Poem of the Month: Process

I found this poem by Ashleigh Young in SPORT 44 New Zealand New Writing 2016


Process

All the friends we lost
to self-improvement will come back to us
oddly polished but otherwise the same.

All of the decisions we make in the small hours, to leave, to stay
will also be correct when we wake again.

The great suction that comes from beneath a passing truck
signifies the velocity of the living drawing us near;

when we look back to our dear friends cycling behind us,
their eyes are wide with joy and not terror.

All the friends who avoided our eyes in supermarket aisles
will embrace us in the vegetable markets.

Our erasure of our social media presence will not be half hearted.
On this day our city is as a perfect haircut, its losses gently layered
and what is left, falling gracefully.

If I am riding a horse that takes fright and gallops up a hill,
the horse you are riding will also take fright
and we will be carried away screaming together.

Things will follow due process.
Anything lost, only fallen in long grass.
If I can’t see your face it is only because my face
is pressed into your shoulder.

Pictureless walls sing their freedoms
as if facing a new city, new river, new air.
An open window pulls sheets from the bed
delays their flight, lights up particles of skin and strands of hair.

Early Writings

By the age of eighteen I was a goodlooking fellow
But, awkward and sometimes scary as a leech.

I was trying to make sense of myself,
Eventhough I was drinking, taking drugs,
And wearing a mask to hide my self.

Six feet high
A dreaming eye

I remember some snippets of my early poems.
I wrote them in a pocket sized black book.

I remember I thought of suïcide and of death
in a poem that was titled

Soon to Come

My poems were not meant for others
For people to read, I thought.
I didn’t show them to anyone,
The poems I wrote during my depression.

They were not inspirational.
It wasn’t meant to move or touch other people’s hearts.
It was simply how I communicated
In my loneliness, and in my pain.

It was something I made that felt true.
In the stillness it gave me solace,
Poetry.

How Fair She Is!

In the heavens and on the earth
she graces me with joy and mirth.
Save love, I wouldn’t understand

She is the wind, born to be free,
swaying me like a willow tree,
that flows in the lowland.

Like the sunset, she carries on
with hope the bright stars thereupon
make the night both warm and dim.

Holding a lantern in her hand,
which she lights up at her command
when Day is filled to the brim.

And therefor I sing a tune.
And as I walk beneath the moon
I meditate by the sea.

This princess, Lord, with a good name,
whose wisdom is of high acclaim,
acts out of love for Thee.

With thanks to two poets, Tatwin Spruyt and John Williams, who have contributed to this love poem through suggestion, and also thanks to the novelist Mylissa Buysse who reviewed it.

WHAT IS POETRY?

What is Poetry? Is it a dying
Black ink on amber colored paper?
Or sex at seven pm?

Please, let me know.
I have prayed, immersed myself in meditation,
Sought for answers, writing furiously,
Checked my e-mails, had breakfast,…

My son and I are going to the purple mountain
To listen to the song thrush and the nightingale
And move nearby the dust among the ruins
Like swirling snakes in the yellow sand.

Briskly broom away the clouds
that suffocate the view.
A starry night has stories to fish for,
rains of memories to enter the fire
that wildly sings.

My woolen doll… so long ago… that little man,
My grandma made… when did I outgrow …

Vincent, do you know?
(His picture’s on my bedside table)
Why do you look at me like that?
Boiled egg! Lightbulb! Rhododendron!

I remember sitting as a boy, ‘t was an early Saturday morning,
In the spacious seat of my dad’s white company car,
A bit drowsy, carsick and uncomfortable.
But, I felt honored like a little prince.
He gave me sandwiches and butter cakes.

While managing the wheel he redressed my life.
We sat there side by side rather quietly,
mostly silenced by ourselves.
My papa has never been a talker,
And the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

But, unlike him, I love poetry.
So, let me softly hand you the poems I’ve made
Like the wind and the creatures that circulate
The pollen of sweet and violated flowers.
Just like that.