Category Archives: ghost poems

Baskin-Robbins, poetry and photo by pd lyons


Baskin-Robbins

Sixty- two Chevy pick up
Bondo dust and shot exhaust
Your brother driving 84 east
Neil on the radio
I smoked a million cigarettes
So you wouldn’t try n kiss me
Not cause of that but because your brother already wanted to kill me
Was only driving me to Waterbury
So I wouldn’t have no excuse
To hang around you – Cowgirl in the sand.

DSC_4748

poets we know and live with ~ ROWING & THE AUTHOR OF THE JESUS PAPERS SPEAKS by Anne Sexton


 
ROWING
 
 
A story, a story!
(Let it go. Let it come.)
I was stamped out like a Plymouth fender
into this world.
First came the crib
with its glacial bars.
Then dolls
and the devotion to their plastic mouths.
Then there was school,
the little straight rows of chairs,
blotting my name over and over,
but undersea all the time,
a stranger whose elbows wouldn’t work.
Then there was life
with its cruel houses
and people who seldom touched-
though touch is all-
but I grew,
like a pig in a trench-coat I grew,
and then there were many strange apparitions,
the nagging rain, the sun turning into poison
and all of that, saws working through my heart,
but I grew, I grew,
and God was there like an island I had not rowed to,
still ignorant of Him, my arms, and my legs worked,
and I grew, I grew,
I wore rubies and bought tomatoes
and now, in my middle age,
about nineteen in the head I’d say,
I am rowing, I am rowing
though the oarlocks stick and are rusty
and the sea blinks and rolls
like a worried eyeball,
but I am rowing, I am rowing,
though the wind pushes me back
and I know that that island will not be perfect,
it will have the flaws of life,
the absurdities of the dinner table,
but there will be a door
and I will open it
and I will get rid of the rat insdie me,
the gnawing pestilential rat.
God will take it with his two hands
and embrace it.As the African says:
This is my tale which I have told,
if it be sweet, if it be not sweet,
take somewhere else and let some return to me.
This story ends with me still rowing.

 
– from The Awful Rowing Towards God 1975
 
( Her eighth collection of poetry is entitled The Awful Rowing Toward God.The title came from her meeting with a Roman Catholic priest who, unwilling to administer last rites, told her “God is in your typewriter.” This gave the poet the desire and willpower to continue living and writing. The Awful Rowing Toward God and The Death Notebooks are among her final works, and both center on the theme of dying

 
1928–1974
 
 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Sexton#Death

Within 12 years of writing her first sonnet, she was among the honored poets in the U.S.: a Pulitzer Prize winner, a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the first female member of the Harvard chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.[10][11]

On October 4, 1974, Sexton had lunch with Kumin to revise galleys for Sexton’s manuscript of The Awful Rowing Toward God, scheduled for publication in March 1975 (Middlebrook 396). On returning home she put on her mother’s old fur coat, removed all her rings, poured herself a glass of vodka, locked herself in her garage, and started the engine of her car, ending her life by carbon monoxide poisoning.[12]

In an interview over a year before her death, she explained she had written the first drafts of The Awful Rowing Toward God in 20 days with “two days out for despair and three days out in a mental hospital.” She went on to say that she would not allow the poems to be published before her death. She is buried at Forest Hills Cemetery & Crematory in Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts.

Sexton is seen as the modern model of the confessional poet. Maxine Kumin described Sexton’s work: “She wrote openly about menstruation, abortion, masturbation, incest, adultery, and drug addiction at a time when the proprieties embraced none of these as proper topics for poetry.”[13]


THE AUTHOR OF THE JESUS PAPERS SPEAKS

In my dream
I milked a cow,
the terrible udder
like a great rubber lily
sweated in my fingers
and as I yanked,
waiting for the moon juice,
waiting for the white mother,
blood spurted from it
and covered me with shame.
Then God spoke to me and said:
People say only good things about Christmas.
If they want to say something bad,
they whisper.
So I went to the well and drew a baby
out of the hollow water.
Then God spoke to me and said:
Here. Take this gingerbread lady
and put her in your oven.
When the cow gives blood
and the Christ is born
we must all eat sacrifices.
We must all eat beautiful women.

Anne Sexton  from The Book of Folly 1972
 

 
the girls i knew in high school were all enamoured with Sylvia. and i must admit i was some what smitten. but there was this teacher of English. she did not debate but rather exposed the rare woman genius the all too common crucifixion the dark stronger than the bright, the strength to take control in a time in a place where all is only waiting around food feeding on food attracted like horseflies to tenderness. the time was she said now and so the time was and so she said it was therefore it would be now and never any other time but. – pd lyons

all photos C. pd lyons photography.

I would abandon all other cities for this never to call you anything but by your long-ago name the one your mother whispered once all sea spray hidden away from anyone else but me. 


(so a ruff work in progress what do you think?)

 

To wake from sleep with neutral angels

Cross weeping waters   Opiate lilies

Rolled tobacco   Porcelain skin

~

I give out money, paper money for free.

 Answer: Because you are sitting on the streets I was born into this world on.

 

I pass from them streets like loose wrappers

cobbled stones lost mythologies; strangers foreign even to my self.

But  could if I want sift sea salt stolen dreams.  Camera fantastic songs.

 Long meandering trails to and from siren spiralling stairs.

 A better life only in theory because I would give up all other cities for this.

 

To wake from sleep with nameless angels

Cross weeping water smugglers

Beggar a hazy sun dry enough for a nod.

~

Soft we talk knowing no tomorrows. 

your head rests on my shoulder. Safe from all clack and clatter,

from hard shelters, rough searchers, mingling watery blood sucked ones.

Only respite from the past, we drift.

 

I tell you stories of cities abandoned long ago

Where warmth was free. Where angels had names

Where heroes would rescue even you.

Asleep without being asleep, your head on my shoulder.

I don’t move when tenderly

You pooch my pockets

 find something worth taking.

 Let you have it

 not moving while you leave

Blue jean Jimmy by PD Lyons Poetry re The Wind Cries Mary by #Hendrix


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smoke Sat leaning
 

Head across

Your Mary knees

Said no one ever played this song for you

 

This then

was before empty blue tomorrows

 

This then

was everything possible

No blue but the sky for reaching

 

This then

was every wide-open 

breath fled after you

 

All Now ,

is left.

Only ghosts, the past.

Only here, Wishing smoke.

And how can anything be created besides memory?

Ever altering

Ever moving memory

Like love

Like our wide-open kisses

Like our smoky Jimmy

Playing Mary.

 

Cuirt Annual 21 2006 International Festival of Literature Ireland. PD Lyons reading his work from it.


The Cuirt International Festival of Literature is Ireland’s leading festival. In 2006 it’s 21st year the editors Alan Hayes & Maura Kennedy selected one of my poems to appear in the anthology along side such artist as Seamus Heany, Edna O’Brien, Nikki Giovanni, Eoin Colfer and many fine others. So very grateful to have been there. Thank you for watching & reading.

Waltzing Miss Jeanie

The sky barely visible

Gunmetal cold keeps each bit of snow completely separate.

Sounds, most into silence or muffled by a swish and swirl

As my horse moves through.

Imagine sand against a giant hourglass,

Wicked witch of the west,

There’s no place like home…

Nothing else moves,

Rock walls mostly covered

Drainage ditches camouflaged

Snow drifts level the landscape almost beyond illusion.

By memory only we keep to the road.

Imagine being the first to cross this land in winter

And if it were a time before horses…?

Off the open ridge we cut down to where the pine woods

Shelter enough so we can pick up the pace.

Occasionally over burdened snow spills,

Sometimes peeling bits of green, chunks of old ice, thuds magnified by the quiet.

Perhaps an excuse to break monotony

Or some primal memory aroused –

She spooks.

Imagine double barrel blast, a restless dragon, a living legend…

So I talk her through; my voice being a calm place for her to focus.

So I sing, putting the name she knows into the song,

My fathers’ curious choice for a lullaby he used to sing to me.

Imagine not yet five years old, frightened from things that you don’t even have words for.

Things that move only in those darker places in your room,

And then his heavy footsteps,

the weight of his body as he sits on the edge the bed,

his strong steady hands sometimes rubbing sometimes patting

while always singing over and over until finally asleep you couldn’t ask him to again…

We make our way like that now,

Dealing with imagined as well as real risks –

Patches of ice beneath this rising snow upon this rising, winding road

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

versions of this were published by Hotmetal Press and West47 Galway arts, Inquietudes Literary Journal & erbacce press.

~ some of the most rare and wonderful moments of my life were brought to me by horses ( lovers and acid). i have actually been out in blizzard conditions on horse back albeit in Connecticut and only a few miles to go. Jeanie was a hot little chestnut Morgan mare, she taught me much, broke my heart and a few bones in the process. I am very grateful for having known her.

good luck bye! ~

ruff, by pd lyons


how many times have I thought to see you there?
after all these years – damn near 40
don’t I still imagine I come round the wooded path way bend
and by that turtle pond somehow you’re there

ghosts haunt the places that the living know
it has nothing g to do with where they died
ghosts haunt this place where I grew up
where I first saw you naked
and you broke my heart open before I even knew I’d love you

I know I won’t ever see you now
but if promises can be made to ghosts
then someday soon I’ll meet you here again
golden apples silver apples
pine needles on a summer day patch of grass back by the old turtle pond

wonder is a natural response to beauty

wonder is a natural response to beauty

promise, from : ceremonies of the horsemen, by pd lyons


indian pipe @ sleeping giant

indian pipe @ sleeping giant

prisoners of ghosts haunt the hallways of my own memories
past lives
opportunities regretted
twists and turns
I don’t want to leave only dried hollow husks
blown by my own reluctance to participate in my own and only treasure.

we lived in a time
when women sat beside us whispering on back porch landing’s
interrupted by the neighbors
running down the stairs
hands wet beneath Danskin purple skirts she spoke of how in past or future
it didn’t matter which but another life
I was her child she the mother
knowing I would go on to crucifixion
suckled me with salt water tears
glistening breasts mingling milk
into my hungry hot house mouth.

were there ever other places
other days,
freedom
confidence
a mouth full of meat
a belief in anything was possible.

I stood with someone once at midnight, the midnight
not just a time form but place
a place where midnight
born and lives out its days in each of us.
The place of my mid night sometime in October
out there by the water
breath rising in smoke
dew soaked shivering pirate breath kisses

I called you cypress by moon light,
buccaneer beauty I chose
there in the place of my own midnight
you but not you
rather the you of what you were.

I called you Guinevere by moonlight
lay down with you there
in the pace of my own midnight
among cold Halloween golf course grass
surrounded by stolen beer bottles
by a dwindling hedge barely separated from the street.

The only promise I ever kept –
never a mathematician or carpenters wife.
I have not even now more years than miles can tell – broken that promise.
Sometimes I forget I made it,
sometimes I forget to congratulate myself for not breaking it,
sometimes I try to barter it, threaten to turn my back if somebody doesn’t pretty soon pay me for it.

But I am not the famous rebel,
I am not the muse’s figure head –
quietly steadily I am only the keeper of my own promise
born from misguided Madonnas
introduced by pale white women the place of my own midnight

I have never stopped,
I have never turned back
that’s all I have ever really done
with all that treasure which was my life,
no big deal but still something real, no surrender, no slipping ,
no disparity of one who broke the only promise ever truly made.

DSC_9557

In this hard Rocky Earth/ #pd lyons #poetry #stonework #wildroses #fore #westmeath #ireland


In this hard rocky earth

what have our bones become

what nourished creatures by our flesh alive

as if we really immortal

thought our marked stones  be cared for

remembered only by the wind

Fore

Fore,County Westmeath

Bridget Shields Rose

Bridget Shields Rose

from 2006 notes found in a box today. thanks for stopping by.

Old freighters ruff, words and photography by pd lyons


Old freighters splocked red with rust

Holds haunted

cagros exotic, mundane, contraband 

list easily into slumber

yet unable to refuse

invincible the call

return once more

unable to refuse relentless the shipping lanes

true for Christmas is metaphor – best wishes from Ireland


here’s the thing –
the people prayed to God;
deliver us from evil,
from oppression,
poverty,
war,
pestilence,
all this misery.
And hearing their prayers
god sent an answer.
But it wasn’t a king,
an army,
a weapon,
a political party,
not even a religion –
but rather God with all the power and glory
answered all their prayers
with a child.
remember to remember

~

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