Allison Grayhurst

Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Five times nominated for “Best of the Net”, 2015/2017/2018, she has over 1260 poems published in over 500 international journals. She has 21 published books of poetry, six collections and six chapbooks. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay; www.allisongrayhurst.com

Collaborating with Allison Grayhurst on the lyrics, Vancouver-based singer/songwriter/musician Diane Barbarash has transformed eight of Allison Grayhurst’s poems into songs, creating a full album entitled River – Songs from the poetry of Allison Grayhurst, released 2017.

Some of the places her work has appeared in include Parabola (Alone & Together print issue summer 2012); SUFI Journal (Featured Poet in Issue #95, Sacred Space);Elephant Journal; Literary Orphans; Blue Fifth Review; The American Aesthetic; The Brooklyn Voice; Five2One; Agave Magazine; JuxtaProse Literary Magazine, Drunk Monkeys; Now Then Manchester; South Florida Arts Journal; Gris-Gris; Buddhist Poetry Review; The Muse – An International Journal of Poetry, Storm Cellar, morphrog (sister publication of Frogmore Papers); New Binary Press Anthology; Straylight Literary Magazine (print); Chicago Record Magazine, The Milo Review; Foliate Oak Literary Magazine; The Antigonish Review; Dalhousie Review; The New Quarterly; Wascana Review; Poetry Nottingham International

Down Between

Down between
this between
the walls of dignity and duty.
 
Death tells me to sleep,
close the shades and curl up.
 
The future is a mountain,
madness with no clear line
of victory.
The future is a necklace
I broke but must somehow mend
and try to wear.
 
I refuse this burden
too blob-like, inhospitable to bear.
I refuse the harm of martyrdom,
the distorted secrets divulged in dreams.
 
Nail it to the wall, pour boiled water
on it and let it cook until it no longer bleeds.
End this relationship as it reduces your strength
to a failed conclusion.
 
Flood the garden, drain it
and plant chrysanthemums.

Cage of Many Pockets and Layers

Lead,
into the land of vermin,
infesting the once blooming shores,
past the emergency-alarm, into
living fires, boiling and sharp in
their arrogant countenance.
 
Alone on a humble rock, standing -
arms folded, then stretched wide and up.
I take the hand and am led to a land
that tests my dignity and my resolve.
Many voices I must lose, people to leave behind.
 
The ship is the hand
leading through levels of horror
until the gate opens
to the possibility for redemption.
 
Wings of demons block the sky - pilgrimage eternal,
shaking off pity for the futile swarm moving
like lips of a mouth moving that offers no sound or groan.
 
My mind is tied to heaven, committed to resurgence.
My heart breaks but it is still whole, leaving,
being led over the land of naught, where there is plenty
of self-righteous indignation, self-sorrowing gleam
and the shadows,
led through and over
flailing limbs, bodies multiplying –
a thickening mass, swirling, swirling…

Bookends

I have this day to carry
like a large stone or like
a child.
I can whisper my grievances
to the pockets of clouds
in an otherwise clear sky
or I can make pictures with them
in my mind, be seduced
by their wispy ever-changing boundaries,
divulging the shapes of creatures
I can’t even name, or branches
extending to the edge of the sun.
 
I can take these last days of freedom
and deliver them to the bitter hunter
before their time or I can hold myself
proper, mortal, clothed in only the day, sober,
bound by neither inevitability nor expectation.
 
The day has many appendages, tricks and snares.
It is a matter of riding clear, slightly raised
above the ground, able to glide
like in the dream I often have, above the bubble,
sometimes above the trees, moving natural,
past obstacles and footholds, just enjoying the breeze,
the ease of a steady self-directed pace,
and even stopping for meals,
leashed to necessity as I glide,
as I hold a rock, a rose
in either hand.

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