Saturday, June 29, 2013

Beyond Forgetting: Inspired by Neruda

The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

Once, I knew the wide warmth
of your soaring silvered wings.
When your flight took you away from here,
far beyond the bitter face of the sun,
your tracks glistened upon the shoreline of my soul.

Drifting under starlight,
only your memory falls upon my landscape, 
its grace intact.

Sullen seas ache mournful music, 
tides of silent embraces yearn softly.
Trees are heavy, swollen with fruit;
branches sway in anguish for absent harvests.

Gently, I stroked your lips before kissing them,
exhaling slowly, measuring the moment.
You murmured my name as you looked at the shimmering sky;
muted colors evolved quietly from your unwept tears.

I dance beyond dawn's coming gleam,
unable to lay down my pen and sleep,
taut with fiery imagination.

I weep beyond reparation 
when the world seems too far away to hold me.

I have been a poet every instant of my life,
even when language failed to gather my song.

Bold you are, Bird, bright

The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

Bold you are, Bird, bright
with fragrant innocence, 
vivid in songs of darkness as it comes.

Preening before flight, 
your inquisitive head stutters in movement;
your moment has arrived.
Tucking your tiny, barbed feet beneath,
you leave soil below and seek the breadth of sky.

You are courageous and graceful
as you ascend into this intimate ballet
between you and defiance of gravity.

The wind aids your journey
time and again
until you finally fall
and stillness claims your frail gift 
as its own.


The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

Well he knows the whirring rise of slow feathers,
the deep gloom of fierce wind's attending flourish.

He lifts his gentle, fragile heart beneath his flurry of wings,
serene with wisdom sought.

He understands bent boughs and leaves crisped 
as they fall to the ground, 
the changes wrought by season's passing glance.

He nests in borrowed warmth, 
burrowing under his patience of winter.


The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

Delicate currents entice my feet, my hands, 
bidding me to enter this tide unafraid, and I must;
its yearning for me is palpable
as I submerge within its slow swirl.

What shores it has visited, it will not, cannot say;
its clear blues and greens are hypnotic and deep
as we become one, alone but never lonely.

Floating gently, 
time seems to disappear, all gravity forsaken - 
buoyant, I sigh, hold my breath and swim to the bottom, 
touch this truth with innocent hands, 
recall a memory I had forgotten 
once inside a dream. 

It beckons, 
this warm, soothing, healing water.

I can only follow its flow.


The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

          — Inspired by the poem "Words, Wide Night" by Carol Ann Duffy

this unending shelter
above our heads - 

so cool with blue,
this verdant regalia.

Our limbs twined, we reach for refuge
within the turning breath of leaves.

we vie for immortality.

In the dawning of your eyes,
there is transformation;

in descending shadows,
foliage sways within quiet song.

Inevitable — Inspired by Pablo Neruda

            — Inspired by the poem "Every Day You Play" by Pablo Neruda

Bright bursts of cherry lift into the air, fragrant
with flutters of wings. 

Beneath the soil, young roots writhe,
aching for the tenderness of such memories 
to swell, to become their own.

Patience, child.

They will hasten soon enough, 
then fade into dusk, 


The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

Bound by rough-hewn edges of the Serengeti,
they longed for Kilimanjaro's cool winds,
as poor as they could be while hiding 
and hoarding their cold stones of fire.

They gathered their inheritance, swearing they would 
hasten across the lion-swept grasses before this night was done,
as free as gazelles in the distant sun's drooping glare -

as far as we know, 
they're still running 
while those golden embers burn.


Libertine, how I abhor you now.
Wastrel of youth, of all that was tender and good,
you lascivious bounder of beauty,
how I detested your weaknesses,
your wants, your needs,
although you have since gone over to those pastures
where peace will welcome you,
hardly earned and appreciated even less.

You thought of no one, least of all, yourself.
You had everything at your command
and threw it on a burning pile of ash, a pyre of reckoning,
deceitful and raging as though it was you who were wounded
(although you were, I’ll grant) -
yet, it was always you who thrust the dagger deep
into the heart of purity.

How very droll you were,
while every structure collapsed at your feet,
how very sanctimonious you could be
in your lurid disgust 
of what was lovely and mild.

Yes, even now shall I castigate you for your clever chaos,
as I garner the wild wisdom of woe
you so strenuously rejected.

Even now, I will not miss your absent smiles;
they were not created for me,
nor for anything that would have mattered.

I shall remain angry and unforgiving until I throw
this last clump of unrequited dirt upon your uneasy grave 
and walk quickly away from this place,
forgetting all I once believed.

Author's note:

Inspired by “The Libertine”, starring Johnny Depp - 

This movie is the story of the Earl of Rochester, a 17th century poet
who drank himself to death. Watching it made me incredibly angry,
especially considering I lived with someone for nearly 14 years who did
precisely that. Even the movie "Leaving Las Vegas" made me infuriated.
Death by drinking is not as "pretty" or as "easy" as it may seem to the
casual onlooker, even considering the raw, naked truths exposed in
these films. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Potent Brew: Inspired by Jack Kerouac

The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

Turn over the waste basket of any fierce, struggling writer
whose haggard flesh hangs loosely from knotted bones,
one who moons at waning night with frustrated eyes,
dig deep into curled and fisted papers lying there, forlorn
beneath discarded, burnished apple cores
and cigarette butts - there, you shall find poetry simmering
its many-hued fragrances, a potent brew of rejections, 
inspirations torridly attended, then tossed as unworthy,

conjectures of disarrayed mathematics gone astray 
among sullen smears of ink. You will not find it 
in organized classrooms, sworn and shouted 
from pompous pulpits of lecture halls, 
or even in a small, dusty library 
whose shelves have retained the ghosts 
of more musty tomes lost, rather than saved, for posterity's sake, 
being limited by inadequate budgets and cautioned purchases 
barely approved by a status quo board -

you will find poetry waiting patiently, trying to hitch a ride 
from non-existent cars along a cracked, unused road 
where once travelers swept by, on their way 
to something better, something brighter, something bolder
than they ever saw before or could possibly imagine - 

snared inside their pallid existences,
unable to mutter or moan, or even beat their breasts, howling.


     — Inspired by the poetry of Denise Levertov

Unspoken superlatives hang, mid-air,
as if unplucked pears dangling from spent stems,
waiting to fall to thin, browned soil,
fruit never to be tasted, nor praised in song.

O fearless star, your light glides from ancient promises
now kept in silence, unknown to the scattered dust
to which they were fervently vowed, how still and bright
is this requiem you offer to their progeny.

You hover near the curious, waning moon, furious to reach out
and caress what once was and is no longer flesh.

Bare branches stir from wind's sudden gestures,
then cease to move; unchanged (they think), yet quietly sculpted
without knowledge as though rocks glaring brilliantly
beneath a stream's desire for alterations, patient.

Fragrances of ages swirl around us, unbidden,
yet we are scented
as they storm toward a different horizon
than their ancestors ever imagined.

How bold we are, to stand with furrowed brows,
declaring our inepitude as grace,
our obsolesence as fame,
our temporary presence as permanent indentations -
only simple scars left upon an unforgiving earth
replete with memories of her own
to squander on faithless nights.

Reading in Bed

The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

            — Inspired by the poem "A Clear Midnight" by Walt Whitman

The pages slip softly from my now languid hands -
permeated am I by their thoughtful fragrance and flavor,
carried into a slow descent of caverns 
where slumber might allow me to dwell
and thus, quietly sing.


The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

I shall gather your words as alms
for the bereft, use them as beacons to rise 
from heavy fog where sea swerves wildly, 
drifting with echoes of shells it once knew intimately
and remembers now with alacrity and affection.

Sand will set course, leaning toward soil,
planting its seeds, its flags of many nations,
its hearts of various hues - such splendor will lift
new buds toward warmth and delight the sky with song.

There are wings aloft,
if only we uncover our eyes
to see their innocence shimmering,
wise beneath these quiet folds of dusk.

Monday, June 24, 2013

everafter — for Rob Ganson

"The supermoon will find you tonight, bathe you in new tides of hope and beauty. She may hide, pull your spirits up from behind the clouds, but spirits will rise and fog recede, deeds of goodness push back against the darkness and epiphanies germinate like eager seeds. This, I have seen in a dream. Today, I will fold sacred words into a paper swan, float her down a threatened stream to a river where grandfather fish follow a biological imperative, and finally, should fate send her there, to the inland sea. In my dream, she made it all the way." 

— Rob Ganson 

mourning carves us, 
silent as water,
fluent as shadows pursued by dusk

where do we go from here?
is there still an everafter?

boundaries are altered as storms rearrange horizons,
a mighty protest to protect earth's frail, broken skin
from our terrible, troubled, trembling hands

our mouths agape, 
we attempt to form words without sound,
fragments without meaning

we plant orchards knowing we will not see 
those bright blooms burst into song
or savor their burgeoning fruits

we wait for unexpected moments 
when our own wild gardens will suddenly seize us, 
then return us to parched and hungry soil

brimming just beneath banks meant to hold us back,
we boil, roiling over edges of what once mattered most
yet, time does not exist or allow tears to descend, 
for dew shall rise again into strange and swirling mist, 
creating clouds that break and fall into unseen, untamed rivers

perhaps a turbulent aftermath is what we fear most,
tender gestures lost which we would quietly dread,
since we understand evolution, 
must acquiesce rhythms of hymnals 

as we won't be there to stem the tide

to shape and nurture its nascent strand 
or kiss its ancient ache away

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Martina's Sonata: for Blueblack

The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

Your skin is braided thin with parchment -
delicate with lace, bearing threads of ink
woven in intricate patterns, its effervescent hues defiant,
stained with rebellion aimed at mere chiaroscuro shades of existence,
kaleidoscopic bursts against the night sky.

Where we came from, where we are going now,
deftness of color means more than sound,
is far more significant than taste or feeling abstractions 
along these blunted edges of canvas.

The artistry of a glassblower 
will singe his thorough fingers,
leave their lustrous wounds
upon carved ridges of his soul.

You know this
as well as you suspect
the weeping curvature beneath your bones;

you won't surrender.

The Gift of Love

The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

I sighed with knowledge of my surrender
under the sweetest sensations of discovery;
I understand the desire to unveil time's intentions,
smile when I hear the secret, sacred words falling,
flowing from his lips, dripping like honey,
swirling me under its touch.

I ache with the glance of your words upon my skin,
feather-light and floating softly;
I arch toward your music, swaying out of silent shadows
into the adoration of song.

These moments away from you move too slowly -
I yearn beyond borders that separate our shivering hearts,
knowing distance means nothing to those that love truly,
without hesitation.

There are infinite chords longing for your voice,
colors that need your soft mouth to release them into dream -
this fire upon the hearth waits for your arrival to share its warmth.

I place a candle in each room of my heart,
waiting patiently for the music of your footsteps upon the path.

Languid with love,
I am rhythmed by the sorcery of your hands.

I become something sacred in your eyes
as the wind moves the curtain's lace slowly,
revealing the distant horizon where you once stood,

The wax melts unnoticed:
these rooms are filled
with light.