Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Ralph Monday- Three Poems

Ralph Monday is Associate Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN., and has published hundreds of poems in over 50 journals. A chapbook, All American Girl and Other Poems, was published in July 2014. A book Empty Houses and American Renditions was published May 2015 by Aldrich Press. A Kindle chapbook Narcissus the Sorcerer was published June 2015 by Odin Hill Press.

Website: Ralph Monday

When the Art No Longer Remains

Seventeen turned to thirty-five

deep in the troughs of his own tides

he will presently forget the nights and days

with her, the shared moons from month to


The tales that they created, moments of

ice and fire, of victories on the playing

fields, defeats that were ignored.

Stories can only carry so far, before they

settle into mystery and myth, into buried

layer after layer, where they change,

through the years and move us back to

truck headlights knifing the dark on the

interstate, to going down to the still

waters and drinking, to wash off the

deep sins that can never be winter white.

They weren’t really battles, no

dark ages crusades, merely seasonal

skirmishes that neither knew the meaning


I have seen many autumns with Bradford leaves

blazed and burnt reds, oranges, and yellows,

the ripened pear and apple, leaves singed

with frost, foliage like some randomly

thrown design, an Arabian carpet thick

with memory, desire.

Is there a Mind producing a Design?

This is a mystery that cannot be

plumbed, only hinted at by art, and

we never had a design, only a random

blueprint made up as we went along.

Only One Day

There in Berlin with the

city ruined around him,

the young German soldier

sat alone at the organ playing

as serenely as though a normal

congregation listened.

His helmet covers his head,

the horn-rimmed glasses of

a student mirror the shattered

walls, the empty church as

empty now as his heart.

The music is hauntingly beautiful.

You know this is the only solace

left as the camera pans to stone


He must have been thinking

at the end I want to see her

dancing with ribbons in her

hair, not

the shattering artillery shells

mixed with the smell of fir trees

and death.

And so he played with the image

of the girl in a white dress, dancing,

ribbons in her hair

hearing the mighty Wurlitzer

calling out the end of war,

running to

Homo homini lupus.


Pentecost Promise

Fog is crawling down Fonde Mountain like

white ants working a rotting forest floor poplar, sliding

toward where a crane springs up from the

frog-choked pond full of its morning


There is a Buddha in the mountain, coal mining

reincarnation in the rocks that the women don’t

see. They wear long dresses, longer glory

hair, take to the pews like a forgotten Artemis

looking for her burned temple.

Guitars are warming up the copperheads

in their boxes, Augustine prepares the polluted

drink while Calvin keeps beat on drums.

The women don’t know why it’s so hot

but they like it, in their thin dresses, hair falling about

their thighs.

and the music and the snakes

and the music and the snakes

Smoldering August glory days

cracked open by a desert.

The women dream of figs and dates,

being teased by a mountain messiah.

and the music and the snakes

and the music and the snakes

There glued to their pews

listening to the preacher take on his

glory, waiting the snake-turn,

their hair is always down.


No comments:

Post a Comment