Saturday, November 2, 2013

Juniper Berries

Use juniper berries to season blackbirds.
For best results, 
serve them in the middle of the night--
wake your guests from their claustrophobic nightmares
with the ringing of small bells.
Offer relishes, garnishes,
cold water from a cistern,
and, if necessary,
warm illumination from shattered lantern glass and kerosene.

None of this will make you miss her any less.
None of this will make you forget how her long black hair felt
wrapped around your fingers or
trailing slowly across your breasts.
It is too much to ask of a juniper berry to restore sweet skin
where you are now nothing more than ropey white waste from old burns.

However, when you withdraw from the panic-scented chambers 
where your offered dish has been refused,
you may then feel free to retire.
Go moan into a backwards wind,
imagining feathers the color of her hair.
Capitulate to a nest of new misery
and an egg to enter
like time,
like regret,
like a hard beak-shell that will presently vomit you,
caroling poetry,
into Hell.
_______



10 comments:

manicddaily said...

Oh dear - this gathers and gathers in intensity and really is quite heartbreaking by the close--the backwards wind an especially strong image I thought, and the hair becoming like feathers--the entire end super strong. k.

hedgewitch said...

A recipe for bittersweet oblivion. I love the contrast of the descriptor 'warm' to the shattered glass and kerosene, and the feather colored hair and ropey white burns. O the scar tissue builds up over time, doesn't it, so after awhile it's almost decorative. Why's it all so hard, indeed--great, trippy and eerie sound to pair with this dark beauty.

Sioux said...

Shay--The last 7 lines--especially--bring back a flood of memories. Sad ones.

Cloudia said...

so much good stuff!

ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
=^..^=

grapeling said...

'go moan into a backwards wind'

a better description of futility and anguish won't be easily found, Shay. ~

cucumber sunrise said...

Good heavens. This is one of your most penetrating poems to date. I will save the link to this, for sure.

These went pretty darn deep ... I'd say just about to the marrow:

"wake your guests from their claustrophobic nightmares
with the ringing of small bells"

"and, if necessary,
warm illumination from shattered lantern glass and kerosene"

"It is too much to ask of a juniper berry to restore sweet skin
where you are now nothing more than ropey white waste from old burns."

This is the most affecting section of all:
"However, when you withdraw from the panic-scented chambers
where your offered dish has been refused,
you may then feel free to retire.
Go moan into a backwards wind,
imagining feathers the color of her hair."

And those last two lines make for the perfect ending.

Incredibly moving and impressive writing.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Sounds like a recipe for heartbreak to me - and none does it so well us you, Shay.

Daryl said...

love the imagery .... but kept thinking aren't juniper berries poisonous?

HermanTurnip said...

It's these memories that can drag us down a dark, lonely path at times. But, oddly enough, I tend to wallow in misery because sometimes, just sometimes, I feel comfortable there.

Great work!

Mama Zen said...

The backwards got to me, too. Just incredible imagery in this.