Sunday, February 21, 2016


taking shelter in Absurdity
knowing nothing wanting to know nothing
allowing the story to be told in gross cartoon
                                (wild harp voices lost in the screeling wind)
criticism hidden behind uncomfortable laughter
at the vagaries of hot air balloons
floating above the idiot parade
cords held by those who write apologia
for the horrors of history

no, they will not hear that wild music
skirling among the forests
wildernesses better to remain unexplored
cut down those trees! for therein dwells nightmare!
denude the land and stop those voices
that will only make you cry and fear
and maybe know the truth
of what's been done in your name  

laugh at the cartoon buffoons!
laugh until the door crashes in in the night!
laugh for that baby face down in the sand
that girl child twisted
broken by the side of the road
abandoned with love
by those who must ever move on
laugh for small bits remotely recognizable
as part of a human who was recently loving and laughing
playing games with his friends
with her friends

laugh at the poignant piles of dirty rags
once someone's mother sister daughter aunt
never to climb again out of that muck
churned up by thousands upon thousands
resolute feet plodding to who knows where
passing yellow light laughing from windows
the bonds still unbroken
the children allowed to remember they're young

the lights of your lanterns are torture
your torch is no beacon to beckon
no more than a moth to a flame
to self immolation

diving into abyss to escape abbatoir
blind drunk with Freedom from all that held us
honoring Place or Homeland
no room no time to bury the dead

my son ran off to join one of the militias
we didn't ask questions; it's safer not to know
he said he could no longer stay to see life blown apart
and not answer
left his brothers in charge, ages 14 and 10
 children with long guns
in the end not proof against death rained from the sky
not proof against mines underfoot
the treasures of our homeland for centuries
smashed to dust

bombs and hammers, insurgents and kings
all sides destroying everything in their path
our children
schools homes shops, rubble
and the blood of the dead feeds the soil

i would live there
i Would!

in the shadow of the ruins
near the graves of my parents and those of the children
we had time to bury
and my husband not there
taken away by one of the militias
he never came home

those we could gather
sisters brothers in-laws cousins and their children
anyone left alive
some of the elders stayed
not to slow us down
we gathered our things and began this long walk
past your warm butter yellow lit house
and the unknowing laughter within
the welcome stops at the door

when you teach your children of this holocaust
remember these nameless ones passing your gate
o we have names but you will not know them
they are writ in the stars
and will prick your dreams
never let you forget

though ages pass away 

Friday, February 12, 2016

in your absence

in your absence
i haven’t washed the sheets in weeks
scent of your sweat and aftershave still lingers
imprint displaced crumpled space
a strand of hair
imagined warmth still emanates
from you-shaped indentation
even microscopic shreds of skin 
the drool stain on the pillowcase
are precious
i lie dead still so not to waken
the dream of me i hope you’re having
wherever you are

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Hermit


                                for J9

36 years before her death
a Legend wrote that she would be 
a Legend

her silent longings plumbed the depths of nothingness
she granted and guaranteed her own Self space & silence
pulling on a disguise of sackcloth, barrier of aloneness
aloof inside the walls
buffered by miles unpeopled
enclosing her sex in ragged wool and wildly hacked hair
delicacy of feature belied by smut & char
her normally pristine love of self subverted by her desire for distance

distance from the welling throngs to welcome inspiration
listening for the words of her Mother on the wind
she wore a mask
no mask to those who knew her only by her voice
she searched beneath her skin and among the molecules of blood
between the interstices of muscle & bone for that connection
felt so strongly
always fleeing like mirage in blazing dusty desert
self knowledge ‘scaping like a footpad in the night, bedecked in soot
need only close the eyes to disappear

rebuked by Dawn she wends her way, eyes crusted with unwonted slumber
her dreams came to fool and cajole
and then to have the very Dawn say it' s all lies!

once more climb on the bus, never meeting any eyes
turned inward; they never heard her anyway
she knew the city was only temporary
her home among the darksome buildings where trees, supplanted
pushed back to mountain fastnesses
called her name in the twilight mornings mist
the city attempted to delude her but, not fooled
she pushed her way past throngs on crowded streets, seeking Light
they let her go, not knowing what they lost in her unheralded passage
the brilliance in her eyes’ enigmatic gaze

she inhabits the souls of street sweepers, window washers
children carrying water buckets or petrol cans, beggars
and market day women down from the hills with their wares
any whose lives are lived at the edge

she could never find her way, if she opened the door to their lives
and their hurts and their passions
her words came out of the ether, her prayers the only conversation
what she was told by the goddess made her electric
made her kin to the pinpoint flaming shards in endless night skies
made her cry out to all creation in ecstatic agony

she tried to die, was unsuccessful
burnt and broken, still pursuing the Mother of her dreams
through every drug and most subversions, cultural explorations
beyond the known boundaries of the universe
she crashed and roared downstream
eyes wide at last  
she walked into the mountain sunset always a stranger
laughter begging entrance, her soul's door flung open
the Goddess of the Night entered on solemn feet
lay down with her and told her
She would be the Light in the interminable darkness
a candle to guide her to the break of day

she lived inside the sea, the sky, was buried in the earth
gave her songs into the air to breathe 
always maintaining her magical identity
the Muse and Muse’s tragic victim

© 2013 pamela twining