poetryrepairs 16,04:046

RALPH MONDAY : Cathedral Melancholy

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Sage is grief’s color, perhaps too ripe olive. Tones meant for those who reach for hope at the bottom of the box. Autumn’s dull brown or black is embraced by the pessimist, disciples who know Macbeth’s shadings. Some eternally wander grief’s corridors, opening door after door with furtive glance like the thief who steals away hearts. They never remain long behind each portal. Grief has too many nuances, spiced flavors of the chef, buffet where the plate must be filled to overflowing, juices burnt, lingering like taste of a lost lover, bitter on the tongue but deep deep as hidden springs reaching to earth’s core. These are the true believers, misery messiahs who would bring gift of the magi to those yet warmed by the unknown, cold desert. Of them they will say see what robes we wear see how we take off our skin, anoint you with our blessing.

poetryrepairs #223 15,04:046

Cathedral Melancholy

Every morning in the cathedral the man who might be a monk plays the organ, sound streaming through stained glass on dark angel wings. The music is like the earth—ancient, scattered, metal sharp. He must drink wine from old flasks, red wine, burgundy as god’s beard—fingers like nails driving each key as a note for asphalt covering dirt, single arias for the damned, unrequited love for those who walk by and never hear. In the evening he still plays, music less mad: softer tones, twilight butter, crimson leaves burnt clef notes that swirl like candle smoke. Noises seeking salvation’s window, he twists stories from the keys, light and dark, black, white, narratives for the lost, forgotten, for those soon to be absent, disremembered— fingers sure as a ticking clock, wound backwards— spring that cannot uncoil, he plays and plays for those who do not listen.

poetryrepairs #223 15,04:046


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RALPH MONDAY is an Associate Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN., where he teaches composition, literature, and creative writing courses. In fall 2013 he had poems published in The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, Fiction Week Literary Review, and was represented as the featured poet with 12 poems in the December issue of Poetry Repairs. In winter 2014 he had poems published in Dead Snakes. Summer 2014 had a poem in Contemporary Poetry: An Anthology of Best Present Day Poems. His work has appeared in publications such as The Phoenix, Bitter Creek Review, Full of Crow, Impressions, Kookamonga Square, Deep Waters, Jacket Magazine, The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, cc&d, Crack the Spine, The Camel Saloon, Dead Snakes, Jellyfish Whispers, Pyrokinection, Red River Review, Burningword and Poetry Repairs. Featured Poet of the week May, 2014 Poetry Super Highway. Forthcoming: Poems in Blood Moon Rising. Crack the Spine best of anthology and Down in the Dirt Magazine. His poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Houghton Mifflin’s “Best of” Anthologies, as well as other awards. A chapbook, All American Girl and Other Poems, was published in July 2014.

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