Poetry and Art: Stephen Mead
This long expected great ocean blaze...
The surf is flames, Davy, but nothing burns
Save for fever.
Where its breaking is the dousing
In an aria of sheets going over
Stunning, Howard, that salve is
Absolute, Frank, for sores which tongues,
Tears, try as they might, could not wash away
The salty crusts of.
Now, post-flood, a supreme calm
Is clean purity over trials of your last brave nights,
& our days are such new sons, new daughters
to name. Strange that Mother Earth, Father Time
orphans the parents as lovers asunder via the sickness
which smashes & smashes the shape of our whole coast.
Taking form again here is the survival of wash ashores
Yet we do it Dave, Howard, Frank, for the memory
Of love's sake too tidal for anything else.
Meeting only on plaster,
My face a case of dust, these statues
That you started leaving me
To finish off
"Done with it!"
never, will not
be long enough
between the floods & the clay
that returneth back all of our work,
all which was love as, coward, how
I curse, deliver, now smash
With fingers, knuckles, all in a grip,
A slide, a caress
Again on mud, on fluid, on rock,
Beneath the muscle, the veins
Beneath the skin, my pulse
Beating your name as chisel, as mallet
When my own all along really was splendid
& to whisper it is simply
the least arrogant beseechment,
dearest, dearest, that you will ever receive
From The Nudge/Nudge
The frame is pink,
Magenta at sunset,
And our outlines?
Heat of summer seen
Their beautiful deck view
Of cat amid flowers,
The rolling ocean,
And a single monument
Of haze-burned bricks....
All that warmth comes from us,
And in the painting of you,
Angel, in a biblical sleep
Of deep sheets
As robe swirls,
Your halo is the only light source,
Your skin soft with strong gold...
For the next canvas wings
Will sprout with the myriad
Reflections of water,
A harps prism,
From some tacky 5 & dime...
Fairy dust, myths, mediums,
The legacy of oil
To sustain each day
As tonight, meanwhile, mortal,
I pray cancer shall not have
My Father by the throat
Snow is the long voyage
Snow is the longing
& it is warm enough
for snow there, in Albany,
the weather station informs,
so Pete, Peter, Marianne, Marie,
20 minutes from that city
banked between treelines
in your suburb, on your farm...
Can you feel the soft immensity
Of this snow falling here?
Poignancy is its colourlessness
Gathering hues through the blank
Blankets, the textiles of stippling
Weaving the air's loom, the air's
Curtains of movement eyes find
The stillest flight in,
& gloved fingers catch
melting lozenges of
true as mouths.
Bowl round, how mine opens,
A gull call of silence
Where flurrying paths stop
At a single stretch of surf
Pulsing purple at the world's curl,
Its very tip, this jester's slipper...
Upside down the pen could turn it,
& out would pour addicts, drunkards,
tourists & fish mongers...
Out too all the recluses, the artisans
& broods of pilgrim ancestry
adrift in ageless niche-work
of home, home, home...
Echo, echo, echo-----
The snow shapes my silence
Tide-ferried to every highway,
Every airport, every current
Which might bring you my call-----
& here the snow,
and here the surf,
they deliver the familial scapes
of antennas, vanes of compass
needles, of barometer dots,
& weather station scribbles...
Look, our screens are widening,
& rhythmic calendars
snow tick in unison
'til you picture me as I,
encompass you in return
See the artwork that accompanies this collection:
Copyright © 2003 Stephen Mead.