The Iron Writer Challenge Grudge Match #16, Poetry


Iron Writer Challenge Grudge Match #16

Mann gegen Mann Poesie

The Authors:

Her Ladyship, Mamie Pound vs. His Eminence Matt Henderson

The Elements:

Perihelion, Fault Line, Sky, Time

Ghost Forest, Oregon

silver-trunked monoliths


salt water at their feet

our ears, deaf

to their words

but the dogs will hear,

that first minute

we will shush them

shake our heads,

shoo them outside

won’t feel our wings catch fire

or even smell the smoke

until the second waves

shake the mountains to sand

our breath will catch

hearts will try

escaping from our chests

and still another wave

will swallow us, our useless pride

our burnt and broken wings

and we will wonder why

we’ll search for sky

from somewhere below the ocean waves

between fractured door frames

and jellyfish and shipwrecks

and crumbled house

and the dogs we shooed

but we will only pantomime

the life we had,

slip down and away

melt into another thing

cry hollow words

only dogs can hear

while apparitions of our former selves

wash in the waves,

saltwater in our souls


Walking through the last
of this Indian summer holdout
come and go flirtations with an unfettered fall
         grass dying
under the first of this         
         new fallen straw
sun streak splotches cover me through leaves
          of brown
       and orange and red
a rare yellow emergence—caught in an indecisive
     noting a brief but splendid moment
         lingering on a slow turn
Eyelids dancing in sudden speckled moments
of warm sun and cool shade
         and an in-between
      fluttering—a shaking out of the green
             adjusting to longer shadows
          rising on shorter evenings
               pumpkin tones and harvest
colored flashes of a near autumn sun slant strobe

NASA says I am hurdling through space
                       spinning at unthinkable speeds
         on three incredible vectors
leaving this area in the same
kind of time by which I arrived
never really anywhere—just a continual moving through
        that has this mostly blue
        Copernican sphere
         nudging up against the audacious summer sun slide
I feel the solid ground
         hold firmly underfoot
I imagine it groans at the wild absurdity of it
     or moans with anxiety where
 the potatoes, and turnips, and rutabagas
or deeper down I think
sometimes I feel the ground
         trying to rebel and rip itself apart on its seams
 no fault of its own
it is ripping and gnashing against ideas—
    (like Horatio–we have to know through our sciences)
so far beyond this beautiful
       but isn’t it all so simple
just as it is– just what we see…

I feel the air and I want autumn to come
to me–to us…this time
   all by itself
and cover the land in color and a cool
quiet visit
The sky changes just floating over for the yearly
seasonal pilgrimage
time marked by long conversations, longer walks,
   readying the fireplace
watching the trees
or how many times I hold your hand
from September through November
    let the closest clock face be the full moon
designating days by hiding itself, slice by slice
                 and coming back likewise.
science books show me details so vivid
of things that are hidden more
                 each day from our eyes
the noise of this artificial light-buzzed canopy
it has taken down our firmament and
          made me forget my beloved
              gnostic good news
deemed invalid by some men in black robes
                  a long time ago
    I still hold it close…how goes it now?
“Split the wood, there I am. Lift up a rock, you will find me.”

You move from season to season
so easily
          so beautifully
so naturally tuned
to the way the world moves through us
     I am a little awkward and in awe
I get caught by surprise every time and stand in wonder
        people like me rush to windows
             just to watch it rain
                see the trees bow in the wind
           or sometimes to catch the long strands of sunray
 at an angle of preference
          through the pine trees
because it reminds me of something
I only feel from a precognitive and simple suchness
        it holds me to my center
    the single point
and I try to live from there

Walking through the last of this
    Indian summer holdout
I am anxious to hear the air alive
with the mysterious brightness
   only autumn air can carry
smell the spices of cinnamon and pumpkin
   and the baking of bread
hot chocolate and an occasional early wisp
   from fireplace practice
to see the sky changes
    unmeasured by instruments
to feel closer
lingering embraces
to sit with sound and no sound
       equally filled
        with peace
of the season changing
bringing the essence of miracles closer
non-scientific wonders
always come nearer
   to the heart spot
     when the candles are lit
when people’s hands are prone to tying knots
              across tables
          or pinkies are linked
   and legs are tangled on fresh sheets
    awash in the silver light of dreamtime
      no need for an algorithm
    or an evidence-based study
to explain to me what I feel with the slant
of the changing season’s sky lamp
the great synchronicity has manifest itself now
          at least once
and I hold it in my soul’s magnet,
stark, undeniable and bare         
         eternity is happening
and inside that you and I came here
                     at the same time
                     at the same place

and just for us–all things stopped for a part of a second
our hearts beat in a single rhythm
a single yellow leaf clinched with love of life
            and limb
only to turn loose
and float on that crystalline
           ethereal glide to glory
 the only sound I heard was your light easy breathing
      and we looked at each other
  compressed in psychological time…magic time…
                  the real time—now
            inside and outside
            as above so below
  slowly you unveiled your truest
               easiest smile–
    this was the time I had been trying to stop
      the one I longed to press pause on
     to hold closer for a moment of my own—“ours”
  I drank you in with the art and science
             of all the senses

…and when the universe re-started
no one else in the world noticed

          only you knew
            what hit me–

–with the beginning of the fall.

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