Poems & Prose


Noticing My Hand

–Stacey Gentry – 11/14/16

A woman examines her mind

too close and falls along the seashore rocks. *

She wonders where the gentle swallows will

nest now without their red tile caves,

which for the past few days were pried

by crowbars screeching nails


creaking coffin lids

above her ceiling, sounds she could feel in

her cringing teeth while the roofers

went on singing with their own.

She smells fire **

and senses a hand she decided to accept

the assuming way a crows’

humble ration is buried

in weeds by the dull blade of a beak.

We think we use the tools we have been given.

Another woman nearby

her shell is thick, she sits and draws.

She draws a lady on the ground begging

a black bird

for its only treasure.

She is still

while she watches she can feel

her hair grow and, watch

she unravels the corkscrewed self,

Stretches it out with her mind like two hands

bracketing negative film to the light.

She is thinking of a woman who just,

died*** who first descended, into a

mind-less-ness, body-less -ness—-


her art could never name

until there was nothing left

but her soul. It seemed cruel

for one’s spirit to be abandoned by

its body and its mind and nothing

but vague clues in her leftover art.

As a woman

and an artist

this one knew the signs along the way

that sometimes get pushed away,

mistaken deception, illusions.

Now, an ultimatum for retrieval—-no,

desperately, creation—-while she still

thought she did not know, but you see

every night she did actually know.

We use the tools we have been given until

we realize, we create our own tools. She knew,

subconscious as a feather sprouting in a wing

so she drew, drew it out of her

until her shell would sing.

Ashes** fell on clean laundry back at home

where she dutifully prayed with her lover

No one would ever believe her,

how it coalesced, how she did resurrect her

willpower. Because, two out of three birds die when

they try to fly for the first time.

They must forget to bring their spirits

with them, this, the women, they saw.

Except two stopped at the tools and

one did see the ship she could build,

the ship that in the future would save her.

We use the tools we have been given to create

our own tools, to create something more.

A hand dives into the scenery from the future

like a dove and asks her to trust it, to take it,

this is her own hand.

*At Point Lobos a woman fell between the rocks who I helped up, I had been sitting from aways away watching her recognizing the internal contemplation that can be so distracting

** the Soberness Fire

*** Nancy Hauk, watercolorist, Pacific Grove


Claim 1

before the world there was a war there— I redress such image making –the spirit that contains me—–my lights foretold the rare

heart and mind combined—-the singing of my fiercest —a catalogue of shipwrecked business—–extortions of the mind

the spirit that contains me—-I redress such image making–some lies are glowing diptychs—found in railing ailments

relentless forming questions—the spirit that contains me

—importances unite now—heart and mind combined

the spirit that contains me—smothered splintered sin combustion—-I redress such image making—-exemplify the soul

the waves that spread and grin there—revealing in hardship pattern—the spirit that contains me—resuscitated eyes

before the war there was a world there—-some lies are glowing diptychs—the singing of my fiercest—tone careening with a magic

I redress such image making—the waves that spread and grin there—-relentless forming questions—externalizing prize


The Visceral

Thunder distressed apartment’s stilts, cracking

leather belts so dishes shivered on the shelves

And such aneurysms lit up the night sky  with a deep

snap through a riddles’ mind.  Asleep beneath electricity.

Piled high in visceral waste, a becoming, birthing themselves out of

their own decay. Limbs like intestines that I lured alive

—dream charming—sticking sounds—
careful not to slip in the fecund swell

mucking the glistening ground.

From this vivid compost I spent ink teaching how to spell the word, ‘time’.

Tympanic cries of magnified tin flew from mind into sky, to

where I left off counting: people, money, time—

The day began again, there was time and money and people—-

growing from the ground.




The tallies are in:

The shape of all their voices made a sign.

These nameless battered crimson
thoughts, chained, deaf, aligned:
My surface heritage not-knowing, the history, of, my-kind;
Cells of shining which, traded for, unused, and new
I celebrate with possession and hurry by.
(a 28 day salutation)
destroy, hallucinate, expose, decontaminate, absolve, sterilize
rest, sense, recognize, accept, imagine, declare, assert
preserve, observe, devour, encompass, illuminate, inspect
expand, desire, design, possess, celebrate, multiply, sacrifice



1. – (From Black Stars of Starlight Past)
Beware of sacred landscapes you are here to repair.
The lost have been sent out to find you
tell you the sacrifice has instead been bled
on your own doorstep, the coals unburn themselves
a ritual pedestal, watch! How the prayers vacuum
back into the body of the living.

For 5a.m. William

You appear with your lonely demons on the edge of dawn

Sadness in the wake of boots, air

Spread by all your broken hearts

I’m spooked by you standing there

Awkward, enthusiastic, inappropriate:

You come and go a ghost.

Your bottom lip steps down from where

Your teeth had been, you say you can’t chew

But speak untamed, outrageous from every direction

Phrases hitting me like marbles, rolling around until they’re lost, like you—while I’m mesmerized

By the eyes of cats inside them:

You come and go a ghost.

Charlie brown dot eyes wide with legends,

Failures of youth. Shoulders wor by war, illness drugs: Boots grind into the tiles

Pivoting back to drinking and the tarp against the bay,

You press yourself further away:

You come and go a ghost.