daddy’s girl

September 28, 2016


she steps
tender footed
softly onto his shoes
taking her hands he teaches her
to dance
at her wedding
she’ll whisper in his ear
“I think you promised me this dance”

and lead.

Roxanne Hoffman


September 28, 2016


So still
and white, she lies,
her faint breath now tainted
with the scent of rotting apples.
I press
my lips
to hers, as if
a kiss could break this spell,
as if we could live. . .happily. . .

J E Stanley


Lafcadio Hearn, in his “Interpretations of Literature” (one of the most valuable and delightful books on literature which has been written in our time), says: “Let me tell you that it would be a mistake to suppose that the stories of the supernatural have had their day in fine literature. On the contrary, wherever fine literature is being produced, either in poetry or in prose, you will find the supernatural element very much alive. . . But without citing other living writers, let me observe that there is scarcely any really great author in European literature, old or new, who has not distinguished himself in the treatment of the supernatural. In English literature, I believe, there is no exception, – even from the time of the Anglo-Saxon poets to Shakespeare, and from Shakespeare to our own day. And this introduces us to the consideration of a general and remarkable fact, – a fact that I do not remember to have seen in any books, but which is of very great philosophical importance; there is something ghostly in all great art, whether of literature, music, sculpture, or architecture.

Earle F. Walbridge
Poetry of the Supernatural


In poetry, special effects are standard kit. From the moment the Green Knight removed his own head before an astonished Sir Gawain, the walls of reality dissolved forever. Poets realised they could pretty much do as they pleased (and still turn a sestina with a flourish). Not only did the potent imagery of the supernatural give their work an ethereal glow, it allowed them to cast themselves as alchemists and propagators of ancient myths. It underlined the unbroken lineage between them and the early mystics; the language of poetry and the rites of pagan ritual.

Christopher James
Between two fires Poetry and the supernatural


I started from my sleep with horror; a cold dew covered my forehead, my teeth chattered, and every limb became convulsed: when, by the dim and yellow light of the moon, as it forced its way through the window shutters, I beheld the wretch – the miserable monster whom I had created. He held up the curtain of the bed and his eyes, if eyes they may be called, were fixed on me.

Mary Shelley
Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus

sexually explicit madwoman…

September 28, 2016


Ophelia’s virginal and vacant white is contrasted with Hamlet’s scholar’s garb, his ‘suits of solemn black.’ Her flowers suggest the discordant double images of female sexuality as both innocent blossoming and whorish contamination; she is the ‘green girl’ of pastoral, the virginal ‘Rose of May’ and the sexually explicit madwoman who, in giving away her wild flowers and herbs, is symbolically deflowering herself.

Elaine Showalter
Representing Ophelia

Honey Locust Postmortem

September 27, 2016


How bright
death lies upon
once green blades – concealing
in that fleeting glamour how bright
death lies.

Ann K. Schwader

Graveyard Liles

September 27, 2016


The morning’s pages are stained
with sugar, flakes of skin,
the very breath of the stars.

A ghost dressed in dust and grasses
dances alone
in slow motion


There is that chiming.
A fall of hair,
golden ashes of pure thought.

The crickets are fainter, there.
I imagine a rose of glory,
a poem,
a suicide’s note,
just past dawn on a Sunday.

Cold dew, silence.
The muses are everywhere,
dying, dying.


I hear voices
where there are none
yet dark words are spoken
between these streets
and the moon of memory.

Late afternoon.
Already I want wine, another poem, sleep.
I want the word cusp made grey porcelain.
I am ready for November, sleet, eternity.


I sip the mist,
crush peaches and steep them in cinnamon.
I can hear a distant wren, a rill.
Last night, the katydid songs were so huge,
I thought I was a dream in a folktale.
Today, a white breath chills my heart.
Shadows and ghosts swallow the world,
bells start ringing,
a blue light settles on the page.


Fallen like webs over the red grasses,
words drip like dew
from night’s black tendrils.

And poetry, that dead angel,
sleeps next to me
every night.


August morning.
Thoughts of red satin.
Whitegold of insect music.
Stillness of ducks on the river.


At first coffee
these oracles and silences
of rooms within rooms
from all the kitchen years.
are but shadows that come and go,
like clouds, like clouds, like clouds.


Time of the crickets.
Velvet fantasies of the afternoon.
I faint for awhile into the tiny sounds
of birds, gravel shifting, leaves touching,
hoping this is how soft and sweet
death will be.


Red ink is everywhere.
The sumac is before me,
the pokeberries, a thousand years
of ironweed. I see the clouds
reaching for September,
I think again of the vodka in the closet.


There are some days now
like slow flowers in a slow breeze,
the world edged in soft-focus lace,
clouds of drunken butterflies dancing,
time itself turning clear violet
in the winecups of our dreams.
In my head, I fling my arms high,
into the sky, the cold grace, the future.
Gravity and surface tension remain,
like old friends from Earth.


I crave the heady wines of deep autumn,
the gold and red trees floating in the mist.
My head is filled with freight trains.
The unbearable beauty of the stars drives me mad.
I return inside to lamps, thoughts of red pears,
these words that disappear as I write them.


Ivy in moonlight, her limbs,
her silences,
tendrils of sugar,

A whispering pinkness
on my green bones
like a mermaid’s gills, a breeze at midnight,
the sound of Rapunzel’s hair falling.


These white morning glories
are still wet
with a mystic dew

I look deep into them
how deep can whiteness be?

I am dizzy like a boy
seeing breasts not his mother’s
for the first time

falling and falling
into that bath
of milk and cleavage


All day long an insect cries
outside my window

Sparrows with wings of dust
dart past into the shadows

The light is a strong wine
on these aging eyes

I write in gold powder
and quickly blow it away


Another empty day to fill with poems

I dream of water and persimmons

The taste of iron and whiskey permeates everything

G. Sutton Breiding


The other one, the one called Borges, is the one things happen to. I walk through the streets of Buenos Aires and stop for a moment, perhaps mechanically now, to look at the arch of an entrance hall and the grillwork on the gate; I know of Borges from the mail and see his name on a list of professors or in a biographical dictionary. I like hourglasses, maps, eighteenth-century typography, the taste of coffee and the prose of Stevenson; he shares these preferences, but in a vain way that turns them into the attributes of an actor. It would be an exaggeration to say that ours is a hostile relationship; I live, let myself go on living, so that Borges may contrive his literature, and this literature justifies me. It is no effort for me to confess that he has achieved some valid pages, but those pages cannot save me, perhaps because what is good belongs to no one, not even to him, but rather to the language and to tradition. Besides, I am destined to perish, definitively, and only some instant of myself can survive in him. Little by little, I am giving over everything to him, though I am quite aware of his perverse custom of falsifying and magnifying things. Spinoza knew that all things long to persist in their being; the stone eternally wants to be a stone and the tiger a tiger. I shall remain in Borges, not in myself (if it is true that I am someone), but I recognize myself less in his books than in many others or in the laborious strumming of a guitar. Years ago I tried to free myself from him and went from the mythologies of the suburbs to the games with time and infinity, but those games belong to Borges now and I shall have to imagine other things. Thus my life is a flight and I lose everything and everything belongs to oblivion, or to him. I do not know which of us has written this page.

Jorge Luis Borges
Borges and I


During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher. I know not how it was – but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. I say insufferable; for the feeling was unrelieved by any of that half-pleasurable, because poetic, sentiment, with which the mind usually receives even the sternest natural images of the desolate or terrible. I looked upon the scene before me – upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain – upon the bleak walls – upon the vacant eye-like windows – upon a few rank sedges – and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees – with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveller upon opium – the bitter lapse into everyday life – the hideous dropping off of the veil. There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart – an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime.

Edgar Allan Poe
The Fall of the House of Usher