JONATHAN DOUGLAS DOWDLE - POEMS
Jonathan Douglas Dowdle was born in Nashua, NH and has traveled throughout the US, he currently resides in South Carolina. Previous works have appeared or are appearing in: Hobo Camp Review, 322 Review, The Opiate, The Write Place At The Write Time, Blue Hour Review, Whimperbang, After The Pause, Midnight Lane Boutique, Visitant, Adelaide, Blue Moon, Bitchin' Kitsch, Pif, Mojave Heart, North Of Oxford, Vox Poetica, Blue Mountain Review, Furious Gazelle, HCE Review, And The Big Windows Review.
From the sun and back again,
What can compare
To the heat,
Stars carve smiles against
The moon's mad mouth
Paint golden light on
The frozen street,
Where gazes stop, but
Toward their guns,
Blood red eyes
Might meet the mind
Before the curtains
Finally slip down.
And what is there to press
Like a petal against the cheek,
Leave skin to rose
In the field of surrender?
Watch how we shake
Like aching leaves,
For the fall.
What is there of madness
When reasons are defined
By the tremble, by the treble
By the ache within the line;
So spin the web and leave it to catch
The frost within our breath,
Until we collapse
Into the last
And dawn reveals
All that has collapsed.
All that has risen
Like wings above
The turning of
And there expressed
In stymied breath
The very things
No words confess.
You said to me once: "All love, is love without end."
Yet you did not know the meaning;
And then, in the hour of the dawning departure
You whispered: "You are the shadow of the heart."
I nodded, numbly, knowing well, the meaning of sacrifice.
That is my story, as it always was, perhaps
As it always will be. I tell you now,
There are truths in simple measure
Which must be twisted, to fit the tale's meaning.
If it should mean, your own life is preserved
Above my own, I will wear the mask of the criminal,
I tell you now, if you hold your own innocence,
I can bear life's crime.
There is no place these passages meet,
I gather the dust, from each dead end street,
I have no fear of the way the eyes must etch,
Between stone of memory, blood, and breath.
I hold no hope, of any hour's return,
As others light candles, I watch bridges burn,
When you carved my heart out as God,
I climbed down from heaven's path,
My own heart knows all seasons: Kindness, bitterness, and wrath;
I do not expect perfection, from the turning of the world,
I have seen too many endings, too many veins unfurled,
Messages written in blood, and messages written in stars,
Know the deepest dark,
Know the golden heart.
Like so many things, I wish you well,
Passing the pages, burning like hell,
I have no fear of the above, nor of the below;
I've tasted their wine, their fire, their cold;
What else can be offered, of damnation, salvation,
In this empty echo of each soul's plantation?
I lay down all thoughts, like corpses to sleep,
Leaving them in every angels, every devil's keep.
I hold no hope against the hour, against
Every twist of fate;
Faith is just another dish
Served from an empty plate;
I accept each hour as it comes,
Each truth as it bends,
You know not what you say
When you say love does not end.
(I lay these words down, in every
Angels, every devil's keep;
Like every heart comes,
I leave these words to sleep.)
I SIT TO SLEEP
I sit to sleep, like the hollows,
Dreaming softer dreams of love,
Where all dust has settled, fine,
Where all transgressions are absolved.
Like a flicker of a flame, or light,
The eyes might open wide,
The rains might fall to quench the thirst
That comes with the fire's tide.
What might pass through lips of truth,
When all the shadows sway to part,
And all words glow like stars,
Pressed against even the darkest heart?
Call each vision: wish or prayer,
That even angels, or devils won't dare,
But the heart must be brave before all,
Whether it comes to rise or fall;
So let life bless or condemn,
With jagged mirror's view;
But let it leave the heart to speak
The rhythm of its truth.
THE DECEMBER NIGHT
There is still the chill of winter
Pressed against your lips,
Melting, like burning bridges
Caught in every kiss,
We passed some sweet perfection
Bleeding down the street,
They say that ships pass in the night
But they never meet.
We can paint out all the reasons,
Tattoos on our brows,
Etch our stories of longing
Until the house falls down,
Ashes from flesh and bone
Mired in regrets,
If we place the heart of life
On a single bet.
But it's best not to wait
On that breaking edge,
Even in the dream of dreams,
No matter what is said,
We could paint our prism perfection,
Or scratch out the howl,
But even the pain of desire
Is a scar against the soul.
Draw out your beauty of white,
Paint your pain in red,
Deny nothing of your being,
No matter what might be said;
Carry on, into your heart,
Slip it across the world,
Like the fingers around your heart,
That you slowly unfold.
I leave your heart its passage,
Slipping into the light,
Like the final heat in the kiss
On that cold December night.
YOU, WHO SPEAK LOVE
You, who speak love,
Come not to me
With the knots and nooses;
Your ideas leave no room
How would you walk
Through the labryinth of
With all you have fashioned?
You speak divinity
And pale it with your tongue.
You want no troubles?
And what would you learn?
You who speak of love as
As a grail, holy,
What do you know
Of the heart that aches
How the ache
How the strength becomes
To drive you beyond
Your own limits?
Speak not to me of all
That you have idolized,
Stapled in papered fashion
To the wall of your heart;
Speak to me of the hunger
That burns you internal,
That burns away your reasons,
Leaving only one path
Through the flames,
And deeper into
The fire of your being.
Speak to me of that,
And nothing else.