Poetry from Deborah Kerner

Deborah Kerner is a poet and a painter living in Ojai, California. Her poems have recently appeared in Bluepepper, Mad Swirl, Rabid Oak and Ariel Chart.

Synthetic in the Skin

stripped so that 
even in intervals nothing remains
somewhere in a terrain sucked dry
taking a train with windows like fluttering eyes
much of the world slides by without
intention. time is nowhere lost in seconds
passing the edges of restless habitation
people squatting shitting and fearless
close to the anonymity of train tracks
traveling offline and by the sweep of fields
passing disintegrating remnants of shattered 
structures gray like misaligned cultural leftovers
buildings fading in the offhanded rose orange light 
of raging fires jumping unraveling highways. the train is
smoking over bridges encountering
succulent forests glued on stamped listless deserts
stripped beyond the fringe 
of dystopian recognition. skins absorb unevaluated 
we are left in a walking zone where
wolves take over
old ladies pass 
through tattered fences
the barriers
home is where
the skin is

in this now moment called synthetic 
determined by
the ironies of language
walk the floating 
not knowing
where they are

Night Dweller

my feet are cold
my heart somewhere 
feeling. it insists it is feeling
moon sharp a white sharp disk
thrown in the night sky 
night falls quickly
on my head uncovered 
and filled with dread
will I lie here frozen losing sleep
in the late night’s chill?
night dwelling awakens
just as the sun first then the moon falls 
behind western mountains silhouette
and shadows dense
light becomes memory
as pure darkness envelops
stirring the noir nocturnal atmospheric 
molecular field of nothingness 
cave-like ink-jet black
phantoms loom across a wall
the night’s yearnings
thrown about uncertain
as the sun travels
the other side of earth
sleep beckons me yet thwarted 
by dawn’s shaking anticipation 
and far off stars fading
the night existence prevails
sleepless becomes me. in the next moment  
the rosy tip of fractured dawn light
appears begins to enforce a day
night dweller exists waits 
until the shiver of night ignites its will 
to stay alive. I caught in the middle
of its hardwired game

Tree Woman

I saw a woman
talking to a tree yesterday
we were filling up
at a nearby gas station
a busy road a time
of day when everyone
is returning home summer’s 
streaming late afternoon gold light 

she was animated gesticulating wildly
the tree alert listening
it bent towards her
surely it knew
her primeval voice springing
from the pool of the blazing Dryads
the tree nymphs shy 
though they were known to be

turning as I sat back in the car
thinking of her in the distance behind me
before I closed the door
she was there beside me like lightning

pale blue sharp penetrating eyes
a colorful bandana wrapped her head
she asked me for a dollar
wearing cut blue jean shorts
a thin top covering her falling breasts
her tanned mid torso and navel exposed
muscular athletic strong legs she 
was earnest

I looked into her myth-bound eyes  
what could I see but 
the long line of forgotten women
the turbulent days the trajectory
of our long collective sisterhood existences 
travesty of neglect shunned and restrained
fiercely awaiting freedom

beyond the restraints of our current 
earthbound cultures
I saw it in the urgency of her desperation