About the Muse

 

Contemplation

Contemplation (c) JH Saling

“The words and phrases that describe the erotic happen to be the same that apply to poetic inspiration: pleasure, a deep satisfaction, mystery, unknowing, a chance encounter, the unpredictable, a letting go, a giving over, a giving into, a forgetting of the self, and the getting of a gift.”  (John Foy, writing in The Raintown Review Volume 12 Issue 1, March 2014.)

 

The following poem originally appeared in Poet Lore (1985) and was later included in A Matter of Mind (Foothills Publishing, 2004)

Encounter

Her child-combed hair that smells of hay,
Thighs dusted with plowed earth,
She sheds her patterned dress and climbs
The attic stairs to me,

Where we collide among the cries
Of angry springs, sterile
Thrusts, and pain of ruined farmers’
Sons. A shotgun across

His chest, her father sleeps. Look. Smell
The sweat of honest work.
This girl works as hard as any
Man. Now she’s mine, until

Dawn, when he and I see her work
The fields, saddle shoes filled
With air next to school books along
The road that melts in light.

© Joseph Saling and The New Word Mechanic, 1985, 2004, 2014.

 

And while we’re on the subject of the farmer’s daughter, let’s listen to Crystal Bowersox. Her work is pure inspiration. Her words pure poetry.

 

Issue #010 of Aberration Labryinth

Check out the latest issue of Aberration Labyrinth for my poem “The Telling.” Then take a look at another new online journal from Canada called Caesura. I like them both, as well as like a lot of other online journals such as Carcinogenic Poetry and The Bacon Review. But not everyone’s so sure online journals are a good thing. What say you?

 

 

The Last Day of His Life

This poem was first published along with “The Letter Writer” by Carcinogenic Poetry on July 24, 2011.

The Last Day of His Life

The last day of his life began
like all the rest except
he found some pills above the sink
and took them down to stare
into their white infinity
then said out loud, Why white?

The last day of his life he packed lunch for his children
and stood waiting at the door while each one filed by
taking the brown bag from his hand and smiling
as he admonished them to study hard.

The last day of his life he kissed
his wife and told her not to worry.

Getting in the car he drove
until he couldn’t be seen from the house
then followed the long narrow path through the field to the beach
with its white sand that seemed to stretch into infinity
and sat there watching white clouds disturb
the sky with shapes that had no permanence,
with weight that wasn’t there,
and wondered once more Why white?

© Joseph Saling and The New Word Mechanic, 2012.

The Letter Writer

This poem was originally published by Carcinogenic Poetry on July 24, 2011.

The Letter Writer

The tip of the pen had worn away
and scratched at the page,
making him shudder the way hard chalk
scraping on a blackboard once did.
Still, just one more letter to write.

One more letter. No one writes letters anymore,
not with a pen with a broken tip.

It would be easier on a computer–
e-mail. Just hit send, and it’s done before
there’s time to think, do I want to send this?
Computers are safer. They protect
him the way his own handwriting cannot.
But his computer’s in a dark
room inside an empty house.

A room void of other breath but
his own. He thinks he’d rather hear
the scratching. At least here, men
with great rings of keys pass back and forth
with great practiced ceremony,

pushing brooms, wearing rags
on their belts, coughing phlegm. Not pretty.
Not like a friend
would be.
Not what a dog or cat
could be. But still he prefers

the company of their loneliness
to such silent dependency,
the smell of ammonia and polish to
sour milk and rotting grapes
behind the beer in the fridge at home.

He wants to like this place. This time.
But he can’t. The letter’s unfinished and
the pen won’t let him. He thinks
a new pen, one that didn’t scrape
but rolled as easy as the surf

would make this place perfect.
The words would spill out the way milk
Leaks from a mother’s breast. We’ve
become too private,
he writes and then
throws the paper away because

that’s all there is that’s left to be.

© Joseph Saling and The New Word Mechanic, 2012.