Colors Passing Through Us

Native Colors

Colors Passing Through Us

BY MARGE PIERCY
Purple as tulips in May, mauve
into lush velvet, purple
as the stain blackberries leave
on the lips, on the hands,
the purple of ripe grapes
sunlit and warm as flesh.

Every day I will give you a color,
like a new flower in a bud vase
on your desk. Every day
I will paint you, as women
color each other with henna
on hands and on feet.

Red as henna, as cinnamon,
as coals after the fire is banked,
the cardinal in the feeder,
the roses tumbling on the arbor
their weight bending the wood
the red of the syrup I make from petals.

Orange as the perfumed fruit
hanging their globes on the glossy tree,
orange as pumpkins in the field,
orange as butterflyweed and the monarchs
who come to eat it, orange as my
cat running lithe through the high grass.

Yellow as a goat’s wise and wicked eyes,
yellow as a hill of daffodils,
yellow as dandelions by the highway,
yellow as butter and egg yolks,
yellow as a school bus stopping you,
yellow as a slicker in a downpour.

Here is my bouquet, here is a sing
song of all the things you make
me think of, here is oblique
praise for the height and depth
of you and the width too.
Here is my box of new crayons at your feet.

Green as mint jelly, green
as a frog on a lily pad twanging,
the green of cos lettuce upright
about to bolt into opulent towers,
green as Grand Chartreuse in a clear
glass, green as wine bottles.

Blue as cornflowers, delphiniums,
bachelors’ buttons. Blue as Roquefort,
blue as Saga. Blue as still water.
Blue as the eyes of a Siamese cat.
Blue as shadows on new snow, as a spring
azure sipping from a puddle on the blacktop.

Cobalt as the midnight sky
when day has gone without a trace
and we lie in each other’s arms
eyes shut and fingers open
and all the colors of the world
pass through our bodies like strings of fire.

Sage Rising

Sage Rising

By Michele Habel-Coffey

nativeprayer

They will inherit the Homes

And The Farm

They will inherit jewels

And the wealth of generations,

Of Miners,

And Marauders,

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

Just so.

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


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

Michele Habel-Coffey: Love Lies Bleeding

flowersforalgernon

Love Lies Bleeding

By Michele Habel-Coffey


Amaranthus Caudatus for Algernon

For Charlie

And for my Grace

Loves lies bleeding

Dying in the cold

Dying on the headstone

Of the long gone

And seldom mourned

I am Alice

In Charlie’s backyard

Down the foxhole I go

In search of better flowers

Of Lotus

And Lilac

And a pill to make me big again

The white rabbit

Runs beside the mouse

His jaws clamped upon

The Eglantine

The mouse, tangled in

Forget-Me-Not,

stumbles

Remaining in between

The Rabbit

and poor Alice

Poor, poor me

I am ever chasing

Ever fading

A Cheshire grin

Left upon

An aching memory

Forget the pill

Give me a potion

I shall tread until I drown

Exhausted

By the wheel

And intoxicated

by the Wormwood

Campfires

campfire

Campfires

By: Michele Habel-Coffey

You linger

Like the scent of campfires on my clothes

I move in tandem with the wind

Around the burning circle

Just to drown in the smoke

Staying far enough away

Not to burn

My eyes water

But don’t cry

Provocation of tears

Comes now only

From wind and waves

Of white spirits passing through me

You surround me

I drink you, like coffee for breakfast

The welcome smell

Of my familiar, vaporous friend

Prismatic: By Michele Habel-Coffey

whitehouserainbow

Prismatic

By: Michele Habel-Coffey


Transparent glass with angles

Pointed, dense and clear

Traditional triangles

Sometimes used as mirrors


Reflecting what’s internal

No colors bursting through

Just an image of yourself

Starring back at you


This requires angles

Of the steepest kind

The narrowest of options

For the narrowest of minds


Who only want to see themselves

Reflected in the glass

Instead of all the colors

That at better angles pass


Through the surface of the prism

Refractions of the light

Dispersions of the varied waves

Rainbows, spectrums, sight


There’s beauty in the colors

Much more than just plain white

But one must meet the other

At an angle that’s just right


To produce the dancing rainbow

For all the world to see

Takes more than just a piece of glass

Or varied energies


Conversations of the past

Call to mind a prism

Geometric and triangular

Common colloquialism


But rainbows don’t just come

From the shapes of yesterdays

It all about the angles

Dispersing light, refracting waves


Even tears can make a rainbow

As they’re falling to the ground

Pain calling forth a beauty

Without a single sound


I prefer refractions

And dancing colored rays

To self-absorbed amusement

Reflections showing age


Remember ole’ Narcissis?

Poor fool, you know he drowned?

In a shallow pool reflecting

The image of a clown


So if you want to see a rainbow

Stop gazing in the mirrors

At the hardest, steepest angles

As rigid as your fears


Bend a little, my dear friend

I promise you won’t break

But instead might see a rainbow

Put down the mirror, for Heaven’s sake!

Michele Habel-Coffey: Pictures of Volcanos

volcano in the clouds

Pictures of Volcanos

By: Michele Habel-Coffey


Sorrow in a stormy soul

Volcano in the clouds

A painted woman smiling

Next to a man, erect and proud


Molten, bubbling substance

Brewing just beneath

Her dress dancing with the wooden floor

And brushing at his feet


Like lava rising, reaching

Up caverns giving way

The woman’s pallor’s reddened

At a collar that is frayed


Hiding skin like porcelain

But not the blood that flows

Daring to color neck and cheek

Where passion’s secrets show


He’s gazing down, upon her head

But her eyes are on the man

Whose lens and light have captured

Silent storms and shifting sands


I turn and face Grandmother

Who wonders what keeps me

Longer than I should have been

Bringing her the tea


“Wasn’t I a song my child?

Dressed in tattered rags?

Such a scene so long ago

Oh how their tongues did wag!”


“Did you love him?”, I ask bravely,

“The man behind the lens?”

“No matter child. No matter.

I was married; he was kin.”


We stand a moment gazing

At the image on the wall

Though the mountain never boiled

There’s still an ash that falls


It covers what surrounds her

Like islands veiled in dust

The remnants of the nether

A long since buried lust


Its many years since Grandpa’s gone

Untimely was his death

Leaving her a widow young

Some years to her last breath


But each week she keeps her visits

Sometimes she’s gone for days

She returns with pictures of the places

That keep calling her away


Mr. Jones, he takes those pictures

Camera’s always ‘round his neck

When he calls for Grandma on those days

It’s the one thing I expect


There’s no pictures though, of Mr. Jones

Only Grandma, smiling bright

With colors in her porcelain cheeks

Reflections in her sight


Of the man that captures more

Than the images in her hands

He is movement on the richter scale

He is more than just her friend


From Mr. Jones, photographer

The man ever with no name

I see sometimes it’s the imagery

Holds more value than the frame.