Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Eric Robert Nolan- Three Poems

"The Writer"

At night he dreamt of birds, thou­sands of them,
impris­oned in his house.

Ravens screamed in the attic.
Spar­rows pan­icked in the hall.
He sat at his desk.   A Jay pecked
Fran­ti­cally at his shirt sleeve.

The base­ment door revealed
Tor­rents of finches, erupt­ing in the dark
A loud gray storm
Of beaks and tiny claws.

Seag­ulls suf­fered in the cup­boards.
Para­keets in the rafters, trapped,
Raged in Etruscan.

He crossed the room.
Moaned under the floorboards.

Twelve red car­di­nals
Lined his kitchen shelves –
A dis­cor­dant jury.

Pea­cocks plead in the oven.
In a jar of sugar
Tit­mice strug­gled for air.

At his desk were
Pho­tographs, let­ters
Pens and a half dead Marten.

He reached for his old brown afghan but felt
Bone and feather
The heav­ing brown breast
Of a starv­ing eagle.

Some­times the scratch
Of pen against paper brought
Respite from birdsong:

Two less wings against the silence
One less voice in that
Trou­bled aviary.

A par­rot perched
On his paper stacks.
“Remorse,” it offered fee­bly.
“Regret,” he answered back.

"The Secretary"

Skin and cir­cuitry,
Metal and flesh.
Her dreams of child­birth were
Relent­less, recur­ring.
Push, push, push
Said a midwife’s mechan­i­cal voice.

Flu­o­res­cent lights flick­ered,
Then mur­mured dis­cor­dantly.
Coarse starched sheets
Scratched her knees.
Machines hummed in corners.

She pushed.
The prod­uct of her womb was hard —
Edges and angles
Against her inner thighs.

And at the end of that dif­fi­cult birth, look­ing down,
She saw coils and coils of bright cop­per wire.

By day, she was a sec­re­tary.
Peo­ple liked her.  Not enough, though,
For Valentine’s, dates, anniversaries.

With furtive eyes, she observed
All those lit­tle moments
That enchant a com­mon life.

So, she only worked.
Phone, file, phone.
Push, push, push.

At times, she imag­ined her womb
As a ges­tat­ing clock.
Its metic­u­lous gears
Marked the pas­sage of time.

Bat­ter­ies moved her limbs, her veins
Were wires in her skin.
She hid cir­cuits
Behind her eyes.
Elec­tric­ity rid­dled her brain –
Warm lightning.

Return­ing home one night,
She passed a fac­tory on her right.

Its smoke­stacks vaulted up
Like tur­rets.  The lights there
Were stacked stars.

Its fence hummed.  The smoke­stacks
Exhaled rhyth­mi­cally
Push, push, push.

A metal shed was there –
She imag­ined it had
A piston-​​beating heart
A mus­cled metronome –
Life in a bright steel box.

Arriv­ing home, her spine
Tick­led with cur­rent.
She reached her garage and parked.  Blue sparks
Danced in her sinuses.
Push, push, push,
Said a mid-wife’s mechan­i­cal voice.

She pushed some oily rags
To seal the open spaces
Beneath her garage door.
In her brain,
Machines hummed in corners.

She pushed the car’s igni­tion.
The air there nour­ished her, then.
The car­bon monox­ide
Push, push, pushed her.

She shut her eyes.
Her gears slowed softly.

"The Bureaucrat" 

Amity in his veins,
The gray, aging bureau­crat
Lit a cigarette.

He spied ice on a win­dowframe
How unlike its blue-​​cold form
Were the words of indus­try – warm.

Like sun­light on a mon­u­ment,
The bright hues of a flag,
Warm – like the ring­ing endorse­ment
Of a prod­uct or a plan.
Like the gaily col­ored cov­ers
Of an annual report.

Warm – like the newly dead.

© Eric Robert Nolan 2013


BIO:  Eric’s poetry and short stories have been featured by Dagda Publishing, Every Day Poets, Every Day Fiction, Illumen, Under The Bed, Dead Beats Literary Blog, Microfiction Monday Magazine, Dead Snakes, Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine, The Bright Light Cafe, Aphelion, Tales of the Zombie War, The International War Veterans’ Poetry Archive, and elsewhere.  His poems were also included in anthology format in Dagda Publishing’s “Threads” in September 2013.  Eric’s science fiction/horror short story, “At the End of the World, My Daughter Wept Metal,” was published in January 2014 in Dagda’s short story anthology, “All Hail the New Flesh.”

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