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serpents by James Morehead

September 26, 2011


driving back from reno up a twisting mountain pass
while either side lie serpents as i silently trespass

rotting oak posts stand close, buried shallow
a careless worn serpent in quiet fields left fallow
crooked barbed wire across a dust thirsty plain
while bolts flaked with rust hint of last season’s rain

elegant serpents strike parallel lines
bolted rail ties and wooden brace spines
held firmly in place forming strict even spaces
racing forward never touching to faraway places

this serpent’s turns churn soil and silt
through fields of husks, yellow hints of gilt
sand bags for storm clouds create sturdy walls
fighting flood’s fury as the last drop falls

a serpent in air floats to and then fro
steps into thin air that opens below
his sail slaloms silent (or perhaps it is hers)
swooping forward then back - once still, then a blur

bemused by imposters still under smooth stone
this serpent forgotten for now left alone
tongue tasting the air to sense passing prey
while outside dusty sand swirls in circles of grey

reach by James Morehead

August 10, 2011


reach and unfurl smooth tendrils of silver thread
set them down in perfect parallel lines
set them just so a breath apart
one by one by one
until silver lines blur into shades of grey
shining smooth and sterile into the horizon

reach and dig out pebbles worn smooth by ocean surf
set them down still damp and glistening
set them just so a breath apart
in geometric swirls opening ever outward
until you touch shadows cast by the setting sun

reach inside me for buried fears
set each fear in metered rows or rhyming verse
set them just so a breath apart
until words become a blur of black ink and blank space
then take my hand and close my eyes guiding me to horizon’s edge
   where in a single breath scatter those fears turning words
   into scrambled letters tumbling until gone

in the city by James Morehead

July 30, 2011

in the city

i woke up in the city
its streets glistening from midnight rain
its sirens sleeping after moonlit races
and a street sweeper churning past padlocked bikes
around a lone reveler stumbling from a night club past two

i woke up in the city
to piercing alarms of bedside neighbors
and pacing heels clicking to and fro
on kitchen tiles and hardwood floors
above my soot stained window view

i woke up in the city
confused at first by neon light
with the early sun rising past the flickering glow
and silver tower's shadow on town homes row by row
awash in white noise a streetcar passing through

i woke up in the city
among unknown millions give or take
in numbered streets and forgotten alleys
where wonders splendor worries magnificent
blend in greys discarded among the unknown

into the mountain by James Morehead

July 16, 2011

into the mountain

i walk into the mountain tempted by cool shadowy echoes
and whispers from water rippling through ancient stone
i walk eyes open senses tingling as sounds of the world vanish
i feel my way along uneven slopes
where unseen crevices wait to take me into permanent darkness
my hands slide along the smooth fractured shale leaving an invisible wake
the stone walls open and close surrounding me holding me
the floor gives way and weightless my feet legs torso float into barren black space
days weeks years meld time forgotten seconds uncounted and infinite
all light lost in the water burrowed tunnels
all time consumed by the ageless crush of buried stone

pendulum by James Morehead

July 10, 2011


the pendulum swing marks the close of each hour
   to wavering flickers from warm candlelight
where passed between echoes water drops from the tower
   while children laugh foolishly forgetful downstairs
outside in a courtyard the fountain's bright chatter
   leaves ripples and trembles in cool midnight breeze
all leads to silence down halls grey and barren
   where footsteps stacatto on worn sandstone floors
and time passes steady to pendulum's swing

five towers by James Morehead

July 5, 2011

five towers

by James Morehead

a dizzying twirl to stefansdom's peak
steps block on block hug a solitary column
far below nestled in the catacombs keep
eleven thousand souls sleep in silence
in crypts burrowed deep from dirt and rubble
bones and skulls in even rows stacked
shadows of saints sinners plague victims unknown

south from stefandom's patterned tiles
past venezian canals and its leaning gondoliers
over ridges hillsides vineyards mediterranean shores
leans pisa's torre pendente
stone steps circle a slanted hollow core
worn uneven by i turisti swaying to and fro
and far below lovers support the tower in framed relief

free from pisa's peak over chianti vigne and san gimignano gates
fly sienese flags - seventeen contrade unfurled for il palio's race
in centuries unchanged these medieval dreams
under piazza del campo's slender tower
where narrow crouching darkness leads to clear bells' call
and duomo's colored stone silhouetted prayer

chianti grapes and tuscan hills lead to apuane ridges majestic horizon
stadtturm - innsbruck's city tower - encased in dolomite ice and stone
stark severe graceful majestic ancient peaks
look down and gaze at stadtturm's steps of modern steel and ancient oak
a plaform open air where bells now silent once tolled
and pastel apartments lined up side by side in cool dusk's breeze
call their children home

salzach's waters swelled by winter's melting drifts
hohensalzburg's keep overlooks
cobblestone streets give way to funicular rails
rising to a solitary peak
where gazing out brings shivers in the hot june sun
turrets of white stone topaz domes and slender points of gild
from towers steps to open air eyes closed a trumpet sounds
a single note propelled high above the five towers and lost in echos

sand castles in the snow by James Morehead

July 3, 2011

sand castles in the snow

we made sand castles in the snow
abetone crystals mixed with lido's sun burnt sand
dissolving into cool steam from mountain ice

we made sand castles in the snow
behind us lines of parasols the sand raked clean in even rows
north africans goods in tow shivering in the alpine breeze

we made sand castles in the snow
our knees salt-stained and glazed with sand
our fingers tingling through frozen sheets

we made sand castles in the snow
our dream awoke to ocean glass and stillness in mountain air
as far beyond horizon's edge tomorrow waits