Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Three Poems by Ralph Monday

Love the Fiber Optics

God may be dead but love is not.  The internet has revived
                    Strange thing the way that time is not linear or cyclical,

but rather a weird juxtaposition of images, memories, experiences
all jumping about like pieces in a puzzle.
The way surfing works, the dead made living, all fitting into the
living room picture frame, Scotch and sofa, roses and violins,
                a few tapping keys like Poe's raven at the window.

                     Here, controlling the screen, and forgotten goddesses of the 40s, 50s

live again, images placed in the mind and they know time and kudos,
but more importantly Kairos, a moment of indeterminate time where
everything happens.

                      Like now and Gigi Montaigne, Mollie O'Day sit in this room

drinking Turkish coffee, giggling, alive in death, digital tropes that bring
with them the lost values of another time, stirring romance of creatures
who know that this instant matters.
They love me as I them, the more so for bringing conversation, drink, flowers,
to black and white images snapped decades ago that is the present moment.

                      Alas that the relationship ended before it began.

Papyrus Lips on Stone

I like to think of your rebuttals as portraits you will someday
allow me to paint, as ancient inventions newly rediscovered,
where you will translate for me Egyptian hieroglyphs and write
a new text with papyrus lips that color mine berry red.
Take me by the hand to see the pharaoh enclosed in his
granite tomb, whisper that we will ride his sunboat with him
to a new afterlife, and if we are not gods in this mortal coil,
we will become titans in the next.  There you will wear my
odors and perfume me with the desert's sullen sands, lead
my hand to the mystery of your thigh so that I feel your substance
peeled back, like the layers of rock piled high upon on another:
this deposit white sandstone, that one jagged slate, further down,
a seam of black coal streaked with feathered sulfur; down and down
to the core of beginnings where I will know your morning hallelujahs,
evening prayers, drink you like communion wine and the swallows
etch out your name on a sky singing a psalm to your thanksgiving.

Requiem for a Love Affair

They are not soft angels, heralds who come flying
on granite wings stiff as stone.  They hold in their
unhuman hands tablets and write upon them
commandments of the genital gods.
Seraphim of the love affair the first rule is to know
the dark one, the other walking wet streets after
theater of the sheets.  These angels bring grinning
satisfaction to requited love, mind specters, disembodied,
they seek out houses where women have eaten the moss
turned gray from a dry garden, men have emerged from
caves to hunt.
They know the power of secret sighs, lust redezvous,
Lady Gaga's dance, entrancement of cinema and CD,
umbra forces resurrected in different guises like
moon phases settled over a woman's moods.
Their's is the genie's bottle, uncorked, where Freud's
perfumes drift out and tattoo animal hieroglyphics
on long black skirts and men drink from gothic
goblets turned by Augustine before the conversion
beneath the tree.
The second commandment is that of the streets,
smoke filled bars for camouflage, Dionysus in every
glass, twisting through the speakers and women's
long legs trace out a modern Delphic oracle--
wine and dance, video voodoo the new testament
driving the earnest ecclesiastical reform.
In his embrace she would know the other's dark
hair, tempers and mysteries, her eyes stared deep
into love's abyss, the nucleus, the core as modern
now as his fingertips talking to her skin.
The dark angels know this and rejoice, choirs of
them gathered together like flocks of crows
singing phantom aria after phantom aria.  They
know that this is not a funeral mass, contained as
they are in world thought--this a litany, a petition,
a supplication for the cyclical invocation, turning
like a hawk in flight, endless shadow dance, a ballet
of relationships forged in flesh, in bone, in blood.

Ralph Monday is an Associate Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN, where he teaches composition, literature, and creative writing courses.  In fall 2013 he had poems published in The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, Fiction Week Literary Review, and was represented as the featured poet with 12 poems in the December issue of Poetry Repairs.  In winter 2014 he had poems published in Dead Snakes.  Summer 2014 had a poem in Contemporary Poetry:  An Anthology of Best Present Day Poems.  His work has appeared in publications such as The Phoenix, Bitter Creek Review, Full of Crow, Impressions, Kookamonga Square, Deep Waters, Jacket Magazine, The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, cc&d, Crack the Spine, The Camel Saloon, Dead Snakes, Jellyfish Whispers, Pyrokinection, Red River Review, Burningword and Poetry Repairs.  Featured Poet of the Week May, 2014 on Poetry Super Highway.  Forthcoming:  poems in Blood Moon Rising, Crack the Spine best of anthology and Down in the Dirt Magazine.  His poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Houghton Mifflin's "Best of" Anthologies, as well as other awards.  A chapbook, All American Girl and Other Poems, was published in July 2014.  A book, Empty Houses and American Renditions, will be published by Hen House Press in Fall 2014.

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