18 April 2014

My Parents' Guest Room

Visiting means deep sleep surrounded by
canvasses and books, leaves and trees, music
and embroidery, piggy banks and used
Christmas and Chanukah cards—nothing is
wasted in the art of recycling, not
even old clothes turned into crazy-quilt
and hooked-rug materials.

Visiting means deep sleep in home-made dreams
prompted by newness once old but never
unwanted, delicate paintings on dried
used teabags gifted by a friend, photos
used as bookmarks, sketches and etchings from
high school art classes and trolley car rides,
brushes and paint and tape, too.

Visiting means getting tired from talking
and walking memory lanes and new paths,
hearing less and less while speaking louder
and louder during show-and-tell and look-
it-up and wait-until-you-see-what I
have been working on in the guest bedroom--
just make yourself at home.

Posted for Ella's Poem a Day: Creative Walls at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.

Copyright © 2014  S.L.Chast


self portrait

I drew myself with pale and hollow cheeks
but they filled out once I paid attention.

The awkward posture, too, changed as soon as
it noticed me watching and thinking hard.

My skeleton started to do its job
as if it didn’t like being ignored.

Making a self-portrait enlivened and
rejuvenated every part involved.

Amazed, I determined to draw myself
once a year for as long as I shall live.

I put a ring on my finger, golden
symbol of my promise to be mindful.

The portrait applauded and drew me, too
as if it mirrored what inside I knew.

Posted for MeetingTheBar: Self Portraits at dVerse Poets Pub. 

Copyright © 2014  S.L.Chast

17 April 2014


I don’t miss him much
Her either
He the partner
She the cat
She lived
     longer than he
I am unlovable
Or they would live
Here and now by me
And we would never
Rub each other
     the wrong way.
They rarely visit
Touch my cheek
Breathe near my ear
Enjoy the smells
In my kitchen
     and clothes.

Written for NaPoWriMo's Day Sixteen.

Copyright © 2014  S.L.Chast

16 April 2014


"The Lion's Cage" is a scene from Chaplin's early film The Circus finished in 1928. Chaplin re-released it in 1967 with his own musical score  For more see Filming the Circustext by David Robinson, Copyright 2004 MK2 SA, The Circus at Wikipedia, and Slant's "Film Review of The Circus" by CHRISTIAN BLAUVELT (JULY 11, 2010).

Melodramatic music engages
our emotions on whirling Ferris wheels
geared to lock us into the ups and downs
of physical actors in celluloid
playgrounds where their characters react to
What.  Just.  Hap. Penned.  Here.

In "The Lion's Cage" I escape peril
only to tip. toe. a.round. a. sleep.ing
beast, each plucky strategy failing with a 
shriek of musical wind, until the brass
speak for the lion's waking, curious
but not threatened or threatening until!

O!  You foolish Tramp! Your pride runs before
roars—and then angelic charm underscores.

Posted for 

Kerry Says - Let's Go to the (Silent) Movies

at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads.

Copyright © 2014  S.L.Chast

15 April 2014

Not Tame

Panther, Dodo
Phyllis Galembo, Panther, Dodo Masquerade, Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, 2009

Listen. The Masquerader has the panther standing tall on 4 legs to stare at photographer Phyllis Galembo and now me:  White head and ruff tilt, knees and feet, shoulders and wrists all white against black body suit with touches of yellow and blue.  Each element shakes free in shreds clean and sweet as cheerleader’s pompoms.

That’s all I can tell you.  The world is not mine and the words that describe the figure are not in my tongue.  Google doesn’t know them either.  I punch them in and the search engine circles back to photographer Phyllis Galembo.  Who found the masque and the masquerader.  She didn’t make them up.

That’s all I can tell you.  My head bangs on the walls and ceiling of what little information is available.  My throat constricts as if to scream HELP!  and the masquerader notices this, I am sure his eyes widen, his eyes cut slits in a white hood, hair pushed back.  He does not move.

That’s all I can tell you.  I feel him daring me to say more, daring me to manipulate his parts as I might do with pieces of European lore.  I prefer to feel my smallness against his silence which looms like waves on an Ocean shore.  Whether children’s game or sacred rite, he is mystery to me.

I can tell you that I admire mystery more as I age, that my life is too short to solve everything, that I am awed and wistful simultaneously at what I can not tame. 

Posted for  Anthony's Poetics – The Photography of Phyllis Galembo at dVerse Poets Pub.
Copyright © 2014  S.L.Chast

The Hermit's Song

File:Robert Smirke - The Seven Ages of Man- The Lover, 'As You Like It,' II, vii - Google Art Project.jpg
Robert Smirke - The Seven Ages of Man- The Lover, 'As You Like It,' II, vii

She swings kindly from joy to sorrow
Feels bad this day then good tomorrow
At times the change is by the hour
In rhythm: cower, flower, power.

She was walking along the seashore
When who passed by but the troubadour
Singing O Susannah won’t you come with me
And be my girl ‘til I leave once more?

She smiled shyly while thinking wildly
That she liked music put it mildly
Why go to school when handsome flirted?
She gave him her hand, said Marry me.

While wedding plans united the town
Beauty and Handsome traveled around
Serenaded markets, ate outside
Indulged their passion when lying down

Long story short, at the wedding feast
She mentioned a baby to the priest
Handsome leapt up and galloped away
Singing I see light shining in the East.

Her pregnancy was a false alarm
But she was too stunned to seek his charm
She gave up singing, went back to school
and humbly said He did me no harm.

She walks alone along the seashore
Thinking of when she loved the troubadour
Who sang O Susannah won’t you come with me
And be my girl ‘til I leave once more?

Her years swing between sun and shower
Only romance can make her cower
She teaches children, helps them flower
enjoys witnessing nature’s power.

Posted for  Kay's challenge for April 15 NaPoWriMo at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.

Copyright © 2014  S.L.Chast