The Muse

(An International Journal of Poetry)

ISSN 2249 –2178


Volume-3                                                      June -2013                                              Number-1




Poem 1



Our Light Cannot Always Burn Whole

by Allison Grayhurst


Nests that stay through winter

are similar to us at times - left abandoned on high barren branches,

valueless until spring - if ever, even then, reclaimed.

We jog through bitter uneatable harvests, absorbing

disappointments as our only viable feast, not heeding our self-honouring needs,

too proud to address imagined or deliberate injuries.

Jackets buttoned to the neck, we move in these sewer shafts,

trying to shake the foaming stench off each other’s tailored attire.

On our bed, we are broken, letting our arms rest

like a Spanish squid’s tentacles would rest,

pulled from pulsing waters. Our mouths primed for confession,

our eyes scanning features - short hair, skin under the eyes, familiar necklines.

We tell each other these things are worth the horror of abominations

accepted as societal norms, atrocities justified as a soldier’s directed bullet.

Here in a shut-in space, we can lock, shed faculties of crusted reason,

create a colourful spread of sensuality, messaging

our blood vessels with deep oxygen, curing, learning

to make saliva and swallow.

We tell ourselves sometimes we wish we could be like those who live

never knowing an intimate tender beauty, like those who get shipwrecked,

daily hunted by a cancerous loneliness.

At times we wish this love didn’t exist, then we could give in

to what lies beyond the cliff, defend our exit, salt the Earth with

a dramatic departure.

Those times, we hear a desolate chorus rising and we vanish

completely into its volcanic siren wind.

Other times, we talk. We watch squirrels dance across our backyard trees,

make tea, passing domestic glances, gladly sharing

the last spoonful of bottled honey.







Poem 2



It starts

by Allison Grayhurst


like precipitation, infusing

iron seeds that rest atop the ozone-dome

and flourish. Somehow I am coming to terms with

churches I will never go back to, and last-year’s friends

who own creative nobility but fail to nourish.

It is starting, culminating like a blood clot,

anchoring me to my drive, wringing out my squishy insides

until they are parched, until the robin’s song registers


Escape happens in the morning, wading through yesterday’s debris,

fascinated by scars and euphoria that comes opening airways.

Can I conceive of a crime that will not haunt?

There are rules to follow, bones that fit into sockets, sacred formations

that must not be tampered with, and speeches spoken

brave enough to own on paper.

Biting is war; be it biting on silver,

gently marking areolas, or lacerating wet teabags.

I forfeited what I thought was a shield, sure it was

more than only emptiness swelling. It was

a birthmark, nihilism reclining over my pre-destined zenith.

There are things that start then overtake. They emerge pure as children,

touch ground and vaporize. August is hard. In that critical heat, everything

that wavers between worlds gets erased - splits up into two categories

of corpses and lifeforms that take celestial flight - ends up

where water sinks or where water concentrates, either way, falls

but does not flow.







Poem 3




As Mad As Mine

by Allison Grayhurst


Grief is cold as the world

without a wish, riding

the waking land.

I saw the hounds trace my footsteps.

I believed in an everafter,

and the shore was my mansion to fight for.

I drove from the river onward,

looking for a season to change me.

The miracle, the terror before the miracle,

is the salty flavour of my blood.

Sudden love stinging the throat. Sudden

happiness to renew the cage of day-to-day drudgery.

But I cry like a seal who has lost her pup to the killer whale,

and I know tomorrow is not a void

but a temple of what is held sacred today.

Everytime I answer, I lose.

But when I am holding my breath,

caressing the slit throat of all my hopes,

then and there my eyes and ears

have learned the voice of golden








Poem 4



Open Valve

by Allison Grayhurst


I see a small tree

or a bush grown tall

where animals congregate on spindly branches, lift up

on their hind legs to nibble at buds.

I see the tip of a steeple pierce the skin of the sun,

liberating a liquid radiation, a voluminous spell

of brutish creation. More still, found in smells

and in houses with decorated front doors - a smorgasbord

of captivating elegance to consume.

I hear angelic chatter, a high pitched verbosity,

dimensional sound, enveloping, filling those places I walk by

that even ghosts have abandoned.

The forest floor I am captain of

is embroidered with fine strands of rooted hope,

carpets made to curl toes on, made regardless

of other fruitions pillaged, fountains frozen, or children

discovered emaciated - jaundice seeping into their mouths,

tainting tangles of youthful hair.

Looking up, looking down, coalescence clings to bark

like clay-mask granules. I am building on this forest floor, spreading out

like a legion of detached twigs fallen over corner curbs. Like them,

I am proclaiming artistry in the natural-norm, gratitude for subtle ingenuities.

I see a way to effectively engage, disengage my body

from sticking to aluminium walls. I see a way to remember

the vegetables I planted, the wilderness that rises not-yet to my knees.

I see what it is that shields my sanity from a dangerous rupture. It is air,

birdprints waxing the sky, delightful overflowing, so overflowing

that it drowns any recollection of downpours, defusing

currents and currents of catastrophic cold.






Poem 5




by Allison Grayhurst


There is too much to say

and nothing to do after it’s been said.

Commotion kills my throat,

starts like a heat-wave, anticipated.

That is a discomfort I frequent.

Others form techniques that neatly construct

and dispose of information. They define symbols that filter light,

use three letter examples, harming no-one when they disappear.

They do not strain in the depths, but grip the depths, then let it go.

When I try to swallow what’s core, it lodges between my teeth,

swells my gums, overextends my jaw, until it malfunctions like the rest I covet, inadequately burning.

It would be good to combust, be direct as ambition, cut

an indispensable horizon from a deflated balloon. But I am free and I chose to fizzle,

I choose these backwards repetitions - pressure that is purely

exhale. I don’t know how to point without pushing,

how to relax vertically as a willow tree, or be like a park bench -

offering considerable comfort to those who have walked too long.

I finding myself fixated first on detail,

spending long sessions with my microscope, discovering

blooming atoms, food crumbs, enthusiastic correlations of the tiny

to the oversized. Then I find myself bleeding out their definitions,

running to theatres where I can be stimulated by abstract reflection.

I enter a clear understanding with half-closed eyes,

wilfully smudging lines, numbers, concise melodies.

Others are sufficient, contented to observe

elements moving, sometimes rotating,

immune like strict realism is

to crazed impressionistic form.