In the moment that we realize we are
uninhabited, the dance a nullity,
intuitive instinct like an insect’s
hum flows in, rushing waters, ebbs, recedes—
any blank space moving now to fill our
cracked Roman urn. The time eternal as
Earth’s star casting shadows on a sundial—
reach for an insulated place, clean, well-lighted
where consequence consumed drives moment’s fable.
Life’s gluttony, unfulfillable satiation,
pipes to us, forest satyr—drunkenness,
miasma’s dust eternal inebriation.
Begins then the feast in many mansions:
couplings like springs coiling and recoiling
eventually ends, a Tiresias snake breaking
where love and desire fall apart.
Perhaps money’s love, usury of self—
gold, unconscious desire for the sun
that warps our time, our space on cave’s shadowed wall.
All now Sisyphus or Job burnt stoics.
Or youth’s forceful memories, time forever green—
possibilities, promises, eternal balm
soothing unopened wounds, unsung lullaby
rocking us into wakened dream.
When all have failed, many turn to the apple,
find it sour, bitter, all faith mirror’s reflection—
final fidelity remains, an embrace,
caress, solace in faith a faceless face.
Three Muses Bitching
Only three of us left now,
the other six split long ago,
Paris, Rome, New York,
anyplace but Athens.
Whatever, they never write,
mail, phone, or even drop
a short text saying “hey sis,
how are ya!”
Left us with this drag, me
Calliope, Erato and Euterpe.
Can’t even visit Olympus
anymore. Everybody split
to condos, mountain cabins,
tiny three room apartments.
Get all these requests from
rappers, pop music kings,
queens, and wannabes
begging for inspiration.
Hell, since Orpheus passed
on (or maybe Elvis and Dusty
Springfield), what with the
internet and music videos,
there are no more golden
Get email all the time with
stuff like “need inspiration,
just two hit songs, a poem
or two to crack the best
Most of the time I just ignore
the pitiful requests, or laugh
with my sisters about this
pathetic lyric, this clichéd
theme. If I’m feeling really
wicked, I write back and
say “leave a bowl of milk
and crackers on your doorstep
at night. In the morning the bowl
will be empty except for inspiration
on folded slips of paper.
Copy right optional.”
Ralph Monday is an Associate Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN., where he teaches composition, literature, and creative writing courses. In fall 2013 he had poems published in The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, Fiction Week Literary Review, and was represented as the featured poet with 12 poems in the December issue of Poetry Repairs. In winter 2014 he had poems published in Dead Snakes. Summer 2014 will see a poem in Contemporary Poetry: An Anthology of Best Present Day Poems. His work has appeared in publications such as The Phoenix, Bitter Creek Review, Full of Crow, Impressions, Kookamonga Square, Deep Waters, Jacket Magazine, The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, Crack the Spine, The Camel Saloon, Dead Snakes, Pyrokinection, and Poetry Repairs. Featured Poet of the week May, 2014 Poetry Super Highway. Forthcoming: Poems in Blood Moon Rising and Down in the Dirt Magazine. His first book, Empty Houses and American Renditions will be published by Hen House Press in Fall 2014.