New poem published, Mary Grabher Award winner

http://english-ow.com/2015/04/29/the-spring-2015-issue-of-harmonia-has-arrived/
2nd Prize in the Mary Grabher Award for Poetry at SUNY College at Old Westbury

Still Life of a Poltergeist

Outside a storm assembles−
a troupe of weather-reporters
swamp dance feverishly in the clouds.

Whispers say a great blizzard will arrive−
the worst anyone has ever seen.

Prisoners shuffle onto the empty stage−
their spirits half dissolved,
dressed like luminaries of the court.

They’ve rejected those warnings
entrusted to them by the murmuring fields−

When you break open the soul
the inner workings are astonishingly chaotic
and coated in engine grease−

The crowd waits patiently for transport
from this extended century of winter and war.

I’ve drowned all my poetry
in a wellspring of hemlock,
salamanders are crawling out a myriad
of waterlogged manuscripts−

My path has always amounted to nothing
but an infinite number of missteps−
maladjusted to this somnambulistic state.

This cage is cold but clean−
The voices I hear outside are faint, idle
directionless sermons−
calling for their Fool.

When the jailer wakes me up
I sense the lack of conviction in his heart.

When I get to the stage
my hands fall on silent keys−

There’s a scrawny cry from behind the clouds,
ripping the skin off my flesh

A new set of poems “All Winter” published in the Camel Saloon Gallery

Here’s a set of some experimental poetry I’ve been working on in a small collection titled ALL WINTER published The Camel Saloon Gallery
featuring the top #10 hit…

 
Zucotti Park is Melting in the Dark

Trivialities of life

vapid smoke–

Eyes, indefinitely holding

back

fear & trembling–

Bludgeoned

with assimilation

Disinterest prevails–

while

the promise
of enterprise
demystifies the masses

with whirling dervishes of joy–

Submerged,

gestating identity

a golden uterus

an organic apprehension–

babbling like an infant

into a human megaphone.

“Living on the Street” published in Couterexample Poetics

New poem “Living on the Street” published in Counterexample Poetics.

http://www.counterexamplepoetics.com/2010/02/craig-shay.html

Living on the Street

My head
a dank mausoleum

moss covered gold

Gravity, pulls me down

from womb
to gentile concrete cove –

Beautifully soothing,

the rain dispels herself
over my ramshackle bones

selling tiny canvases
on the street
like a dead end pauper
Between Market and 5th

near Powell’s book empire

People paying with coinage
pay with questions and conversation

dialogue
between us, we share

baroque chords strumming
in unison – syncopated

rhythms of words – I love

the passing tones, the fire burning

in your eyes,

notes and counterpoints

Sitting there in the rain
for several days

since descending

from life in the undisturbed wilderness
Hell’s Canyon

to the gnarling civilization
devoured
by the crows
by perceiving the concept
of bliss
as the sunspots on the back
of wild deer.

“Waiting for the Flood” published in Carcinogenic Poems

Waiting for the Flood

Water floods
the streets,
glass high-rises
are melting.

I am sitting in a room
with a thousand clocks,
which are ticking slowly.

Dripping water
can be so melodic.

The voices I hear
in the streets
are shouting –

I am finding new time,
as one clock expires
the cityscape dissolves.

As the water rises,
my soul sings
that it is not a clock –

I am sitting
on the roof
with the junkman,

the wind chimes
are his
laughing children.

His wife is inside,
her fever
causes
the ice to melt –

His cigar smoke
rises and forms clouds
in the shape
of a thousand
stray cats.

http://www.carcinogenicpoetry.com/2011/07/craig-shay-three-poems.html

“The River Muse”

The River Muse

The moon
swims between
her naked legs
as she stands
thigh high
in the river.

Her skin drips
with words,
which are read
by a hungry
consciousness.

The illusions
she creates
cause the river
to appear
like a city of glass.

Her face grows amused,
knowing I am listening –
accidentally,
through the trees.

Her veil
of time and space
is draped
on overhanging
branches.

Her unpinned hair
falls uncontrollably.

Her eyes call
my spiritual
existence
to approach
so she can break me free
from the spell
of a mad world.

New Poem “Zhu Yufu” Published in The Bamboo Forest

http://zhuyufu.blogspot.com/2011/12/zhu-yufu_29.html

Zhu Yufu

Detergent bottles are empty –

Somewhere gods
are dispelled

A stocky woman at the other end of the Laundromat
has on a T-shirt of a large face

I can’t make out
whose face
either Jim Morrison
or Jennifer Lopez –

I love Hispanic dialects –

So musical – so vibrant

that heavy ‘p’
as in pueblo or puerta –

I am reading something
printed
off the internet

a poem
by Zhu Yufu

“It’s time” he says –

Everyone at this Laundromat
sits more-or-less comfortably,
some in Comtek Vending
relaxation massage chairs

even toddlers,
rest peacefully in their strollers

waiting –

Laundromat waiting,
separates the classes

people with money
do not wait –

I want to start
a manuscript of poems titled:

Songs from the Laundromat
or The Music of the Laundromat

maybe…
La lavandería en el cielo –

But my mind keeps coming back

to this poem –

and the poet Zhu Yufu,

probably being tortured this very second
while we wait for laundry –

Those poetic thoughts
keeping his mind steady
on long nights

when the howls of men
walk casually through cell walls –

Why incarcerate a man over a poem?

His body squeezed through
like a cricket caught in a tiny cage

Bloodied and
bruised –

“Are you and I perchance caught up in a dream
from which we have not yet awoke?”

Chuang Tzu said that.

What would Zhu Yufu say
of plum blossoms
this spring…

opening their delicate hearts
covered in white fur –

His wife said his hair
had turned completely white since she last saw him –

What can we say about The Square?

What does Creon say
to a shackled Antigone?

“And you dare disobey my law?”

“It was not Zeus that made these laws.”

At the Laundromat
happily
folding our warm clothes

in “Pursuit of Happiness,”

happy not to be
trapped in the washing machines

Around me
I hear hushed whisperings –

Husbands lean in close
their lips beside their wives’ ears
the scent of perfumes
and fragrant dollar-store shampoos
trails through their nostrils

Excitement and fear
lodged in throats
as they stutter out

information

a live chupacabra was caught just down the road.

“Song for the Post Modern Void,” “Aftermath,” and “Chain Gang” published in The Calliope Nerve

“Song for the Postmodern Void,””Aftermath,” and “Chain Gang” are two new poems of mine published in the superb online journal The Calliope Nerve. Here’s the link…http://calliopenerve.blogspot.com/search/label/Craig%20Shay

Chain Gang

Let down
that curtain,
which shrouds
reality –

Reveal
these chains
around our
heads,
feet,
and wrists –

We are
incarcerated here,
in comfortable
cages,
which lull us
passively
into a state
of acquiescence –

Why is it
that the circus
distracts us so?

Why is one’s soul
exchanged
for handfuls of ash?

Three new poems published in Carcinogenic Poetry

Three new poems “House Sitting,” “Waiting for the Flood,” and “Cognitive Dissidence” have been published in a terrific online publication Carcinogenic Poetry the link to the webpage is here:

http://www.carcinogenicpoetry.com/2011/07/craig-shay-three-poems.html

I want to repost this one here, because I feel it explains a lot about human nature at this time in history, and how we deal with knowing truths and living with the reality of those truths, whether we like them or not, whether they are right or wrong.

Cognitive Dissonance

There are nights
I almost forget
theses shackles
on my hands and feet.

I almost feel free –

Then I remember
the streets are still on fire
and there are no firemen.

I watch years pass
into madness,
as the fires rage to destroy.

No one talks about the rising smoke clouds
engulfing the sky and blotting out the sun.

No one is ready to confront the avalanche
of violence and fear.

No one believes it is going to destroy us.

New Poem “Playing Dead” in Skindrow Penthouse

My new metaphorically topical poem “Playing Dead” is in the new issue of Skidrow Penthouse #11.

Playing Dead

I saw a figure emerging
through a red field
of simpering creatures
politely playing dead.

I saw snapshots of people,
shapes lying cool and still
while the earth erupted
cementing them in place.

Often they look so loud
that I become silent
enough to hear the void
of space inside
the shells
they’ve left behind.

Their stone faces tell
how intimate they are with loneliness.

Dying in the middle of prayer,
or shielding a child.
Suffocating while making love
or howling at the black sun.

What coaxes these stony bodies
to lie patiently, meditating –
Never sounding the alarms?

What sound does the rain make
as it drizzles down for a dozen centuries?

What noise echoes through the cave
in the chests of these dead?

The sound it makes today
is the dying caw
of a million falling blackbirds.

Copies are available through: Skidrow Penthouse
68 East Third Street, Apt #16 New York, NY 10003

New poem “The Emperor’s Daughter” in The Bitter Oleander

The new issue of The Bitter Oleander has a poem I wrote called “The Emperor’s Daughter.” The issue also includes poetry by some of my favorite poets like Rob Cook and Duane Locke.  Volume 16, Number 1.

The Emperor’s Daughter

She is bathing
in the river.

Her laughter
brings preludes.

Daring me
to dream along
to the sound
of a grinning mystery

as I follow her
to a world
beyond these senses –

She says nothing,
kicking the water
playfully,

holding out a hand

as gold light
burns behind her.

To hear words
from her lips

is to come
apart
at the core,

and bask
in the glow
of her
namelessness.

Copies are available from

The Bitter Oleander Press
4983 Tall Oaks Drive
Fayetteville, New York 13066-9776
http://www.bitteroleander.com

Three poems published in Couterexample Poetics

I have three new poems published on the website Couterexample Poetics, edited by poet Felino A. Soriano.

“Outside Edward Hopper’s New York Office” “Aeolian Harp” and “Blueprint for a New Imagination.”

Here’s the link…

http://www.counterexamplepoetics.com/2010/02/craig-shay.html

Outside Edward Hopper’s New York Office

It is a neutralizing void,
outside the window that spooks me.

It lies there,
inside the emptiness
of cracked sidewalks –

Where shadows scream,
like an animal,
born with its umbilical chord
tied around its neck.

It is on these streets
where one feels alienated,
into a vortex of bones.

This city is not alive,
but a glass dungeon of the mind.

I hear it in the sound
of unthinking people,
where consciousness has been severed –

I see it on faces,
grieving this unknowable loss,
a spiritual castration –

Tonight there will be a florescent glow
hovering above buildings –

As subjugated masses, align themselves
and bend over for the faceless machine.

Aeolian Harp

Fingers of the wind play the harp
left alone on the mountainside.

The music is a slow waltz of shadows
which encircles me.

Language arrives, a whisper
from a lover –

Inviting me deeper into her sensual play –

It begins to rain,
echelons of an outer world crumble down.

I see this shadowy seamstress
for who she is, as she glides past.

The illusions she creates, no longer destroy.

Realizing this, she quickly veils her face,
disappearing into the backwoods.

The strings of the harp continue to tremble,
whenever a stranger approaches.

Blueprints for a New Imagination

In a flash, it came
with thunderclaps and rain,
the birth of a new imagination.

A night of darkness
becomes engulfed by vision.

In the silence of light
we’re given eyes of clarity.

Everything appears as it is,
upside down, and backwards.

A necessary angle returns,
to light the fire, which burns away
the constraints of dead reality.

A hell of repression extinguished,
the silence shattered
by the sound of humanity
kicking through its coffin door.

Five New Poems published in The Sound of Poetry Review

The Sound of Poetry Review is an international online poetry journal for contemporary poets.

The chosen poems are: Abandoned Storybook, Reflective Pool, Trees and Undergrowth, The Recovery, and Dream Sequence.

Visit the website here The Sound of Poetry Review

Abandoned Storybook

A book is bleeding
by the overgrown river.

Underneath a serpent coils in a spiral,
like a rubber belt torn from a machine.

My footsteps awaken it.

Stripes glow from its back
white, red, and black.

As I read, I notice a bride across the river
and a man in a goat mask
following her on horseback.

He seems to be guiding her down a forbidden path.

The serpent closes its eyes
seasons immediately begin to turn.

Greenery drains from the plants
leaving everything black and rotting.

Reality begins to decay
as the center vanishes.

Naked tree limbs tumble down
into dissolving rivers.

Myths break apart like disintegrating leaves.

The sky turns red and erratic
foreshadowing a violent tempest.

Meteors descend from above
causing the ground to erupt.

Only a lone empty pillar stands in the distance.

I place the book
back over the creature
whose body has begun to char.

Reflective Pool

A boy kneels beside a pool of rippling water.

In his reflection, he sees a stranger
in a cage staring back.

The stranger asks him to contemplate
the meaning of existence –

The boy imagines himself within
the calm of a watery fresco.

He imagines becoming a stranger
and walking through the vast cities of the underworld.

The stranger promises the boy immortality
if his cage door is opened.

The boy looks into the wild eyes of the stranger,
and feels as if he is swimming over a dark abyss.

They become one being
as light is removed from the sky.

The boy fall through the traffic of spirits
and into the underworld.

A flutter of rainfall begins,
causing the surface to blur.

The boy watches
as images dance in the water,
formless and hypnotic –

He sees the stranger
come to life on the other side

It stretches up in his new body
and flees into the mortal world –

Trees and Undergrowth

Leaves twirl
into pockets of grass
which cover up
a path, now invisible –

Spiders work
among the branches

The rustling of small animals
walking over the carpet of moss

Yellow speckles of sunlight fall –

Lanky trees spread and surround
making an office of branches

The Recovery

I carry the soup so carefully upstairs,
never noticing the generations of photographs
staring out, completely perplexed.

I know what they are trying to tell me,
but I don’t pay attention.

Sometimes I am so distracted by the music
that I leave my bed, and walk towards the ocean.

When I wake up,
my wife and I
are alone on the shore,
we are naked
and cannot recall a single thing.

The hypnosis is strong,
it pulls me into the black currents –
Where I am not me,
but an ominous version of me
walking underwater in a trance.

* * *

My wife and I start to panic.
We load the babies into their car-seats.

We take off
leaving the house empty,
the bills unpaid,
and the groceries unpacked.

It was more than a million miles
to the Walden Pond of the mind,
but there’s still a chance
we’ll get there
with our suspicions intact.

Dream Sequence

I belong to a place
where strings buzz
on fishing boats
through dry afternoons –

When I close my eyes
I glimpse the world
as it arrives – uncooperatively.

I find, I am moving away from myself,
further into cordial ballrooms
filled with expensive carp and salmon –

Elegant piano music plays
and in the center stands a statue –

It’s a woman of stone,
naked, her shackled hands outstretched,

She looks as though she possesses
the ills of the world.

I go outside, to remember
the song the fishers used to sing
in those dry days by the river.

Train Song

Train Song

I’ve been waiting
for this train,
wondering
where it leads.

If it has come
to build or to destroy.

I know the answer,
as it rattles my nerves.

I hear the song
echoing in my soul.

If I am not
completely ruined
by psychotic visions
at the start,
I will surrender to
them later.

Tragedy arrives –
like a ghost army
ready to take over

And bless us with new birth.

Wedding Gift

Wedding Gift
for Rebecca

On their wedding day, the groom said to his bride:

“Let our love be music, a million songs
that fills the ears of everyone that hears our laughter,
they will know the mystery of love has cast its spell –

Let our love be the water
that cleanses our spirits
to know the truth –

Let our love always be as strong
as our first touch –

Let our love be a temple
that is sacred and honest –
Let us carve memories onto its walls.”

Then the bride said to her groom:

“Let our love continue to grow high and unshakable;
its roots gripping the earth –

Let our love be alive,
like a garden that is always in bloom –

Let our love be the light,
so that we can find each other in the dark,
and let us always shine for each other –

Let this gift of love be sacred, let these vows ring true
in a world in need of sacredness and truth.”

Then they looked at each other and promised:

“Let our love be without beginning and without end,
let it be a long poem written in the sand –

Let our love always be moving,
let it guide us through the currents of this material plane –

Today we give each other our love, more precious than money
we give patience and kindness.

Let us walk hand in hand holding between us this unnamed, mysterious gift –
Let us always know its hidden value.”

Existential Muse

Existential Muse

She sits
reading
Sartre
in the tall grass

Twirling circles
of long hair –

When she
stands
to take off
her T-shirt

sunlight
paints spots
on her body

through the trees.

She shoos
away bees
and wasps

but a small green
inch worm
moves
across her finger.

She dreams
she is nothingness,
dreams she is
without the concept of God,

Therefore,
a whisper
can arrive,
to tell her
she is free.

Apartment

Apartment

Behind
the silk screen,
she undresses

and lights
a stick of
incense.

Blue smoke
climbs
to the ceiling,
a dragon
of tangled
vines.

Each night
she conquers
the army
of suitors
whom
she leaves
resting
peacefully
in the vestibule
of her
apartment
building.

Their wings
wrapped
around their
bodies
underneath
their uniforms
while a vision
of her body,
dances
in their minds.

Turin, 1898

 
 
Turin, 1898
  
                         Because I see a horse being beaten,
                         I will stare into its eyes.
                         I will lose myself quickly
                         In a world of disguise.
 
                         Because I see a horse being beaten
                         I will become what I am –
                         I will burn down these temples
                         With the edge of my pen.

“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”

– Thomas Jefferson

Prophetic words

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”

– U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864

“Disappearance” unpublished

Disappearance

The hearse rounds the cul-de-sac,
where your ex-house sits,
where the things you gave
remain indelible –
Your disappearance has left me
questioning the visible.
A box within a box, your body is now.
People should gather
to mark this new marriage,
to the invisible,
to sound perhaps.
It is in the fragrance of the orchids
where we find you now.

“The Vanishing Department Store” unpublished

The Vanishing Department Store

Run through those aisles
of mirrors and strangers,
full of appliances,
and she will not be there.

Run through that vortex of roses,
of women in long tan coats,
wearing pill-box hats,
holding electric devices up to the light.

You look at the floor knowing
you will never see her again.

You stop –
At the end of the aisle
you spot a woman,
distracted by the colorful
lights of illusion.
You tug her coat,
and recognize her face.

“Not a Surprise” unpublished

Not a Surprise

There’s a curve in the road up ahead –
Where all the green leaves are open,
And the water gives everything a celestial shine.
Rain drops fall from the overhanging boughs,
and splatter across the clear windshield,
bringing joy, in contemplation –
that this way, is hidden from foolish eyes.
It reveals to me that independence is attainable –
That the world owes me nothing, and death is
what I’ve made of it.
So as I reach the end of the way,
it is not a surprise, what I will find,
waiting for me there.

“White” unpublished

WHITE

The cosmic collapse
the bank statement
where the lilies are swimming
so white – white is the color
of paper that speaks of my demise
white is the absence of thought
my iris that swells and pours
out into the clear riverbed to rest
and breathe a haunting tone.

“Bound to this Earth” from …In the Dead of Night

BOUND TO THIS EARTH

Bound to this earth –
Bound by cosmic gravity,
bound by that greedy green devotion –

Though ready to fly__
on the sound of melting bronze, and swaying dandelions –

I’m off, to where young women drink bottles of red wine,
and laugh__continuously throughout the night –

I’m losing this skin –
like a snake
loses it’s coat

You’ll find me,
and my mortal remains
in the tall grass –

Helping to
push up the marigolds
next Spring –

“Children Play with Hand Grenades” from …In the Dead of Night

CHILDREN PLAY WITH HAND GRENADES

Dehumanized –
and revolving towards
a disaster

Nature, no longer
a comrade,
mankind, no longer
astonished –

The sentiment –
vaporized, the loss
insurmountable –

No treasure
will compensate,
the loss
of October’s
impulsive outbursts –

And for 15 million years,
a crawl
from the zoo
to the acropolis –
In a blizzard of
disembodied
instincts

Luminosity rests,
like a sickly grandfather;
drinking his warehouse of history,
and making death a nightly stroll –

They’ve left us an offering
from the past;
as we juggle, and play
with these hand grenades –
indeed –
we have inherited
a blast.