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Posts Tagged ‘Poetry’

Lucky

I felt lucky today at the gas pump at Cumby’s
post-snowstorm,
the pickup trucks with their dragon breath
refueling, and New Order on the outside radio
as they pulled up and parked,
got cigarettes,
and the coffee from Ipanema
(available for a limited time)—

I decided the blinding sun and cracking icicles
were a sign, and invested
in the lottery:
the scratch-off cards hung
like ripe metallic fruit,
not at all forbidden
because we all deserve to get lucky—

And it doesn’t matter if I get
the horseshoe, or the wild eight
because I can see that winning number
already, pulsing and alive,
glowing in 3D from its portal of scratched silver
like I’m entitled to this
like a glittering birthright

I won’t say I didn’t win today
because I know how to read the signs,
and when I scratch it with the dime in my pocket,
I scratch it ALL—just to see how my desires look
in space and time, ink and paper
I’ve been rehearsing this number so long
and baby, I’m ready to roll

It’s a bright blue morning, and
today I’m an ambassador from insomnia,
carrying stardust in my smile
and supernovas in my sweatshirt pockets.
I carry the night’s dreams
with the steam clouding my window.
They are safe with me,
here in the light.

Today I feel lucky just to be here,
in this place of shiny and dark things
as my car fills with scents of coffee
and gasoline, and I’m still humming
Thieves Like Us as I put in the key
and as I drive off into this young day,

I know there’s a place for me
here today
because I am lucky —
I am all the winning numbers
hidden away in secret drawers
waiting for the mischief
of surprise

© Sarah K. Noack 2017

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midas

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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Water

when the rain fell that day,
the streets were streaked
with oil slicks
splaying in amoeba-trail fractals
and running into gutters
like let rainbow blood

and the sky collected its moisture
from its many private reserves—

you shared with me the riddle
your ancestors passed down in secret—
if I solved it, you told me,
I would understand
everything—
it will sound too easy,
but wait, you warned me—
soon I’ll realize
that life itself
is happening
solely for this mystery

so I observed the clouds first—
since that’s where water came from,
but they told me to look to the ocean.
The ocean refused to answer,
crossing its arms against the rocks
as it whispered its longing for rivers.
And the rivers spoke
of the bodies of creatures,
who opened their mouths and said nothing.

How little I could learn
after all my questioning
of this thing that fills the bellows of the world
and ushers the sprawl of life—
weaving through streets under hidden sewers,
freezing in the blue-green Arctic
and feeding grains and flowers,
falling from mountains in cascades
and trickling through phosphor-lit caves,
resting dormant in underground wells
and fading like wadis in the Sahel—
you asked me the secret of water,
and I thought long and hard
about plumbing,
thirst
and nature,
and in the end,
arrived only at silence

and then the rain fell that day—
a sudden downpour
tickling my tongue,
drowning the streets in a sudden answer
of yes
grace
and cleanliness,
aligning with my heartbeat
and starting everything anew—

there is nothing that cannot be cleansed
and nothing holy but this:
the spirit of flux,
the bending touch of forgiveness
trickling in through all of us,
a universal source of data
connecting all our veins
like the secret spread of a delta

flowing helplessly and constantly
into a single ocean
no matter what we do to stop it.

You cannot separate
good from evil—
or water from time and spirit.
Filth is an experiment
doomed to fail
as long as the rivers
hear it.

© Sarah Noack 2008

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Saturn

black flowers bloom

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

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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air

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

seemingly

frivolous.



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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helium

I thought I could just let you go,
but now I know
how the wind itself remembers
this silver thread
connecting you
to me

eternally—

you never needed shelter
and I never detained you
in your flight to the stars,
yet here you are—
following me like the tethered moon
across the pale blue morning.

you are pure helium,
floating and drifting
along the glittering edge
of akasha,
playing in treetops of my highest canopy
where rare birds nest,
whose feet evolved
in spiderweb delicacy
from lack of contact
with the earth—

you are the guardian
of my breath,
home of my laughter,
resting-place of my secrets—

and because of this,
you will always follow me:

I who grasp the thread,

because you ask this of me.

Have you mistaken me for the star
you were programmed to seek?

Each time I release you,
you keep returning
with stories of heaven
for which you show no awe—

forsaking its splendors
for the earthly warmth of my hand.

© Sarah Noack 2008

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Calypso

salt and sugar
sugar and salt
the captain’s asleep
and the fevered crew
sleeps below deck

sugar and sugar
salt and salt
I am swimming too far
from the shore today

but somehow you’ve found me,
cradling me
with infinite starfish arms
in a yellow room
beneath this blue infinity
where even islands hide

salt and sugar
sugar and salt
I hold my breath
in nacrous layers of dreaming

and waking into dreaming and dreaming
into the white constancy of you:
my brow marked like sealing wax
from the signets of your shirt-buttons
as you grow new arms to support the weight
of all this dreaming me.

Soul swimmer,
you scaled my dream cliffs
and held your breath underwater
to bring me these oysters you’ve collected
in your pail—
calcified secrets of ocean candy

surprising me from sleep
with the sweet liquid shimmer
of oyster-flesh—
slipping pearls through my parched lips
as I fall back into dreaming
with the taste on my tongue
of poetry
from a luminescent benthos
so deep
language cannot penetrate—

sugar, sugar and salt
I’ve sunk my tired feet
in the smooth sand of your heartbeat.
I soak in this silence
of warmth and you
and the intimate sunlight
as it climbs to its height
before dipping into twilight
caressing this instant
before it slips, too fragile
to survive the daylight of waking—
just hold me close:
close as water to skin
close as the seafloor is far
beneath these rocking waves,
farther than the edge of stars
waiting to awaken
under our blinding veil of daylight—

don’t let me wake—
here in this fever, I have access
to all the secret rooms
with their mirrors and melting clocks
of persistent memory
where you find me,
always

in this sea of mad Escherian
potential, possessing no dimension
or sense, doorways in the sky open and
displaced barn owls prowl above seafoam;
coy angels flit—
who keep their distance
who never loved like this
who were never blanched silver
with such innocence
or they would have chosen
voluntarily
to fly so close to the sun
that their wings would have melted
in waxen impotence

I understand now
the love of the barnacle
for its whale
and I understand also
the fathomless floor of the whale-cry
as I wake into dreams upon dreams,
each one more false and motherless than the next
and yet there is this you
somewhere
in only one liminal tidepool
at one cruel pink eclipse
I keep setting my watch to,
but the sun itself is confused
between day and night
and my second hand has stopped
in its tracks
as you slip away again as I wake,
dancing the silver thread
of forgetfulness

I feel you fading,
but I will be waiting
right here for you
in this secret place
where fever takes the soul.

A part of us stays here
always when we drift back to shore.
When I awaken,
I’ll touch my forehead
where your shirt-buttons rested.
Follow my sounding
into the surf and grottoes
where I wander, lost
but tethered safely to the tide-rush
of your heart—
awaiting your presence
within the sweet death
only dreaming permits.

© Sarah Noack 2007

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