Archive for the 'Roy Dean Doughty’sPoetry' Category

Spousal Discovery

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 8/17/08

The density of foliage here prevents the eyes
From reading movement as a recessional
Progression, darks and lights, with somnambulistic
Slyness, ceaselessly shaking to pieces
In the breeze, and regrouping as mosaics,
Only to tremblingly shatter once again,
A wall of insubstantial lights, that yet remains a wall.
With sound it is different. The birdsongs, busily
Exaggerating the foreground, lead us to where
The eyes cannot pierce, their spiraling figurations
Suddenly bringing us face to face with an unlooked for
Encounter. Surface and depth, a duel movement
Of skittering brightness plumbed by indigo holes,
Hornpipe ditties mixing with grave-digger tunes,
Their music taking us far beyond the backyard garden’s
Merely domestic charm. Now we arrive,
Unwittingly, at a place where uncertain greens
And vaporous blues give way to the emphatic
Scarlet of a path, threading its way through
Doubt. As we go in and down, we are
Transformed, each one of our many human
Skins scraped off, not by abrasion, but by
Realization, until only what is obvious still shines.
That occasional glint of the green moon
Stabbing through broken windows is far behind
Us, and before us, an ebony sheen,
A place where the old have arrived
By traversing the lips of dizzying cliffs,
And where all dead mouths lie choked with garbled weeds.
Here what is most meaningful and succinct
Awaits us in an interior cavern, whose only
Furnishing is a stony bed, whose only occupant,
The shadow bride — scorn and affection, laughter
And lamentation, and the whole body,
With all of its joys and pains, finally fitted
In her close embrace.


Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 8/6/08

Murderous marionettes, deranged dolls,
What happens when these encounter
The disposable resources of light’s
Usual afternoon profligacy?
Will they, too, feel the shivery affections
Playing through the multiplex of lines in
Swaying trees, and will they also see this
Horizon infested with spirit faces,
Hanging in the leaves and among
The curves and elbows of the branches?
It is easy to understand how the adult
Governing Bodies might disapprove,
And demand that we retreat from these
Arabesquing repercussions of green-blues
On the move. What if these inhuman
Faces become visible again, after millennia
Of absence? And what if the child
Is able to place his or her conditioned
Responses in a final, sweet abeyance?
The faces might come near, too near.
They might discover our sickness.
They might force us to once again
Deify these homely sticks as catalysts
Of the imagination. Oh, how they
Sweep their colors through the sky,
And inspire even dolls and marionettes
With the bliss of the indeterminate.
And how good it is to see the strings
Clump in clouds whose whites can soothe
Even the grossest, most murderous derangements.
Look. Look. See them now, the sufferers,
The ragged adults, tenderly carried, by these
Ministering little phantoms. One by one,
Ascending on wooden litters,
And placed, like happy bundles of yellow
Birds, among the exaltations of the branches.

Cloudy Theses

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 8/5/08

The exposition of this evening’s light
Is ending in a colorless fade what has
All day been moodily uncertain.
Frosty striations of cirrus blotted out by
The irregular massings of wooly old philosophers,
Puffing out humidity as they expound,
Almost in whispers, the most circuitous
Propositions against a background of simplistic
Blue. It’s the best they can do, without resorting
To more visible effects. But their conversations
Create, inside our chests, an almost ineffable
Strangeness, as if we were small children
At Sunday mass, whose God is peering
At down at us, caged, and knowing, that as the Priest
Intones The Word, that we little beasties
Are not listening. And yet those moods have been
Saying something, and making distinctions
In blue and white and grey and lavender,
Whose ambiguities can transform whatever
Human or inhuman material is at hand. And we,
Caught now in this vertigo, become almost willing
Vessels for a nearly speechless beauty.
Yes, yes, “nearly”, “almost”, that’s what
They seem to be saying, those old philosophers.
Their windy shapes, vague colors, uncertain
Orientations, moving slowly in phosphorescent bands:
Ghost-lights, spook-lights, prankish will-o-whips,
Propounding unformed words for the uninformed.

Prelude to a Marriage

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 7/26/08

Certainly, the suburbanites are fond of trees,
At least as decorations, but the forest presents
Problems. They know that they have to keep
A wary eye on anything, which violates
Their image of internal fractionalization,
And so large and so cohesive of a conspiracy
Continually threatens to engulf them
With the long risings and fallings of treacherous
Once upon a times. Their sleep is
Still haunted by that trail of ashes leading
To the mysterious bridegroom’s house,
That feeling of ominous identification, which
Infects them with the innocence of a bride,
No matter what their professional qualifications.
She goes, this bride, night after night, deeper and deeper,
Through those densities of trees, rooted
Below the ground as one great being,
In search of the cure for the disequilibrium
Of human aspiration, but fearing always
The discovery of the indifferent cannibal,
Whose mechanical bobbing and nodding,
Reminds her of her own afflicted childhood,
And all those rituals of meaningless rhythm,
That only seemed to be leading towards the goal,
Which she has never quite attained. Sometimes,
The bridegroom’s head, as if housed bodiless in a black box,
Invites this girl to a late supper, which
He describes, not so soothingly, as “permanent”.
And it is just here, that she discovers,
Inside of her, the organic level of compactedness
Comprising peat and coal, and feels those
Racing spider-cracks of fragility stress-fracturing,
Through subtle changes of temperature only,
Throughout her defenseless bones. It is this internal ghost,
This girl who cannot find her way,
Who prompts them to order their landscapers
To gather only the most effete refugees
For their manufactured gardens, callously herding
Together English Walnut, Black Gum Eucalyptus,
Chinese Tallow, Canary Island Date Palm,
Nepalese Camphor, even Jerusalem Thorn,
So that these most gregarious of the planet’s
Creatures can only babble in the innocuous
Breezes as individual specimens, and never
Whisper of the wholeness forever absent
From the bride’s fragmented heart. Still, they, she, the suburbanites,
The bride, hear, hears them, it, the trees, the forest,
And in the midst of these not so random rustlings,
Begins to know how the local and global extrema
Of her shattered world differ only on the surface,
And that underground all distinctions between
The sacred and the tainted, the prosperous and the poor,
Are obliterated. And she, they, keeps, keep hearing, in those
Murmurous diasporas of leaves, a choir that says,
As if through a single, indivisible voice,
“Enter in peace, O crown of your husband’s jewel,
And live in jubilation among you’re your faithful,

Once Upon a Time

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 7/25/08

Like a Giant, whose fall is prolonged by
Some kind of supernatural agency,
The shade of the house and of the western trees
Continues to stretch the darks across the brights,
Reminding us of the assembly of conflicting
Associations that we suppress each day
In the body’s fiery cloister. The sharp
Cries of a thrush in the shattering blooms
Of a tall ligustrum,, the rattle of dry wind
Through dryer foliage, the counterfeit pleasures
Of the yellow east, all these corrupt the doctored
Data on the infallibility of human progress,
And disseminate inscrutable images
Through the grass, where so many tiny
Green snakes keep slipping away.
The boy in the witch’s oven, a grown man, now,
Still holds out the surrogate bone to his blind tormentor,
Struggling to reconfigure the biomedical model
That defines Death as “treatment failure,”
And not this inevitable languor of the Giant’s
Shadow making phantom beings on the lawn,
And in the tops of trees, gremlins billeting themselves
Right in the midst of our most bucolic moments,
And shrieking, from the very throes of these peaceful
Rustlings: “Next stop: Night!” as they beat
The children through the gate with hangman’s nooses.
A crow has replaced the thrush in a nearer shrub,
His hellion caw cutting an unrestful ramble
Across the sky’s clean blue, and reminding us
That even the massing of trees can be terrible,
However impassive their vegetable lusts.
The witch, eventually, grows tired of being deceived.
The Giant, eventually, terminates his fall.
And when the surrogate is finally rejected, will the boy
Be inside or outside of Paradise? And will the man,
If he is one now, stop offering
His useless bit of bone, accept the prohibitions
Enforced upon him, and elucidate
His fate with honest speech?


Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 8/1/08

When it happens, the illusory distance
Between the spectator and the projection
Collapses. These are no longer shrubs
Or trees of this or that species with ovate,
Orbicular, or cordate leaves,
But a lavishly bearded mass, a nexus
For all possibilities, the contemplation
Of which obliterates every mathematical
Inquiry. We had always, while trying
To navigate or even extend the irresponsible
Neutrality of looking on, of seeing without
Being seen, thought these green spectacles
Were safe, that we could gaze on them
With utter impunity, arranging their images
In the mind with the same freedom
By which we comb our hair. The murdering
Appetites of birds and insects, the hide-and-seek
Fairy tales of them and us, the experiment
In which the whole world could burn
Without scorching human skin has suddenly
Caught us in its rush, and we are in:
Our breath and the breeze weaving a shared
Biography from the onslaught of beauty
Slashing at our eyes and the uproar of silence
Pummeling our ears. The white placentas,
The red placentas, the slow back and forth
Swaying of filaments in nearly stagnant pools,
The whole inert volume of the three realms,
Drains from our body, and that familiar,
But insubstantial figure, in a layered fury
Of green intention and sapphire sparks of sky,
Spreads swiftly to the center of the sun
On pathways illumined by sinuous threads of fire.

Burn Notice

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 7/24/08

Perhaps because we cannot stop feeling sleepy,
We do not weep when the skies continue to darken,
A drop in blood sugar, regulating the dosage of our alarm.
And yet, interminable fires, interminable smoke,
Keeps creeping down these late reproachful hours,
Morning, noon, and night, constantly encircling
The body of a figure with desperate, uplifted arms.
Such is the human brain’s persistence
In amputating, like a leg, its own emotions,
In hobbling it own immense ability to love.
Afterwards, the clinician can label this aversion
As a disintegration of body-integrity,
Brought on by the planet itself, its skies’
New coarse covering no longer a stimulation for the spirit,
But a nimble, warning motion, on one leg only,
A grotesque trick, a knack, a pyromaniac’s
Smoky preparation for an obsolete medicinal
Intervention, whose effects are so primitive,
So crippling, and so unworthy of revival,
That suddenly we feel an overwhelming urge
To preserve wood, to peel away the bark
Of an adolescent tree, to discover, if behind
All this roughness and conflagration,
There might still be a smooth, moist,
Flesh-like texture, something we might caress,
And apologize to, so that the burning limbs
Of so many sons and daughters will not infect
Our sleep and mutilate our dreams.
But we are so, so sleepy, and perhaps, even
The clinician is already asleep, so that when these
Flaming ghosts stand before us, making red medleys
Of their shifting accusations, we cannot defend ourselves,
But must allow their whole, slowly
Revolving atmosphere of burning, bewitching green
To scarify us with such ruddy insistence,
So that nothing can remain to distinguish
Sleep from waking, but these manifest vituperations,
These prayers for something to drench the heart with grief.


Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

By Roy Dean Doughty

We fly over multitudes of lights, vibration-beings
Utilizing the morning breeze to strum
Selected leaves of the ivy thicket.
Suddenly, we pause, and some of the blue
Of the sky takes shape as music inside
Our head, exactly, at first, like an F natural,
Which then splays apart, and, like beads
From a single splash, strike the momentary
Fixity of our attention, and scatter prisms.
“It is subtle,” says a voice, “in order
To keep from being overwhelming.”
The subtlety, however, is so intricately
Exquisite, that when we see the small
Head of a yellow finch peep for an instant
From all the persistent green, there is
A break and time, and a valve that we
Did not know existed, is opened in our
Hearts. Millions of tiny lights swarm out,
Bunch, turn, spiral, thin to threads,
Like flocks of vast migrations, and then
The lights coagulate again, and we see
That this immense flourishing is only
The ivy flicked by the morning’s breeze.
But what happened to all that unsequestered
Time? Did it run backwards, swiftly,
To childhood, there to discover that purer,
Earlier body, bluer and brighter,
And peacefully carnivalesque?
The thought is exquisite, but subtle, oh so subtle,
Like a tone in the leafshine, far to swift to catch.

Enticed to Bed

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 7/10/08

Brackish hanks of thick green water creepingly circle
Round a primitively thicketed ox-bow island,
Back wash from a high tide that moves herself without wind.
On her torpid back, glops of flotsam drag long beards
Along the mucky dregs. These are slow, membranous
Movements, the trees, the water, the hazy, hot sky,
Like three sisters sharing the same soul,
One, fecund, one, languid, one aloof.
Together they enact a July ritual
Whose duration and discomfort, do not quite
Engender dread, but do hint at the presence
Of fire spirits somewhat inimical to creatures
With red inside them. What afternoon message
Is arising from this tripartite Goddess,
Burnished with amber by her sleepy Lord,
Her words evolving on the tongue
Of her biosphere for four billion years,
While her voice, the very labor of silence,
Is still a vivid shriek of new-born passion?
Her calm urgency has survived the collision of comets,
Hung enumerable rainbows on its hooks,
And weighed the very bulk of sun and day.
Yet we hear her, yes, we hear her, though she
Is deathly, deathly still, not willing to trust
Her song to the ugly noises of terrestrial muzzles.
It is the quiet itself that she commandeers
To tell her urges: “He takes me by the hair.
He tears my underthings. His nails draw creeks
Along my virgin skin.” Yes, now we understand
Why the salty flask must be drained again,
And the tide, once more, go down, and why
The fire spirits, for all their haughty rancor, are slaves
To her dark wishes. And why, in the end,
Our love for her will cause us to abandon
The red blood of our dismal self-involvement,
To lie incorporate in her brooding flood.

Early Release

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 7/28/08

Spread out like green lace doilies parallel
To the ground, these cedar branches
Serve as the perfect infrastructure
For a spider’s web, whose silken cradle
Becomes, this morning, the incongruous
Expression for a beauty alive in the very
Gut of cold predation. A soft, green pollen
Has collected in this little hammock,
And as the breeze gently lifts and rocks
The bed, more pollen from above snows
Down to fluff its cushions. How we long
To rest in the hand of this delicacy, and be
Again, that body of spirit — as soft as feathers —
Whose assemblage of death and loveliness
Makes such a lilting motion, so that we gaze
Up, in wonder, as if, from the pellucid swell
Of gravity’s ponderous sea, we might take
One step, two, fall forward, ascend,
And soar out of the confines of flesh —
That prey for lurking spiders —
To rest our cares in this intimate beyond.
A car drives by on the street, just one
Of many, and shakes the cedar,
As, pulled back from this green otherness,
We feel the swell of a different order
Of assemblage. The canopy trembles,
And our two eyes are not glad. Just here,
At the outskirts, a small and inconceivably fine
Shimmering has signaled to us of death,
While we, still bound in the heavy reds
Of incarnation, stood helplessly below,
Rooted in mire, our vision running back
And forth, back and forth, in the green-laced sky,
Like a soul that is lost in the infinite forests of light.