Poetry from Allison Grayhurst


Allison Grayhurst

Allison Grayhurst










Walk on Fear



It appears in the grip

of ecstasy, in the

idiot abstract of failure,

and sometimes, love.


Illusions coating

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,


standing naked

before a window, skyscrapers

stretched towards

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.






Nocturnal Souls



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,

drilling up

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,

hauntingly yours.









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

of angels

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

with self-lies.

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

or lifetimes.






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 walk



the branches.


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

to follow.




Treading Water



I hear hummingbird’s wings

figure-eight beneath my skin.

Too many bitten sandwiches, people

walking by, containing

their anguish.

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.


            (Mortal heart

                        that hears the

                        resonating thunder,

                        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)

without taking.





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

signing bonfire.


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