Tag Archives: Memory

words refuse to unfix themselves | poems

silver lines the bottom of the fish pond.

gary lundy

where two men gather their equated absences into palpable congruence. exquisite bare shoulder camera eyed.

whatever to say when a truth bars entrance. a stomach muscle eye. solitary entitlements. rules expanse of introspect thought.

affair of deciduous longing. the want to corrupt what remains out of control. to glide easily into familiar narrative.

where you once stood. i seek conclusion. not particularly of the absent love. but the more which equates freedom with left lost.

you absorb his words. lie among hidden articles.

gary lundy

substitute want for desire. enormous spring sunlight. tulips slow blooming.

he wanders alone with his dream of happiness. a fiction to be sure. but enough of one to provide glimmer hope.

a young invisible child. say three. plays among dandelions. a field not far from home. what does life account for after all. a brush stroke here. there. a few words follow. memorable or not.

in a dream you envision a growing misstep. your body swelled. cold damp tears. woman plays guitar. sings into probable future. i would follow were i able. yet words refuse to unfix themselves from each heavy laden page.

right now this only works. if they don’t line up. two lips the child repeats. unoriginal although for the first time. new. to no one in particular.

introducing an unexpected narrative.

gary lundy

so that when i read it’s you who springs from the page.

yet the i remains remote and inaccessible. no matter how hard he tries. buds near their blooming moment. movement even though it snowed yesterday.

you tell me you follow a thread throughout my writing which is definitely my life. wherever we find ourselves. nor even when in japan. and in love with a precious man. his left wrist is in a cast. fingers thus protrude.

you recognize that he will in all likelihood die first. wrapped as you are in coat and pajama bottoms. why might you not be able to look at me that way. a synthesis of denial.

people sound out their displaced need to tell a truth. like left over love.

wipe your lips clean. it burns when the steam rushes onto the floor. light blisters the retinal display. remove all possible enormity.

try as he might he never quite recovers.

i hear my mothers voice as i speak with you. a singular morning with coffee. a heartfelt pain close enough to attach paper clips.

when he would begin with gentle skin touch. i would roll my minds body full of grace.

a lost seagull lands in a bowl and bathes. outside. while a dog watches perplexed.

As I wrote the last time I published some of his poems heregary lundy and I have known each other for decades, which is almost forever. We met at a philosophy and poetry conference in Canada and have been inseparable since, mostly online. Through those decades, we have continued to converse  poetically and philosophically through the personal.

His first book, When Voices Detach Themselves (Is a Rose Press), delves deep into personal space and comes out with cultural revelations. His most recent book, Heartbreak Elopes into a Kind of Forgiving (Is a Rose Press), dives even further, if possible, into the heart of matters, uncovering the space for forgiveness and a desire for continued connection—even from deep within introspection. We feel the power of pausing in order to understand how the outer world shapes us, especially through the ideas of relation/ship and loss.

gary headshotThe three poems that appeared last time played on memory, nostalgia, and longing—the delusions of what we take as granted and the cracks and splatter of a glass of wine shattering on the ground of that false sense of knowing. Here, in the three poems above, we have some of the same mood, but accompanied by a sense of narrative connecting loss to longing. In the last of these poems, the voice of the poem addresses another: “you tell me you follow a thread throughout my writing which is definitely my life.” The other person, a friend in a cafe, perhaps, has been talking about the speaker’s writing—and we also sense this thread in the three poems, a sense of his life. The sense is fragmentary, which fits the poet’s view, as expressed in the second poem: “what does life account for after all. a brush stroke here. there. a few words follow. memorable or not.”

The brush strokes of these three poems provide a sketch, suggestive and powerful in its expression. And these strokes, memorable as they are, give us, as readers, a view of the human condition. It is not “joyful,” but it has room for the “fiction” of “happiness” and, in the end, room for the brush strokes of connection that appear throughout gary’s poetry. It is, in the end, the most human of connections—not romanticized, but, as reflected succinctly in the first line of the first poem above, a connection “…where two men gather their equated absences into palpable congruence.” (The specificity of that poem requires “two men,” but gary’s poetry taken as a whole implicitly says “two people” with full gender inclusiveness.)

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Photo of gary lundy from his book Heartbreak Elopes into a Kind of Forgiving @2016
Digital artwork ©2017 Michael Dickel

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Amber Ekphrasis | Poem

A segment from the feathered tail of a dinosaur that lived 99 million years ago is preserved in amber. A Cretaceous-era ant and plant debris were also trapped in the resin. PHOTOGRAPH BY R.C. MCKELLAR, ROYAL SASKATCHEWAN MUSEUM

A segment from the feathered tail of a dinosaur that lived 99 million years ago is preserved in amber. A Cretaceous-era ant and plant debris were also trapped in the resin. PHOTOGRAPH BY R.C. MCKELLAR, ROYAL SASKATCHEWAN MUSEUM source


Michael Dickel

I am lost, awash in honey-light and stopped-time—
hardened, a fossil that once lived before tasting
sugary sap, becoming caught as it turned to stone.

Sunlight trapped millions of years ago has turned cold—
my desires mineralized with sublimation, my body a frozen
footprint sold at market, worn on a chain around a neck.

These words stick in their own sweet clock, less real than paint—
colorless, caught in a mind that believes itself full of pigment,
while truth remains a slippery canvas brushed from memory.





Drawing by Judith Appleton (The opening of her show at the Baaka Natural History Museum occasioned this poem.)

Drawing by Judith Appleton, used with permission, all rights reserved.
(The opening of her show at the Baaka Natural History Museum occasioned this poem.)


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Falling | poem


That day you flew down the street,
bicycle wheels humming as you leaned
into the curve and the earth’s plane
skewed, the flat ground standing up
to vertical as you floated sideways
until your knee hit the pavement
and shed its outworn skin.

clear clear  clear clear clear  clear Still, you sped on,
standing with your feet in space,
your head toward a lowered sun
that pours fiery paint down the road—
black top a mere wall below you
that confirms the looseness of earth’s
grip on your aging, no-longer immortal
body, which still thrums, bird-light,
as you catch lift and rise into the air.



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Flash Fiction—A Visit


The woman with the beard has a serious moment while the toad continues his studies in this story. The garden is resplendent in Morning Glories for the Japanese Morning Glory Festival (July 6-8), Iriya Asagao Matsuri. This uses both July 7 prompts from the Flash Fiction Month social network, although I wrote it only on 8 July, partly because I had a reading in Tel Aviv on the 7th. I’ll add links in the coming days. As always, your comments are most welcome!

A Visit

Since forever the toad had not been an Anabaptist abacedarian, but a Zen Beginner’s Mind abacedarian or perhaps an acrostic puzzled down the page. The toad entered alphabetic and other learning from the start.

So he watched the sunflower resin as it dripped in a ratio meant to glorify the morning blossoms until they shimmered for Iriya Asagao Matsuri. The thick sticky substance would bury itself among the tangled roots of sunflower and morning glory, thinning with the soil’s moisture to the thickness of molasses in summer.

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This morning, while the toad watched in his garden, the woman with a beard made her way along store-lined sidewalks past the barber, whose portrait of Richard Nixon shaking his hand faded in the front window, right by the machine that ate plastic and excreted cash, to number four on Main Street.

She entered the home as though swimming upstream in the sand flowing through an hourglass, pouring herself into the rapidly expanding emptiness of lost time. The nurse waiting inside her greeted her with a nod as she signed in at the front desk, and then led her through the locked door.

The woman with a beard continued on her own down the hall. She always felt her age and then some in this place, the weight of her lifespan and her mother’s coiled around her shoulders and draped down her back, a heavy rope practicing to transform itself into a python. She knocked lightly, then entered a room about three-quarters of the way down.

Inside, a very old woman sat in a swivel recliner chair that, with the dresser along the wall, represented a life-time of furniture that once crowded the family’s house. Her mother stared out the window, as she did every day, from what the woman with the beard learned from the staff. Certainly, she sat there staring every Sunday morning, although she had increasing difficulty recognizing her mother in this ancient woman.


“Do I know you?”

“I’m your daughter, Amanda.”

“You know my daughter?”

“In a way, I guess I know her.”

She didn’t push, it would just frustrated her mother, who shifted her gaze back out the window. A few minutes later, her mother looked at her again.

“Do you live near here?”

“I live in a small house, over by the ravine. Not too far.”

“By the ravine? Just a bunch of hobos and hippies lived there in my time.”

“Not much different now, I suppose. I’ve got a little land with the house, enough for a garden.”

“Huh,” her mother peered at her. “What does your mother think about you living with the tramps?”

The woman with the beard didn’t know what to say to that. “I don’t know. What do you think she thinks?”

Her mother stared at her. “Do I know your mother?”

“Who is my mother?”

Her mother’s stare became very intense, searching. “Oh, yes. Yes, I know your mother, I remember her now. She comes to visit me from time to time.”

Then they sat in silence.

What seemed like the time it takes to grow from an infant to adulthood passed before the nurse finally came to signal that visiting time was over. Her mother looked in from the window again, this time at the nurse.

“Oh, hi there Abby,” she said, calling the nurse. “This is my daughter. She moved back a few years ago. She lives with those hippies, the ones up by the ravine.”

Then she faced out the window again, her face going blank.

The woman with the beard left, thinking that indeed, her mother did come to visit that ancient woman in the room once in a while.

The toad continued his introductory studies of the beginning and end of things with abecedarian eagerness, calculating the ratio of dripping sunflower resin, and watching the flowers that had closed at the end of the previous day slowly open to the new sun.


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