ruby slippers dropped
into fizzy chambers
our ears are deafened
by too much rain
rest quietly, sweet love
Oh, noble Saint George!
You were sent out into the world
How many dragons did you slay?
Like Don Quixote
you were armed with a sword and a lance
Out to save the world,
to defeat and destroy evil
Am I not sent out each day to do the same?
To stand at the end of each day
over whatever would try to destroy me?
You have no power over me
Yet – You keep coming
Every morning I’m stealing moments
I don’t even want, just to take something back
from this place. Cinderblocks in a square,
heating unit rattling like an air show bomber,
overhead light strobing my very soul
into an epileptic fit; my guts hurt
the moment I get here.
I can’t believe the sun exists.
Plato had never contended with the reality
of his metaphor, a life where
going back to the cave meant
placing your body
in a rattling, flickering cinderblock box,
not seeing the actual sun
for months at a time; your body
on the fritz and nothing to do about it.
Everyone so desperately
needs you to believe
the lies they tell themselves to stay here.
Positive self-talk, self-care,
But isn’t this half-life of joy selfish?
Wouldn’t nothing be
essentially more neutral
than dwelling in these
cruel and unusual structures, these tiny
prisons that lead to ever-more
specific prisons, these landscapes of
human cages, in a land where your job can be to
put humans in cages? Respectfully,
tolerantly, with a nod to diversity,
leading each human to their individual cages.
Can I really drag anyone out of here when
I am the goddamn guard?
There’s no leaving the cave.
I slip extra rations to those
I think might have the courage to destroy it.
Like Plato, I am
not the one.
I go to my calendar
and rip out the last month
And it’s a broken swan
a futile warning
to other time frames
ive tasted every day
marked “with her”
Next to the recycling bin
a box of calendars
says the same
Just “liked” a photo of a raspberry bush on Facebook
Mountains, lakes, flowers
What’s not to like about them?
There was no Facebook back when I used to go to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in Prospect Park
I didn’t take pictures
I just have memories.
Pretty pictures on the computer screen of scenes near and far
Do they take the place of being there?
But there is one upside: No sneezing.
Forgive Me, My Friend, If I State the Obvious
From the garden, a bushel
of potatoes; elsewhere crabgrass happens.
I’m shifting my plot, transitioning
from a spot too shady, life
begging to begin a new. Dirt and moon
language, dear friend, it’s all life—
the garden, the song, even the crabgrass.
It’s the dance in dirt and water that matters most.
Melva Sue Priddy
In your face I expected all the things I didn’t see.
What was there?
I have shown you my demons and you didn’t run.
I have given you chance to turn away.
Yet you still stay.
I wait for you to say I am too much.
Then you ask for more.
I hold my heart’s scars close,
To hide them from others?
To hide them from myself?
Yet you still want to see.
I strip the walls down again
As the walls creep up entombing me from all.
You knock and wait,
I ignore until pressure breaks what has been dammed up.
I search for the door which you found to knock.
I stand at the door listening for a sign.
Ear pressed, holding my breath, daring to hope you still await.
Fears of letting your compassion pass by floods.
Recklessly I throw the doors weight with a thud.
You are still there—k