreson's word hoard (5)

Must Have Been a Druid

(Excerpts taken from a journal found in a Virginia bus station's baggage locker. As for the rest of the text I could make no sense of it either.)

Driving aimlessly, last night, he says there was a moment when he felt relieved of all the connections, of all the vectors and lines of intersection stringing him between places. He felt as if he was being lifted off the ground and held over an ocean. But he thought to observe his new space-place, and the moment was lost. He seems to think he was held on the lip of a swollen night sky ocean.

He's found a street of silver-green, old oak shade. He says he went walking inside that street of shade, yesterday, and that he stopped to retie a shoe lace. Kneeling down and bending over only to retie a shoe lace. And when he straightened his back, he was just looking up for a moment when, suddenly, the sun was dripping down through oak leaves, looking like a red-gold stream. And he heard a groan coming out of his mouth but sounding far away. For some reason he couldn't find the same street again.

He thinks too little room is given to different moods and dreaming days. Which is why a strong man can never be heard to sigh, mostly in his own hearing. And a woman in love is expected never to nurture private sadnesses.

He calls squalor a cloud of cement settling on the skin. It's the invisible weight breaking a poor man's shoulders, and the knife opening up the patrician's vein. Then he says that what the cynical rich and the poor man's pimp share is a slumming soul. He calls it all the great gray rip off.

There is a secret to be learned behind the sheen of life's skin. He says it's hidden inside the water clouds of a swollen summer morning.

August being the month when growing things lose themselves to themselves in a last great swell of time before slowing time sets in, it's like a river year's deepest bend in the run.

To see your shadow on the ground, he says, to hear your feet slapping on the rock, sweeping through the grass, rubbing in the sand, and then to walk into a woman's night that always waits; it brings him to the conclusion that the ceertain prospect of growing old is just a worried down dog's bone, and nothing in comparison to losing the tidal sense of storm and calm. But then he says that if she will wash him in her surface spray, and teach him to fish-gill breathe in her deep sea reckonings, he knows he can make for her nights and days.

He says winter December has broken open. He calls it the year's still-turned and unchartable fifth season. He's been sitting beneath an old oak tree at the crossroad leading out of town and that faces an old abandoned gas station all shuttered up. He says the tree seems to shudder sometimes, even without a breeze. Those perfectly brown, perfectly paperflake leaves shaking as if they are nervous.

A late winter's rain fell from morning until night, and it kept on falling for another two or three days, or until the evening came when a fog rose up through the valley. Almost fleshy. Really sodden. He says he slept his first peaceful sleep, last night, since meeting a bow and arrow woman.

He says there was recently a day when he saw 'old wild eyes,' a day that was clear and warm. And maybe it was a day like today, with the sun going slant eyed across this side of the earth. The ground had already started to soften from the thaw, he says, and early maples were showing anxious buds ready to split open. It was already a longer day, the world turn occurring noticably later than his yesterday's. And before the sun had lost its face the moon slipped up her side. Which would mean that further sun and nearer moon were found over two rims of blue sky that day, while a night sky ocean tipped over, flooded in, filled the sky, meeting the moon, and floating the bark. And he says he went walking along the town's ridge-spine in the last of the sun's late pastel. The sky was seriously getting stretched in mixing shades of lavender and violet, while the town was almost breathing in flickering time. And just before the sun lost its last streak of light, the trees shook in streams of quick silver-green. When the night fell the clouds were thin and softened by a faint, almost transparently gray moon. It was then he heard an Indian breeze quivering inside the branches, an Indian's thirsty song drinking from the edges of new leaves. And then he saw those eyes, those black and bottomless night eyes so wild and silver in the center. And they seemed to blink at him, he says, before turning back away. And he heard a twig snap just a little too carelessly.

Aug/18/2012, 2:29 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
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Penny Alhambra

"Girl it looks so pretty to me
like it always did;
like a Spanish city to me
when we were kids."
           Dire Straights

It's an old song made new.
And the rain is falling
in Spain this morning
like rain beading down
from off my roof.
Rain coming down to
curtain, falling in place.
And the old Moor's castle
has split its heart, just like
the first time you
stole his heart for a tune.

(And I never saw the sign
of what the words I heard
could say to you.)

Shiny beads and ruby dreams
hidden in a cave.
Flamingo wings and oval face
tucked inside the sky.
I'ld swear he's lost his heart again
beneath ruins and rubble
of an ancient pang.
Like rain falling in this place,
like the shower of your hair
brushing on his legs,
like silver bells you wear
to see him shiver when you're close,
or like the wine red dress
sliding down your sides
when there is no place to go.
Just like that it rains here too,
and there is no place to go.

I've tried my best to forget
how easy came the beginning.
The first night's fire,
the first day's lean to love,
or the gypsy vow drawn
from dark mountain thigh.
And I really have forgotten
except for when it rains;
and then I recall
how supple came the kiss
from off your lips,
how it looked as if
I could walk with you, talk,
believe in the stories
and penny alhambras
we said were still ahead.
Like the treasure chest
of some old Moor
locked inside a cave,
waiting for us in trust.

If I could just dig a hole
and pull the earth over,
I would not need to see
it wasn't me you wanted after all.
But some old Moor
waiting in his cave,
some silky toned knight
to take you out of here.
I wouldn't have to see
your eyes' lost look
when the rain falls and
the wind fingers the door.

('Cause I never once knew
what you heard in those words;
or how the far off castle
could keep you so captive.)

Aug/18/2012, 7:44 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
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Tidal Meetings

The first to go are always ego and mask. And they fall away as you trip over the spongy bed border, as you trip back over and sink into those deeper, slide rules of the marsh.

The palmetto scrub brush
and the live oak running cover.
The milk light then that
washes away your disdain
until nothing keeps the same again.

Then the tidewater urge that sets you running behind the barrier island's finger, and where you go bending down beneath the coquina pastel of late sunlight, looking for what is unsecured, an underwater region, the submerged dark garden.

Fish-gill breathing,
seahorse cutting the surface.
And the fantail mullet
veering your way in reach
and in quick alchemy.

It's then you tack a breeze, relearning how to ride to a river girl's design. The kestrels, crowned cardinals, the hover of kingfishers, wood ibises flying in larger concentric circles, or the osprey who evenly wings it down the river. All of whom soar inside the jawline of the jetty where the porpoises come through, threading through, and where the manatee comes up to spy around, being suggestive enough of an original, water divinity.

It's what a slender waisted
river girl is meant for,
these smaller moments flying,
or swimming inside protected waters.
And not for trappers of dreams
like swallows building into banks,
or the diesel drive,
and how many more?

But have you ever seen she who comes from the sea? Ever seen her riding in on top of the heavy white wave coming from out of her triangular sea? Have you ever actually wanted to carry her out of the broken surf, ever been sure of her intentions? Ever trembled, given over, as she's washed away the last remaining fiber of driftwood deeds?

The skirt she wore
like a fish net,
and that unmistakable
life scent;
and the light dreams
that shower down her spine
in the big bottom morning,
her water cloud mood,
leaning out of her secret stage
and still the dream.

It's the dream that becomes. The dream that becomes the guide star bearing. And this one opens up a night-sky sea, a mother night dream. Her face all and evenly night blue, as is the cloak she wears. Her hands hold me to her body. Her fingers pressing into my sides tell of all there is to need to know about the oceanic scheme she takes us through, about the numinously charged order of things that fits her like a silky slip. And she never speaks, never gives me the chance to tell her how lovely, how really lovely she looks. She just carries me up to her like a dead son she's coming for, except I am not dead anymore. And then comes her rolling, swollen and private answer to the one unspoken question. And it falls through her face like a liquid smile, like the source of summer start spreading through us both. Just a whisper, just a shiver, just a yes. Just the phosphorescent shower running through her indigo cloak like ten thousand stars spangling in night's black wind.

Mother of night,
daughters of light,
sisters of mercy.
And then again when
there's a certain journey.

Aug/24/2012, 6:53 am Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
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The Greening

The test: the trial: the dangerous gamut:
even the perilous way.
It's flinging back the sealed door
and walking back down slippery stairs.
It's getting lowered inside that place of incest
where everything has a dreamy meaning,
where meaning has the dark and dirty side;
where living layers of what stays before,
what must come after,
keep between livid columns of fleshy time;
and where, once in, a journeyer sees
there is no help from the reasoning, pleasing,
the self-connected safety leash
that kept things tied in distant manner
to faltering first steps taken into
the bottomless hour, her midnight mansion.

And so the reward: the hope: the only promise
to keep said searcher going sometimes,
even backing into the greening catacomb;
well, it's just a slender finial,
just a perfect kiss,
the prize of her in morning,
the sweetness unsaid.

Aug/24/2012, 7:06 am Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
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The board now has a sample/slice of my poetry. The word hoard threads cover almost 30 years. Also in this forum can be found my most recent collection in its entirety, Bottom City Blues. All in all 35 single minded years. Not sure what to make of that. If I ever publish a collected works I will revert to the title of my first collection, Bitter Root and Sweet. That is what living means to me. I remember once bitching and moaning in a letter to an older sister. I was whining and complaining about my life. She wrote back. She said: How can you say you want to be a poet and not live the blues? Her comment was incredibly liberating.

Aug/25/2012, 1:10 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
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Re: Terreson's word hoard (5)

You know, Tere, that last one, "The Greening,"
is mighty powerful. The writer's/poet's journey?

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Re: Terreson's word hoard (5)

Hi Tere,

I started reading this thread and had to stop after the "Cold of Nothing," it is such a powerful poem. The title alone stops me. Will return as time allows to read more.
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Re: Terreson's word hoard (5)

Hey Tere,

Returning to this thread this morning I was happy to read "Penny Alhambra." I've always liked it very much, another fine love poem by you. I remember and enjoyed "The Greening" too. I see it as a companion piece to "A Bedtime Story."

Nice to read these poems altogether. Thanks for posting.
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Re: Terreson's word hoard (5)

Thank you, Kat and Chris, for the comments. Yes, Chris, about The Greening. That is how I see it too. One of those poems you haven't a clue where it comes from, even as you know you've been there. And yes, Kat, about The Cold of Nothing poem. I figure it is powerful. And so stark a reckoning you wonder at the courage involved. If interested, and if you haven't already, read up on the story of Boethius. It puts the poem into a certain context.

I know I haven't contributed to the board much lately. These word hoard threads have been a way to do just that.

Sep/8/2012, 2:27 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
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Re: Terreson's word hoard (5)

I should add a poem to the set, belongs to the collection.

By the Sea

I can hear her crying
in the wind tonight,
quietly crying in
her marsh home by the sea.
She thinks that no one
can hear her tonight,
she keeps on crying,
cannot sleep.

I had seen her going
by the sea today,
slowly going
while the sun started to set
beneath her shoulders.
She must’ve thought
she was alone with the water,
as she turned the faces
she keeps for others,
turned them under.

There was that much loveliness
in the face she gave today,
alone and rising and
spilling over the sand.
And I had to turn
behind the dunes,
or drown inside the tide
made by her open face.

But there was also a sign,
a shivering signal,
in the evening sea sky’s
falling blue.
It was a sign to start
love’s heartness to hurt,
with her autumn eyes
she must’ve seen it too.

Then the chill in the wind,
what can fuse sky’s rim.
if only I could see
the summer star shine
in her eyes once more.

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