snow angel

Image result for snow angels

snow angel

look! there goes our lives, a dream we glean

through murky glass and such genial snow for hours

falling on windshields drizzled with dry bugs clean

only in memory. time tilts his heavy head to devour

silence the unmeasured breath of charted space

black woods beckon thick timber of tired centuries

seeds sown in humid soil youthful branches race

to this moment beetles beaming in sunlight reveries

 

what wondrous roots what intricate tendrils twist,

harden, and are nearly undone from unmerciful wind:

strong gusts of midnight axes, will o the wisp

flickering over frosted streams light to find

the ghost inside maggot munching your liver

gift you can’t return, shadow of its giver.

 

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clock with blue wing

Image result for clock with blue wing chagall

clock with blue wing

-after marc chagall

the pendulum swings as the city sleeps,

children’s dreams haunted by dawn’s

trepid footsteps falling lightly upon the stairsteps

and so much inhabits the robin’s consciousness

that he flies at night while calculating figures

sewing his wounded breast back together

with the sum of contrition and inquiry

a longing for something which escapes

his flitting vision…a shadow on terraces,

a treasure map sketched in the snow

who knows? there is no clean sound

to be found in the adulterated amphitheatre

not even a mad dreamer pacing the cobbled streets

awaiting the moment when his ulna feathers out

into a long blue wing, or when time unbuckles

its seatbelt only to fly through the glass,

because like any good parishioner in the church

of unfulfilled promises the robin knows

all obstacles are illegible scraps of sheet music

awaiting the chinese orchestra.

original sin

Image result for apple

original sin

did he anticipate it before it happened

a spasm intuited in the sinews before

the heraldry of moaning trumpets

his first falling off

from a world of light

 

his hand holding the apple

 

thumb stroking its blemished plane

with a grip grounded

in the infirmity of perdition

the imperfect precision of wiles

a wooden horse to heat

 

the chill of battle in a war

with an outcome preordained

despite an enormous onslaught

to catalyze the contrary

 

blood and sweat

of heavenly hoplites

emboldened by will

the possible thrill of shifting

scenery in the snow globe world

 

to circumvent a prophecy

inscribed on the craters of yet

unobserved planets with milky surfaces

splendid ice sheets shimmering

 

what could he have told her

he could not scold her

for his love for her was a worm

gnawing his innards deep

down to the stone cold core

 

as the man endured

what he was moulded to endure

although unpremeditated as

an eyelid’s nettlesome twitch

 

what shields clanging and swords cutting

only to open unmendable wounds

sores with lesions unending

 

was it like job’s piteous lament

or the long cry of a woman

freshly widowed weeping

amid the roses wrought with a craftsman’s

hands unnatural breath of artifice

 

the struggle for so many souls reduced

to the corporeal level the squeal

of a rat the polished boot kills

 

what did he know of love until it wrought

his demise as he walked forth from the garden

 

hand in the hand of the flawed woman

whose reflection etched perfection in his mind

 

his feckless lies her tender eyes

 

handkerchief

Image result for handkerchief

handkerchief

it is 1943

and outside

the war is raging,

old women

with wizened faces

are pushing wheelbarrows

bodies heaped

comrade upon comrade;

some of them

are mere boys

their gray lips

are etched with evidence

the thin line of hair

along the upper lip

and one wonders if

they ever ate a peach,

if they bit one before

the grenade swallowed them

in a flurry of burnt rocks

and charred fragments

of wood. the window is foggy

with the dry breath

of the emaciated, people

starving for bread

and thirsting for a past

with its iridescent beauty

burning in the blue light of nostalgia.

an eagle rests on a streetlamp

a hole borne through his left wing.

a blue-eyed boy with one shoe throws

stones at him, missing the bird each time

as the projectiles bounce off the pole,

skipping into the snowy streets.

all of these things occuring

in the hours of dim starlight before

the black curtain of curfew falls

and my embroidered handkerchief

hits the floor while i arrest a glimpse

of my reflection in the shimmering

silverware, safe in my shelter

from the exigencies of ordinary suffering.

untitled

Image result for sandbox

at seven and a half

the sandbox stands between me

and eternity.

 

i  meet my rivals

with tiny shovels, bright red buckets,

and fingers clenched

tighter than an accountant’s figures.

 

there is so much to see beyond

my line of sight,

a vision which will be

chiseled through the mountain of years,

 

but here my dreams and fears

are vivid and clear,

as i stride in my striped shirt

all the way up the hill

and rest among

the thickets of trees

more ancient than envy

 

far from the dull lessons

waiting around the corner

when the long hand reaches the eight.

 

To read more of my poems click here. If you enjoy reading, please consider donating on my behalf to Tupelo Press.  Your donations will give me confidence and inspiration, while also helping Tupelo to publish outstanding works of literature. 

 

 

 

A Brief Note 

scarlet fire touches tree limbs
leaves dangling in the dying daylight,
our spirits swaddled in cocoons
The trees in my neighborhood are beginning their perineal transformation, and the cycle prompted me to write this short poem. These short, informal haiku force me to be concise, and as such, I think they are an invaluable literary form.

As you know, I’m still participating in Tupelo Press’s 30/30 project where I’m writing a poem a day for the month of November. You can see the results so far here: (https://www.tupelopress.org/the-3030-project-2/). I have twenty-seven more days to go, but I need your support, and Tupelo could use your donations; therefore I have an exclusive offer for those of you who follow my blog.

If you donate five dollars in my name, I will write and post a three line poem on this blog (gildedchalice). The poem will be on a topic of your choice.

If you donate ten dollars or more to Tupelo in my name, I will allow you to choose the title for one of my 30/30 poems. The title can be as ridiculous or as long as you choose.

Here is the link to the fundraising page: (https://tupelopress.networkforgood.com/projects/39802-kenneth-west-s-fundraiser)

I hope you choose to donate to this wonderful press. Regardless of your decision, I thank you for reading this post and for your support of this blog. Also, the poems on 30/30 are posted and you can view them for free, so I encourage you to go and read them. Stay wonderful!

Tupelo Press 30/30 Project

Hello Everyone,

I hope all of you are having an enthralling autumn. Soon the leaves will become a florid amalgamation of yellows, reds, oranges, and browns. Autumn is a season that inspires many poets, from Keats to Stevens and countless others. Perhaps the chill on the exterior prompts them to look inward and seize the riches beneath the surface of their creative depths, or chances are the explanation is much less highfalutin and much more quotidian and commonplace. However, this November, I am embarking on a personal challenge.

I’m participating in Tupelo Press’s 30/30 Challenge in which I, along with several other poets, will write a poem per day for thirty days and publish it on their website.  Tupelo Press is a small publishing house that publishes contemporary poetry, translations, essay collections, and literary fiction. The press brings the work of exceptional writers to the general public, but they do not have endless marketing resources of publishing giants such as Random House and HarperCollins, so the 30/30 Challenge is a way to generate revenue and cultivate awareness for the important work that they do.

If you feel inclined to help in this endeavor you can donate here: (https://tupelopress.networkforgood.com/projects/39802-kenneth-west-s-fundraiser). Your donation would not only help Tupelo but also give me encouragement and validation as I challenge myself. I hope you will consider giving a few dollars to this worthy cause, but if you are not able to, the poems will still be available for you to read at tupelopress.org.

I appreciate all of you and your support of this blog. Until next time, stay bright, my shining stars!

street prophet

Image result for street musician

street prophet

the prophet will tell you all he knows

of oranges, how to pull off the peel,

tearing apart its puckered lips in one fluid motion,

 

and if you toss one crumpled bill

into his wide-brimmed hat, he’ll stand

with hands upraised staring straight into the eye

of streetlights overhead and place his untuned guitar

into the inharmonious heap of cans and grocery bags

 

and he will tell you all that is etched upon his heart’s surface

 

he’ll tell of time, death, decay:

encomiums of grandiloquent sentence.

his words hark of tribulations to ensue,

 

and he”ll sound his trumpet

while you groan in blue.

About the Blogger

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As most of you know, I’ve had this blog for six months. During that span of time, I have written many poems and posts while growing a lot as a person. I have made one-hundred posts, and this website has become a window on a clear, cloudless morning whereby I can peer out and see the works of others or thrust aside the curtain and render my own work visible.

Today, I am going to introduce myself properly. My name is Kenneth, and I’m a writer who lives, persists, and strives to thrive right here in the southern United States. I don’t write much about myself on the blog, because I believe that the work should take precedence over the personality. Furthermore, I don’t have much to offer with regard to personality. I’m just another boring person. I am not a Napoleon; I am merely a man with a watchful eye and a metronome in his heart. I feel deeply, and I try to make something beautiful in the midst of the hullabaloo that is the modern world.

I like to read books. For me, words are a flavor of air that make the soul a bit more sturdy. I like popular history books; they make the past unfold in a riveting way. I like chocolate and thinking about things. I like maps that show cities, rivers, and the way blood and bones bind landmasses weaving the past with our sense of self. I suppose I’m a writer, because my imagination hasn’t died yet.

Well, that’s enough about me. I’d like to hear about you if you’re willing to tell. I’m grateful to all of you who take the time to read my work, and as always, I’d love to read your comments and your thoughts.

scene with a golden goose

Image result for poor farmhouse

scene with a golden goose

her golden goose

with olive pit eyes

cimmerian pupils, shadowing

her refusal to forgive. this

is a slit from which no light leaves.

 

her speckled eggs. her stacks of hay.

her hills of horseshit newly heaped.

her blue bucket with water sloshing up

to the brim. her brown and green leaves

shimmying on the surface. her pockets of sunlight

 

yellowing through the arbor amid the naked

branches of dead pear trees. her old sow

with backbone protruding. her earthworms

wiggling under heavy stones. her dresses blowing

on the clothes line.  here is the farmhouse during

 

an uneasy season, and here is the widow who lost

her senses in the disconsolate flurry of days. she peers

out the window and sees a landscape twenty years gone,

a caravan of romani sipping beers beside blue flames,

stallions galloping over gray hills their tails sloshing

and angels wearing neckties wrestling each other

in the shallow water of estuaries only to sink suddenly

 

into the tall grasses. she looks out her foggy window

at her golden goose and her fat speckled egg and adjusts

her bathrobe. her moon ascends in a flaming wagon,

and the old woman remains unmoved.