Archive for the ‘phosphor’ Category


I have just dicovered the secret
of King Midas

who each morning, awoke to his throne
and slept at night with his crown
because it helped him think

and as he watched an alloyed world outside his window
full of leprosy and deceit,
far beyond the reaches of his own mortal grasp
he felt as powerless as a sparrow
as all arrows pointed toward him alone
to solve the riddle,
cut the knot
and distill the secret
of philosopher’s stone

so he honed his third eye
and let in the sun,
closed his chambers
to everyone—
forbidding even shadows
to enter his royal presence

until the light broke through
into his closed eyes
and danced from his fingers
in magic rays,
spilling out into everything he touched,
and he offered the coins
of his soul
to the needy who gathered and took

but it was so much, so much
he didn’t know how to stop it–
when he cried, he spilled sundrops
and when he bled, he gilded
the surface of the world,

paving the streets
like the hallways of heaven,
bestowing new luck
on the karmically impaired,
raining abundance
on the just and unjust
until the ordinary
in all its color
became obsolete
until gold itself was the disease,
and even love
was impossible for the hero
who sold his soul
for a magic touch—

I understand you now, Midas—
it wasn’t greed that moved you,
but this kingly burden
that follows you in waking and sleeping,
and this cloak you wear of silence,
that carries the weight of the world.

You longed for the kiss of life
that would change all tears to coins
and make all sorrows golden—
but when you turned to kiss your child,
her body froze to stone.

© Sarah Noack 2008


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black flowers bloom

awakening spaces of night
inside my day
I found another grey hair

my eyes strain and blur,
and the letters of my book
expand into blackness
filling with constellations
and on the inner curtains of my lids,
new galaxies take form
and the negative spaces
between words
take on hidden meaning

If you played my heartbeat backwards,
would you hear subversive messages?

If I remain silent for long enough,
will flowers grow on my tongue?

Some would lament
the passing of time,
but I feel it more
like an elevator
that can move
in many directions,
or the slow lateral spread
of the banyan tree

Sometimes it skips stops
or regresses
or even progresses
to another dimension

It is good to be wistful,
but better to be wise:
like the dead,
memories return to the matrix
to be sown among the stars

Once I thought miracles
were something that appeared
on the neon signs
in Times Square,
flashing a message
with some celebrity
combing her hair
and looking
with a knowing glance
to prove that it was fate
that I’d been touched by grace

now I know better,
and just wake up
to live another day,
knowing the miracle
lies in taking in
the everyday
without skipping ahead
to the good parts

wishing is good,
but patience is better:
without my presence,
the present is an empty page

and I live in my car
I walk without speaking
I have learned to survive
I work in disguise
I wear my own shadow
communing with the infinite
in a trance
with the inanimate
dizzily scaling
catwalks of memory
and demands of subsistence
on a scaffold of my construction
a delicate structure
of tension and compression
a quietly hovering
question of compassion
inhaling the perfume
of a thousand strange flowers

I now know
why the firefly glows
even inside a jar,
knowing even the sight of trees
is no more illusion
than the forest itself

my skull is a geode —
if you cracked it open,
you’d find amethyst,
a personal Eden
you might mistake
for my own creation

but until I learn
to not claim this as mine,
I prefer it intact.

© Sarah Noack 2006

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I am ever-wary

of luxury

and cautious

of delighting

in foolishness

but sometimes I forget

that the soul has its needs,

and sometimes need

means more

than reason.

If I open my mouth

while driving

I notice:

air has a taste,

I can feel it on my tongue

so I know it exists,

even if I can’t sense it

except while in motion

which only proves further

that I must get up

and run 
just because

I have feet

and I don’t want

to forget the way it feels

I am not afraid

of the empty spaces

that some would call lonely:

lonely to me

is the empty mouth

that’s forgotten 

what it wants

to ask for,

no matter how



The tongue in the mouth

too long

grows bitter,

the voice unspoken dries up,

and soon the self follows

our greatest wealth

is always unseen—

in wind

and space

and dreams.

©Sarah Noack 2006

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for Laszlo Attila Toth—my childhood best friend, hero, creative muse, and the first person to love and understand my dark places. RIP Laci. You are cherished and remembered forever.

if you read between the lines
that striate my iris,

you’ll find a hidden reservoir of blue
with a name written on the other side
in invisible ink—

a poem written so long ago
and with such a young and heavy hand
that pen trespassed paper and broke into sky,

until I cried because no page could contain
the words that could describe him—

a many-volumed encyclopedia was required
just to codify each moment in his presence:
innocent Minoan friezes of memory:
a lost cult of beauty
that in its fragility,
was forgotten in the utility of Rome

and whenever I remember birds,
I think of him
and each petaled, faded detail
I somehow buried
because I felt unworthy
of such tenderness

and the way he stayed so high
but always returned to my finger
to tell me of the strangeness of heaven

and in dreams, I chase a whisper
through stone cloisters and attics,
and despite dust swirls indicating a recent presence,
all exits are locked
and the fire escape too
and there is no way to reclaim this mystery of wings,
no way to enter this room
that somehow I thought I could always come home to—

and how I’ve looked and looked for his pale blue smile
until the homesickness makes me dry heave
but the power’s gone out
and I’ve lost the map
and he’s gone and swallowed the skeleton key.

Sometimes I wonder if I light a match,
if the night will release him to me
like a sphinx moth
with a report from the other side,
but then I remember this glass separating us,
but so palpably—

there’s no comfort in archaeology,
in this unearthing and sorting of relics:
stripped of their contexts,
tagged and body-bagged
with reports on pathology and cause,
shipped to safe havens of conservation
with relevant fragments on public display

but even technology won’t save them
from this monsoon
that keeps me under lock and key—

and there’s no solace at all
in these rains that fall endlessly,
awakening pastel trees of memory
when each flower only serves to adorn the dead.

© Sarah Noack 2010

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dark secret of the sun

I have just learned

the dark secret
of the sun:

he only seems
to share his warmth
with everyone,
but this charity
is only illusion:

really he is seeking
the elusive moon—

casting his bright arc
from dawn to twilight
in fleeting passes
but missing the mark
as he slips
into night,
weeping blood
and burning white
for a love unrequited
he can never see,
hold or unite with

yet still he persists—
sustaining worlds
on the thought
of her lips,
to the odds
of a solar eclipse—
and never caring
that their untimely union
would surely portend

© Sarah Noack 2007

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in this dark den,
a stillborn game of chess—
characters carefully poised
atop a table for attack; the shadow
of a spider plant, a black afghan,
a map of some unknown peninsula
somewhere near the Arctic ocean

I read in the news
that some explorer once got stranded
off the coastline of Kamchatka—
the snow made him blind
but he didn’t really mind
until he got lost and couldn’t find
the way back to his helicopter—

The brain is a confusing place,
a space of fear and forests
and tests, where the inquisitive
won’t rest until each corner’s
mapped on some handy GPS,
but if passion leads you
to burn all the trees
and ask too many silly questions
you’ll be left with only brushfires
and a bad case of depression

there are places you can only find
when you give it all up
and leave the mind
to follow its own calling

and falling into sleep, I notice
in the dark, a pattern of brocade
I know is green without looking
on the sofa; a clock ticks
and I wonder this:
those scientists who insist that
you can’t see colors in the dark,
they’re wrong, they’re all wrong,
they’re missing the point completely —

and my brain, like a refrigerator
with its invisibly delicate ventricles
void of concepts and numerals
emptying cerebrospinal fluid into the dumps
of a sullen nervous system that pumps
water through the subconscious,
inflow and outflow, exchanging liquids
of life that remain locked inside us,
preparing iced tea for the characters
in my dreams

it’s all good, it’s miraculous
how the elements connect
so spectacularly when at rest —
analysis is a job best left
to the quiet skill of the pineal,
Magritte’s magician,
its surreal juxtapositions
portraying me
in compromising positions—
juggling snow, clock, leaf

and how the cleaning crew comes in,
sweeping the 3am streets
of the corpus callosum
with giant trucks that buzz
their brushes over fallen blossoms
of false hopes, ripped-paper mistakes
that build up and blow in the breeze
causing traffic obstructions

and the cerebellum, didn’t you know
instincts as well can cause disruptions
when not met with their usual interruption
of a much-anticipated coffee break?

tick tock tick tock—
I let my thoughts off their leash
and under the covers, I release my grasp
on the future and the past,
entrusting the world my soul to keep
and allowing myself the silent luxury
of sleep

© Sarah Noack 2007

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(for Kaden)

I have seen you.

You said that you were fragile

but that was only half true

you said that you were lonely
but it was only love that tricked you
into coming to this place of blindness

to find some holy grail

you thought you’d left behind—

you said that you were angry
but even your rage is pure

as the elusive dragonfly
skipping concentric ghost-ripples

of wind over still water-surface;
as snowy owls in night trees

and patient spiderwebs;

hunger constructing silken

catwalks to capture beauty—

you warned me of your delicacy,

but I flipped right through your preface
and saw into the moonstone eye

of your heart-story, like aurora
borealis, silvery contrails

of heroically falling dreams

streaking and shifting in blue turns

as they tremble and singe in the atmosphere

of a dense planet, over polar magnitudes

where entire seasons are devoted
to the exclusive practice
of darkness or light—

You are strength that bleeds alone,
the snow-blind burn of heartache,

and the calm before a wave-crest breaks
in froth on the foam-lit shore.

You walk barefoot in your Arctic surf
and smile. Your eyes hold the secret
fortitude of stars. You are a lucky number

in your own back pocket,

waiting for the worthy hand
to draw you. 

You told me you see ghosts.

Is this such a bad thing?

You are the luna moth

clinging to the moonbeam,
dancing in circular vespers,

protecting the sanctity

of dark.

I have seen you.

© Sarah Noack 2007

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