by Allison Grayhurst





The Spell was a Shield


The spell was a child

that fell from a high tree,

now broken, always

asleep. Blindfolded climbing

up a steep hill until I crossed

the pinnacle-edge and found myself laid

flat - a million fractures

puzzle-piecing my solidarity.


At the end of the labyrinth

into death’s mocking jaws, swallowed

into the heartless chamber, crushed in very direction,

no soft resting spot, no treaties for equality or deliverance.


The spell has evaporated, and with it, false notions

of guarantees, help from others, every earthly

security I tied my lifeline to.

Thresholds were crossed

only to learn they were never there, just to

learn the Aquarius-light I was drinking from was

no light but a bitter detachment from reality, a lack

of understanding.


The spell is charred, taken away.

I am open now, and new and

ever so fragile without a path or protection.

Everything is air, and what isn’t air is thin glass,

meaningless see-through enclosures, a false

blocking off of some things from other things,

a false truth destroyed with no truth left yet

to replace it.




a black line





Too bad you got burned

on the spell of worldly accomplishments

and comparison, that you fell

into the snowbank and drenched yourself through.

Friendly false eyes in the flame,

in the sweating ruthless ocean - you lost

the hand that held you to truth and the longing

for a deeper betterment.


But now you are home, proclaiming

the invisible as your building blocks - piled high

and mortared together strong against every storm.

You almost got pulled into the everlasting pit, fooled

by fool’s gold, but you reached the upper edge and

lifted yourself to a safe landing.


Eat from your bowl and be grateful.

Everything you asked for is already yours.

Walk away from the party,

shake hands, give uncommitted hugs,

then read by the dim light, knowing your true riches,

knowing all that you treasure is complete, thriving

in this compact tried-and-true family

and in the landscape of your evolving solitude.




a black line



A King


Bold blood brilliance,

the tactics, the uencroachable confidence

of his glacial brutality, clemency,

making victory out of nowhere.

Odds always against him, titling one way

to be seen and the opposite way to be heard.

Swelling with passion, with genius strategies

unthought of, fertilizing the crescendo of

music chanting his praise and undeniable



Introduce me, let me smell

his intake-outtake of electricity,

the absolute procurement of all his needs

through risk and never doubting his good fortune.

Let me see into his eyes

devouring like a blackhole stillness, a force

immune to resistance.

Let me witness his charm,

the slavish devotion he demands and receives



At once crowned,

(still frenziedly restless at the centre)

then blindsided by an unexpected,

equally violent, legendary and grand





a black line





of a haunted lion mourning

her lost young. In a cage,

another brow folded in grief

and grim expectation.

Entitlement massaged into the bright blank eyes

of the classless rich with their toothy smiles

and ego-feeding gestures

of generosity.


The lion is haunted, the rabbit

is caged and the mournful dog longs for kinship.

The sacred is devoured but not for long

and not forever

as joy overtakes with one relaxed touch,

one moment of complete enjoyable surrender

where nothing impure

can enter.


That moment is worth poverty, worth

the fevered greed swirling around,

spoiling the atmosphere,

tricking with false kindness and ignorance of self

that leads to chaotic manipulation.

It is worth the penalty of no security


just to combine for a few moments

with another’s spirit, be grand

in such holiness, be humbled

by such rudimentary love.




a black line





Together like odours

that merge in a closed room,

blending indistinguishable,

we are continual - each the same

as the other - in plague breath, in worries,

and in peace-filled joys, hopes that restore

strength and future paths beautifully unfolding.


So we decorate inside, never letting on

how much care we give to each detail.

Truth is kind to us as we hold hands across

the sofa, smiling at each other because

there is no corruption between us, no hidden

regrets or festering resentments when we see each other

we see a gift of eternal faithfulness, a lifetime pact,

sure-footed, winged and light and rich as honey

on the tongue, as a friendship that has never betrayed

or grown stale, and a love in a constant cycle of aching,

being satiated, counting on satiation and thresholds

reached and surpassed, sensuously mastered

together, often weary, but never of each other.


Only you are my love, bound

like the stem to its flower,

and the hawk to its sharp eye.


We will give nothing to the rest

that does not join our great love,

tries to defile our green fields flowing

or make us believe in less than this miracle.

For all things of life are ours -

our veins, our holy light-strings,

intensely locked, tenderly alive.




a black line



Not a Mirage


                  Ambushed, held hostage, then forgotten,

discarded, starved and too weak

to move. I find myself in a dead forest

that was burned by a fire a few years ago -

just sprouts of trees and a few ants trailing

the chewed-up ground.

                  I will find a cabin to rest in and get warm,

then find food in that cabin and rejuvenate.

I will not think of them (those who took me)

more than I have to. I will not

devote my energy

to bitterness but fasten myself

to thoughts of a future where freedom

is mine and I am not obliged to sleep

my nights in a mite-infested bed or

pull at my hair-strands

in boredom.

                  My burden is unloaded,

my shackles are far away

after so many decades.

It will take commitment to shine

in order to shine, but I will shine.

                  Near a country river

I will make my home, remain

tied to a promise like a covenant devoid

of self-pity, return to joy

as though never captured, never broken.


a black line


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