Poetry

Recently Published Work

 

New Year After Blood Sacrifice

Give me newness: every single day

Unfettered glee gasping for more

The courage to fast, to pass on misery

even when it’s free

Stand apart, invent, devise. Refuse

to hold the knife over anyone on

the altar built for the uneducated

Their blood sacrifice, their invisibility,

not marked on the calendar, not as

cusp, new moon or full.  Dark matter,

mattering, immeasurable, an unnoticed

void, ignored. Vacuous gaping mouths,

eyes, blinded by the light

A new year is coming, reject

Orwell’s precognitive tale, don’t ride

H.G. Well’s time machine into a future

resembling the past.

All the unwell must celebrate anyway

Drink yellow water and call it champagne

The death of the old and familiar,

all we’ve taken for granted, fading

memories on receipts printed with

vanishing ink become chants, lore

Can one call an election an “ugly baby”

without society taking offense?

The ugly baby is coming, hungry for all

that remains. Fireworks, finery, a feast of

succulent lambs for slaughter.

Breathe deep, in years to come,

another child, Hope, young, old Soul,

giggling at all that behold her beauty

Next year, or the year after, someday,

sometime, another chance to change

 

Writer

I took a wrong turn in my novel.

It happened on page 92, I stumbled too far ahead.

The protagonist went from twelve to sixteen.

I guess that means I’m writing a series.

I cut it out and pasted it into a new doc.

On a break, I go into the living room.

Man has assembled our new tent.

Zipped inside we remember mountains, beaches, rain.

Nothing and everything has changed.

Man says we should plan a trip.

I say, “My first free weekend is months out.”

Let slip that I’m thinking of my book.

Bob Marley sings, “Don’t worry about a thing.”

I’d like to be worry-free for years, forever.

I love man, but being a writer is 24/7.

Th pain of not finishing exceeds that of rejection.

The year is over before I open the calendar.

I’m tethered to my home, a mobile jingling in the wind.

Too often alone, on the keyboard, my fingers traveling fast.

I stop writing to go to “work.”

I take notes for my novel in the car.

I can’t stop now, ever.

(published by Five Willows Poetry Review, June 2016)

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Twenty-five Realizations In Five Days

  1. I’m not good at roughing it.
  2. Drinking more than three glasses of wine is dangerous.
  3. Drinking more than four beers leads to uncontrollable laughter.
  4. Hard liquor can undermine one’s ability to tell a story.
  5. Sometimes others can undermine one’s ability to tell a story.
  6. Copious amounts of liquor can make sleeping scrunched up in one’s car feel like a five-star hotel.
  7. Regardless of truth, people don’t like to think about, or understand, what they haven’t lived.
  8. The cynicism to understanding ratio needs to shift.
  9. I’m not likely to conform to the one accepted model of being that is pushed by society today.
  10. I’m secretly praying for the return of the fabulous adventurer.
  11. I would have enjoyed being a contemporary of Hunter S. Thompson or Dorothy Parker.
  12. I forgive other people’s mistakes because I make mistakes.
  13. Some people are too invested in being self-righteous.
  14. People under forty no longer live interesting lives.
  15. The exceptions to #14 make one damn glad to have met them.
  16. People that have travelled and lived still know more than those that haven’t, but one can no longer say this aloud.
  17. An outstanding ability to reiterate what one has learned doesn’t guarantee wisdom.
  18. The deeply wounded forgive more than those that merely pity themselves for attention.
  19. There are two kinds of people, those that, as Emanuel Zola said, “Live life loud” and the other type that don’t get my attention.
  20. There are always more than two kinds of people.
  21. The writer’s life might not be opulent, but it’s prodigious.
  22. The bluest sky I’ve ever seen was on a rainy day.
  23. When the sun is bright and the rain hard, drops can tear holes in space revealing the Imaginal Realm.
  24. I’ve lost most of the weekend.
  25. One doesn’t have to be good at roughing it to do it.

 

(published by Five Willows Poetry Review, June 2016)

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Lost Tribe

My crib was a plastic laundry basket. In it I was,

swaddled and tucked in the design of a story

 

My family layered it like sediment, as rich

as the reservation’s cliffs I called home

 

In time, I’d fall to the stones below. A kite cut

from its tether. My heritage, drowned in

 

the gene pool. My memories altered. My

identity, my story, taken by a sudden

 

light, a darkroom door opened, turning

partially developed images white

 

(published by Five Willows Poetry Review, June 2016)

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The Fisherwoman

Sitting on the face of the moon

I fish the oceans of Earth

casting long line’s of love-struck

to billions of loneliness

Occasionally, I reel one to my heart

Sometimes, I fall out of my boat and

swim among the stars, in Scorpio,

Pisces and Cancer. If what I’ve caught

is lost I’ll talk of the one that got away

 

(published by Five Willows Poetry Review, June 2016)

______________________________________

Uncle

In the 70’s, I knew

the reservation blues,

its cattails and mosquito swamps,

lost territory, lost time, and booze –

 

Uncle, it’s not sleep if you can’t wake up

So sweet are copper brown eyes,

lost like pennies in the mud,

to give luck to the rich. We, “small fries”

 

painted red, yellow, and turquoise trinkets,

miniature totem poles for tourists

watching poverty dance, “in costume,”

to a foreign beat

 

The Star-Spangled Banner or

I pledge allegiance to – survival.

All kinds of lost

minds, wet wool, tobacco,

 

smoldering fires

Uncle, do all great spirits

turn to shadows

behind missing trees?

 

(published by Five Willows Poetry Review, June 2016)

______________________________________

Sun Meets Moon

If you ask me during the eclipse

when the only light is a ring of white

and diamonds are worlds, suns, and memories

I’ll say yes and we’ll become we,

two twirling bodies married by mystery

 

(published by Five Willows Poetry Review, June 2016)

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Chasing

Speaking of rainbows, today’s was magnetic. Of course,
absent the rain shouldn’t it be called a hallucination? We fell

over ourselves trying to get to the end of it. “The gold!” You cried, “Is utterly unverifiable,” like Don Quixote, except he

chased windmills. I stuttered into numbness wanting to say, “I’m here!” in spite of the lie in it. Something was not right

about the day, rainbows, or plain-bows, aren’t supposed to set people on edge, yet this one did. At the closest point, you were

red, a deep-hearted, open-veined geyser. I was orange, not a spray-tan snafu, but naked, moist, like a skinless peach. Oh,

how the others squealed! Their empty hands holding tight to leprechauns, delirious, drunk on green and blue charging like

donkeys in an indigo dream. Until we fell, spilling our serpents, crawling after spare change, choked and empty

things, discarded wrappers, broken bottles, evaporated quixotic arches of ephemeral glee.

There’s not enough left in us to say “Goodbye.”
So, we lay here in the melting sun,

remembering as if we were together,
having left without saying a word.

Originally published by BlazeVox in BlazeVox15, December 2015

_________________________________________________

Hungover

My last glass went down

on the top note of Il Dolce Suono Lucia di Lammermoor

From there I fell upward to the cat cloud,

my mouth fur-thick, thick with fur-

I can’t even say it

For a second the sunlit tabby arched high,

reaching for invisible stars

I ask, “Why daytime?”

This diva’s done, consumed by fire and sun,

over here, adrift on sweat island, miles from any ocean, I’m

still looking for that note. I hear myself say, “Can’t be no place”

and imagine that sky cat’s claws in motion, kneading

the air into tendrils of vapor, distilling breakfast like a good kitty.

Such a pity that I don’t make sense anymore,

praying to an empty glass,

in case God helps those that fuck themselves

 

(Published by BlazeVOX, in BlazeVOX15, Fall/Winter Issue 2015)

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Disparate Thoughts   

Later we’ll learn that the dog’s foot was caught and bleeding in a trap.

For now, a murder of crows has captured my attention as they swoop at the grey-eyed goat that’s eating what’s fallen under the apple tree.

Beyond the evergreens, workers have put tape around the trunks of trees,

soon we’ll see the cars we hear rolling on the road.

I stand over the sink looking out the kitchen window, steam from the dishes obscuring your form as you walk the drive to get the mail. You’ll gather that waste of advertising and our bills

and you’ll come back with a letter written in your brother’s hand, news from Ireland, some good, some sad.

After a bottle of wine, we’ll laugh and call ourselves “country sophisticates.”

But, in this moment I am alone. It is reasonable to believe that everything will be all right,

even as tears fall,

even with you disappearing from view,

even as I place my hand on my heart to make sure that I am alive.

 

(Published by Knot Literary Magazine Spring 2015)

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Being

My mind is an estuary of twirling waters

where the bountiful stream meets the illusion of solidity

Beyond, the eternal sea, sorrows sink into unknown

Let me be light, the high note in water’s laughter,

a sparkle of fire on the surface of a summer’s lake,

thousadns of gentle hands, golden fragments, reaching

I’ll be the good day. Or, at least the thought of a one

Feel my arms of sunlight reach out to  hold you

And rest, we are the stuff of stardust, a poet’s dream.

Never fall like rain about the future,

I know who you will be because I am

beyond becoming, simply being to be.

 

(Published in Entropy’s Final Poems Event May of 2015)

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Wishes

All the daisies have turned

their sunny faces overnight.

Atop a milky stem charmed

tufts prepare for flight.

That golden youth transformed

into an old lady-do of white.

And the stem, unadorned,

is now nothing more than blight.

I regret I never warmed

to a thousand golden lights.

Now too many have reformed

for me to be contrite.

Upon the wind sojourn

rise-up you little kites.

At least you lack prick thorns,

they are the roses spite.

If you bore such horns

children would not delight

in blowing ‘til they’re worn

upon your heads with might.

Away! I am forlorn,

by this end of summer rite.

As seeds set sail I warn,

“Do not my lawn alight!”

My words are quickly spurned

by the daisies that turn tight.

Perhaps someday I’ll learn

how to cast my wishes right.

And be without malice or concern,

for the parasols of sprites.

 

(Published by Dove Tales Literary Journal April of 2015)

________________________________________________

surf music

between the sea and sky

I lie upon the waves

my curved breast

to waist to thigh

riding foam

over azure

I 
tumble into

pale pools of

music,
 smooth

steady as a longboard,

soft as a wave over skin

a blue consciousness,  one note

breathing, between the sea and sky

 

(Published in Knot Literary & Arts Magazine November 2014)

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When He Breaks

Stare at a man whose missing an eye.

Only enter the rooms of people you know.

He says his tears taste like hot sauce.

He is aware of his bones.

They throw the flowers in the trash.

(Published in Knot Literary & Arts Magazine November 2014)

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The Way Home

I climb a color-board sky

bounce upon a pillow cloud trampoline

grab hold of a star’s outstretched arms

and laugh and twirl upon strand or beam

I lift beyond the darkness of eternity

to wake in a poet’s dream

 

(Winning selection for 4Culture’s Poetry on the buses Seattle 2014)

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Reservation

Mud, cattails and mosquito swamps

lost territory, lost people

and booze

It’s not sleep

when you can’t wake-up

copper brown eyes

like pennies in the mud

lost to give luck

to the rich

red, yellow and turquoise trinkets

miniature totem poles

tourists watch poverty dance

in costume

to a foreign beat

the Star Spangled Banner or

I pledge allegiance

minds going damp

wet wool

smoldering fires

spirits turned to shadows

behind missing trees

 

(3rd Place in Poetry. org’s National Poetry Contest, 2004. Revised in 2015 and published by The New Independents. Dramatically revised in 2016 and published by Five Willows Poetry Review in 2016 under its new title “Uncle.”

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[Published by Blackmail Press Edition 37, September 2014]

A Day at the Beach with the NSA 

A breeze blew on Liberty’s legs, ruffling her panties.

She felt exposed but shook her thoughts away.

The gaze, she surmised, was all in her head which was planted deeply in the sand.

Dismissing her paranoia, relieved, she dropped to her knees and let her worries disappear.

She enjoyed the exfoliation and soon drifted to sleep, confident, carefree.

Liberty’s sleep was disturbed when someone entered her vagina.

She thought, “If I haven’t done anything wrong, I don’t have anything to worry about.”

Yet, upturned as she was, she suspected that more than one was banging away beyond her view

but again she dismissed her concerns, her fears, telling herself, “The authorities know what they are doing.”

Besides politics is unbearably boring. What could she do?

When Liberty emerged from the beach, her backside sore, she felt a sense of loss.

She had her sunglasses and towel, her Coppertone tanning lotion, but she could sense something wasn’t right.

Even as she thought it, she was getting looks that she didn’t know she was getting. But, in the end, only the crabs

made her squirm. Without complaint, she insisted, “Inaction” she insisted, “Is surely the best action.”

~ Kelle Grace Gaddis

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