poetryrepairs 16,09:103

STEPHEN MEAD : Farther Than Fantasy
STEPHEN MEAD : Comfort Woman

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Farther than Fantasy

Beauty or Beast, which are you today? I have known both, have occasionally been them, Thus can see how much they’re virtually no different. Ferocity, tenderness… No, whatever love cages isn’t quite either. Did I say caged? It’s more a trust, well-earned, Setting free Jericho’s walls while simultaneously Keeping that habitation wherever wandering Finds its street. Myths, fairy tales and legends… They riddle our lives into maps, The destination, shadow flickering from the looking Glass, its other side. Voices call from there. Whose? These mirrors smoke ingrained with a faith of prescience Near to pain. With your weight a knowledge, still, central as memory, I can stumble & not quite mind or, now ’n then, even fly, Finding the kindness of an animal & the wound of empathy, That mortal thing it most fears losing… Who would believe this? The malice-eyed wing watchers raising their chalices As if preparing to spit? Or the white rose, our familiar, Changing color amid thorny voluptuousness? Yes, though strange, underestimation is better, Caution, a heart, taking to the wind & seeding it, reborn. This is my last chance, incarnation & By magic horse, glove, key, I mean to come back, To pass where silver veils ripple and bubbles thaw ice: The looking glass, the looking glass… Listen, here is the place where we’ll shape Our faces around crevices & melt in a vision Returning anima to spirit. That’s what we always were.

poetryrepairs #228 16,09:103

Comfort Woman

STEPHEN MEAD Misnomer is that term, not much comfort to the men, and certainly not to me. Consider the words a plea then and I the one seeking comfort from what was done. Repeatedly is the artillery of numbness or so I disassociate, so torn up in my loins by the lines of drilling ranks. From Colonel to Private, all the same difference in the similar thrusts, moans, and the occasional fist or ripping of hair should I dare cry, flinch, act as something other than army property. All skin and bones from some rancid barely-broth diet, my straight black fringe has already begun falling out anyway. Foolish to pick up such chattel scraps from the coffin-sized planks fitting my head as if for a tureen, as if I could gather back the ingredients of that stall, re-make the original recipe. Dishy, some of the G.I.s commented later after I put back some weight, one would-be- poet even using the description, alabastrine, as if I hadn’t been stolen, sold, imploded and leveled long before Nagasaki. Still, to be considered luminous and silken of skin, what a strange notion to form a resemblance of tenderness glimpsed by the light of rain. I carry it about me always, the descending nets to walk through, veiled phantom of unquenchable need, and this napalm mist, this draught of ether I drink and drink brings no blank amnesia nor relief to give meaning to any damned thing.

poetryrepairs #228 16,09:103


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STEPHEN MEAD, A resident of NY, is a published artist, writer, maker of short-collage films and sound-collage downloads. His latest P.O.D. amazon release is an art-text hybrid, "According to the Order of Nature (We too are Cosmos Made)", a work which takes to task the words which have been used against LGBT folks from time immemorial. In 2014 he began a webpage to gather links of his poetry being published in such zines as Great Works, Unlikely Stories, Quill & Parchment, etc., in one place: http://stephenmead.weebly.com/links-to/poetry-on-the-line-stephen-mead (worth viewing! –ed.)

STEPHEN MEAD "Comfort Woman" is a favorite poem. Wish there were some award I could give for it. --ed.