On this day
you are one and the same that poet
who won’t change his life
and thinks he can change another’s
who grinds away at the trunk of a massive oak
with his puny insinuating saw.
Then this is the great passive monster of compassion
one and the same
who gives oxygen and safe perch and respite from brutal light
who caresses your fragile being back to the sanctity of great height
and cools you
who you are
in among a verdant crown of soft wands nested
that flutter against your face.
On that day the oak will at last give its life
and fall over flat
to fling you away.
Then this is the day when you unbecome a poet
and are consumed by dumb work
and fashion your ludicrous poems scratched on paper
back into that one and the same and only and original
massive burgeoning expansive growing bursting lush and vastly alive
It is happening while I lie in my bed. Conscious but selfless I suppose. This is when the dark figure of the man appears – though, he is a deep dark blue not black, dark in the way of blue inner-space, or of the ocean zone just before unfathomable blackness, or the deep blue just past the edge on the way to infinite space. First, he turns off all my small lights: the light of my Smartphone screen, the display screen on my CPAP machine, the luminous, sinister red numerals of my clock radio, the bizarre purple opioid-induced novae. Second, he extinguishes my artwork as it stands, in situ, here it is and then it is gone as it should to irrelevancy. And next, he puts out my ideas, flashes of them, meteors broken apart, the incandescent scrum and scree of them scattered across and among thoughts and task lists and white boards and in the minds of my loved ones and followers. Now, he revokes my memories, the constellation of incidents, these brilliant epiphanies I presumed would compose the luminary body I had thought to become. And, now he puts out all that is left and leaves me in utter darkness. All has been put out. Now what? Where are you dark man? Where is the light in this?
but the old dog needs his day at the groomers
and the far-off owl eyes
and the why are you leaving me here radio dish
follows me as I walk out the door.
I should be writing a poem
but we need sunbutter prunes 2 green bananas
and the woman just there sobbing and squeezing mangos
looks up and fixes her sorrow on my stopped-here demeanor
where I stand
all of that reprimand and demand
well what do you want from me?
I should be writing a poem
why is it like this
why haven’t you done something
what can you do
what IS there to be done?
I should be writing a poem
as contained in this sloppy bucket of words
are worlds in a universe which is a massive bubble of meaning
wherein there is no terrible loss and sorrow
and no god damn artwork
and there is a place where
nobody needs to eat up somebody else.
I shall arise the same though changed
the din of the restaurant these stainless-steel chairs scraping the concrete floor
and the waitress’ tiny short but somehow elegant fingers
leaving in her air an expressive wake
spiral eddies that I can actually see.
In the air.
Somehow in the air.
I am going to execute my mother.
I admit it
I don’t understand you
the way you try to place me separate on this earth
separate from all of them
to journey to some spot and disappear.
The way we eat one another
starting with these kids
kicking on the ground
and the blood rushes from their throats
flows into us
down your maw
so you can become yourself
and stay alive.
The way we will settle deep into our own ravenous sleep
deeper than we do in dirt
the way we will find below
down a river of gurgling dream.
I will swim toward another liquid pain.
I will root into you and grow.
To not be lost in constant waters:
To not be buried in crumbling earth.
I will find you.
I will find you I promise.
And we will yet become alive.
Henry G. Stanton
Painter · Writer · Editor · Publisher
Henry Stanton's fiction, poetry and paintings appear in 2River, The A3 Review, Alien Buddha Press, Avatar, The Baltimore City Paper, The Baltimore Sun Magazine, Chicago Record, High Shelf Press, Kestrel, North of Oxford, Outlaw Poetry, The Paragon Press, PCC Inscape, Pindeldyboz, Ramingo!, Rusty Truck, Salt & Syntax, SmokeLong Quarterly, Under The Bleachers, The William and Mary Review, Word Riot, The Write Launch and Yellow Mama, among other publications. His book of Short Stories, "River of Sleep and Dreams" is due to be published by Alien Buddha Press in 2019. His book of poems "The Man Who Turned Stuff Off" is being published by Holy & Intoxicated Press in June 2019
His poetry was selected for the A3 Review Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the Eyewear 9th Fortnight Prize for Poetry. His fiction received an Honorable Mention acceptance for the Salt & Syntax Fiction Contest and was selected as a finalist for the Pen 2 Paper Annual Writing Contest.
A selection of Henry Stanton's paintings are currently on show at the Berlin Library by the Worcester Counting Arts Council and can be viewed at the following website www.brightportfal.com. A selection of Henry Stanton’s published fiction and poetry can be located for reading in the library at www.brightportfal.com.
Henry Stanton is Publisher of Uncollected Press and the Founding & Managing Editor of The Raw Art Review - www.therawartreview.com