Sonnet XVII: Pablo Naruda

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Pablo Neruda

Michele Habel-Coffey: Love Lies Bleeding

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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

Michele Habel-Coffey: Wine on the Lips

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Art Credit: leannelanefineart.com


Wine on the Lips

By: Michele Habel-Coffey


I breathe in deeply and hold

Hoping to stave off the aftertaste

Of cheap wine and dying dreams

But the nine dollar red

Is soft on the palate

A delicious bitter-sweet

It leaves no after taste

It bears no acrid smell

Undiscovered

It is yet cheap

I know a treasure when I taste it

Undervalued, underpriced

Underneath me

The world shifts

As the innocent wine envelops me

And sends me off

In a warm blanket of waking dreams

And a smile that arrives

The moments the memories permeate

And bring me back

Wine, you and I

We will see the future bound together

On cheap shelves

Touched by dime-store hands

And we will rise to the occasion

Passing one day around tables

On the lips of giants

Who will smell our vintage

And declare us rare indeed

Epithelial

coffee cup

Epithelial

by Michele Habel-Coffey

My fingers trace the outlines of my cup…

Lingering circles, damp with coffee

And with dead epithelials- words unspoken

Sloughed off by the heat of the black liquid

Stimulated edges of nerves

Tactile truths

Give way to fresh, soft lips

And caffeinated hope

Festivals and Fires by Michele Habel-Coffey

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I yawned and tasted the remnants
Marmalade on my tongue.
A memory partly digested
Orange bitters
On a morning toast
Absently, I’d been reading the paper
Festivals and fires
Circling the globe
Now abandoned to my craving
I rose
Reclaiming the sticky knife
Scraping the edges
Of the empty jar
I licked it clean
And returned it to the jar
Where it clinked out a sour note
Perhaps today I will visit
Mr. Jones next door
He’s got apple butter in the pantry
Perennials and weeds in the garden
But no Mrs. Jones
And no secret recipes
Maybe he’ll share a sweeter toast
And indulge me in musings
of festivals and fires

Stacie Cassarino: Summer Solstice

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I wanted to see where beauty comes from
without you in the world, hauling my heart
across sixty acres of northeast meadow,
my pockets filling with flowers.
Then I remembered,
it’s you I miss in the brightness
and body of every living name:
rattlebox, yarrow, wild vetch.
You are the green wonder of June,
root and quasar, the thirst for salt.
When I finally understand that people fail
at love, what is left but cinquefoil, thistle,
the paper wings of the dragonfly
aeroplaning the soul with a sudden blue hilarity?
If I get the story right, desire is continuous,
equatorial. There is still so much
I want to know: what you believe
can never be removed from us,
what you dreamed on Walnut Street
in the unanswerable dark of your childhood,
learning pleasure on your own.
Tell me our story: are we impetuous,
are we kind to each other, do we surrender
to what the mind cannot think past?
Where is the evidence I will learn
to be good at loving?
The black dog orbits the horseshoe pond
for treefrogs in their plangent emergencies.
There are violet hills,
there is the covenant of duskbirds.
The moon comes over the mountain
like a big peach, and I want to tell you
what I couldn’t say the night we rushed
North, how I love the seriousness of your fingers
and the way you go into yourself,
calling my half-name like a secret.
I stand between taproot and treespire.
Here is the compass rose
to help me live through this.
Here are twelve ways of knowing
what blooms even in the blindness
of such longing. Yellow oxeye,
viper’s bugloss with its set of pink arms
pleading do not forget me.
We hunger for eloquence.
We measure the isopleths.
I am visiting my life with reckless plenitude.
The air is fragrant with tiny strawberries.
Fireflies turn on their electric wills:
an effulgence. Let me come back
whole, let me remember how to touch you
before it is too late.

The Witch Doctor

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And so he extracted his pound of flesh
Exacting his incisions
With the tender care
Of a learned man
Motions so expertly recited
I daresay I felt nothing
save for the pressure of his hand
Upon my wound
And the floating dream
Of the temporary drug
Expanding my lungs
Coursing through my veins
A barrier between reality and pain
Leaving me
With fluttering eyelids
Butterflies in a colored fog
And the disquietude of an invasion
The remnants of which are
A barely discernible scar
Upon the site of excavation
A necessary exchange
An empty chasm
Where once was disease
And a debt to the witch doctor
That can never be repaid