Poetry: Stephen Mead

Stephen Mead is an Outsider multi-media artist and writer. Since the 1990s he’s been grateful to many editors for publishing his work in print zines and eventually online. He is also grateful to have managed to keep various day jobs for the Health Insurance. Currently he is resident artist/curator for The Chroma Museum, artistic renderings of LGBTQI historical figures, organizations and allies predominantly before Stonewall, https://thestephenmeadchromamuseum.weebly.com/


Factory

From joints there are hinges trying to adhere still
and oily creaks leaking.
Fingers are busy trying to fix the explored intensity.
Shove more ore in.  Delirium feeds on the instants,
here & there, clear:

Bathing the baby, white-tipped water swabs about
pudgy hands growing thin, then calloused between
the piston and crank-----

I remember fog on a lake, a glass-topped ferry,
its propelling wheel thick with froth
and such ripples of film.

I remember tired Captain's eyes on the current,
its seams, that stream-lined cathedral
powered by spirit, pure human exhaust.
***



Knock, Knock

Almost there,
the czar's dark tyranny is being eaten away
with sorrel, ailanthus, those candle holders
hoisting tendons up even in the face
of a demolition ball.

For us there's sort of the same thing:
Knock, knock, much change penetrating these outskirts
but for our one colonial residence refusing to sell out.

Instead, refuge retained is some plaque on cracked plaster,
(Home Sweet Home), and this interior is a transplant
waiting to see if acceptance comes.  The only difference is,
with old secreted stock of blood, cells, ligaments-----
our life was here first, no breaking of the family
but a breed knitted from components originally diverse.

What's that you're saying
I can't hear you for this wind or taste
            (no, it's the creaking of cranes)
your water's wine
            (the decline and rise of)
my own lips in
            (beam-like tribes all)
a pact
            (opening and closing)
are sealed and preserved with this utterance:

             "Oh."
***



Sleepless Nights             
(for J.D.)

There's always the turnpikes.
Diving is therapy.  Dream
billboards loom.

The destination is unimportant.
It's the steering which counts.

Trucks rumble, the dynamic rigs
whizzing electric; next, an approaching dam
mothering sound...

Movement is sodium pentothal.
It needles in, summons the sleepless.

Roads line their faces.
The exit ramp doesn't beckon.
Oh hitchers, we're calling you. 
***



Skin Diving Knowledge

The wind's in your limbs, the reaching of trees,
evocative and agile.

Clouds drift.  Air collides.
Is it that I am selected for,
an entrance to movement?

The bottom's fallen out.
I only recover depth:
gentleness, touch, whatever life ladles.

Once, upon water, I heard the silence of light.
The shimmers tingled, shivering bare legs.

Little pinpricks of ecstasy surfaced on the pool.

Now, cast below, that sound is mirrored.
Lips, instinctive, commune to the guidance.
They migrate with their own sense,
feel, breathe.

Though its roots are potent fuels
love's flames are subtle, their tongues beating
to complete circuits as if we could make each other over
by arranging whispers and drinking sunlight.

Growth is a lesson.
When we merge nothing is spent.
We flow out of ourselves like clothes on a clothesline.

That's how your flesh is, a clean breeze-fed silk.
I dive in, quiver concentric and ebb to the brim.

Meanwhile, a tree's cortex, whirling learns time.
That vessel carries what it reaches.

This much I know:
skin, wind and water are all much the same.
***



How the Haunted are Born

Strands twitch, stick to air.
Time correlates, crosses past.
Embrace and transcend the lance between.
Why does it have the dimensions of dial tone?

Receive then.  Hook in.
Is there a pattern to static?
Heartbeats transmit distance.
Fuse.  Resonate.
Have we bypassed each other?

The abundance is thick.
Test depths.  Chart levels.
Am I not a tangible alternating current
suddenly strumming direct?

Look at the screen.  Interpret that graph.
Sounds surround.  X ray light.
A photo in silhouette is developing its profile.
Name the purpose.  Instill identity.

Being human, sighs open, a transmutation.
Approach closer.

Does space give stars meaning?
Should a shell need an echo?

The ghost world waits. 
We haunted, part curtains, break through.

These are the chromosomes carried over to shape essence.
This line is an umbilical.  Sever it, suspend pain.

Why do I feel a sudden song in my throat?

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