by E. H. Chapin
Bitter melon leaves. What we call asosi. The river overflows, dilutes, concentrated Tea. I am facing the mirror. A hand reaches out Limbs branches marked with a million scratches touches my face. I notice The many faces In my eyes. Faces that lived Before the island line. The river speaks to a moaning ocean That gives birth to breath over and over again. It no longer catches sails. A vine of thorns grew between The crevices of my spine, Forming a bridge I sleep on Every night.
In a place like this, The cold thrives in bones, Freezes souls, Tempts the body to accept defeat Deform, Contort, Purge the life it held.
Roses Have Thorns | Book by Sandra Byrd | Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster
It seeks another vessel Another innocent light To consume. It dreams to turn joy into Shattered teeth, And limp tongues, Drive your laughter into The depths of the ocean, Make you jump out your flesh And behold the realms of your spirit. My children. When you were born, Thorns pierced my heart And I bled over myself. A holy shower, A righteous rain. Heaven opened up, Liquid gold fell from my eyes And the river found its way Through the generations Across my bridge And out of my mouth. I could hear the palm trees Dancing, Lifting themselves up at their roots Bending Forming a temple over our heads And I kept hearing:.
It dreams to turn joy into Shattered teeth, And limp tongues, Drive your laughter into The depths of the ocean, Make you jump out your flesh And behold the realms of your spirit My children. Frost, R. Hopkins, G. Keats, J. Lawrence, D. Masters, E. Sandburg, C.
Sassoon, S. Whitman, W. Wordsworth, W. Yeats, W. Roosevelt, T. Stein, G.
Stevenson, R. Wells, H. Houses and rooms are full of perfumes—the shelves are crowded with perfumes;. The atmosphere is not a perfume—it has no taste of the distillation—it is odorless;. My respiration and inspiration, the beating of my heart, the passing of blood and air through my lungs;. The delight alone, or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields and hill-sides;.
The feeling of health, the full-noon trill, the song of me rising from bed and meeting the sun. You shall possess the good of the earth and sun— there are millions of suns left;. You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books;. Out of the dimness opposite equals advance—always substance and increase, always sex ;. Sure as the most certain sure, plumb in the uprights, well entretied, braced in the beams,.
Knowing the perfect fitness and equanimity of things, while they discuss I am silent, and go bathe and admire myself. Not an inch, nor a particle of an inch, is vile, and none shall be less familiar than the rest. As the hugging and loving Bed-fellow sleeps at my side through the night, and withdraws at the peep of the day , with stealthy tread,. People I meet—the effect upon me of my early life, or the ward and city I live in, or the nation,. My dinner, dress, associates, looks , compliments, dues,. The sickness of one of my folks, or of myself, or ill-doing, or loss or lack of money, or depressions or exaltations;.
Battles, the horrors of fratricidal war, the fever of doubtful news, the fitful events ;.
These come to me days and nights, and go from me again ,. Looks down, is erect, or bends an arm on an impalpable certain rest,. Looking with side-curved head, curious what will come next ;. Backward I see in my own days where I sweated through fog with linguists and contenders;. Not words, not music or rhyme I want—not custom or lecture, not even the best;. I mind how once we lay, such a transparent summer morning;. And parted the shirt from my bosom-bone, and plunged your tongue to my bare-stript heart,.
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Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge that pass all the argument of the earth;. And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own,. And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own;. And that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my sisters and lovers;. A scented gift and remembrancer, designedly dropt ,. And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring taken soon out of their laps. And if ever there was, it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,.
I am the mate and companion of people, all just as immortal and fathomless as myself;. For me those that have been boys, and that love women;. For me the sweet-heart and the old maid—for me mothers, and the mothers of mothers;. I lift the gauze, and look a long time, and silently brush away flies with my hand.
THE CROWN OF THORNS
I witness the corpse with its dabbled hair—I note where the pistol has fallen. The blab of the pave, the tires of carts , sluff of boot-soles, talk of the promenaders;. The heavy omnibus, the driver with his interrogating thumb, the clank of the shod horses on the granite floor;. The snow-sleighs , the clinking, shouted jokes, pelts of snowballs;.
The excited crowd, the policeman with his star, quickly working his passage to the centre of the crowd;. The impassive stones that receive and return so many echoes ;.
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