Shawnte Orion · The Infernal Gaze

Gravesite Reservations

They are digging more graves
for people condemned by implied allegiances
and perceived associations

I ask no one to kill
or die
for me

I want everyone to be united
through division, dissolving all unions:
cultural, philosophical,
political and religious affiliations

I want to give everyone
their own shovel

Cactus Empire

I was an Emperor
at nine
peering down
with a condescension beyond my years
as gladiator ants
for their lives
against the reigning scorpion
in that coffee can coliseum

The Moment, Past

That was the moment

when the first drift of snow
settled on the unsuspecting city
cleansing the asphalt with a fleeting
layer of purity
bleaching streets and rooftops
into a blinding white

That was the moment

before the ceaseless traffic
of tires and exhaust
weathered the whitened cover of fallen
snowflakes into a blackened slush

Lying In Damp Grass, Staring Up Into The Rain

Midnight silence

Phantom whales

Swim slowly

Across the murky celestial sea
Devouring specks
of star plankton

The Astronaut (or Monk)

looks like silence
I am no one

drifting between worlds
and dimensions
breathing constellations

Eternity feels like yesterday
this is tomorrow
and the universe
looks like silence

The Archaeology of Stars and Texts

of a brilliant existence
shimmer light cast from a star
took lifetimes to cross the depths of night

We drive a few miles
outside of the city, where the sky
becomes clearer and the stars
shine brighter

But the distance of the dark
buried the speed of the light
reducing it to a luminous echo
an obsolete glimpse of

Leaves On A Lake

wind swirls above the divine configuration of leaves, gathering

on the surface of the quiet
lake, moonlight
highlighting each leaf

almost divine, this random configuration of fragile leaves will be

by the splash ripples
of the smallest stone

divine like a celestial configuration, one floating constellation of leaves

Diving Through Plankton

Translucent dazzle of color from shadow
paramecium swarms
with the menstrual swell of the tide

Traces of light diffracted into a dappled wake
microscopic organisms
undulating in radiant fluorescence

Delicate swirl of crystalline larvae
diaphanous pirouettes
larger fish to initiate the food chain

Objects Buried In The Sock Drawer

I will stop here.
Yes, here would be a nice place to write this.
Nice because I should be able to concentrate
with nothing to stare at, but the Atlantic Ocean
(and what appears to be a lobster boat, although
it is too far away to be certain). Nice because
this shore seems to embody everything that I love
about Deer Isle.

Surprisingly, I have never felt as insignificant
as when I am sitting in this sand, staring
at the Atlantic Ocean (and what appears to be a lobster boat),
even though here is a simple town, geographically removed
from the Maine mainland (unless, of course,
you had a lobster boat).
Here is even the friendly sort of town, where anyone
seems to know everyone else.
An empty sea-shell, that I found in the sand
seems to echo my humility
as I roll it between my fingers.

As intimidating as industrial cities tend to be,
there is still the comfort of knowing that everything is synthetic
and exists solely for my disposal (now a clam-digger
is walking toward me, along the shore), but a small island off
the coast of Maine consists primarily of nature. A nature that thrives and exists in spite of my existence (I don’t believe that he notices me sitting here). When I see the lobster-trappers
and the clam-diggers, I realize that they (I don’t know why
I insist upon using that pronoun, since I am obviously
one of them) are completely dependant upon this nature
for nearly every aspect of their lives, although they (there I go, again)
are quite extraneous to its existence (there is some kind
of commotion over there…he must have found one).

I am only a short walk from home, but I should be leaving soon
(he must realize that I am here…perhaps,
he is just ignoring me)
I will leave this shore behind,
but I will hold on to this empty sea-shell,
for the rest of my life.


Snow covers the windowsill and frosts the panes, obscuring the view of
the street where hapless drones march to and from thankless occupations

I sip hot tea
from an old chair
near the fireplace

Sleek automobiles line the freeway, burning gasoline that will pay
for a distant war that has predictably orphaned an unborn daughter

I close my eyes
so I can hear the faint music
echo from another room

Smoke rises lazily from glowing chimneys, swaying like charmed
serpents and darkening the haze that will dim my view of the night stars

I feel myself turn
and revolve with the other planets
around an oblivious sun

Garage Sale Purchase

Whoever posed so joylessly
- in their fade stained overalls
on the snow covered front porch
of some forgotten farmhouse
in the middle of somewhere’s winter-
has left her name behind, separated from it
by the spider cracked glass that is barely
held in place
by a rusted iron frame

The Infernal Gaze

I have stared into the mirror
until my face became completely
a stranger to myself

I have repeated words
until reducing them to mere noise
a ridiculous pastiche of sound
that should never mean anything
to anyone

and then my world died around me

Memories receded
into the vague meld of histories and myths
like the edge of the world
or the orbit of the sun

like whatever holds true today


No Alibi Press · Gravesite Reservations
Tryst · Cactus Empire
Explorations · Lying In Damp Grass, Staring Up Into The Rain
The Taj Mahal Review · The Astronaut (or monk)
Facets Magazine · Objects Buried In The Sock Drawer
Premiere Generation Ink · Garage Sale Purchase
Hinge · The Infernal Gaze
Red Booth Review · Observations From The Lipstick Counter

This collection is © Shawnte Orion 2003. All rights reserved.