Cathexis Northwest Press

© 2018 

You Stand and Knock; The Westward Gable; A Bloodied Hand
You Stand and Knock

 

The mockingbird
churched up in the holly bush
against the wall
at my door   
crackles
at the constant comings and goings,
the footfalls and follies of 

hours borrowed, 

spent, lost, and found.

You stub your foe, it seems,
with threats of sweeping calamity.
You wing it;
open booked, spine straining:
‘mene, mene, tekel, parsin’.

If it is meaning you aim at
I cannot divine it.
You profit, then, in the threat –
hemming me in
between the door and the wall.

The wait

nestles down on me
like too much time hunched up 

in a scrap of precariously shelved parchment.

Hovering,

in our own ways,
we are left to wonder if, 

indeed, 

this is what
eternity
feels like.

The Westward Gable

 

Above the stream pointing skyward

the byer’s westward gable 

wanted whitewashed.

 

Steps would be needed 

to broach the gap. 

 

So, her brittle brain and bones 

conspired a plan

from the stirring of lime 

to the stirruped ladder.


Unsteady the method and mix, 

lassoing this job 

remained highly unlikely.

 

Solid, stout, silent, the outhouse 

stood

its granite presence 

unmoved 

by time.

Its paling skin like falling flags of surrender. 

 

Sloppily, she fielded her pale 

in the shadow of the seeming immutable.

 

Snakelike, the wash dripped onto the grass 

into water below the first rung.

Pulled long by the weight, 

foot 

over 

foot 

over 

foot. 

 

Ridge-shy and short of the apex,

Angelo, she reached long with her dripping yard-brush

soothing, scratching, the sclerotic stone.

Panting eyelevel at the top rung

humming some hymn-tune about hills ‘far far away’. 

 

              Above the stream pointing downward 

pulled back by the weight, 

foot 

under 

foot 

under 

foot.

Body, bucket, and brush, scrapes and falls,

legs and arms, laddered bone against stone;

 

by the Babbling brook 

the fall 

clearly wrung out.

 

Unsteady, 

diverting the stream;

solid, silent, stout, for a 

moment 

she lay still.

 

              Flung to the bank, her shattered white staff

a marker for what is soon to come.

Spirit over bone, over flesh, 

up over the riverbank.

 

Handling the pain

in the levered rise and fall

of air and water,

sloppily, she bathes her bruised skin

filmed in a thin lather

at the yard pump. 

 

Slapping soaked swaddling 

on her bleeding bending arm

false faith welled up 

in false healing.  

 

              Ridge-shy and short of the apex 

memory now hoists up the woman’s 

power and presence. 

 

Flesh faced bone like rock immovable.

My grandmother:

scraped, 

scratched, 

soothed

by the stretching phantom arm 

of the bristling past.

 

And her still singing some song 

about a hill 

‘far far away’. 

A Bloodied Hand

 

Grounded on the best textual authority
after millennia of practice,

the move was executed with aplomb:
pilgrim progress, belted tight in the Bedford van,

pinches the Coshquin checkpoint.

Triggered. Pulled into the sordid vortex,
caught in adultery. It needed to be cut out,
cut off, cut away, cut back,

the money shot. Live streamed, blood trickles slow
down, 

hard-kicked, and the engine warms his groin and skin.

 

Stiff barrelled he bulls to the Isle pub
to humbly cheer on the sideline, 

as if in prayer

(football, it turns out, is more important than life).

Ordered, she holds out her trembling hand
to a flash of stern steel coming down 

hard,

ejaculating ecstasy, body parts fly. 

An out of spirit experience. 

 

              You fixate on a bloodied hand hoisted low

that still moves, gesticulates, 

as if writing, 

as if waving, 

in the air, 

in the sand, 

still writing, 

still turning over an olden age. 

 

Still.

Published author who has lived and traveled in a variety of places near and far. Currently lives in Virginia, USA.