The Reaper

I am the soul of November,
Wandering down through the days,
Reclaiming the ground for the Winter,
to be born again in the Spring,
In nights that grow ever colder,
In skies filled with clouds full of rain,
I am the soul of November,
Changing the landscape again.

Dreaming curled up near the fire,
Sleeping so deep in the dark,
I am the soul of November,
the last of the light and the spark,
that rests through a season transforming,
that gathers its strength in repose,
I am the soul of November,
Holding the hope of the bloom of the rose.

 

 

Teri Skultety
November 4, 2019

With All Fine Corpses

With All Fine Corpses

Autumn has come,
With all fine corpses masquerading in the folds,
Of her steady winds as they ride cool,
Through the night.
At her building breath,
The trees shedding their fading endowment,
Of a Season past.
She is present now,
In all her fired splendor,
In all her rain-soaked ash,
Her dance a whirling dervish of delight,
Upon the Harvest.
Her song a children’s chant,
On the Eve,
of All Saints.
Her light a dim glowed candle
in the center of the lantern.
Her perfume, mulled, spiced cider,
Sweet cinnamon,
Her tea, a little Sassafras with black silt mud,
To keep away the wicked
for a while.

The house rattles, shutters shake,
A kitchen cabinet creaks open,
Swings free on a gust swept in,
Through the window.
Settle now,
Settle down,
Settle in.
In the shrinking distance,
Hear Winter,
Howling at the Moon,
on her way…
Over hill,
Through the shadows,
Galloping,
Even paced over the well-trod path
Of every wooded thicket.
Her icy fingers grasp tight the reigns,
Her blood a river of veins,
Frozen blue,
In her skin the white of snow,
Her flowing cloak the Arctic wind.
Her eyes disguise the Northern Lights,
Behind her midnight scalloped veil of dreams,
Asleep in her depths,
The transformation of the landscape,
The death of Autumn,
Riding on her heels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From “Covenants of Lingering Bones”, available on Amazon.
Originally published with Thunderdome Writer’s Collective- 2011

Image, internet gif

 

 

 

 

 

October in the Railroad Earth, Jack Kerouac

October in the Rail Road Earth
“spontaneous” prose

There was a little alley in San Francisco back of the Southern Pacific station at Third and Townsend in redbrick of drowsy lazy afternoons with everybody at work in offices in the air you feel the impending rush of their commuter frenzy as soon they’ll be charging en masse from Market and Sansome buildings on foot and in buses and all well-dressed thru workingman Frisco of Walkup, truck drivers and even the poor grime-bemarked Third Street of lost bums even Negros so hopeless and long left East and meanings of responsibility and try that now all they do is stand there spitting in the broken glass sometimes fifty in one afternoon against one wall at Third and Howard and here’s allthese Millbrae and San Carlos neat-necktied producers and commuters of America and Steel civilization rushing by with San Francisco Chronicles and green Call-Bulletins not even enough time to be disdainful, they’ve got to catch 130, 132, 134, 136 all the way up to 146 till the time of evening supper in homes of the railroad earth when high in the sky the magic stars ride above the following hotshot freight trains–it’s all in California, it’s all a sea, I swim out of it in afternoons of sun hot meditation in my jeans with head on handkerchief on brakeman’s lantern or (if not working) on book, I look up at blue sky of perfect lostpurity and feel the warp of wood of old America beneath me and I have insane conversations with Negroes in second-story windows above and everything is pouring in, the switching moves of boxcars in that little alley which is so much like the alleys of Lowell and I hear far off in the sense of coming night that engine calling our mountains.

But it was that beautiful cut of clouds I could always see above the little S.P. alley, puffs floating by from Oakland or the Gate of Marin to the north or San Jose south, the clarity of Cal to break your heart. It was the fantastic drowse and drum hum of lum mum afternoon nathin’ to do, ole Frisco with end of land sadness–the people–the alley full of trucks and cars of businesses nearabouts and nobody knew or far from cared who I was all my life three thousand five hundred miles from birth-O opened up and at last belonged to me in Great America.

Now it’s night in Third Street the keen little neons and also yellow bulblights of impossible-to-believe flops with dark ruined shadows moving back of tom yellow shades like a degenerate China with no money-the cats in Annie’s Alley, the flop comes on, moans, rolls, the street is loaded with darkness. Blue sky above with stars hanging high over old hotel roofs and blowers of hotels moaning out dusts of interior, the grime inside the word in mouths falling out tooth by tooth, the reading rooms tick tock bigclock with creak chair and slantboards and old faces looking up over rimless spectacles bought in some West Virginia or Florida or Liverpool England pawnshop long before I was born and across rains they’ve come to the end of the land sadness end of the world gladness all you San Franciscos will have to fall eventually and burn again. But I’m walking and one night a bum fell into the hole of the construction job where they’re tearing a sewer by day the husky Pacific & Electric youths in torn jeans who work there often I think of going up to some of ’em like say blond ones with wild hair and tom shirts and say “You oughta apply for the railroad it’s much easier work you don’t stand around the street all day and you get much more pay” but this bum fell in the hole you saw his foot stick out, a British MG also driven by some eccentric once backed into the hole and as I came home from a long Saturday afternoon local to Hollister out of San Jose miles away across verdurous fields of prune and juice joy here’s this British MG backed and legs up wheels up into a pit and bums and cops standing around right outside the coffee shop-it was the way they fenced it but he never had the nerve to do it due to the fact that he had no money and nowhere to go and O his father was dead and O his mother was dead and O his sister was dead and O his whereabout was dead was dead but and then at that time also I lay in my room on long Saturday afternoons listening to Jumpin’ George with my fifth of Tokay no tea and just under the sheets laughed to hear the crazy music “Mama, he treats your daughter mean,”Mama, Papa, and don’t you come in here I’ll kill you etc. getting high by myself in room glooms and all wondrous knowing about the Negro the essential American out there always finding his solace his meaning in the fellaheen street
and not in abstract morality and even when he has a church you see the pastor out front bowing to the ladies on the make you hear his great vibrant voice on the sunny Sunday afternoon sidewalk full of sexual vibratos saying “Why yes Mam but de gospel do say that man was born of woman’s womb-” and no and so by that time I come crawling out of my warmsack and hit the street when I see the railroad ain’t gonna call me till 5 AM Sunday morn probably for a local out of Bay Shore in fact always for a local out of Bay Shore and I go to the wailbar of all the wildbars in the world
the one and only Third-and-Howard and there I go in and  drink with the madmen and if I get drunk I git.

The whore who come up to me in there the night I was there with Al Buckle and said to me “You wanta play with me tonight Jim, and?” and I didn’t think I had enough money and later told this to Charley Low and he laughed and said “How do you know she wanted money always take the chance that she might be out just for love or just out for love you know what I mean man don’t be a sucker.” She was a goodlooking doll and said “How would you like to oolyakoo with me mon?” and I stood there like a jerk and in fact bought drink got drink drunk that night and in the 299 Club I was hit by the proprietor the band breaking up the fight before I had a chance to decide to hit him back which I didn’t do and out on the street I tried to rush back in but they had locked the door and were looking at me thru the forbidden glass in the door with faces like undersea––I should have played with her shurrouruuruuruuruuruuruurkdiei.

–  Jack Kerouac

 

Featured image: Rail Town, Tracy, California
Teri Skultety

 

Autumnal Equinox

The City, the weather turning now. The Harvest Moons rising high against the edge of the water. Boats rocking against the piers. Tankers and cargo ships anchored in the bay, the waves pushing against the locks. Giant glowing balloons beckoning the bounty of Autumn shorn from the surface of the plentiful terrain, loaded into the wild tilt cart, transported into the colder slate. Ashen colored caverns of the street, the carved cement walls of mirrored glass reaching into the night sky, their windows twinkling in the darkness like the eyes of Jack O’ Lanterns. The sidewalks teeming with leaves from trees that reside in four by four squares separating the sidewalks, dividing the concrete landscape every fifteen feet. They crunch and slide under the feet of the traveling masses, crawling the evening. The clicking of heels, the verb and the hum, the vibration of subterranean worlds inches from their soles. Metal sheathed slithering ribbons launching through the tunnels of the underground, “the worms crawl in, the worms crawl out.” The holes bored through the earth in catacombs filled with the mysteries of a million stories of eyes that rarely look directly into those of any other soul. Passing strangers en route to destinations anonymous. Steam rising from the vents, giving a hint of something deeper, places unspoken. Creatures that walk among the living, haunting the dreams and memories of those who hunt them, knowing that the Eve of All Saints approaches and the City never sleeps.

 

written on September 23, 2011

Image, Coit Tower from Pier 39, San Francisco, 2018

Stoicism

Stoicism

Beneath the layers
of the artifice of years,
The ego,
The tough exterior that isn’t,
Or, wasn’t.
The chip off the old block
On my shoulder,
I am truly
Sweetness.
My rebellion broken
With my realization
Of my pain
And the release
Of my anger.
The shrew barely tamed,
And renamed.
Though some rebellions,
Are quieter.

 

Teri Skultety

 

 

From my forthcoming book “Magdalene Aubergine”

I Believe

Each moment that I live and breathe,
I believe,
Yes, I believe,
In caterpillars and butterflies,
In thunderstorms and clear blue skies,
I believe in angels strong, who guard me when the night grows long
And I believe in a love divine that lingers in this heart of mine,
To heal my dreams and keep them whole,
For I believe I am a soul of light, of love,
That I am limitless and free,
Oh, I believe,
I believe in me.

 

Teri Skultety

 

Featured photo, Butterfly in the Lilac
Teri Skultety

Walt Whitman, Pioneers

I’m reading a book about Abraham Lincoln and was reminded once again of this poem by Walt Whitman as Whitman was of that time. I think some weren’t too keen on it when Levi’s used some of this poem to sell jeans, but I thought it was great because it introduced a new audience to this work. As readings and videos of such and the like go, this is one of my favorites that I’ve returned to again and again.

TS

 

1877, photo by Curtis W. Taylor of Broadbent and Taylor

 

Featured Image,
Walt Whitman,
photographer unknown,
listed as “possibly John Plumbe, Jr.”

 

The Walt Whitman Archive

The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter

I am the scarlet letter,

drunken harlot, effigy.

I am the distant harbor,

and the present misery.

I am the soul of understanding,

and the self-indulgent dream.

I am not the perfect people,

or their technicolor stream,

of solace ever ending,

in their limitated thoughts.

I am not the bitter harvest,

Or their spring forget me knots.

I am love and ever wanting,

ever needing in my ache,

to have this joy released,

I bend and then I break.

I scribble and scrap,

at all of their ambiguity.

While the words are drawing simple,

cutting callous to the bone,

and the phone is ever ringing,

and the robots, on they drone,

because they think I know the secret,

because they think I hold the key,

and they’re wanting, wanting, wanting,

and I’m wanting to be free.

The leaves are crunching dry,

on the wet ground beneath my feet,

and the world is a disaster,

but it doesn’t bother me.

For my room is the passageway,

into another world,

we raise the flag at midnight,

the dagger and the pearl.

He pried the oyster open,

he gave the gem to me,

I am his only lover,

Drunken harlot, effigy.

 

 

 

The Scarlet Letter
October 18, 2012
Teri Skultety

 

 

This one if from my forthcoming book of poetry
due out… 2019-2020.
TS

 

Featured image, Resting Roses, Teri Skultety

 

 

The Daring Muse

In moments daring,
her heart shown through her breast,
a rapid rhythm that if she confessed,
held more inside its chambers than he knew,
in every moment,
every breath she drew,
some shred of hope that if he saw her there,
he’d understand that no love could compare,
and save her from her anguish and her need,
his hand, the touch to stop her slow soul bleed,
for there was not another man on earth,
who knew her as he did or of her worth,
who made the others easy to refuse,
but who then was the Poet
and who the Muse?

 

 

 

Featured Photo: A Window Draped in Magical Optimism
Teri Skultety