Friday, November 21, 2014

Two Poems by B.T. Joy

Escaping Criticism

Last night I dreamed a zen monk was writing
a description of paper by dipping his dry brush
into an empty inkwell; then letting the bristles splay
for a few seconds on each square-inch of pulp.

Most of us can't, of course.  We stage a play
called Nothingness; but can't resist, at least once,
coming out onto the dark stage
bowing from the hinge of our waists,
whether we expect rancour or applause.

The best is not to lay a single finger on the strings;
to say the sound most natural to violin
is what it does in the corner of a quiet room,
responding to woodlice and small currents in the air.

The best is not to paint at all.  Just ask del Caso
who should have left his critics with an empty frame;
who couldn't help but render the boy's fleshy toes,
two fingers and a thumb; hair lit and eyes overawed
by a light no artist ever caught.

Cat Energy on the Dog Walk

     While walking the dead I woke the dog.
Their small bodies are audible at 60,000 hertz.
Every link in the choke-chain is another poem
that John Keats never wrote.  Every photo album
is a catalog of human strivings.
     The streets are watermelon red.
The experts of the cold seas say
the seesaw of the tide has gone off kilter
by a quarter of a degree.  Somewhere
the Beaufort scale is hitting twelve and a hundred million
pairs of sweatshop trainers are irredeemably lost.
     While walking the dead I saw two pools,
their freckled water was the colour of unwashed jade
and somehow they resembled your eyes before leukemia.
Mystic tunnels in a pine-nut shell.  How every pistachio
longs to visit the cave of silver doves.
     I'm a penniless student outside the dancehall at 3AM.
I'm a mother of three, turning fifty now,
and already unseen among the mangoes' sweat.
I'm a terrapin's legs and the chalky night and all
the young hopes Augustine must have had.
I'm walking a dog
     while walking the dead.
The morning moon is the colour of an artichoke's heart.
The hedges smell like the heat of July
and the linden, like a moody child, throws the puzzle
of faint shade across the grass.

B.T. Joy is a free verse poet whose work has appeared in journals, magazines, e-zines and podcasts worlwide.  He has also practiced as a haiga artist and has had work featured with World Haiku Association, Haiga Online and Daily Haiga.  He currently works as a high school English teacher.  He can be reached through his website or on tumblr

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