Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Music of Birds and Lions

The Music of Birds and Lions

If I had to say something about it
I would just mention
the way your eyes
moved through me
like fever through a lion,
like the brown-soled boots
of a Victorian explorer
walking lightly
with ownership, a dominion
powered by steam

careful to always
keep an echo
map of the outback
in beige buckram binding
firmly gripped in your mind,
referencing page dogeared,
recording the reasons
not to fall behind on
a dangerous journey;

or that your hands
were always sliding in
a slipstream of tasks, were
water, embracing stones smooth
in their blue satin beds,
leaving behind a geologic
Alexandrian library
of lithic messages, codes;
languages of a few extinct
species of birds, envoys and diplomats;

that your long fingers on the stops
were your flight feathers,
playing a recital of calling macaws
that come at nightfall to color
shadow-fronds of sunset palms
with their rest;
but there's no need to
talk about what you stored
under my skin, or tattoos in birdsong
that can't be forgotten

so I only strum the music of it
where the lions rise
in the mauve gauze of
the jungle dark.

~December 2014

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The last Get Listed for 2014
Process note: I wrote this earlier in the month, when I was undrugged, and it already had several of Michael's words embedded in it. I put a few more in today as I tweaked it, using
 in one form or another music, few, grip, feather, steam, embrace, rise, fall, water, shadow, bed. 

Images: The Sleeping Gypsy, 1897, Henri Rousseau
The Moment of Truth, 1892, Paul Gauguin
Public domain via

Sunday, December 28, 2014


Having a bit of post-holiday malaise, connected to the meds I take for my wonky back, which chose Christmas Day as the time to self-destruct this year. However, this too shall soon pass and I am just fine, other than walking in a chemical fog, feeling NO pain except when I move certain extremities too abruptly,  and hope to be able to do some visiting soon. Thanks again to everyone who reads and supports me here at Verse Escape, and hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and is bracing for yet another bloody and depressing---I mean, Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Reposts for Christmas, Finale

Goat watching

Yule Goat

In December’s dark descent
across crackled breaking sky ice
slivered with dagger snow,
bells ring in whitened night, sharp
hooves stamp on the cloudcloth
shaking pearl dust stripes on
viridian spruces, candelabra arms
turquoise and white pinwheels
circling their wands
of bitter bark raven haunted.

The god of thunders 
pulls the sun's shadow,
flickering hammer tucked
in his brace of clouds,
drives his twin goats
toward the time when day
and night are strait, equals at last
as Odin's wild hunt 
passes damned, mad,
howling overhead

the Snarler and the Grinder
fleet of foot, heedless of fate
run on; tonight's feast, tomorrow’s
feat, killed for meat this starveling
night, raised at dawn.
Spread the skins and 
let each bone 
fall with care so
those here reborn may
race again on the solar wind.

O bright black eye
split with too much knowledge
devil’s mask, canting voice
of the abyss, god's bearer, hunger's enemy
come bless us this Yule with your
yellow stare, ignite yourself
against the hag’s winter storm,
flute your flames through a straw ribcage. 
Watch us make the old dance new again
under the reckless stars.

~December 2011
I have reposted this little Yule tale for Christmas the last few years, and don't see any reason to stop now. ;_) 
A very happy Yuletide to all my readers, and a bright and beautiful New Year.

Notes: In Norse myth, Thor was not only provided with his mountain-shattering hammer Mjölnir, his magical, strength doubling belt Megingjörð, but a chariot in which he traveled through the sky pulled by two goats, Tanngrisnir (Old Norse "teeth-barer, snarler") and Tanngnjóstr (Old Norse "teeth grinder") spoken of in the Prose Edda, who could be slain for food at Thor's discretion then resurrected with the power of Mjölnir and returned to the traces.

~ from wikipedia: 'The Yule Goat is one of the oldest Scandinavian and Northern European Yule and Christmas symbols and traditions. Originally denoting the goat that was slaughtered during the Germanic pagan festival of Yule, "Yule Goat" now typically refers to a goat-figure made of straw. It is also associated with the custom of wassailing, sometimes referred to as "going Yule Goat" in Scandinavia.' As always, I've taken a few liberties with the letter of the myths.You can read more about the folklore of the Yule Goat here  and the Wild Hunt here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014



The bug is humming
humming to itself
and the blood is drumming
in the numb tied hands
and the faces are laughing
pale hands prodding, slapping
the man in the sack who
hangs from the hook
who hasn't slept in a
hundred hours
whose legs have swelled
like sausage balloons
who knows nothing
and tells it all
to the shaved baboons
in Armani suits
while the bug
is humming
an American tune
inside our heads
inside our phones
in the dollar we use
for the death we buy,
in the lie
the bug is humming,
no price is too high.
Barely hidden under the drones,
we tilt the forbidden;
the humming bug, the perfect slave
for this abattoir, this decorated grave
where we kneel in fear of what we've made
of the land of the free
the home of the brave.

~December 2014

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Out of Standard: Humbug Origins
Izy Gruye (The Nice Cage) asks us to use the word humbug in it's original meaning, that of a sham or hoax, in a poem that has nothing to do with winter or Christmas. I have been wanting to write on this topic--the recently released Senate report on torture of detainees during the Bush administration--but have not been able to until today. This poem is just a shadow attempt at expressing that horror, with my apologies to the Talking Heads, for borrowing their line "I hope you're happy with what you made/from the land of the free and the home of the brave." as used in the song below:

Process notes: The word 'bug' here refers to insect life and electronic surveillance, as well as the challenge meaning.

Image" Cover page of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Study of CIA Detention and Interrogation Program, public domain via wikimedia commons

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Burnt Angel

The Burnt Angel

Following the jesus of absence,
flying on the defunct
pegasus line,
will the angel come again
when the moon walks through the pines
or under the yolk of sun
frying unbroken above, or
on the dancing floor
where  flying leaves have one last waltz
before they're dirt and leaves no more?

Will the tongue
that was a biting worm
push deep into the shifting worlds
to eat the wide silence
of the last legends ever heard?
How will the hands
that broke down stone by stone
each road and arch, bricked bridge and hall
pile up that rampart place at last
without rafter or wall?

The icewind says nothing
in her bully brief run;
nothing to the questions
the coming dark
asks the sun.
Pegasus flies, but
Icarus tumbles

~December 2014

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Kerry's Weekend Challenge: In Other Words
Kerry O'Connor has been doing a series of prompts focusing on word replacement in the titles of various works. This week she turns us towards some Christmas-oriented titles--yes, this is about Christmas, of the hedgewitchian kind. I have been out of action for awhile, but couldn't miss Kerry's last prompt of the year.

Image: Pegasus, by Wojciech Siudmak

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Emeralds For Breakfast

Emeralds For Breakfast

Once you gave me
emeralds for breakfast,
moonstones in the afternoons.
You set gold rings into each ear
each one a twist of  jade-apple sun
summer, inhaled from the calyx chalice
to the hot noise of bee-breached flowers.

Somehow the bright green
spilled; the gilt light dulled
gives way to silver
in the cold-hag's time
when earth sleeps brown
and billowing in surrender
and  there is only winter

staggering to me
my lost lamb, her snow
thin and matted, pulled sleet-grey
lean with a gift of famine,
delicate ice diamonds shivering
cold, cold, around her neck
begging for the garland
of  even my
freezing  arms.

~December 2014

Image: Angelina stonecrop (Sedum rupestre 'Angelina')
Ice Blossoms
copyright joyannjones, 2013, 2014