Saturday, June 08, 2013

Love Surrendered

I been walkin' the road,
I been livin' on the edge,
Now, I've just got to go
Before I get to the ledge.
So I'm going, I'm just going, I'm gone.
(1973 Bob Dylan)

The frog prince was laid to rest
at least two years ago -
inside a coffin of amethyst;
silken pillows for his head.
Wrapped in a paisley shroud
as fine as eiderdown;
surrounded by heart-shaped
boxes of molded glass and porcelain
filled with tarnished silver,
rhinestones, and earrings
who lost their mate.
Leftover pieces of this and that -
a love never meant to be anything
except a springboard to self-realization;
to venerate the heart’s growth,
the soul’s ascension toward the light,
the mind’s procession into midnight.
All this the prince wrought with
a claim of no intent. Shelved
with other lost and forgotten things.

And now -
there is another to be put down
through an act of mercy;
free the obsession and possession
of a long-regretted notion.
An icon yet to be found to illustrate
the cold blue eyes and lustful stare
beneath the actor’s revolving masks.
A billy goat gruff resting upon a Dylan song;
weighed down by a poet I could never be.
The Devil’s trump placed across the brow
to signify the long-awaited freedom.
A chant to mutter as the pieces are assembled;
carefully arrayed for this new ruler
of the closet shelf.

May his heart find its ease.
May his mind be clear.
May his feet be unstuck,
So he can move forward.
May his hopes flutter
From bloom to bloom
To sip the sweet nectar
And move on - move on.

© 2002 Melissa Songer

Searching for the ineffable

Does god have an office
somewhere in the galaxy -
a celestial ontology
in the center
of a supernova
or a black hole
to an other dimension -
or is it closer;
on a mesa
somewhere in the desert,
or in a saint's heart
toiling for the earth's wretched;
in a wren's trilling song
or the rustle of leaves -
the light in a child's eyes,
the lust for new flesh?

Manifests in the mundane -
stones rollicking from steep hillsides,
a car horn bleating plaintively
in the distance,
the refrigerator's monotone whine.
The mechanics of the universe -
the space between my fingers,
the expanse between the exhalation
and intake of my breath,
in the gap between thoughts
resting in synaptic crises;
between heartbeats.

Divinity in a flourescent light,
a plastic coaster on a faux wood table;
the contrived,
the artifice of our minds.

of gargantuan concepts,
not easily wielded by
the less sophisticated -
god the thingless,
random and connected,
spiraling through
a single mutant cell.
The emptiness between
things -
a canvas of nothing
from which all
energy emerges -
chaos organizing itself
and dissolving back into chaos.

Let the mind rest
on what seems empty
and unfulfilled,
and there
find absolute real,
pure potential -
and that is god.

© 2000 Melissa Songer

Friday, February 10, 2012

Raffia dances

Grasses ruffled
in a world where birdsong outplays
the sounds of cars - paled by distance.
The cypress trees’ reflections,
weaving across the water,
will cling as I return as the prodigal
and leave as another -
irrevocably altered by these experiences.

The liberation of my spirit
and the aching in these bones,
parallel the aching heart
sobbing beneath my breast.
As gnats besiege me,
I am reminded
that wherever I go
small irritations will surround;
a culmination of trees,
progeny cleaving tirelessly until
they drop off one by one.

Whatever became of the hope
filtered by caution -
a heart reaching for something
it had almost forgotten?

God in the trees,
in the waters’ small motions;
holy rolling
in a bird’s soliloquy;
the emanating symphony of devotion.
I hear seconds pounding

as thoughts in doleful throes
diffuse concentrically in
mimicry of the grassy ocean.
I am a chameleon dancing
from limb to limb -
and yes,
the sky is full
of azure dreams

© 2000 Melissa Songer

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Life is All

Super-realism pervades all essences.
It’s the image sought for the
Image’s sake. Tonight it is
The forgotten sentiment,
Its ease in growing until
The pressure vents.
An impotent nostalgia builds
Until the soul flares dangerously,
Unable to shake the hopeless sense
Of created alienation.
Lost people sigh and the found ones crow.
No other way to consider it tonight.
The surreality of ultra-joy
Bordering on hysteria
Renders all dreams fulfilled, thus null.
Death comes and life is all.
The moment expires,
more rapidly than we imagine.
Hold joys closer, they renew.
Release old tragedies, they deplete.

That woman has heaven in her chest.
She loves; that’s enough.
She’s dying and she doesn’t give a damn.
She told me so, a thousand times, if once.
‘I don’t want no one’s pity’ she said
As she looked into the eyes of compassion.
We drank until her head nodded.
‘Get you a beer, kid,’ says she,
‘I shouldn’t have done it, but I did.’
Then she lay down to rest.

Actually, what has been iterated here
is merely the culmination of
the history of
the enigma.
Imago ignota,
That incomprehensible suggestion,
second language of the self-declared.
Cries of joy beneath crowded midnight skies.
(Or is that too hopelessly poetic?)
Is the image of a woman crowing too much?
Should her utterance be a sound
Slightly more than a sigh?

No squeals of pleasure!
This is no Sensual Delight.
This is the sexless joy of one woman’s reality.
(It could be one man’s)

It is as if within the breathless candor
Of one’s life there resides an eternally
Unanswerable question. One considers,
Then reconsiders, the muttering replies
That rise in the brain like the steady
Ferment of blackberry wine, hidden in
Cool cellars; always working, never at ease.

Is it the image we have of ourselves that eludes us?
Or does it delude us?


Stage fright: mystic delight.
What are you, the saints’ little cherub?
Overawed, certainly
Severely dazzled.
To the podium. Find thy soapbox!
What was it you had to say?
That marvelous message
from your being;
Has it dissipated so quickly,
With no explosion?
Lost your prime target, you say?
What? Stepped out of range?
Are you sure you just didn’t
Lose your sights? Or your nerve?

Crowing. You spoke of crowing.
Isn’t the image of a woman crowing too much?
Shouldn’t her sound be slightly more than a sigh?
No! If it’s crowing she wants,
Let her crow. But for God’s sake
No squeals of pleasure!

So she crows, does she?

Jump high, jump joyful high!
Sing! Sing! Sing!
Loud hosannas, high joyful hosannas!
Hallelujah, hallelujah!
Dance, dance all life is a perpetual pirouette!
Come choristers. Chant the paean, the pantheistic paean!

All life is sacred, so slay the sacred cows.

One by one, line them up in their neat little
Ideological rows and then kiss them goodbye.
Is the dance of opposites sacred?
Shoot it down!
The church, the synagogue, the temple, the mosque;
Raze them! Raze them!

I’m only an echo of the universe.
What can I say that is new, unrealized?
Nothing, yet I intend to keep saying whatever I learn.
Say it, and say it again. No need to let it simmer
Within until it ferments and makes a pressure
That escapes like a blood-curdling shriek.
And what is important, after all?

There is within each of us a tiny rootlet;
a cutting that wants a fertile base.
It wants to burrow, to send its thirsty fingers
In search of cooling liquid relief.
As far flung as a micron from
Whatever point of existence.
Its will is to be...

Which is the way?
Which way is that?
Where do you want to go?
I seek paradise.
Seek not without, seek not within,
But carry with you always
The knowledge
That you are paradise.
Knowledge is too frail.
Only if you doubt the validity of your senses.
Senses are only individual perceptions.
Born of a collective entity.
What entity is that?
The universe. Uni-verse. One song.
A song comprised of many individual notes.

i am i am i am
there is no other in me
other than the innate
collective love of the universe
no denial can endure                                     
we are one
thou art god

© 1977 Melissa Songer

Monday, February 07, 2011


Tending my own
personal lotusland
where i can repose
and no one’s clamoring
for attention
and no one cares
what i’m doing
and no one knows
if I’m crying
or laughing
or dancing
or flying
or making
my own magic
just for me

not to save the world
change anyone else
look at a dead face
and regret
that i didn’t
know them better
not to look at
anyone and say
i need to know them better
not to listen to the crap
and the carping
from the tv set

whoa! just where is it
I’m headed
past the rose gardens
and the city halls
the schools
and the meeting rooms
full of politicians
who have already
made up their minds
and my cause
ain’t on their agenda
that’s for damn sure
you betcha!

if someone needs me
tell them I’m busy
my navel

2000 Melissa Songer

Sunday, May 09, 2010


She always said you had to push a man
and that’s why Dad was so good -
from all she expected of him.
She took credit where
credit was due, I guess.
He did so much for her,
for all of us...

He didn’t seem to mind,
didn’t go off with his friends
to drink or carouse.
He took her fishing instead.
I remember when
he had a good job
at a nuclear research lab
way out in the country.
He could fix anything
from broken TVs
to broken hearts.
He would tell us funny stories
about his time in the Marines
as a radio operator in the

Mother was bipolar.
Often she would sit brooding,
buried in a novel or lying in bed.
Detached from her existence.
We would all creep around then,
fearful of the lassitude
slumped about the house.
How many times I earned her ire,
for being out of earshot too long.
Down in the woods, playing.

Or she would be bright and full of songs;
- sewing until dawn so
I’d have something splendid to wear
to church on Easter Sunday.
Shaping icing flowers for a birthday cake -
canning, or making jam,
shoveling in the garden - tending
rows upon rows of vegetables,
flowers, and fruit trees.

Her life was a disheveled garden,
chaotic and intense -
covered in morning glories
and the stings of pack-saddles.
The moments she loved best
were stints by lake or stream,
casting lines into the depth.
Rapt in her own season,
she knotted herself
to the triumph of the catch.

Dreams she had for her children,
to be more than she was -
so she could hold us as trophies, too.
None of us lived up to her expectancies.
It has taken years to forgive ourselves for that.
Each of us had to learn to stand up to her.
Me, more than the rest.
I could never stay angry with her.
I had to learn not to love her so much.
It was a good day when I finally
untied the strings of guilt.

Now, she sits by the window,
watching the birds at the feeder
and longing to go fishing.
My father abed in his last gasp -
patiently hovering; waiting
for her permission to move on.

She considers her harvest -
the sweet fruits of the fruit she sowed;
forbearing the weeds she didn't pull.
As she strains to grasp for that
which abides just beyond her reach;
she understands, finally,
the sumptuous garden
she grew.

© 2001, 2007 Melissa Songer

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The time of splendor


From where she stood,
the shimmering bank appeared
a green-gold plane;
laughter’s dreamsong.
Hedging the distance in her mind,
she longed to lay upon rustling grasses.
Sequestered by the reeling torrents,
her heart ached.

From within watery movements,
beckoned the river nymph -
whispering, I will deliver thee hence.
She shied her doubts
and entered the swirling flow,
grasped the laughing midge’s
gray-green hair surrendering.
Feeling the gentle currents sway,
into the deep she dove.

Deeper than deep
it seemed - into another world;
there she met the keeper of tides.
His hand an offering of friendship and faith;
a smile belying the hidden intent.
Beyond him lay shadows twisted
by the river flora,
writhing tongues to snag her
in a refractive dance.

Dragged into a deeper place
the flux tugging at her feet;
into a desperate breach.
Abandoned to energies unforseen-
adrift in the darkest night
she’d ever known.

Out of the warm ground he dreamed her -
heard her murmur in the susurrating leaves;
smelled her in the fragrant jasmine;
felt her ever-changing motions
in the river’s swirling spume.
He stretched out to embrace her raiment;
fell face forward into the shining grass.

He saw how light pressed
gilded kisses upon the blades -
how they yielded to its weightless touch;
the green rebounding into his retina.
Beyond density of rooftops and trees,
he inferred the backs of things
and contemplated profiles;
not seeing or feeling the frozen other,
the side which did not smile back
through the distorted lens.
A vibrancy tucked away
to surprise the finder.

The premise on which he stood
was not crusted and heavy
but soft as ploughed earth
awaiting his seed;
etched by rivulets of yearning.
All richness bloomed before his awe.
Wisdom’s plumes rippled in the breeze.
Discontent ripped from his garden
and acquiescence planted
in the vacant lot; it grew into a canopy
bestowing grace upon his head.

Finally all things became a metaphor
for the love springing from him.
Life’s sorrows were love’s sorrows.
Life’s joys - love’s joys.
The fire that burned away
night’s deepest passions
kindled the pendulous hope
that swayed his universe -
as the dream unfolded.

The two souls circled,
looking for the center of all things;
and they never saw each other
through the swirling foam -
reaching toward an unsuspected truth.
Almost touching the other’s fingers;
but never more than a dream
drifting upon a cryptic desire.

Years passed through days
as she thrashed within her story,
passing by the bright times
and the dim with less than
a second’s pause. The river
pulled her until the green grass faded.
Winter’s struggles lay ahead
and she wept for
what was left behind.

He stood upon the bank
and felt something slip away.
Her nearness evaporated
leaving a chance not taken
rustling in a beggar’s wind.
© 2001 Melissa Songer

Saturday, April 04, 2009


Sitting in the pine straw
black eyes glaring
under the watchful gaze
of the bob-tailed cat,
the baby waited its fate.
To live or die by parents’ succor
or the claw’s honed grip.
The suspense was too much
so I scooped it up as
it pecked my fingers instinctively
and carried the ruffled bird inside
to nestle in a shoe box
with its sibling similarly
gathered earlier in the day;
fed buttermilk and bread
from a dropper
until it stopped showing
the pink-lined spread of its bill.

When morning came
only one was alive
and I wondered if
the other would soon die.
It didn’t and
slowly grew into adolescence,
taught to feed itself and
drink water from a cup,
given trinkets and a swing to sway.
But I knew its heart’s desire
even as it sat upon my shoulder,
pulling at the shiny dangles
hanging from my earlobe.
I observed its gaze toward the outside world,
the azure expanse, the tall pines;
its kinsfolk lined on rugged limbs.

So one day I carried
the cage outside and
hung it on the frame
of the outdoor swing
opened the door and waited.
Half of me wanted it to be free,
the other half wanted it to stay
a prisoner of safety and security.
It hesitated, confounded
by the smells and sounds
and lack of walls
then hopped on the threshold,
raised its wings and
flew in ever-widening circles
around the yard.
I held my breath and watched
as it sprinted from tree to tree
until it was gone from view.

The rest of the day and the next
I stared into the dark pines
until my neck hurt
wondering if it was there
regarding me
knowing me,
or if in its joy of ultimate release,
its former world had been forgotten.

But I noted, as if for the first time,
how blackbirds perch on the topmost sprig
and sing to the sun.
© 2000 Melissa Songer

Saturday, August 30, 2008


The wind that drove me
from the cavern stopped blowing;
a long intermission poised -
drawing my eyes into regions where
light had been filtered by jigsaw effects
of the surrounding trees.

To see inside myself meant
halting the apparent gaze;
meant arguing with the fractionated aspects -
all gathered in committee
to decide who would deliver
the final product.

As if I cared.
It was all a sham -
illusion and smoke and focus pocus;
a multicolored cape-swirl
beneath the spotlights
as the audience gasped
in pure amazement.

All facets danced with me;
the front men, the showgirls.
Performers all, enacting the sleight of hand,
the high kick - a dazzling/sparkling
disco ball of the self.
O wonderment.

Beyond lay a greener time -
a bucolic freedom to reassemble
the jumble of parts;
discover the integral.
Sunlight awaited -
warmth and silence
atop the mountain.

© 2002 Melissa Songer

Friday, August 15, 2008

Tales of the vine

I don’t have much to say
these days -
just a few arguments
with myself
as to the nature
of love and fear,
prana and demons,
light and shadow,
and whether
you can have one
without the other;
dualities mingling.
Fragments personified
to protest the
verging consolidation.

Does the vine
keep the fence intact -
flower-hearts dripping?
Mazes breathe their cantos
into the swirling mesh.
There is a place within
my heart unencumbered;
a river flowing
to a home beyond
my doubts.

© 2001 Melissa Songer

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