Friday 5 May 2023

5 Poems by RC deWinter


He is a priest in a private congregation,
carrying coalblack calling cards –
no words on either side –
in a coalblack card case in the chest pocket
of his coalblack overcoat.
But under the right light, all is revealed:
the intricacies of his mind,
his byzantine cache of secrets,
his deepest desires.
You won't be able to see these things, but I will.
I am that light, carried in a hidden pocket:
the mirror of memory, illuminating this man
so carefully concealed from the world.
When he needs to remember,
when he needs to feel,
when he needs to weep.

fair trade

darkness spills out of you
ink from a neverending well
when you touch me
will my skin be stained
with the blueblack
birthmark of pain?

i have my own striations
crisscrossing my body
filaments that carry
memories of a thousand cuts
mistakes of my own making

perhaps your ink
will cool me
perhaps absorbing
your pain will serve
to cancel mine
it would be nice
to suffer knowing
it was not my fault


i suffer from the inverse of sad
i slip so easily into woolly fog
safe behind grayness
i revel in bucketing rain
washed clean in skywater

unlike those who live for sunny days
in which to blossom
too many days of bluesky sun
and i begin to wither
a plant deprived
of its essential nourishment

i used to wonder why
of sun beating on my head
is such an uncomfortable trial
but now i think i have parsed it out
perhaps i love those wet gray days
because in the rain
no one can see your tears

[previously published in Literary Yard]


i was waiting for it
and have not been disappointed
i knew the other shoe
would have to drop

there's no sustaining optimism
confected from imitation strength
that froth of myth and naïveté
evaporates quickly
leaving nothing
but the sour aftertaste of
saccharine and blood

who am i kidding
sitting belted in a tumbrel
wearing this flimsy mask of hope

this rollercoaster
ought to be condemned
it's always flying off the rails


night swallowed the sun in one great gulp
taking all the birdsong and rose-scent too

the moon’s awol vacationing on another plane
leaving a vast slate of nothing

stretching across the heart of the sky
and the stars have been erased by karma

if it weren’t for the streetlight on the corner
i could be standing in a coalmine

abandoned in another life but i’m upright
and breathing at least i think i am though

i can’t see my hand in front of my face
as i stand in this bubble of nothing

but my heart still aches and your eyes still shine
wherever memory lives so i guess this isn’t the end

of the sun birds roses moon stars world
or me


RC deWinter’s poetry is widely anthologized, notably in New York City Haiku (NY Times, 2/2017), Coffin Bell Two (Coffin Bell, 1/2019), The Connecticut Shakespeare Festival Anthology (River Bend Bookshop Press, 12/2021), in print: 2River, Crossroads, Event, Gargoyle Magazine, Genre Urban Arts, Meat For Tea: The Valley Review, the minnesota review, Night Picnic Journal, Plainsongs, Poetry South, Prairie Schooner, The Seventh Quarry Magazine, Southword, The Ogham Stone, Variant Literature, York Literary Review among many others and appears in numerous online literary journals

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