my spirit longs to be the stars that fill your sky my heart would shine reflections of its truth to lift you up into a realm where solace sings redemption that once you laid upon me by the mercy of your kiss but even vigilance has lost its vested path these broken roads no longer […]
by Michele Habel-Coffey
There is but smoke again. Only the embers of the McDonalds bags and the exoskeleton of a box of wine remain, glowing. The sun sets on another day.
Eveything is soaked. Wet, grey and cold are draped overarchingly, with raised white eyebrows. They watch. They remember.
I need the fire today. The scent of smoke from one of God’s creations burning. I won’t change my shirt before bed. The corpses of trees smell like home.
The smoke belches forth in a pushing plume of white and grey – but cold doesn’t claim the tattered shell of the coalminer’s hand-crafted fire box. His welded workings fence the flames. The smoke gives way and the flames rise, but do not sprawl. The forest smiles. Today I am thankful for the man’s box.
With my winter-white hand I push down on the last of the Christmas tree branches and just after I am safety distant, a fire bursts to life.
Snap. Crackle. Pop.
The Christmas tree is burning. And the fragrant scent of pagans rides the wind.
Deep bow. Day One.
By Michele Habel-Coffey
They will inherit the Homes
And The Farm
They will inherit jewels
And the wealth of generations,
Of Rosie’s rivets
And Cleopatra’s flight,
Of a Lion,
And a Lamb,
And the Artist’s left hand,
But dollars do not
Make a good cloth for washing
And love’s apple
Tastes better than apathy’s bible
I am but a reflection of their light.
I am a smokey sage
carrying prayers to the Heavens
Bartering that for them,
Darkness be never more
than a canvas for the stars.
On the Eve of a Birthday
By Timothy Steele
As my Scotch, spared the water, blondly sloshes
About its tumbler, and gay manic flame
Is snapping in the fireplace, I grow youthful:
I realize that calendars aren’t truthful
And that for all of my grand unsuccesses
External causes are to blame.
And if at present somewhat destitute,
I plan to alter, prove myself more able,
And suavely stroll into the coming years
As into rooms with thick rugs, chandeliers,
And colorfully pyramided fruit
On linened lengths of table.
At times I fear the future won’t reward
My failures with sufficient compensation,
But dump me, aging, in a garret room
Appointed with twilit, slant-ceilinged gloom
And a lone bulb depending from a cord
Suggestive of self-strangulation.
Then, too, I have bad dreams, in one of which
A cowled, scythe-bearing figure beckons me.
Dark plains glow at his back: it seems I’ve died,
And my soul, weighed and judged, has qualified
For an extended, hyper-sultry hitch
Down in eternity.
Such fears and dreams, however, always pass.
And gazing from my window at the dark,
My drink in hand, I’m jauntily unbowed.
The sky’s tiered, windy galleries stream with cloud,
And higher still, the dazed stars thickly mass
In their long Ptolemaic arc.
What constellated powers, unkind or kind,
Sway me, what far preposterous ghosts of air?
Whoever they are, whatever our connection,
I toast them (toasting also my reflection),
Not minding that the words which come to mind
Make the toast less toast than prayer:
Here’s to the next year, to the best year yet;
To mixed joys, to my harum-scarum prime;
To auguries reliable and specious;
To times to come, such times being precious,
If only for the reason that they get
Shorter all the time.
Timothy Steele, “On the Eve of a Birthday” from Sapphics and Uncertainties: Poems 1970-1986