Poetry Blog by Douglas MacGowan

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You’ve left me no other choice.

I have searched for you for years, clawing my way through faith after faith.

But it seems like you pushed the button on The Big Bang and then wandered off, our universe not shiny enough to keep your attention.

But you left fingerprints: the hummingbird and the Andromeda Galaxy.

You left no message to follow, but billions have claimed to have followed the...

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bipolar mania paranoia

They are out to get me.

They stare, sizing me up.

They think I don't notice, but I see them. I don't stare back. I don't want to incite them.

I must give off a "crazy vibe" or a "crazy odor" that they can sense I am not doing well at all.

They want to capture me, take me away, hospital.

against my will.

I don't know how to fight them.

I only know that my protective womb shell ...

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Pop Quiz

Eyes on me, everybody.

Pay attention.

I am going to have a breakdown right in front of you.

So you might want to take notes,

because this will be on the test.

Pencils up!

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If I could draw,

I would try to capture the shapes of your face

in shadows and charcoal. 

I would trace the birthmark on your cheek 

and the freckles (moth kisses) over your nose.

And the fires that are your eyes when I disappoint you. 


But I am hopeless with pen and ink. 

I only have words,

and words will never capture the trances you inspire 

when you shine like t...

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Some other God

watched my birth

oversaw my childhood

and my clumsy growth


in adulthood

It saw me struggle

trying to fit in

on some crazy path


now It seems quiet

happy to let me slide

into my "dark night of the soul"

clawing towards my former contentment

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I swing between extremes 

try to catch me

where you see me I have already left

I don’t know what I am afraid will happen if I am caught

but I fear something bad

I’ve been caught before only to have it crash

so I try to fall into the pit

where I will be covered by shadows

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death is not marketable - except to florists and stonemasons

you would think that after centuries of leavings that society might have figured it out

but it remains as precarious and unspeakable as ever

it’s not something to rush into

it waits at the gate, silent but almost conversing 

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I want a vision

just a small appearance, no healing spring


I reach back and see when You and I were in touch


Now I wonder if You were ever there


So I’d like for You to show Yourself in some small way


Just to give me something to steer with

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A Greek Limerick

There once was a boy name of Sophocles 

who all of the school boys would often tease

he wrote up some plays

that went on for days

and all of his shirts had blue cotton sleeves

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More Colors

Putting ribbons in your hair reveals your inner moods:

bright colors for joy

pastels for calm

dark strands for the void


When you come to me with reds and blues

you challenge my bleak thoughts and you always win


Soft greens and pinks cause my fire inside to lie spent on the floor


Blacks and purples tell me to be careful

One never knows when despair will raise ...

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Spring will not find The Gray Boy

trees hide and shadows conceal


Summer blossoms render his color unnoticeable


Autumn begins his reveal


But search for him in Winter

when his steps leave snowy prints

and his face ceases blending with the tree branches

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As I was drowning,

gasping and grasping,

you fluttered a hand in the water

for me to grab hold of


There's us...


you: a rock near the chasm, the last place to hold


me: always on Theater Time, arriving just as the lights dim


Who could have guessed our pairing?

back when I was shy and you were new


but the gatherings fell into place and the bells ran...

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Late Summer Day

Water finds form

a child with a hose

spraying the landscape for enemies


Summer I could draw

if it would stand still --

instead it crawls along my eyesight


the sun is hot,

the breeze is not


the convertibles pass by the front proch of my house

boastfully claiming their air that is denied to other cars


the long day draws to a close


Tomorrow wi...

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Whisper me darkly,

I no longer know where you end

and my ownings begin.


I've fostered hate against you for so long that it's a suburn that fades slowly -

never quite matching the color that surrounds.


I hope to win me back -

there are pieces of me that ache by their void.


I suppose I could step around you,

but that would be a dance step I never mastered.



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Miles and an ocean between us

Your voice, your face -- missing


Do you remember, as a little girl, dancing to the TV?

I don't remember, but I have seen it in home movies

Deep glimpses from the past that never change or age


You walk a little slower now

You can reveal or keep your own ways

Happy to happier you forge your path

Until the wind tangles your graying hair

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i come to you in purple

you meet me in blue


The colors are close but don’t quite match


in the house, the doors are slightly ajar

somebody could be listening, but I trust we’re alone


This scent of sandalwood makes me remember you previously

in so many places


but here it is our farewell that brings us together


it’s messy


there are no tears


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Haikus 2

where do I fall now?

I’ve left so many craters

find me by the holes


where Birds congregate 

and people move too quickly -

there you will find me


you hypnotize me

I call for your secret lies

you never said no


I have now begun:

claw my way up from the void.

no slim light - not yet

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Haikus 1

Fair objects - all trees

leaves combining frost and fire

bird homes hidden ‘neath


Fiercer than pinecones

no breadcrumbs to follow there

a walk in the woods


A loss of epic

in the space where stars are killed

a little less light


I am glad you failed

I take pleasure in your fall

no guilt - just light heart

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Dancing and Shadows

Fairy lights in the bushes

cast no shadows:

weak, weak


And you can't see well enough to read


But you can see to dance

feet separate from floor

Twirl in the half-cast light

until the sky takes up its own glimmer

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If I saw you at the Faire,

I wouldn’t take things so seriously.

The crowds would part,

so I could see only you.

Only then could I heal the wounds

that someone else discarded.

I am fragile.

But you can sense that.

And you approach me slowly,

like a silkworm.

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If tomorrow never came,

I would invent it.


I cannot stay here,

stuck with the needles and racing thoughts.


I don’t know why I am so nervous.

I have done these things hundred of times before.



But every time I stare down these guns

I collapse.


Some day all this should become old hat.


A hat with a brim that hides my eyes.


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Your words were gold

I sat at your feet


and then time passed


Your words were silver


and then time passed


Your words were copper


and then time passed


Your words are lead

you’ve taken my own words into hiding

with your pipe and matches

but I will find you:

because smoke makes noise.

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Haiku 2

Anger has claws

snagged across bone

pierced along gut

= = = =

Sadness has a depth

flooding the pathway

swamping the roots

= = = =

His pace knows no footsteps

shows no sign in snow

he is immobile

= = = =

After autumn

winter easily discovers his hiding

trees are bare — nowhere to vanish

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You’ll know me when you see me

I am often spoken of in small groups:

the man with the gray hat

the man who sinned and then sinned again


When I am first seen, it is a trick of the light

further glimpses bring into focus

shadows crush into my silhouette

“how can someone wear a heavy coat on such a warm day?”


I bet you won’t notice my shoes

heavy thump, thump



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4 haiku

Coldest night of winter

shooting star

an upturned hand

= = =

under umbrellas

splash puddles

rain-walking dog

= = =

Follow me in autumn boats

wherever you harbor

I will be the sea

= = =

Stillness of the clock

her hand on the car keys

after his confession

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A kite escaped from boys today

and fell behind the town -

and made sure that she was free

and circled the sky around


She taunted towards the little boys

and beckoned me to try -

and so I also cut my string

and joined her in the sky

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We buried you today — flowers, hymnals

dirt clods, shovels


Your death was unexpected, unapproved

What were you thinking?


There on the stone

name engraved, haughty dates on obscene display

surely dignity requires a quieter memorial


For you were small and little made of

your voice could barely pierce the ether

that wove itself about your huge soul



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Under the silks

inside the wardrobe

lies the magic:

a key without an answer

a bell without a caution

a home without a door.


All together

the spells are cast.


Just believe.

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DNA Test

Genetically entwined.

Your ancestor = my forefather.

(some number) cousin

(some number) removed


Well, there ya go.


Are your hands small, too?

Are you afraid of fireworks?

Will we know each other at the airport?


We will.


Because blood glows.

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I dare you to breathe

standing in front of me

weak apologies and sloppy explanations


You give me road maps of journeys you never took


What do you think of me?

That I can be cast as stones

and fortunes to overcome?


Cast aside indeed

pale markers at the side of the road

impossible to follow you though the screens you scattered in your wake


Flowers ma...

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a (hopefully) funny poem for Edward Gorey

A pile of dirt

to hide the bones

or in dark streams:

weight with stones


The clothes are easy

burn them up

poison washed

from plate and cup


Tell callers that

they ne’er arrived

they’ll never spot

the lie contrived


policemen come

with tired query

with no hints or clues

and not one theory


Though one detective

stays and grates


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a lizard on a hot, smooth stone

my cats recreating sphinxes until the postman comes

the first hummingbird finally noticing my feeder

an old toy found under a new tree

a woman on the sidewalk ahead just turning a corner

rubbing of tombstones in the abandoned graveyard

finally tall enough for the rollercoaster

a balloon with wings, maybe

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Mea culpa

Cold acts I have done

decades ago


a ruined wedding

a drowned pet

a neglected mother


These I could draw for you

if I only had the time —

current cruelties take all my notice


while future meanness

starts to dawn

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Nobody sees him in his fine clothes

near the rope

beneath the stream


If he could have said something

he would have


But his petitions were met with stones


They will be shocked that he slipped away


And those same stones will take his place at table

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She falls away from me

shadows and height

into her paradise


We must live walled apart

else she destroy me

and I rake the shards of her past sins over her aging bones

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The Grey Boy

Summer will not find the grey boy

under the trees

hidden from sky


His pace knows no footfalls

his traveling shows no sign

He is unshaken


Mood deep as slumber

eye slits against the light

weighing his next terrible move


After autumn

Winter easily discovers his hiding

trees are bare

nowhere to hide


And the cold splinters the hollows to his so...

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The Beautiful Men

He is bound

creatively captured

he ain't going nowhere, folks!



most handsome face

the eyes

the chin

the mouth


oh, the Beautiful Men

the beautiful men



sharply connecting

the corner of his eye


the corner of his mouth




Then another and another


Oh, the Beautiful Men

the beautiful men


Set fre...

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The garden is full

crazy roses, not in a line


Wounds of earth fold to scar over their bounty:

a flag

a ring

a bone


Leaf clusters crowd a path that led somewhere long ago, now ending at the stone wall, ungated.

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