New poems from Gayle J. Greenlea : “Grey” & “Mapping the Long Haul”(revised)

Grey

I meant to leave in the morning,
but now trees effloresce from bedposts,
soughing silhouettes on walls.

Secrets coil ‘round me in thorny
bramble. The wolf waits, teeth bared,
next to my packed suitcase.

Stealthily you materialize; night
incandescent with your yellow moon eyes.
“Don’t tell,” you pant, paw on my chest,
breath moist and hot against my ear.

My body is bone cold.

I’ve never told.

I pretend the forest hides my hands,
my mouth, the missing pieces you
stole from me. I lie still as an alabaster
tomb in the womb of the forest.

You slink away as you came,
fur limned in dawn. Wildwood recedes
in strands of anemic light.

I reach for my suitcase under the bed,
but your teeth are still there.

Mapping the Long Haul

My body is a foreign land. In the neuronal forest I need a map
to find my mislaid memories. Hands shake; muscles fibrillate out of tune.
I wander a faulty electronic brume, eyes hooded like a bird of prey, anxious
for the falconer to restore remembered flight. Sight is illusive. No lift of wings,
no songlines in the outback to navigate the wound that never heals.

Lungs crackle like tin foil. A thousand swallows will not dislodge the obstacle
in my throat: the irascible cough. Fire gnaws my skin. Ice prickles.
I am molting feathers on the wind, tilting from my axis; sun too bright, flight stunted.
The egg I carry falls, smashes on the rocks like snow. I am falling, too.

Hope is a destination. I hold fast to its teat as if it were a compass pointing east
to a land of milk and honey where sails billow on vessels of blood.
Spasms are waves; every joint bruised, aches. I am weary of this journey
I was not prepared to take. Tongue swells, gums bleed, sores mock speech.
If only I could choose the words I speak, but electric footsteps falter. And now
another insult: my hair falls out in handfuls.

I need a map to find my way, but Long Haul Covid is a maiden voyage,
fraught with terrors of the deep. I dare not sleep.

The world no longer navigable, I am my own cartographer. I mark the clotted
terrain, tenderly undo knots and kinks, yearning for relief.
I hear the fog horn calling — or is it ringing in my ears? I am too far away.

Bio: Gayle J. Greenlea is a poet and counselor for survivors of sexual and gender-related violence. Her poem, “Wonderland”, received the Australian Poetry Prod Award in 2011. She shortlisted and longlisted for the Fish Poetry Prize in 2013, and debuted her first novel, Zero Gravity, at the KGB Literary Bar in Manhattan in 2016. Her work appears in St. Julian Press, Rebelle Society, A Time to Speak, Headline Poetry and Press, The Wombwell Rainbow, and Life in Quarantine (Stanford).

Wolfpack Contributor: Gayle J Greenlea

Poem “Asking the Wind” by Gayle J Greenlea : influenced by Bob Dylan series

Poetry Showcase from Gayle J. Greenlea

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Gayle J Greenlea

Poem “Asking the Wind” by Gayle J Greenlea : influenced by Bob Dylan series

Bob Dylan Vector Illustration Drawing. September 11, 2017 royalty free illustration

Asking the Wind

How many roads led to this precipice?
Dylan told us where to look for answers.

I stand on the sea-whipped cliff, testing air,
Medusa hair holding the sky aloft
Eyes scan horizons for the surrendering dove
as boots breach borders in mid-winter snow
The Pale Moth flexes red wings, thrumming
menace, crumbling peace like a biscuit. 

The wind squalls, heavy with questions 

In another hemisphere, the land down under
blazes 50c and lets a virus rip. The PM has no eyes,
no ears. Who hears the suffocating
cries, the planetary reverberations, 
the eroding loss?
How many deaths will satisfy the gods?

The hot wind squalls, heavy with questions

I summon the Tambourine Man to quell the drums
of war. But answers blow lonely in the wind.

Poetry Showcase from Gayle J. Greenlea

2 poems by Gayle J. Greenlea about Going to Space (anniversary of the moonwalk)

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Gayle J Greenlea

New poems from Gayle J. Greenlea : “Grey” & “Mapping the Long Haul”

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Gayle J Greenlea

with Gayle J Greenlea

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Gayle: I wrote the first poem I can remember writing when I was eight, but my English professor-mother credits me with this poem which I recited to her when I was two: “God, throw the sun in my hand and make it warm.” I was writing stories from the time I could hold a crayon. My early influences were fairytales, as well as Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, and a collection of Native American tales called, When the Storm God Rides. John Ciardi (I Met a Man) was my go-to poet when I first learned to read.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Gayle:

Poets: Joy Harjo, Federico Garcia Lorca, Pablo Neruda, T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lucille Clifton, Rita Dove, Wislawa Szymborska, Ana Glazova, Rainer Maria Rilke, Seamus Heaney, W.B. Yeats

Writers: Jorge Luis Borges, Truman Capote, Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, Dostoyevsky, Checkov, Vonnegut, Joan Didion, Toni Morrison, Sandra Cisneros, Amy Tan, Patricia Highsmith, Stieg Larson

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Gayle: I grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, with sun-long days and barefoot summers accompanied by cicada song. Immersed in Latino culture and under the tutelage of my Spanish teacher, I fell in love with the language and literature of Latino poets and writers, including their themes of political justice. By 18, I was a world traveler, which further widened my horizons and established a lifelong passion for multiculturalism. In graduate school, I discovered Paulo Freire and liberation theologians like Gustavo Gutierrez, Leonardo Boff, Ernesto Cardenal, and Elsa Tamez, whose influence completed my metamorphosis into a political poet.

Q4: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?

Gayle: I recently completed my first novel, a Herculean task and exhilarating learning experience. I’m also proud of my decades-long, creative activism with the LGBTQIA community and healing work with survivors of sexual and gender violence.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Gayle: I think I’ve always wanted to be an artist/poet, despite dabbling in all kinds of things, including Quantum Physics.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Gayle: Playing guitar and singing, listening to music, reading, photography, collage-making, forest bathing, beach-combing, traveling (sadly on hold), theatre-going and art museum-loitering, nesting with David, playing with our kitties. I’m also a patron of café culture and a coffee connoisseur.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?

Gayle: N/A at the moment, but I look forward to promotional work in the future. I’m working on a poetry collection and hoping an agent will snap up my novel. Current promotions are limited to social justice and climate action advocacy.

Q8: What is one of your favorite lines/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Gayle:

Blue paint falls from my brush
as I float in thin air
waiting
for a change of weather

(from Picasso Blues)

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Gayle: Graham Mort, Wesley McNair, Lin Ostler, Peter Shefler, Lois P. Jones, Scott Wolven, Newell Faulkner, Marion Newland and my mom Mary Nell Kivikko

Bio: Gayle J. Greenlea is a poet and counselor for survivors of sexual and gender-related violence. Her poem, “Wonderland”, received the Australian Poetry Prod Award in 2011. She shortlisted and longlisted for the Fish Poetry Prize in 2013, and debuted her first novel, Zero Gravity, at the KGB Literary Bar in Manhattan in 2016. Her work appears in St. Julian Press, Rebelle Society, A Time to Speak, Headline Poetry and Press, The Wombwell Rainbow, and Life in Quarantine (Stanford).

New poems from Gayle J. Greenlea : “Grey” & “Mapping the Long Haul”(revised)

Wolfpack Contributor: Gayle J Greenlea

Poetry Showcase from Gayle J. Greenlea