Friday, September 2, 2011

Poems by Joseph Farley

here and gone

the ground shook and fires burned.
the sea rose up and took away
our houses, our cars, our children.
there is no need now
to ever rebuild in stone or steel.
a hut of grass and bamboo
on the side of a mountain
is all that is needed,
the small cell of a hermit priest,
until the rains come
and soak the hills
and these new riches
begin to slide away.

Her Eyes

in her eyes are mysteries
more wondrous than supernovas.

in her eyes are pools
filled with the bones
of the sacrificial dead.

in her eyes are
the long silence
between distant stars.

In her eyes there is
no present, no future, no past,

fire and cold,
and unspeakable knowledge.

those eyes, those eyes
I cannot stop looking at

wait for her gravity
to devour me
and spit me out.

Sunken Thoughts

Ocean, dark, unquiet sea,
rolls and rolls eternally.
What sad ships have sunk below
seeking succor in ports unknown?
Far, far must one gaze
in search of masts from yesterday.
What treasures may they bring,
what hidden secret things
should they ever return
from deeps and distances
where they have been?

Give Me The Opiate

The devil dances,
the devil sings,
the devil woos us
with many things,
and yet all he sells
and all he shows
seems so little
to one who knows
the smallest fact
or the smallest hope
of faith or love
or heavenly dope.

Red-Headed Woodpecker

The lilac tree is passed its prime,
but survives in the garden
half-choked by vines.
Dead branches scratch our heads
when we pass through the yard gate,
but we dare not cut them down
lest we chase off our red headed friend
who visits each morning at dawn
and drills holes that perforate the wood
making the branch look like a sieve.
Many times I have seen our friend.
Many more times I have heard
him hammering beak through bark
to feed on hidden grubs.
Sometime I have confused his sound
when I am still half asleep
with the jack hammers and back hoes
repaving Theodore Roosevelt Boulevard,
but when I realize the source of the noise
I can roll back to pleasant dreams
and know the worker by my window
is adhering to a blueprint

Bio: Joseph Farley edited Axe Factory for 24 years. His books and chapbooks include Suckers, For the Birds, Longing for the Mother Tongue, and Waltz of the Meatballs.
far older than any highway.

PS - If you are a fan of Michael McClure's Meat Science Essays, you might want to check out my chapbook Waltz of the Meatballs at

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