You’re Having Your Time of the Year, I Guess
(A Halloween Poem for an Ex) 10/6/2021
You valued me, you say, for my raven-winged remarks,
Which yet flew into the face of humor as funnier still;
And I, misunderstood to be a satirist all the time,
Instead of only now and again,
Spewed out toads and toadstools and all,
Just to keep you in a happy mood.
A bubbling witches’ brew of concocted relationships,
Of silly warts on a hedgehog’s nose,
I delved deep into the territories
Of the walking dead? No, but walking wounded,
Looking for your key,
That might fit the tune your soul was bound to screech in,
If only I could get it to sing.
Oh, you howled all right, and all night,
But never my secret name,
For how could you know what I had confided so openly,
When you were bound and determined
To find it hidden in the stump of a rotten tree,
Like a rotten tooth in a cankered mouth,
That it had to be something befouled and hidden?
You looked right through me, as if I had been a mirror,
And you casting a spell with your reflections,
Your recollections none of my business,
Not even if I were to save you from all this.
But why? You loved it, you’re a creature of darkness
By inclination, not out of an evil soul,
But from wanting so much to be
Thought fancy with fancy notions,
Carping about the cost of having naïve people around
Hurting everyone else by expecting the world to bubble rainbows.
You want me to hate things too, and I can’t do it,
So we come to the parting at the crossroads,
Where you make your deal with Ol’ Scratch,
And I, finally I, get to sit back and laugh
At one of the world’s biggest fools around.
No, my dear, the rain forest doesn’t make me happy
That there’s less of it every year,
And I don’t like it that there are refugee camps,
And I resent bad government and crowds of idiots
Who spread contagion because they’re too selfish
To be concerned.. But these aren’t the things that plague you,
You’re unhappy by trade.
I’m unhappy by conviction when I am,
And there’s the difference.
Have a happy Halloween!
The Intensest Fever of Sorrow Sings Golden to the Ocean
It is hard to decide if this day, this moment Is the beginning of sorrow Or only its latest turn, It seems so to have been harbored unspoken Remote, And hidden in the breast, Like a lump in the throat That comes on gradually into awareness, A fever that never really was real Until the moment when you elected To think, “Yes, I think I feel a cold coming on,” And then you are sick. And you take to your bed, And weather it through, And wonder if you had stayed up, And had not said “hello, old friend” To the pesky virus If it might not have left you alone this time.
But sorrow comes, like a bell, like a ball,
Ringing in angry peals that roll
Down town streets with intensest toll,
Why so suddenly there, and loud and insistent
That previously was mute and lost, now golden and singing?
Deep in the archipelagos of your mind
Winding through the islands,
Taking its time,
Going on the bright stream of painful waters,
The current that hidden, winds and propels
Your deepest thoughts forward, toward
The piloting ocean where they can be seen,
Sensed, for what they are,
A poisoned trafficking
From the winding-through sands
Of round, dotted headlands
Where mercy has no hand.
A Modern Bean Sidhe (Banshee’s Call)
Wander now, friend, near my hearthside, That no hearthside truly is, Hurt it is, and song-repelling, Sad and lonely, botched and slow. Would it be, if there were fire there Better for us, warmer tuned? With the crackling, leaping flamings There for us to eye, be joy’d? “Hearthside” is the word, acknowledged, Many have no such a thing, But we all can feel the comfort From the notion, any clime. Even in warm South Pacific, At the evening, fires are lit, And the people linger thereby, Eyes bright with the jumping lights.
So I say, as poet-host here,
I can offer only grief,
If you find a sorrow hearthsome,
I can give you that, at least.
Injured, upstaged by my pain, then
I can tell a sorry tale
That might make you feel more pensive,
And, though even so, be glad.
Glad we are, sometimes in grieving,
Meditations’ mournful stances
‘Round the selfsame burning brandings
Find their places, trouble’s reach.
I have no quirky, frightening tales,
No monsters, ghosts, or shadows here,
Except the mind’s own fateful chasms,
Where to fall is just expected.
Nor loves are here, nor lovers’ pinings.
All of that has been expunged quite
By the starker ice’s gleamings
That, resulting, follows next,
A sheer winter to fall’s frost.
For you know that once you’ve passed thus
All the soulful long suspirings,
All that’s left is the sheer essence
Of the suffering, fleshless bone.
So, wander close, faint traveller,
Neat and near come to my hearthside,
In the end of day’s cold gleaming,
Let me chill and sap your strength.
Limning a Line
I had not the right tools for my longing
No pen or fine lead would have completed me
The boundless was all around
What good would a stick oar have been?
And I can’t swim, I said
To myself, or no, really to no one.
But that wasn’t true for most waters,
Just this, this big thing,
This insurmountable swell of blue nothing-much
All around me.
How would I paint it, what thin-haired brush
Would have accommodated my need to draw it out?
For drawing a blue surge of longing
Would be drawing it out.
In waves drifting into more blue,
I floated now, a balloon lost in space or
A bark lost in translation
Dragged away in the undertow
For lack of a means of expression,
Equal to feeling the ocean
But not to escaping the rip tide.
*Author’s note: Limning a Line was inspired by a picture from Oormila Vijayakrishnan Pralad on social media.
Bio: Victoria Leigh Bennett, (she/her). Greater Boston, MA area, born WV. Ph.D., English & Theater. Website: creative-shadows.com. In-Print; “”Poems from the Northeast,” 2021, @olympiapub. Out-of-Print but on website: “Scenes de la Vie Americaine (en Paris),” 2022, @thealienbuddha. Between Aug. 2021-Sept. 2022, Victoria will have been published at least 23 times in: Roi Faineant Literary Press, Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Art, Barzakh Magazine, The Alien Buddha Press, Amphora Magazine, The Madrigal Press, Discretionary Love, Winning Writers (requested for 2 newsletters), Cult of Clio. Victoria writes Fiction/Flash/CNF/Poetry. She is the organizer behind the poets’ collective @PoetsonThursday on Twitter along with Alex Guenther & Dave Garbutt. Twitter: @vicklbennett. Victoria is emotionally and ocularly disabled.