July 14, 2019

Ellen Rachlin: Poems of Survival

Ellen Rachlin: Poems of Survival
 Strategy  
 
Cannot be hit
 
…well maybe hit
 
but not marred
 
and if marred,
 
put that thought aside;
 
just stare at open, fast to strike
 
surfaces,
 
then look nowhere
 
but the eyes.
 
 
In spacetime,
 
there should be
 
no difference between
 
what opposing fighters
 
see and measure,
 
but here the arc
 
of a kick holds
 
mixed coordinates,
 
so it’s best to move
 
at all times because
 
moving is winning,
 
winning is moving;
 
punishment is
 
achieving victory.
 
Nearby there are always
 
judges, and rarely, a referee.
 
                                                                                   
Continuity  
 
Rage wore itself out
 
on no-name turf
 
between opposing hills,
 
in the end, claiming
 
Crown and name —
 
The Battle of Hastings.
 
 
Archers, cavalry boot high in mud,
 
penned in by allegiance,
 
forest, marsh, and fallen mates
 
honored here with shadows
 
painted in cinnabar.
 
 
Below, a screaming toddler and sniping couple
 
square off in separate corners
 
of the gallery.
 
On a wall near a nervous guard,
 
a light funnels gold.
 
Horseman with raised mace,
 
child with footage gained, and 
 
guard on anger’s edge
 
carry the burden unevolved
 
— our capacity for rage
 
 
in its greater grandeur dressed
 
as heraldry on tunic and uniform — outrage.
 
Maybe they regretted starting this,
 
but there’s no chance of walking away.

 
White
 
Snow covers the field,
 
moon a haloed light,
 
arcs of fine grass yield
 
to ripples of grayish white.
 
Behind matted drifts and
 
trees the city rises;
 
there’s no more give and take.
 
One’s blood adjusts to cold,
 
eyes warm to ice, 
 
and hunger tamed enough
 
to bear not giving up.
 
 
Once dreams survive as voles
 
do so fiercely underfoot in veins
 
of snow not far enough from owls
 
who claim heaven and
 
control all they circle below.
 
 
Shape Shifting  
 
Don’t think now about what to expect—
 
let hope iterate its fleeting list,
 
inspire the chirps, the chatter. Try to
 
nest where commerce intersects with
 
commerce. Review the rules: Imagine
 
your success, adhere to 80/20, ask for it,
 
view from the customer's view
 
who own and decide amongst
 
competing species with elitist names
 
flocked here after miles on airplanes,
 
perched in wait of an opening,
 
first call, first choice, tallest order.
 
Associate of none, retreat
 
to your post at hotel room desk:
 
flick on the TV, ring the service world
 
for salad no dressing, an extra neck roll.
 
Sing unapologetic complaints,
 
send housekeeping fluttering.
 
We dare to all of our lives.


The First Snowfall  
 
There winter was– beyond arms’ reach
 
and our ability to contain it.
 
The instinct to curl up and weep
 
for the loss of beloved Fall—
 
unconquerable,
 
as white covered end to end
 
the neighborhood.
 
And we look back
 
knowing it wasn’t long before
 
we plowed widely through
 
snow’s brief immunity from us.
 
But startled from sleep
 
and captured by snow, it isn’t
 
faith that comes first to show us out.
 

Ellen Rachlin is the author of Permeable Divide, Until Crazy Catches Me (Antrim House), as well as two chapbooks – Captive to Residue (Flarestack UK) and Waiting for Here (Finishing Line Press), and winner of the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Silver Award and a finalist in the New Women’s Voices series. Her poems have appeared in various journals and anthologies, including American Poetry Review, Granta, Literary Imagination, The Los Angeles Review, and The Eloquent Poem. She received her M.F.A. from Antioch. She serves as Treasurer of the Poetry Society of America and works in finance.

#living#poetry#war#winter
About theSusi Bocks
Susi Bocks has done the typical experiences life has to offer - a career, marriage, and birthing two amazing humans but now resides in the middle of Kansas, where she identifies as a writer and author. She has published two books - Feeling Human and Every Day I Pause. Poetry is her primary focus, but all her thoughts reside at IWriteHer.com, where she invites you to read her and get to know her.

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