The Peregrine Muse
 

Poetry of Patricia Carragon

The Corneal Gates


You keep my image

Behind corneal gates.

I look closer,

See an hourglass

Where sand becomes

An endless beach––

Where a shell lies

Like a castaway.


I pick it up,

Hear thoughts sing,

Watch notes rise

Like fire’s breath.

I ask the wind

To send this song

To where dreams live

And wait for his eyes

To open the gates.






The Shabbat Eve


The sun exits

the auburn sky.

The lamb seasoned

for the ritual.

A miracle wrapped in a towel

born from yeast, flour and eggs.

Aromatherapy

dances around a table

set for one.


She covers her head

with her mother's scarf

made from Vilna's

tattered lace.

She covers her eyes

and prays over the candles

She visualizes

what could have been

and wishes life were different.





       

Picture of Life


A painting’s still in progress –

Parisian life’s numbered for color.

People sit at an outdoor café,

Sip wine between conversations.

A man delivers his wares

In an ancient

But sturdy wagon

As long as his horse

Can be of service.


But the artist

Didn’t finish her piece.

Instead,

She allowed age

To paint the edges –

Kept some areas devoid of color.

Inside her dented box,

Dried capsules

Have lost their oil.

Brushes lie unwashed –

Too brittle for use.

In the dust,

Inertia lives.

I wonder why,

But the artist isn’t here

To answer.






Innocence


Innocence came out to play

and saw storm clouds instead.


The fluffy days of childhood

played tag with problems,

but never could get the stains out

as new problems settled in.


We still wash our dirty laundry

in water and detergent,

not expecting it to look

squeaky clean.


The more we scrub,

the darker the stains

after each rinse.


We dry our clothes inside,

never hang our history

on a clothesline.


It would only clash against

the pretty greenery

next door

and the neighbors

would complain.






Coming Home


If I came home,

Would I find

Our make-believe kids,

Our nonexistent pets,

Our thoughts,

Our passion,

Our past,

Our lives,

Ourselves?


But when I did,

No one

Was at the stoop,

Or entrance,

Or in the hallway,

Or by the kitchen table,

Or near the bathroom sink,

Or sitting on the sofa,

Or resting on the bed,

Or standing by the shade.


But your absence was everywhere;

it even took over the lease.





Haiku


hands of laughing girls

ripping petals

from daisies





Death

Death meets life

and has a baby

Death gets married
and buries the husband

Death places a personal ad
and reads it in the obituary

Death has an affair
and gets resurrected

Death strikes again
and 'skeleton crews' work overtime

Death has a plot
and builds an empire

Death invests
and makes a killing

Death retires
and sleeps in a coffin

Death takes a cruise
and sends sympathy cards

Death rides the subway
and goes to hell

Death finds religion
and anorexia

Death loses weight
and becomes a cadaver

Death gets a makeover
and leaves embalmed

Death looks in the mirror
and dies





Treasure?

What can be said of something

Buried in this nameless alley,

When it was once treasured,

Given out of love?

Or can love be measured,

When the past is rejected -

Sleeps in filth, alone and neglected?

What can be said of a memory
When it was there to serve its owner?
Was it witness to sadness or happiness?
Was it cherished for its unique design
Or did it lose its value under duress,
When time grew tired of its use
And dumped it out of casual abuse?

What can be said of myself
Seen within this ragged treasure?
Am I a common thread, forgotten,
Inside seams and buttonholes,
With memories stale and rotten -
Or a recycled life waiting to begin
Within washed and mended skin?





Tiny Friend

Happiness,

Like a bird inside my palm,

Sings a momentary tune.

Jealous winds arrive,

Snatch my tiny friend.

 

Happiness,

Like a feather inside my palm,

Sings a momentary tune.

The memory of wings

Cries in silence.






Dead Flower

I may be fluent in maturity,

But I’m still a child

Who walks awkwardly in high heels.

In adult clothes,

I speak adult words,

Pretend to be grown up.

Yet I’m still a child,

Who holds a dead flower

And hides behind adult clothes

And words,

Fearing that at any moment,

Someone might expose

The shame of a fairy tale princess

Who forgot how to cry.





The Boy Beneath the Tree

Spring speaks to wind,

Whispers through veins of infant leaves.

Its voice echoes,

Arouses a sleeping earth–

Trees hear it,

As do the flowers.


Underneath one such tree sits a boy,

No more than sixty seasons past –

Holds a book without a title

Or words to fill time's space.

His mind wants to write a story,

Give new meaning to blank pages

Untouched by corruption

Or the need to heal.

Mystery hibernates within him–

His thoughts must learn to speak

Before words learn to write.


Spring, an ancient storyteller,

Whispers through veins of infant leaves–

The boy listens . . .

His pen begins to bleed.






White Flag

An instant can be predictable –

The perfect aim happens thrice,

Hoists my shroud,

The white flag of defeat.

I've defended my king

And must surrender to my end.

Help is not possible –

Not even from the pain

That digs my grave.

          My hands are as damp

          As the salty air that engulfs my ship,

But the battle goes on,

With or without me.

Smoke from cannon and guns

Cannot hide the deck

From becoming a mortuary

For the living and the dead.

I’m alone to face my fears –

The fear of dying,

The fear of losing,

The fear of never seeing you again.

 

Am I still a man possessed

By indomitable strength

When my own life is fading fast?

Two bullets gnaw at my stomach

Like hungry leeches

While the third

Takes the fast route

For the "coupe de grace!"

I fall to my knees,

Not for prayer,

But for pain.

 

My pistol leaves my hand –

The final voyage awaits me.

My last thoughts will never be logged in –

The bullets have done so in my blood.

My eyes close,

My ears hear distant rumbles of war.

My breath leaves me –

The stench of death

No longer penetrates my nostrils.

 

Fate declares my resignation

And I have no choice,

But to enlist in the afterlife,

                               Join the ranks of those

                               Who sail the infinite sea

                        Where neither compass, moon nor star

                        Could navigate

                        A ship forgotten by heaven.



Haiku

A mountain descends,

a pebble rests in a pond:

a rock marks a grave.


***


Goldfish eat sushi
and play bongos with chopsticks:
Darwin does take-out.





Haiku

Branches cannot hide

the last Christmas tree

laid to rest by the gutter.


***


As clouds hide stars,
snowflakes touch treetops
like mystical pentacles.





Crucifixion

You come from nowhere -

An alien with a sense of precognition

Emerging out of innocent dreams best left

To storytellers who entertain the children born

Of children who still believe in the mystical promise,

Born out of hope and despair's wedlock.

We all are citizens from your place of birth;

Life is conceived from the same place.

Each day is a question that breeds another

Without any answers to stop them from coming

Since our stories are made-up by strangers

Secretly watching over us,

Passing judgment in their favor.

They prepare the lambs for their sins

While retribution retreats for a holiday

Far from the crucixion of life

At the stroke of crisis.





Revolution

I will rise from

The zero of nothingness,

Take each radical step,

Degree by degree,

Complete this revolution

In three hundred and sixty degrees.

 

I don’t care about perception –

Those illusions of what’s best for me

Or worst for you.

But friend and foe

Share both sides of the coin,

Purchase objects

For possession and control.

But I’m not for sale

Like diamonds and stocks.

 

You’ll stand awestruck –

Feet buried in pebbles,

Watch a pulsar

Flash over mountains.

This revolution moves

For change

And I,

Like an eagle,

Will encircle the heights.





The Lioness

She moves with a symmetry all her own,

Paces back and forth like kinetic art framed by bars.

I see myself in her sultry yet intelligent eyes,

Yellow intensity in pools of irises.

The lioness believes my thoughts to be like her own -

Through her own telepathy, she commands,

"Get out, get out if you can!"

Sensing her thoughts to be identical to mine,
I approach the cage, fearless, yet gentle,
Clench the bars that separate animal from human,
I place my ears against the bars, await her next command.

The lioness stops abruptly, stares directly into my eyes
And demands, "Why do you stand here?
Try to get out if you can!
We are all animals and must follow our instincts...
It's our calling, but I'd rather consider it natural.
These bars keep the occupants on both sides in captivity,
You've been domesticated too long
Watching my wild spark wither...
So please get out, get out if you can!"

At that moment, the beast becomes no different than I -
The fusion of bondage makes the lioness my twin.
The cage door thrusts open, her spirit jumps forward,
Not to eat me for fulfillment of survival,
But to feed me with her wild nature to become
The huntress of life.




"X"

My name's a chromosome, all female,

Lacking the "Y" to open doors.

Yet my name's the unknown,

Asking to be conquered,

Not by others, but by herself.

I'm part of an equation licensed to travel
Many times into endless prospects.
Galaxies for creative formulae -
A seeker searching for solutions
To problems that keep doors closed.

My name's simple, but it's at the crossroads
Where I'm the point between two pyramids
In which earth and sky become my universe.

My name's "X," I sign it with pride.





Daydreams

Daydreams hide in storybook dialogue

Never to be read when nighttime

Wakes subconscious evil

From cavernous sleep.

I close my eyes to read,

Seeing more in consecrated light.

You stand before me and I smile.

Scenes change,

But the actor remains the same

Until daydreams turn bittersweet,

For closure to destroy the end.





The Asylum

The noise slams my head

Against stereo walls

Like fast balls

Pitched to home plate.

I cannot escape soon

From this tiny cocoon.

My battered body lies

On the solitary floor

Against the cranium door,

Waiting for sanity to return.





Honesty

Poison camouflages itself,

Wears sugar-coated clothing

While administering its medicine.

Doses of criticism and advice

Cure the egos of those who watch

Your self-esteem self-destruct.

Your individuality

Gets strip-searched.

Your ideas,

Naked and bruised,

Lie in the corner

Without solace in defeat.





Touched by a Guide

The years of time are heavier than they look -

My shoulders feel every kilo of day and night

Spent under the tutelage of your provident patience

Until pressure cracked my senses, like brittle bones.

You watched evidence twist into a transfiguration,

A monster contrived to dwell as an aberration

Inside your Garden of Eden that has grown barren

Where the guilty one was singled out as female.

You were acquitted to watch my life burn at the stake

By your hand that lit my funeral pyre.

But before I am consumed by hate and failure,

I want to blow embers to touch the one

Who guided me down the sacred path of deceit.





Tenderness in Reverse

The fork and knife come forth to perform surgery

On a corpse that was once the pride of the farm.

The meat was cooked to perfection,

Bleeding slightly at each incision,

But tastefully tender in my mouth.

My tongue is in full motion

Mixing my thoughts between the molars

As they tenderize each morsel

For revenge to be properly served.





Haircut

She cut off her hair,

tossing thick chunks into the basket.

She should have done it sooner,

but lacked the guts to see

what lived behind the auburn curtain.

A mood mixed in chemical damage

precipitated her scissors

to alter what her mirror saw.

Her reaction was on stand-by––

then words came forth

in sentences shortened to stubble.


She carried the basket outside

and scattered her locks

around the ancient ailanthus.

Her scissors carved

her thoughts on its bark.

Leaves started falling one by one,

and then,

the rest fell like a rainstorm.

Her scissors dropped

when she saw her hair

sprouting on the tree.





The Palace

The palace became a wreck in seconds

a child was caught in between the bricks,

but he left the scene with minor injuries.

Yet the palace was not destroyed,

nor was the child hurt.

In fact, there was no palace or child present

the palace was never built

since there were no blueprints.

There were no architects summoned

to conceive the idea to build it.

The child was never born

since there was no conception.

There was no love to build a family

that would include him

imagination wrote this story

to disturb my mind.

Yet I read about it in a newspaper today:
the palace became a wreck in seconds
a child was caught in between the bricks,
but he left the scene with minor injuries
but some people say
that the palace was not destroyed,
nor was the child hurt.
In fact, they say
that the palace was never built
since there were no blueprints
or architects summoned
to conceive the idea to build it
and the child was never born
since there was no conception
or love to build a family
that would include him.
Yet the palace did become a wreck in seconds
and a child did get caught in between the bricks,
and he did leave the scene with minor injuries
and so it was, according to the newspaper
and my mind.

But the palace was not destroyed,
nor was the child hurt.
In fact, there was no palace or child present
the palace was never built
since there were no blueprints.
There were no architects summoned
to conceive the idea to build it.
The child was never born
since there was no conception.
There was no love to build a family
that would include him
imagination wrote this story
to disturb me during sleep.

I woke up and turned on the television.

A house near Beirut became a wreck in seconds
a child was caught in between the bricks
and was crushed to death.




Patricia Carragon is a New York City writer and poet. Her publications include Best Poem, BigCityLit, CLWN WR, Chantarelle’s Notebook, Clockwise Cat, Danse Macabre, Ditch Poetry, Inertia, Long Island Quarterly, Lips, Long Island Quarterly, MÖBIUS, The Poetry Magazine, Marymark Press, Maintenant, Mad Hatters’ Review, The Toronto Quarterly, Six-Word Memoirs, and more. She is the author of Journey to the Center of My Mind (Rogue Scholars Press) and Urban Haiku and More (Fierce Grace Press, 2010). Her latest book, The Cupcake Chronicles is forthcoming later this year from Poets Wear Prada. She is a member of Brevitas, a group dedicated to short poems.  She hosts and curates the Brooklyn-based Brownstone Poets and is the editor-in-chief of the annual anthology.