Tag Archives: patchwork journal


A girl called Transient

Once she wanted
a yellow bike, with streamers
on the handlebars, and white tires;

Once she knew
how to change the bike chain,
and patch the leaks
She had a tool kit in her basket:
allen keys, patches, glue,
compact pump, WD-40, band-aids
an old water bottle
that smelled of plastic and time;

Once she wanted
to be a dancer, not
on the stage, but wild,
pirouetting through forests
and waterfalls, charming
the birds from the trees;
A time when logic was flexible
and the laws of physics
were mere suggestions
and the only key to not falling
was forgetting to hit the ground.

– T.H. (Patchwork Journal, 07.25.11)

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Bit of a longer one today; but heck, we are counting down to National NOVEL writing month, after all.

No Place Like Home
or, War: A Child’s Picture Book

Seized by indecision,
this is how the raven went:
upstairs, downstairs
all around the town
In through the out door
quoth the poet, “Nevermore!”
This is where we start from:
other people’s leavings

If I were a goldfish
I would learn to speak French
with a German accent
underwater in the rain

Can you feel it falling,
feel it falling underwater,
underwater in the rain?

This is how the bullets fell:
one, two, one two
and through and through
whizzing like firecrackers
popping like candy corn
lights bright as Ferris wheels
all the wheels turning

Wheels turning in the mud
heels churning in the mud
at sunset dirt can look like blood
all the fields burning

This is where the acorns grew,
here the apples, there the corn
This is where they picked the flowers
when her little girl was born
and all the boys were laughing

The boys were playing in the hay
the girls chased them all away
and the sleek black birds were watching,
watching from the cherry trees
flags unfurling in the breeze
sound of thunder on the hills
and all the birds were flapping
tattered wings against a battered sky
Cotton candy turned to smoke
and everything was burning
White sails on black water yearning,
yearning for the shore
Waves like handshakes turned
to backhand slaps against the
stoic rocks who stand in ever
failing lines against the upstart crackerjacks
and their terrible machines

This is where the bakery
put the pies on sills to cool
Here is where the farrier
soothed the skittish horses
Once a road is now a dim
reminder of a journey
barely visible against
the trenches and the craters
slowly filling, slowly spilling
over runnels in the rain

Can you hear it?
Can you hear it
underneath the constant
murmur, whine and hum?
The quiet dripping
water slipping
from the eavestroughs
from the lips of empty stone

It’s true, just as she said it was,
that little girl from Kansas:
There’s no place like it, anymore
no place at all like home.

-T.H. (with apologies to Poe, Seuss & Lewis Carroll)
(Patchwork journal, July 2012)

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Pieces II

Where did these scraps come from?
An old dress, torn to pieces
an old shirt, abandoned to rags
doomed to a dusty corner
relegated to cleaning up spills
cast by an ordinary life
rescued at the last moment
thrown in with other
misfits and malcontents
awakening in a factory
or some small village
sweltering the the dog days
of monsoon season
nimble fingers picking pieces
seemingly at random
sewing them together
with hand-me-down thread
ends and seconds,
bargain bin leftovers
paper pressed wet onto screens
left to dry in the sun
I can still smell it:
nothing at all like living trees
Later, sold to strangers
at overinflated prices
waiting for a poet to give them
new memories, a borrowed soul,
an illusion, perhaps
of purpose

– T.H. (Patchwork Journal)

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Forty fathoms in,
and I’m still
waiting for something
to validate my life
like Castiel praying
to an empty amulet
looking for lost gods
in dime story baubles
reflections in muddy puddles,
burned toast and brickwork

Every day I make
my New Year’s resolutions
my vow to break the silence
I breathe in mountains & oceans
throw my arms open
hoping the wind will catch me

Ever day I hear
symphonies written by ghosts
songs by unreachable strangers

Everything that touches my soul
dissolves in air and whispers
fades like dreams on waking
Sometimes cupped hands
capture just enough
for a single sip
a fleeting taste, a cruel
teaser (the main feature never
lives up to the previews)

If only I could find
the right sledgehammer
axe, blowtorch, cannon
to blow these walls down
I might find what I’m looking for
in the rubble and the ruin
a new life out of chaos

– T.H. (Patchwork Journal)

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This is where we go II

Ghost ships founder
off the shores of Elysium
we came here to find
the answer to something
lost in the Aether
conceptions stumble,
presumptions fall apart,
like paper in the rain, belief
in the inevitable lost
like leaves in the gutter
no longer individual
but indistinct, irresolute
handholds slipping
the long fall into uncertainty
no longer buoyed by
memories of bliss
Is it fog or billowing smoke
that hides the enemy’s sails?
Is it god, luck, or blind chance
that becalms us here on
glass still waters?
Only the albatross & the moon know,
only the wheeling gulls and the absent wind
and they’ll never tell

– T.H. (Patchwork Journal, 05.24.11)

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What did you expect?
That purple shoelaces
and thrift store T-shirts
would really make you
young again?

She just said to me, she said:
“Not you, you’re too young”
In a room full of greyhairs
bifocals, wheelchairs
and stiff, halting gaits,
it’s not much of a comfort

Who do you trust?
Not the words on the TV screen
or the smiling face in the magazine

When music is the last refuge
we hide inside ourselves
a tiny box within which
‘verses are born, die, are born anew

Humans (like the lady said)
(like some other things, which shall
remain nameless)
really are so much
bigger on the inside
Therein lies the beauty
and the tragedy
and the comedy
of it all.

– T.H. (Patchwork Journal, 05.24.11)

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11 Days ’til November

This page rejects
the pretence of insecurity
It does not flaunt its heritage
like a hard won trophy
or throw its voice across the room
like a weapon;
it keeps its secrets
to itself.

Look at me, my beautiful
plumage, my new boyfriend
the perfumed lady cries
exclaiming her presence
her au naturel, her grand
sense of ease, her
honest frankness, her sheer
lack of consideration
for the finer points of kindness
and yet
she is nothing like this,
a stranger borne
on currents unfelt by us
lesser mortals

When abandoned by happiness
we find new appeal
in old illusions

-T.H. (Patchwork Journal, 07.05.11)

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12 Days ’til November

This is where we go

white cuts in brown skin
memories of elephants in a grove
long grass trampled flat
this is where we go
to escape the endless rain
to find silence in the spaces
between thought and action
voices numbed by hesitation
what was once a headlong rush
becomes a waiting contemplation
soft music behind pastoral scenes
designed to soothe and mollify
we lose our conscience here
cut the tether of dream & ambition
watch them float away
dust motes on the wind
all sense of self lost
in the emptiness of time
grasslands shiver under
black star-scattered skies
sleep will come at last
when all has been given away
but this one gift will keep
a while yet; breathe in and out
eyes open; we’ll suffer
one more dawn

– T.H. (Patchwork Journal, 05.24.11)

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