June 17, 2019

Kyla Houbolt: A Natural Poetic Eye

Kyla Houbolt: A Natural Poetic Eye

What the Bears Do 

If this is a dream 
I will open the eyes 
of my eyes before 
life kills us all. 

I want to see 
what the bears do. 
I open the ears 
of my ears when 
there is a dear hum  
or sound of grinding  
that burns. The bears 

hear it too. The bears   
are not dancing. 
They may surround us 
with their large smell  
of hot fur or drop 
to the ground, lope off 
into woods 
we did not know 
were there until  
the bears claimed them. 

We have received 
from the bears 
something of fur 
of the woods of knowing 
in our blood but 
what about  
when blood 
is gone? 

What then? 

Then I will wait 
for the tiger  
sure to come. 
I am not prey. 
I will follow  
and not be mazed 
by that hungry  
chthonic gaze. 

It may be 
that any death 
should feed somebody, 
but in my family 
we burn our dead. 

Journey For a Monday 

Monday and suddenly 
I feel an intense longing 
for the desert. This has nothing 
to do with it being Monday 
except that now the week rolls  
out in dullest weather: warm,  
humid, with insipid breezes.

But in the desert all glows 
golden, dry and deadly. 
Step with care, 
breathe deep. This crisp 
air livens lungs 
full up with life’s exhaust. 
Here’s a heat that can 
burn out despair. 
Shade means more than comfort, 
maybe survival. What’s 
pretty comes with spines, fangs, 
and often, venom. Here 
if anything rots it’s 
a dry rot, and it’s time. 

Here, so much is clear. 

Soon there’ll be 
a flash flood down  
this arroyo. Hear 
the thunder crack? 
Downwind you can  
smell the lightning. 
Stand well back 
and quickly.  
Water means something 
here too, either death 
or life, nothing less. 

Mother, bring me 
some juniper, some 
red sand from the wash. 
Let me rub it on my skin 
so I know origin deeper 
than the telling  
and let me walk 
with those oldest silent 
tales the stars tell 
to the sun. 

when it changes 

the voices of dust have ruled our time 
our ears know nothing but desiccation 

so what is this susurration, this drumming, 
what are these fat splats? are those 
rivulets streaming past the door? I swear I hear 
the cows sing hymns 

oh glory  

swiftly now empty buckets are filled, 
the mail arrives, the purse fattens, 
the answer is yes, the fruit 
colors up with bees and hands 
are sticky with juice 

a miracle, for clear water to fall 
a miracle of mud of bowing limbs 
of leaking roofs and the open mouths 
of thirst startled dry of words 

silence hears only laughter 
unleashed in the sated fields  


one thing we’ve forgotten 
is how splendid it is for each 
to have a frog. your frog can sit 
in your bathtub, or you can make a 
small habitat for your frog with water 
rocks and bugs. inside or out your frog 
will sing to you though it may take a while 
for the frog to compose the appropriate arias 
meant for you and you alone. when it does though 
you will suddenly drop everything you are doing and 
listen to the most glorious hypnotic love song, a love song 
to the whole universe but to you as that universe, and without 
any words the frog will convey to you that you and you alone have 
a unique and precious role to play in the unfolding of all that is to happen 
next. as you listen to this magical singing you realize that you have known
what to do all along, that it is just exactly what you have always done and been
doing and all is well, and the frog has given you permission to be your own deity
and the wonder of it is how very good this feels even though nothing at all has changed 
except that, now, you have your frog. 

Kyla Houbolt (@luaz_poet) has only recently begun sending out work though she has been writing for years. You can find recent work in Issue #22 of Neologism Poetry Journal, and forthcoming in the summer issue of The Hellebore, and the premiere issue of Black Bough Poems. Kyla lives and writes in Wilmington, NC, USA. 

About theJack B. Rochester
  • Kyla Houbolt says:

    Thank you. Appreciate all the appreciation. I neglected to update my bio before these went live; I look and see some of Fictional Cafe’s emails have landed in my spam folder. Tcha! I have been in the throes of moving house to another town entirely, this last couple of months, and just barely beginning to get settled. I would love people to know that I can be followed on Twitter if you wish, @luaz_poet. Holli, I have your email address and will send you a note soon.

    • holi james says:

      Looking fwd to it, Kyla. Best of hanging in there with a move. We have to move in August and are packing already! In the same city though this time. Be in touch when you can!

    • Susi Bocks says:

      So glad you enjoyed Kyla’s poetry, Robert. Which were your favorites?

      • holi james says:

        KYLA KYLA, O! You have “opened the eyes of my eyes”. I gasped. Your language is dream wisdom earth-bound mystery.

        I’m really glad you offered other places you have been published. Like you I have written for a quarter of a century and very infrequently want to take time away from my imagination truth-blurts writing poems. Publishing is not my priority (that said, I’ve been gladly published here in the Cafe!)

        “It may be/that any death / should feed/somebody…” I hear that in your family you “burn your dead” How else could you lightly darkly move through these lines? I thought I was the only one who used “chthonic” in a poem (!) Love Love Love all you have had published here. Thank you.

        A journey with “spines fangs and often venom” “Mother, bring me some/juniper’… where are our mothers in these times” How you have traveled in earthen darkness searching for those who would understand and I understand. “Silence hears only laughter/unleashed…”
        Your book could be titled THE OLDEST SILENT TALES!

        “What are these fat splats?” I grew up in a swamp in Upstate NY and frogs became an important heartsong for me. Listen! Instead of so much publishing I write back and forth with a friend who is a fabulous surprising honesty poet. We comment on what is great about each other’s work and learn from that.

        I feel such an infinity for your poetry I would love to offer you this same kind of poet-connection. I know email is not published here.
        ADMINISTRATOR: Would you be able to send my email along? I’m also glad to publish it in another comment here.

        Hello Kyla Houbolt ! “you have your frog” and “you alone have your part to play in the unfolding” I hope to hear much more from you. I feel our paths aligned through Language.
        Best to you

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