Walk on Fear
It appears in the grip
of ecstasy, in the
idiot abstract of failure,
and sometimes, love.
the sides of eternity
with shrieks, illusions
crawling out of the mouths of
of gods and myths. Trains
pass all night through offices,
apartments, trains packed
tight with a cargo of dreams.
No one is strong enough to say goodbye
to the world, shave their heads
without feeling. No one is here
to shout spontaneous, to endure
the striving tongue and bone. Electrical
flies on the wall. Cockroaches scanning
the fridge – oxygen, dancing couples,
before a window, skyscrapers
a crippled sky, and then
long ago, a child
sitting in a forest,
to each tree.
Lately, it is has been hard
to hide – undressed,
divorced from direction.
Lately, I’ve been watching
the furniture, screaming
aloud when there’s a knock
on the door.
But my house is forever.
And the urgency and hunger
that overpower my pulse
has never cried for peace.
Those pure, breathable love-notes
written on Japanese paper.
Our house, rain-cold
with dawn dying in every corner.
When you sleep
I believe I am made of ice. I travel
in my frozen figure, spiralling,
into God’s domain. While you, flat
amongst the covers, breathe slow like
roots, touchable, sacred
as the shadows of my mortality are born
then perish in the wind’s mute philosophy.
Loneliness infects us all. You have told me,
there will never be a simpler tomorrow.
Cut flowers lean their bloom on pale walls.
I drop my mouth like wine dripped
on your shoulder.
You wake and find me,
It is sort of colourless,
the Earth. Though I can hear the voice of spring,
I cannot help being disappointed at the slow
blooming flowers, that grow up
pursing the sun
to no avail.
Then I see the long boneless bodies
ascending like arrows
into the depths of a starless sky,
and I think to myself that he
who has gone into
shadows, hissing a private song
is much better off with his visible scars than
their invisible wings.
And I wonder, will he come home
or pass like water between unwebbed feet, to the ocean
where all that is written
is washed away with the sand?
With your random intimacy, you gather
like a fresh season
in my unchanging days.
The letters I write you
turn blue with sorrow, yellow
I am a woman
bearing this seed of false explanations.
Am I meagre? Have I calculated
truth and love, inch by inch
as severable, solitary desires?
I am sinning beneath a half-moon, wanting
to shape my thighs perfectly,
but I have only two hands to mend this wound,
and even their double skill and devotion
is inefficient for such a task. It is better left
to trust, to fate,
to an open-hearted ruin.
I believe in your perfect happiness,
your nunnery in a Montreal duplex, your discipline.
I will join you someday, look into your priestly eyes
and feel once and for all
My mind is whitewashed.
Your smile is surfacing
like a cleaned glass swan.
On the shore or in the sandpit
we will arrive,
whether it take over night
The Man and The Snake
Fused, in flight
he dove with haste into the sand pit. So little now to feel,
but hummingbird fear, crushed pebbles and bitter pride.
He danced in the yellowish crevice, swinging
religious aging arms;
as if invisible like the silent atmosphere
of stopped clock hands and snowflakes falling.
The cobra cocked its head. Suspended in the shadows,
its boneless beauty shone with lust.
He touched its tail first, then tongue; rolled
like thunder down its fleshy throat,
kicking his heels against
the interior shell of the snake being.
Breathless, he begged for poison,
or relief. The snake hissed –
Tonight you return to the womb. Close your eyes
your sanctuary is complete.
His eyelids folded over like petals in a frost.
He kissed the dream, then followed his fate
You put Sunday in your
pocket. Unlike you, I am not
destined for immeasurable acts.
I speak to the stones, to someone like you,
looking up your stairway, into your hallway
of a holy place.
You move to the rooftop,
eyeing the crowd with a distant tear.
I would hold my hands out to you but
your love is criminal, is metal slowly
burning through the streets, congesting
the autumn air.
Why do you devour me
into your sweet, immaculate hell?
You circle me and circle my door with your
smiles and waves
of irresponsible feigned devotion.
I am too soft for such deception.
I am no rock, no easy rider.
Your lies like your beauty
live in me, aimlessly
Ambush Your Rage
Savour the shock
that makes a weak person perish.
Savour the shape
of abandonment in an old man’s eyes,
the grit of bitterness that taints the forgotten,
the pinpoint range of hurt
which lasts beyond
all means of distraction or comfort.
Savour the fruit of your
awareness, its fierce caress and symbolism.
Live long along the roadside’s edge. Let
the ants weave your shroud.
Give nothing to the canyons, to the diving
bottom-feeders while winter freezes overhead.
Give nothing to this minnow town, these
streets of helter-skelter code.
Let the heron guide the way as you
kneel before your destined trials
and seize the tide
I hear hummingbird’s wings
figure-eight beneath my skin.
Too many bitten sandwiches, people
walking by, containing
The wordless hymn
is a waterfall, pouring
through the smoke: not a dry ocean,
but, rejoicing. But this mind
is like an axe, slaughtering my joy
with world-worn concerns.
Who craves the contradictory high? Do I?
Do I love for nothing but death and bramble?
To be blinded by ecstasy,
to hunt again for the colossal Self.
I walk through the dust-ridden morn.
The wind splits my shell like a labouring woman:
It enters. It expels. It knows
The Way of Separation
If today I cry for you
would you weep
with me, though
your paradise is found
and my life is strange to your eyes?
Blue shade in my
palm. Midnight in
my shoe. I give up
hope, give up the covers
to shield me from ruin.
If you could love me differently,
with a love not so dead to deeds,
so proud in its moral conviction,
would the moon appear different too,
and its bone-white light, could I bear it
I learn to will my famine numb
I learn our intimacy was hollow,
nothing is sure but God
I learn the way starfish see –
slow, slow change, that none
but the intent can observe.
that hears the
feels the owl’s burning
eyes. Modern heart
of secret logic, robed
in the gales of a coming
Do you remember the heat
of our stride, our anxious days
of youth, christened by our friendship?
You go into airy ideals.
I break with your walking.
You go into arms that praise your every gesture.
I look to the river.
You ask my forgiveness.
I am stronger now, enough
to bless (and I bless)
Nomad and Wife
Her dying bones
which still have the strength
of moon and fight are held
up on his altar-hut.
Watching over – a small
figure with the once milking
flow of feminine
curve and charm.
He will not be undone
by the pain or
winter’s fast approach.
(He places a carved bird at her feet.)
He has killed for her dignity
marred and she for the power of his
wide-set eyes. They touch
hand to weatherworn hand
and know the sensation
singular like the sun
is singular in its power
to bless or deprive.
They do not smile, their union
is too rich for such
a soft space between
(They remember their children.)
Watching as her life departs,
his anguish echoes the high plains
undefended, heard only
by the gods. And the trees
so placid, absorb each cry,
I hear the tumbleweed bounce
and the jewelled breath of the
antelope. Pebbles under my
tongue. His aura is heavenbound.
His mind is breaking up
in his landscape beyond my reach.
I turn to him – his leg stretched
out, tilting clockwise.
Where power is shapeless
and some shrilling sorrow
is sealed in fishbowl eyes,
ruling from behind glass worlds –
I see him born, towering between
flesh. His head is a miracle, a
I turn to him. I run to him.
His belly makes me weep. Pulsing
up and down, warm with life.
He is coming out from the
quicksand wound. His beauty,
quenchless. His is innocence is
Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Three of her poems were nominated for “Best of the Net” in 2015, and one eight-part story-poem was nominated for “Best of the Net” in 2017. She has over 1150 poems published in more than 460 international journals and anthologies. Her book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers, a Porcepic Book, in Vancouver in 1995. Since then she has published sixteen other books of poetry and six collections with Edge Unlimited Publishing. Prior to the publication of Somewhere Falling she had a poetry book published, Common Dream, and four chapbooks published by The Plowman. Her poetry chapbook The River is Blind was published by Ottawa publisher above/ground press December 2012. In 2014 her chapbook Surrogate Dharma was published by Kind of a Hurricane Press, Barometric Pressures Author Series. In 2015, her book No Raft – No Ocean was published by Scars Publications. More recently, her book Make the Wind was published in 2016 by Scars Publications. As well, her book Trial and Witness – selected poems, was published in 2016 by Creative Talents Unleashed (CTU Publishing Group). She is a vegan. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay; www.allisongrayhurst.com