Wandering the Western Womb by John J. Staughton
THE HUNGRY SENSE for travel,
Universal in its draw,
Stirs souls of every color, age,
Faith, appetite and call.
O’er middling plains, towards Eastern shores,
Or westward mountain steep,
The itch to move is scratched anew
By those who seek the sea.
As peaks peer up at iron birds,
And we gaze wondering down,
A quiet hush falls over both,
Held breath without a sound.
The water gives to all who need,
Plants, animals and shores,
For humans dipping toes to chill,
Few others feel it more.
To cleanse and drown in sea-green death,
Blister blue in life-spawn morn,
Savage power and gentle rush of tides
Preaching calm ‘fore every storm.
Fluid green saps endless energy,
Binding earth back down to sea,
Yet when its gifts are gone or lost,
Cycles swing it back to thee.
The road needs wilds to give it form,
As men need fairer skin,
Escaping lends a separate peace,
Closed eyes turn back within.
We circle back upon our lives,
As older rattling minds,
And give that sprig of wisdom
To those following in time.
Point the nose to empty space,
Briefcases, elevator doors,
Dive, run, crawl
From geometric fields
Swapped and forgotten
For parabola waves
And sacred circles,
Above and below
Turn back your gaze,
But don’t linger
On the cut-out
Leave smoking scrapers
And howling horns
Lost to fracture
Fill only eyes
With hazy forms,
Lap toes on
Slapping water hulls
and rock in curving pools.
Balance sharp times
And hard edges,
Dull them with
Patience and pot,
Let silence reign
Calm minds in stormy climes.
Return, if there’s no other way,
But squint at more,
Blur images to soft grains
of Sandy vision quests,
Sail on, always,
All ways, away.
City bones rise through hands of men,
Their souls in genderless flesh,
Flittering androgynous and coy,
Teasing in their masculinity,
Flirting smooth curves like outstretched calves,
Under hard edges.
The stone and steel spine
Bracing asphalt arteries and
Shoulders bracing sky
To loom and lord over life,
Stand rigid and unmoving,
Unbreakable in history,
But sprouts of green,
Coastlines, fountains, harbors,
Bike-ringed river walks –
Each Betray the rapid rush of unruly
Traffic’s emotional depth –
Speaking to the feminine heart,
Not the manly frame.
That balance makes metropoli,
Cities on the hill,
Aesthetics wrestling power,
Curves bending lines,
Craft conquering commerce,
Whimsy countering war,
The strongest lines are those that bend,
The weakest frozen still,
For twisted alleys
Shape corded bones
Of life-throb survival,
Discordant arrows are
Buried low beneath
Fresh maps –
The progress of space and thought –
Pushing hard to buckle tar
As Earth shifts her pregnant weight
To rise and rumble,
Crackling ancient bones,
Letting her flesh stretch
The deepest stones
still seeking sky.
We push past oral fantasy,
In the face of all blood and boundary,
For wedded, greener shores’
Open arms and northern grace,
Bringing all from below
To harbor hungrily,
Awaiting a slingshot reality snap,
A bubble-bursting dawn,
Lashed by quiet regret
For any moment of doubt.
In search of pure bondage,
Willingly given words promise
Buttressed beauty and shoulders,
Standing strong and blinded
To hold back syrup-shock tears,
Awed by pomp,
Blessed by morning.
They join hands and release more,
Dozens of dropped balloons,
Floating on expectation,
Their fate elsewhere ever,
Reflecting twisted spheres
Of untarnished ecstasy,
The distant champagne touch,
Lingering on lips of forgotten lovers,
Roughly rubbed away,
The umbilical goodbye tears us twice,
Sundered and soldered again.
There is no love lost,
It will be found,
In photo album envy,
Crumpled mementos in pockets,
Weeping midnight lamentation,
Scattered thoughts to disperse among
And the sticky latex skin
Of Polaroid balloons
Still damp from the clouds.
In a crowded room to eat
Among a strange and vain mass,
That clamor as birds in lust,
For wine and bread to devour
With red mouth and lipstick eye,
Arriving in a drunk hour,
Hoping that the feast will pass
Before one feels that they must
Pull a truth from an old lie,
We lean in, chuckle and sigh,
As they serve the wedding meat.
Shaking hands in gravy plates,
Strange blood to mix with merlot,
But tender northern sister,
Lost Brother I hope to be,
You led me here, as a bridge
Is built to conquer the sea,
So I have come to bellow,
It is due time you kissed her,
Now make this love a marriage,
Pull back from the boyish edge,
Reveal your life at her gates.
Leave your tree and tie her trunk,
Away from the anxious tide
Sucking every heart to shore,
Soften the thorns of your youth,
Sink your soul into her breast,
You sought the sea for this truth,
Impossible beauty bride,
And found someone so much more
Willing to fight through the test,
Find the glimmer of your best,
In her pool your life is sunk.
The tangled knot of bloodlines,
Adopting you like a crutch,
Welcomes all, so you can give
The ancient lonely mem’ry
A final kiss to forget.
And as you join this family,
May your friendships give you such
Pleasure to always forgive,
Scars heal and broken bones set,
No blend of your time regret,
Sail on and follow no signs.
We break a bond at birth,
Screaming freedom from womb-bound months,
To form another set of ties
Of ecstasy and human connection,
An early promise to love forever,
A debt called countless times,
For tear wipes and scraped knees,
Tickets, failures, heartbreaks.
Pulled from flesh and held to breast,
An embrace forever pressed,
Mother’s hands to curl the hair,
Brushing flesh that’s blossomed fair.
His eyes so rarely wet, streamed free,
Trembling lip held fast for camera flash,
A dozen steps, a shaken hand,
The final march of fatherhood,
Stalwart soul, suited and trussed,
Reduced to gleaming eyes of the rest,
And memory’s soothing shores,
Forever hers and not.
Humbled by beauty today,
The braids and braces fall away,
Lost in gowns and older years,
Lipstick hiding ancient fears.
For he has come to sweep the feet,
To take her heart, captured thing,
Cradle it for every age to come,
Footprints joyful, pressed in time,
‘Cross chapters and early days,
through honeymoon delight,
the ancient edgeless puzzle of love
built piece by priceless piece.
Gently asking for her hand,
Finally sealed within a band,
Cross your heart and hope to lie
‘neath the earth before she die.
In a city far away,
A man pulls on a jacket,
His tie a knotted turtle,
Hair hardened jelly donut.
Over life, city holds sway,
He misses not the lack, it
Beckons him green and fertile,
Plants a seed deep in his gut.
Harder shoes and softer earth,
Throat and eyes exposed to sky,
Leaving comfort for the lost
Roads to the mountain summit.
The constant presence of birth,
From trunk to flower to fly,
Is rich, a high heady cost,
To replenish the spirit.
More time and concern, perhaps,
Is needed for life to thrive,
Love and water downpours,
Not rivulets or showers,
Warm earth beneath and snowcaps,
Sunlit and toasted alive,
Skyscraper dust in the pores
Washed away in seven hours.
Return again to the black,
Tar terrible toil of old
Head down and wallet empty,
Mind digging at something new,
Flee, run home and grab your pack,
Do not falter, just be bold,
Your feet were meant to be free,
The wild is waiting for you.
Birthed and sent seeking for newer wombs,
Comfort’s clutch is never far from sight,
In the distance, solitary tombs
Lie hidden, bathed in overflowing light.
Sex is life, so who are we to say
What love must be, folly to define,
The rush of pleasure between us play,
Taste the bridge of flesh like blood-red wine.
Nature’s grace lay not in beauty buds,
Nor sunrise-dripping komorebi,
But in sundering thunder and floods –
the threat that this will not always be.
So too in women, Nature’s gold child,
Where strength can sleep dormant far below,
But shine out when thrown into the wild,
Her sacred seeds among us to grow.
Dip your toes into more poetry in SN7: Women’s Day – available on Amazon!