Three Poems by Bruce McRae

Vers Libre

Night like a wedge and the wind’s teeth
sinking in, fangs oozing
sleep-inducing toxins, dreams infected
by colours and odours of a mind in flux,
of a body at rest.

Night’s highway. Night beveling water,
Orion tucked untidily between
Andromeda and Milky Way.
Night with a line of light through it.
And impossibly impatient.

Or night is a black rose
and represents death to the living.
Life, its guesstimate, its eyes on stalks,
blood minus language, humanity
hunkered under wintry blasts, time
digging a trench, undermining underworlds,
making a bed to lie in it.

I’m idly studying a chart of the stars,
taking baby steps in an astrophysical gulch,
one of the living, one of those upside-down people
just shy of being wrapped in the ground,
bone-tired of the chemical fury.

Unearthed, the night widens,
grown bigger than the both of us,
the hypothetical “you and I” contracted
in the reading and the writing of a poem.
Night like a poem too, I’d venture;
vers libre of the highest order.



Times Past

Time past is a house condemned.
Rooms we’ve loved in are shuttered and dim,
emotion either a cauldron of pitch
or contemporaneous delusion, the lovelorn
issuing cries from offices of an alloy fetus,
all lovers touched with amnesia’s selective bounty,
their marriages either brokered or borrowed.

There was a woman in the sinuous robes
of a thought, lost in memory’s derelict village.
We were scintillations once, mated,
one a spirit of water, the other of land.
A dread turpitude enveloped us,
two flaky apparitions caught in the gill-net
of temporal drift, in lust’s dolor,
the light scooting through them.

We witnessed the forever-kiss, its titanium foil,
the pictogram representing a limestone cliff,
the stone foundation of a fossil tower.
There were two nights spent in a fold-out bed,
in a sandstone canyon,
asleep with the sensuous.
Love was the flame and it warmed nothing.
Nothing, which is the absolute de-boned.
A house of intense yearning
in the extemporary dazzle.



This Too Passes

Halloween morning in the year of our Lord,
the known overshadowed by what remains unknown,
darting glimpses of the lunar surface before dawn,
some boisterous gusts, then a brain-grey sky.

Every night is the first night
when you’re fiddling with the incomprehensible.
Dragged awake by horses of dreamy cognizance,
each night is as dark as the next
when poring over that which refuses to be perceived.

Here I am. And so here you are too,
the suppositious reader at the start of their day.
A couple of ruined gods in the Great Et Cetera,
interplanetary visitors gone off-world,
who’ve both lost their stars and sense of depth perception,
rollers crashing as we stumble ashore, our ship gone down,
the theoretical gulls out-screaming the local banshees;
the souls of fallen women, according to folktales.
And why not? Everything’s unlikely.

Heathen Luna displays her charms, and may never again,
every minute our last, until this too passes,
another falsehood demolished, another demon snared,
consciousness confronting oblivion
(the best two falls out of three) and no surrender,
no sleepy death, and no deliverance;
not even a drone for the Annihilate to transcend
as it walks us into the earth.



BRUCE MCRAE, a Canadian musician currently residing on Salt Spring Island, BC, is a multiple Pushcart nominee with well over a thousand poems published internationally in magazines such as the North American Review, Poetry and Rattle. His books are The So-Called Sonnets (Silenced Press), An Unbecoming Fit of Frenzy (Cawing Crow Press), Like As If (Pski’s Porch) and Hearsay (The Poet’s Haven).


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