Other Poems by:

JB Stillwater


Salome's Wisdom

High on the mountain, she knew
As the wind blew south
Her life shifting,
as veils from Salome s Dance 
One by one she hailed
her nakedness, flesh fired as saffron
thrown cold in the morning sky
Twirling in wisdom- mist,
a truth revealed
Each time showing
more than she could change;
changing more than she could grasp
Her past, a wilted primrose 
falling to her feet,
tinting them blue.

Truth was not.

As she tumbled forth 
while he tried
to hold her steady;
for him, not her
And who would know 
but saving grace 
or the mountain birds
who carried her veils unto the peak
as she said farewell
to the silken threads she knew
A brief disguise. . .
For underneath the veils
Salome danced 

She was always there

Momma's Souvenir

Rickety old rocker still keeps the beat 
As it did forty years gone by 
When the boys brought it home 
from old route sixty-six, 
Yet a neon glow in the sky 
Old fry- bug- zappers cracked into the night 
We had nothing but the land 
And off on the highway, the old banjo picker 
Played desert songs with his band 
Down at Motel bar, the one on the left 
With lanterns of Christmas gone by 
We danced underneath them that New Year's Eve 
While the boys shot them out, we got high 
Belt souvenirs of the night, they said 
When we drowned in Tequila and lime 
A gift for you, Momma, to hang on your mirror 
To always remember this time 
When we danced till we fell 
And we laughed till we cried 
I took those old lights to be mine 
They hang on my dresser, would they still light
the night 
If I only just took the time? 
Rickety old rocker, a sent kiss from the past 
Creaks with the memories gone by 
When the boys brought it home from old route
When the neon lit up the sky 

Bella After Hours

Whispering down the night 
Streets empty, saved for crazies 
While she in her reverie 
from whiskey- laced coke 
sings for souls who are not there 
Dances for lovers on a distant star 
who flew home when she left the gig 
With nothing but her beating heart 
to play the way, a different drum 
Crust peeled from the main 
Silver flask filled with dreams 
. . .plucked from others minds 
Her own left town when she did 
Bella closes her eyes, awaits the sun 
to shine upon her soiled gown 
While she whispers down  

Two Candles

Tell me, was I not?
Her name you whispered
through my hair, perfumed
with candles by your bed
Wafting scents of jasmine
My funniest story-you laughed
yet touched anothers face
in the waning hours of desire
Bare shoulders hurt for carrying
the weight of your sorrow
Feet bleeding for walking in your boots
Mirrored reflections, not my face
but hers as it became mine
My lips singed with your passion-flame
yet your heart lies cold, only
two candles melting 
by your bed
Oh, was I not? 

Carry Me Past the Bones

Denial.moats of sand
Deep enough for me to hide
should the bullets come close
my head, I shall hide
for if I can not feel them
they are not there

I will not hear  your cries 
In your darkest night  
For there are no tears to be spared
I need them all
Loving only me

Paint in rose-colored hues, 
distorted prisms dripping
from a canvass, camouflage
I will not see blood of martyrs
Nor, will I mourn their souls 
given for their cause,  
~~~they sacrificed

Carry me past the bones
Life is for the living
I care not to know what I cannot see

My eyes do not deliver
That I may gaze beyond my self
A wizard, I am not, nor an aspiration !
Falling through this life, blind
Giving nothing - taking all
from brave saints who gave for me

Just carry me past the bones
That I may not see
The evils of war
Yet, reap the glory of a general 
In a world ravaged
For I care not to know, what I cannot see

Just, carry me past the bones

JB Stillwater
June, 2006

Not Nietzsche

For to be
I care not 
Other than what is
Defining my essence
striving for naught
but to live

sweet current, gilded
taking now 
defining what will be

Myself the primer

I cannot be
If not me

Neither before, nor to come
Breathing my trespasses
For they are mine

JB Stillwater 2006

River Glass

Tables lean left 
Cobblestones, unforgiving
at Cafe'Michelle~~
Le Pont Neuf, gently lit
reflects as river glass 
...on the Seine
Beaujolais tips the edge 
spilling red on white linen~~
...They are here
Each night, the same
Elicit kisses, embraces, secret
Perfume bold
mixed with passion' breath
Her leg slips over his 
Bare breasts catch each heart beat~~
He gently removes a leaf
from her tangled hair
They glance
Sweet intrusion, my soul lonely
As I raise my goblet
 In pregnant salute~~~~

Published in The Identity Theory
a magazine of literary excellence

JB Stillwater
March, 2006

Memories of Dinner on the Adige

Sumptuous dinner, late
Ingesting what I could recognize
French cognac, watered down. . .
One more chapter.

Sliding the case, golden 
Secretly inhaling its contents
of old tobacco, spice, long gone. . .
I miss it'

Ducks in the half-filled moat
slide down crevices, antique
in this city by the Adige

Castelvecchio, moss covered
beckons in the dank, river- night. . 
.Gathered treasures.

That last amber swig,
Fiery hidden vice, rendering
me vulnerable to the cobblestones 
that separate me from my hotel.

An autobus, rumbling past
Companions smoke and dust
drown out the edge 
of my last drink
"Lira` for my sick child, Signora?"
Aspirin in my pockets
Impatience on my breath
Forgotten gratuities, placed
into her hand, trembling

I long for the countryside.

JB Stillwater 2006

Uwanimi's Cloud

Prickly Pear leftovers guard
my stay in a Kiva, crumbling
Spirits of lesser Gods sketch pictures 
of a an errant cloud
in the hot-yellow sand
My feet tired, my soul a-fire
I am a host in this place
of red rock and juniper

Where light blue mountains
As maidens, camouflaged
kiss an open sky
Upon a distant horizon, they
point with remarks, rude, laughing
at my tender size in a forever land
Yet seduce me onward
Always begging for a spit of rain
a bit of wind to carry it further
than it will fall
Or  turn to nothing before reaching
The parched brown 
of the Rio Grande

An Eagle transgresses
I am but temporary
In my place in the wild
A mere speck
Upon a Gila's back
No banquet here!
As spirits of lesser gods
 sketch pictures 
In the hot-yellow sand
I await the coming moon

Jb Stillwater

November Evening in Albuquerque

Weathered sky, setting sun, 
stolen by God
Allows traces of gray- tangerine hues
clouds kiss a thirsty ground
As darkness arranges 
another musky night
In the valley 

Smoke filled -pinion laced
burning in kivas, intoxicating

Chile, red, green- roasting
in steel baskets, the last of the crop
Always the best!

Leaves, crispy, stubborn
'till the night wind 
gives wings to fly
through arroyos, empty
to the Rio Grande, ghost
half-million diamonds
Coming alive, twinkling
No horizon,...city and sky

Prayer- soft, senses alert
A freeze from the highlands			
Icing the ground

Whispers of winter
wet Juniper and Sage 
reach out impatiently
Long before white 
descends Old Watermelon High

JB Stillwater

Recollections of an Old Mind . . . West

I feel the desert sands
deep inside my heart
feeding that lonely wind
inside my hungry soul
Unlike the frozen, white
tropics ... beaches
where I now rest 
my limbs, weary
Southern, restless palms
cannot compare
to sage, wild grass
prickly thorns of discontent
as needles sharpened
by their lust for rain
My desert memory beckons
to another life
where pattering, wet sounds
against hot clay roofs
was a symphony
composed by God Himself
a jewel of a present!

Aren't those most cherished gifts
those which come to us, sparsely?
And, don't we always hold dearest
those things . . . 
which are no longer
a part of our lives?

There is no sweet concert here
for rain makes a daily visit

I ache for those castles, ancient
Mountainous rocks piled high
set on fire by that setting orb
Watermelon peaks a-glow
melt away as phantoms
in the dark, desert night
Call me to return
to that paradise
And, once again baptize it
with my tears of regret

The stars above
Get lost in light, fading
betwixt the dark and dawn
Offering but a memory
of those diamonds I once bought
while sleeping on . . . 
that Mesa high
paid for by the tender of my soul
The ones that shouted, "Look at me
for we will herald a turquoise sky!"
I rest and memorize
those ghosts of long ago
who call me for that sweet baptism
with the tears of my regret

Bosque Ablaze

Its breath is fowl
as a dragon's lair
It rushes forward
taking no care . . .
Like a furnace stoked
with treasures of oak
That ol' "Widow Maker"
Crazed wildfire mare

The Bosque burns
as we all watch
Skies blood red . . .
One last dry swatch
It jumps the Rio
And, travels on
burning the Cottons
The Pinions are gone

The habitat lost,
Ecology changed
Ashes yet hot
One question remains
We ask deep inside,
"What can we all do?"
One answer is clear
"We'll plant anew!"

Taj Mahal Review, Dec 2004

Watermelon High

The sun sets wide
over the mesa
Generous on most evenings
Glow casting
Watermelon, pink
Color named
under sun drenched sky
That great Sandia,
that mountain, high

Sweet Chameleon
she changes, challenging 
to take a guess at
what is in her soul
The Ancient Ones knew
as they listened well
to her silent rumbling
Exploring every inch
of that great
Watermelon, High

Rising. . . desert
She gazes down on all
Benevolent, fixation
of her sage and wilde-grass
protecting her rugged,
rocky mantel, steep
Extending an invite
to know her beauty, bare

A trail stranger passes
Skin parched, brown
legs, strong
Boots thick with dust
Takes a long drink
from the raw-hide 
at his side
Stopping once, he shakes his head
"Do you ever tire of her. . .
Yonder Watermelon, high?"

An Ode to the Prairie Dog

Where are you now
my black tailed friends?
I have searched so long
You are gone . . .
Will you not return?
A ghost town, now
mounds of sand
Barren, except
for alfalfa food
from those few who care
Lonely holes
I can not bear
to know
what lies beneath
your towns, a grave?
where now you sleep
I will miss you
and welcome you back
If I dare
Or should I say,
If you dare!

The Offering

I thought it would last forever
My soul humming the Cicada song
I felt it so softly, slipping away
Shadows longer than yesterday
Monsoon gone, save for a few
 . . .sweet mountain showers
 . . .to keep the ground new
How can you leave me,
my sweet summer love?
Pray, what will inspire my heart?
For this exchange, your offering
the turn of a leaf, dripping in gold
falling on others, rust and red
Roasted Chile and Sweet Salsa Pie
Sunflowers kissing a turquoise sky
Feather Down, and crisp, cool nights
a cocktail, perfect
for a night filled . . . 
with new season dreams
Beckons my soul, announcing with joy
~~~"Here's your new lover.
~~~~Here is your muse!

C)opyright 2002-2005 Janet K. Brennan and JB
Stillwater, Inc - All Rights Reserved

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