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Poetry by Cheryl Maggi

 

1. Saturday in the Dark

The slushy mud of poverty

oozes into every crevice

sometimes slowly, like years of beach sand that
will fill a motel carpet until no amount of vacuuming
will ever get it out there will always be grit, invisible
but felt, even so

Sometimes it comes in a landslide and

the house is gone, the cars are gone, the gew gaws

are gone

That sudden shock hurts worse initially but the hope of rebuilding hangs out there for a while

Until you realize there's no more job

no more money no way to go back

And a new reality sets in

And we say, welcome to our world of

slow, grinding poverty, you're going to be here

for a while

  

2. Just listen to the frogs

they sing, like they've done for thousands

of years
the same song
Their song speaks to my cells, to my 
ancient memories
That feeling is like a home I know in my bones
A place I live in my ancient past
Dark stone places made of runes and made of totems
I feel the deep humming of eternal movement, of eternal speech
just under the surface

 

3. In the drowsy afternoon shadows

I stroke your face with the tip of one lazy finger

You smile with your eyes closed and snuggle closer

to my body with a soft groan of contentment

We lie together in a sublime place of trust absolutely

and divinely ordained

I have dreamed of this for ten thousand nights

and days

prostrated myself in helpless supplication to

your gentle attention

for your intimate touch

for your inspiration

so that I can come home as I am destined to


4. What is remembered in

the whiff of a childhhod smell

scrap of song

the peculiar angle of the sun

that looks just like it did

thirty years ago 

What is remembered is

a fragment of sadness a scrap

of nameless longing

a knuckle-to-the-mouth gasp

of grief

What is remembered

bears witness to the cry

"I am still alive"

and paves the way for

what will be remembered.

 


5. The taste of vicious grief lies

musky and sharp on my tongue

like skunk remains baking

on the side of an East Texas farm road

Your memory skitters

across my mind, a

wild and dark thing  that induces

terror and longing

far beyond what is expected

 

Let us bow our heads and contemplate

the hysterical silent laughter of

the carrion birds

perched on the headstone of

our relationship

And you, curiously uninvolved

a professional mourner

paying cheap tribute 

I am a southern girl, born and reared in Charleston, SC, where the sweet azaleas and pungent pluff mud mingle to produce a sensual history of blood and madness

  

The following poems are from Wild Swings

 

6. Damn it the yearning

Damn it the thirst for a taste

Of the whiskey, the whiskey that mellows

In a cask of friendship

Ever more tasty and strong

 

It sits in clad barrels

Silent, waiting for the tap

And that wondrous first sip

 

That first sip

That sweet woody pungent aroma

That smells of

Home

And

Fire

Of cotton sheets

On which that furious kindling of fire

That restless longing quenches

The search for redemption

 

7. One day, I left myself and didn’t come back for

A decade

I was an embryo floating in the safety of madness

Untouched by the outside

Unaware of time passing

Unaffected by lovers coming and going

I remember the darkness but not the presidents

It was a hazy gauze that filtered out all but the

Most egregious

 

And one day, I came back

I felt myself in my skin

My hearing picked up my own voice

My eyes saw me in the mirror

But nobody knew

I was gone

Is this the end of it or is it the eye of the storm?

 

8. I’d like to take a pair of scissors to my memory

And snip out the tear stains, the dark moldy pieces

 

Sweep them into the trash like so many scraps

Of construction paper left from a child’s project

 

I would past squares of bright blue and yellow

Purple circles and streaks of orange

Paste them over the empty holes

 

I’d make new memories of watching fireflies, of

Walking by the marsh

With a muddy dog and a muddy bag

Full of muddy treasures

 

I’d make a collage out of campsites and spruce forests

Of fires and stick biscuits

Of hiking at twilight

Of fishing in the dark under a canopy of stars

 

How full my life would be with a pair of scissors

And pieces of colored paper 

  

Bio:

 

Cheryl can be reached at laidbackntx.wordpress.com

Follow her on Twitter @laidbackntx

Look for her on FaceBook as PoetCheryl

 

Her first poetry book, Wild Swings, is available on Amazon as in e-book.