Thursday, July 1, 2010

They Seek an Inky Elixir

Okay, I know this is an unfocused photo, but it's got its own fuzzy-dreamy energy, and I like it. It throws you off for a split second, until you realize the moth is clinging to the kitchen window, not floating. It's a bit unsettling the way the moth stares inside, directly into your eyes. Watching you. Odd, how you have the inclination to stare back. To be absolutely still and silent. I found this picture while searching through my photos for a match to a prose poem of mine, "They Seek an Inky Elixir." The prose poem was just published in the summer issue of Cerise Press, a fascinating literary magazine, along with "My Flickering Body," a lyric poem.

Here's the beginning of "They Seek an Inky Elixir":


Poems cling to the trees in the dark, glowing like white bandages. They have traveled unimaginable distances, arriving in flocks from all directions. Windblown, tattered, they are exhausted from flying. They are half-dead from endlessly circling human heads, searching for an entrance to those moist and dreaming brains. All but a few have failed to do so.

The sound of the poems settling is a many-voiced hiss. Here, in the thickest part of the woods, they cover every trunk and branch. Their thirst is terrible. Sticky and breathless, they seek an inky elixir drawn by roots from the underworld. They crave that earthy flavor, the taste of clay and rust. Their unfurled tongues bore into the sapwood.

In an earlier life, they gathered in the crowns of trees and chewed. Now, in their fullness, graced with wings, they desire only that which flows. The words they seek have nothing to do with sunlight and chartreuse leaves. They wriggle deeper between the shingles of bark. All night long they siphon what they need from the trees. They greedily swallow cold shadows ....

--continued in Cerise Press--

To finish reading this piece, click on the title (in bold, above) to be transported to Cerise Press. You will also find "My Flickering Body" there. Here is the first section:


Unwrap the silt-blanketed stone
at the bottom of your heart.

Reveal yourself.

Dredge the pond.

Find your other body.

Bring her back to the surface,
where the bobbing copper sun
will balance again
like a penny on her lips.

The water is covered with weightless coins:
copper, gold, silver, bronze –

She keeps her eyes pinched tight.

Shake her awake.

For a moment,
there is no one inside the body.
The body is mere reminder,
receptacle for the lost stone,
the stone that skipped across the mirror
in defiance of gravity,
then finally obeyed.

--continued on Cerise Press--

Again, to read the rest of the poem, just click on the title in bold above. Thanks to the fine editors of Cerise Press for including my poetry. I'm honored. Do visit the summer issue online to savor an impressive assortment of writing and art.

The photo was taken from my kitchen, a couple of years ago. Click on the photo to enlarge the image.


Deborah Batterman said...

You have such a gift for bringing together visual image and written word. Somehow I can't help but think of those lines from William Carlos Williams --
It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there.

And at the risk of sounding silly, will I ever kill a moth again?

Christine said...

Happy 4th, Deborah! Thanks. I love those familiar William Carlos Williams lines. Their truth shimmers. Yes, hands off the moths. Funny!

C.M. Mayo said...


Christine said...

Thank you ... and happy heat wave!

Unknown said...

Elegant and thought-provoking - a pleasure to read and view your site.. and to quietly contemplate the miracle of being human... Congratulations! Robin

Christine said...

Thanks so much, Robin. It was a revelation and a comfort to talk with you this morning.