All souls’ elegy



Charles Monette



unbearable dreams… all the departed were present

wild and wanton, their spirits gasping the air

the eve of All Souls’ Day, dreaded beliefs recurring

as mirrors imitate the wintry grey of bones


passing graveyards dark silhouette

death’s acceptance rejected anew

wandering souls searching the wind

disrespect running deep in the ground


to be thus remembered under a gloomy November moon

rain falling, rituals’ rabble rife

dry water’s life splattered o’er remains

meaning gone from the garden’s grow


genteel blathering clouding memories…

yet a distant time, a distant place draws near

moans of the dying congeal sedulously

muffling the striking of a pitch-black clock


years passed along with days

troubled souls seeking marigolds, the sweet bread of the dead

unsettled aching in the hereafter

a patch of pain, regret… why, why, why


tonight…walk the road’s center… beware of encouraging the dust

of disturbing phantoms’ shadows resting alongside

for peripheral chills will envelop one’s spine… raising hackles 

flashing terror’s mischief, a spur to run


eerie echoes, otherworldly rattles lack relevance… yet

add to the scare of the chase… catching up… falling behind

running off, outracing grown up ghosts

traditions slipping, screaming for a delicate plain


daring in daylight

hurrying back to bury somebody at the cemetery’s edge

perhaps a priest’s prayer will banish ghostly faces

exhorting them to their place… to await midnight’s exhumation


lopsided red-streaked-gray marble, water and a candle

an oblong tombstone’s engraving chiseled out

nameless as an unknown soldier’s

epitaph shrouded in secrets


stumbling bones stuck in mud’s asylum

hungry ghosts grabbing, unwrapping life’s promise once more

disappointments’ confusion leaving the marrow of emptiness

as if fine one moment and dead the next


[A note on the image]

Aladar Korosfoi-Kriesch

All Souls' Day --1910 Oil on canvas, 51,5 x 72,5 cm

Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest

(It is a Hungarian tradition to go to cemeteries to honor the dead)



You cancelled your vacation



Charles Monette



you cancelled your vacation, said it was a waste of time

you didn’t ask me to come along, so I didn’t cancel mine

said you’d rather go to the carbon conference

though a governor on your pedal slowed deliverance


a pick-up artist curing smelly compost on the curb

you lost your drive, now drive less… unperturbed

two times a week buys pricey green organic groceries

take a bean, walk a block… second hand store sells ivories


recycle that glass… that plastic… redeem it like never before

hey reuse it, refuse it, metamorphose into a see-through door

all that garbage… all that trash… all that shit galore

soon be floating… polluting… Cousteau’s ocean floor


take your time, saunter slinky as you walk away

look back once, close your eyes as if to say

a shake, a shrug, a pissed off tattoo demeanor

should’ve fought to hold you, found two words, ‘I love Lena’


out of this world, you were trippin out my world

neither differences genteel, non commutable…nor easily unfurled

Cape bikin, Maine coast traipsin,… old friends lyin on a windswept beach

hot sands’ blain, hidin out in Cockaigne… never within reach


dancing-dizzy, spinning, whirli-gigging love’s confusion

falsetto-falling, famished on brink’s recision

white flag surrender comes to you wide-open

as in a gray love story filmed by Bergman





Malvern Hill



Charles Monette



It was the sixth and last of seven days

The battle for Malvern Hill, July 1st, 1862

McClellan and Lee locked horns in Herrico County

Virginia… up a piece from Poindexter’s farm

Disjointed assaults on the nearly impregnable Union position

Yanks up on Malvern Hill, the favorable ground

Slopes cleared of lumber, greater visibility downhill

Lee orders attacks directly… instead of flanking…

Artillery would clear the way…

Tragic miscalculation

Deadly fire rained thunder down on the Confederates,

Slaughtering them in their charge

5,300 rebel casualties without gaining an inch of ground

Blue bled too… 8,500 in all

Despite the victory, McClellan withdrew

To Harrison’s landing on the James River

Gunboats now protected his army

Malvern Hill lay soaked in blood, pockmarked

Bodies lying there still


[The image: Watercolor by Sneden]




Cicero's Hands



Mike Murray



A man of letters, a man of riches

He didn't have to burn those bridges

He lived and played with the men who held the sword

There was safety, but there was right

And in the stillness of the night

In the troubled times, his hands held only words


CICERO'S HANDS HANG IN THE FORUM

CICERO'S HANDS -- A GENERAL'S WARNING

ARE YOU PREPARED TO PAY THE PRICE FOR TAKING A STAND?

FEAR AND TREMBLING IN THOSE HOURS

TELLING THE TRUTH ABOUT A MAN OF POWER

WHEN YOU TURN THAT BRIDGE TO BURN, THINK OF CICERO'S HANDS


Asma's poem defied the danger

She warned, "Why mind this stranger?"

The stranger claimed to speak God's voice alone

Then the voice commanded slaughter

"Who will rid me of Marwan's daughter?"

When it's time to speak your mind, think of Asma's poem


There's big payback to check out

You're gonna end up sticking your neck out

When your life is on the line, you're all alone

When you call for folks to ponder

The crimes of those they honor

When you turn that bridge to burn think of Asma's poem


CHORUS


In their hearts, your words rings true

But they'll still come for you

When they hear the big man say you ought to be banned

All those battles to be won

Will they mean much when you're gone?

When you turn, that bridge to burn think of Cicero's hands


CHORUS


When it's your turn, your bridge to burn think of Cicero's hands

When it's time to speak your mind, think of Cicero's hands

When it's your turn, your bridge to burn, think of Cicero's hands


published with permission, copyright 2017 Mike Murray



overflowingly so



Charles Monette



thoughts dying in clouds

focus within reach

abruptly pushed over edge


thoughts wander, wonder over water

never landing

burning out


cosmic relatedness

all relates to all after all

random stirrings of memory


mind soaring, soaring beyond

imagination gliding

a splash of color scalds the earth


inspiration’s shaking foundations

stirring up rough dirt

far flung falling… an abysmal feeling


unreliable winds pelting exalted thoughts

blowing tree tops… life’s fluctuating fray

jump startled by thunder’s explosive cracks


vaulting over reckless danger

assiduously revised

I come to you… a spur to writing






Other voices



Charles Monette



March winds have quieted

Too soggy to blow

They sigh away to churn the sea


Listening for words of beauty

Some never heard before

Looking, hearing for a different way


Forsythia’s early yellow

Bell-shaped flowers, shrubs of an Olive family

Offer easy to appreciate full throttled blooms


Counting on spring to lift the gloom

Renew assurance with each green grass blade

It’s a young loving time of year


Moody moods’ last brood dissipates

To a chickadee’s call

Rivers swell muddy with snow’s last white


Something to remember me by

Winter’s baton passes grudgingly

Robins perch proudly, atomic tangerine


Did we expect any other?

Coming down with the rain

Wet showers circling… soaking a tree


Lichen brighten, stamp okay

Blue purple crocus open to day

This spring’s beauty ever slightly unlike








Ice floes slow



Charles Monette


Ice floes slow, a meditative pace

snow fringed, white edged circled upon the river

some big as all outdoors… shaped like continents adrift

melting atop… daystar’s penetrating rays also deeply felt

currently moving down river

till finally vanishing, becoming one with the waterway


smaller chunks, little snowbergs slip by… side by side

slandering in the sun

seemingly moving to end faster, to add to the deep

begun perhaps as ice shockles way up north

or frozen on a neighborhood bank

southwardly… slowly flowing southwardly, a push pull to the sea


look… an ice raft rafting, broke loose from the shore

reminders of  Arctic collapsing firns,

neve no longer, never more to be

earth’s frozen waters flowing precipitously

I watch sipping coffee, an uneasy tranquil stare

pleased to see them moving, knowing Spring will soon be here




Venus Smiled



Charles Monette


3 straight years, Earth is getting hotter

3 records set in a row

NOAA cooking the books

NO Antartic, Artic melting away

Chinese plot… I think not… do they want waterproof?

feel the swelter, helter skelter… Phalodi… Africa 123.8 degrees

drought, starvation,… no water to grow to drink


emissions of heat trapping gases, greenhouse gases

carbon monoxide

planetary warning planetary warming

threat to the natural world

El Nino swoops in… hot energy, water vapors release

2016 the hottest year 3 straight records in a row

trouncing past records, rising temperatures warm the globe


our constantly changing planet

Artic oceans 20-30 degrees above normal last Fall

seas ice sunset

startlingly rapid coastal erosion

some connectivity… an accelerated era

hot data records 3rd straight in a row

do you feel it?


water

cold water, hot water, no water, high waters, waterboarding

water color, waterfowl, waterway, waterworks, waterlogged

water pollution, waterproof, waterfront, waterfall

watertight, water under the bridge, water cannon

water wiping out the bridge Waterloo, water,

water everywhere, nary a drop to drink 

war-uh, watery, water

water


 

Earlier material in

Monkey’s Cloak

is in the


Archive


and


Archive 2015/2016

Monkey’s Cloak