Half Drunk Muse Poetry


Beta Delta by Shelly Reed

“In the house there is a room where a man stares at the wall all day and does not move. A woman stands by the light watching the sick man breathe.” —Louis Simpson

Once a youth on fire with radical ideas,
paying no heed to zeitgeist;
now, a shadow-hunter
waking far away from home.
Inside there’s a monk, a Buddha.
You are solidifying into an attitude,
composing a philosophy,
plotting to overthrow an entire industry,
becoming a phantom like yesterday’s weather.
You’re part of a race not yet conceived,
even in Switzerland.
My face is familiar, though.

Back from Swiss caves, poetic ruins,
we meet in pumiced wind.
Angled fear becomes a musician
conducting an overture of differences.
You speak to me in concentric simplicity
about the penultimacy of your existence.
Machiavelli, Rabelais, Moliere;
you extract the trio from my renaissance mind.
I taste the envoi of your life,
plant seven garlands for your grave.

This musician-philosopher
cannot endure audiorape in the city,
the undertone on his uncle’s farm.
Even wind flattening grass is disruptive.
He seeks a place where
the psyche is still, the soul does nothing,
where he can watch the approach
of his monumental assassination.

In preparation, I shop for black garments.
I learn to breathe in, breathe out,
to sit at your bedside and wait
while you hide in pine trees,
void of sweet narcotics.
I anticipate your return,
pockets wet with clay from the brick factory.
You’re about to make a terrible mistake;
I begin the weaving of pentagrams.

View bio for Shelly Reed Published in All Poems 1999-2004

About HDM

Half Drunk Muse was one of the first poetry ezines. It was founded in 1999 and ceased publication in 2006.

Questions/comments? Email samiller@halfdrunkmuse.com.