Patty Dickson Pieczka | Featured Poet | Issue XVII | June 2016

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Patty Dickson Pieczka | Featured Poet | June 2016, Issue XVII

Patty Dickson PieczkaPatty Dickson Pieczka’s second book, Painting the Egret’s Echo, won the Library of Poetry Book Award from The Bitter Oleander (2012). Other books are Lacing Through Time (Bellowing Ark Press, 2011) and a chapbook, Word Paintings (Snark, 2002). She won the Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest in the Best Sonnet category (2014), first prize in the 2012 Illinois Poetry Society contest as well as the Frances Locke Memorial Award (2010). She graduated in Creative Writing at SIU. Writing has appeared in many journals such as Bluestem, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Versedaily.org, and Willow Review. Her novel, Finding the Raven will be released in June by Ravenswood Publishing.

 

 

STREET-CORNER MAN WITH HARMONICA

 

He plays the sound of daylight

pouring through cracks in the night,

of rocks swallowed by water.

 

His hunger is etched

on a cardboard sign,

his days dirt-colored

 

and frayed at the edges.

But his tune skims

the split lips of the city,

 

opens life’s eyelids,

and for a brief moment

he feeds the multitudes

 

with his dance of fire and sun.

Years carve his face;

blessings live in his eyes.

 

 

 

 

HOLY WARS

 

Morning opens its bleeding hands

like a fan jeweled with rudraksha beads

hardened from Shiva’s tears.

 

Lotus talisman, eagle feather crown,

sacred amulet made of Buddha’s tooth.

 

Jagged stained glass cuts the air.

Incense fogs from a dropped thurible,

as blood of Christ seeps onto the floor.

 

Hum of bullets

fisting through the walls.

 

Men in floor-length thobes pray

toward the east near crumbling remnants

of their bombed-out mosque.

 

Throat of a rifle,

mouth in flames.

 

Hebrew verses bloom from ashes and smoke,

scorched yarmulke in the fallen temple.

Fire snakes its way to the woods.

 

HaShem, Brahma, Jehovah,

Allah, Ormazd, Ik Onkar

and Wakan Tanka

 

all blend into one.

Prayers flutter like silky white moths

to one singular source.

 

 

 

KILN-FIRED BOWL

 

It’s not the color that draws me in—

that deep heron-blue of sadness

perched on a wing;

 

it’s not even the promise

of sweet sustenance

at this table hewn from hardwood.

 

It’s the way reflections live inside

as moonlight melts into rivers

of sun and memories glaze

 

past dark smudges of time

to settle in that bowl

of palm-thatched summer.

 

 

L’ETOILE

—Edgar Degas

 

Swirls of sunset in linseed oil—

alizarin crimson, white titanium,

cadmium garnet bloom into a dancer,

 

her dress the roseate shade

of passion. Scent of gardenias,

of mineral solvent.

 

He paints the curve

of her small satin slipper,

dabs it with desire.

 

As daylight touches his brush,

her skin candles;

something within her stirs.

 

The pigments learn

to move on their own;

brushstrokes and scumbles

rest over wings

 

that wake from their sleep

at music’s first strain,

lift her into the air.

 

 

A POEM IN FLIGHT

 

As I read your words,

do you hear them spreading

over me in their soft language

of wind brushing over stone,

muted colors dusting

through the air?

 

Can you smell this peach

I’m eating, see my hand folded

around it, fingers winging

at the knuckle? A bird migrating—

hand in the leaves

reaching toward light.