Thursday, August 19, 2010

A poem for Thursday

West From the River's Edge
    by Maggie Secara

Not everything is a lie.
Tempers flare, birds fly south
(not always for the sunshine)
even love, while it lasts,
is true as the blood
on the canvas walls, the relic
of someone’s Guernica afternoon;
but the truth is only important
when it’s useful, or harmful
in the end—
every word a felony.

The lies sift somewhere
between friends and murdering angels,
dropping from
     the oak trees
like fireflies and morning dew
     contaminating the crossroads,
virtue tied up in a kitchen rag
disguised as cloth of gold
tarnished on the battlefield
of casual death and idle weddings
without charity
     or kindness
          or grace.
The sword is quicker
but this will do. 

voices, not voices
the shades of voices
bitter and muttering something
that sounds
like my name in a shadow

I should, if asked,
weigh my heart against a feather
defend with honour, apologize
with grace, bear a sentence
if earned. Instead,
I shout from the wall,
fling up my hands, and die

I glide thru papyrus on a flat
     reed boat
hunting water fowl startled
to stillness, flat
on the flat sky.
My brothers and my sisters, tiny
figures at the lotus prow
pull down the stars
and eat them.


I've always thought this was my best poem to date, but it's never found a home, until now, at Writers News Weekly. Here is is with the indents restored. Not that they make a huge difference, but maybe a small one. It turns out I write pretty well when I'm seriously pissed off. ;-)

I might add that I got word they were looking something for this week's issue, sent them three, and they chose this one almost at once! I'm still dancin'!
Picture: Agoura faire site, March 2010 (

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