Several Poems
by Peyton

"I didn't include dates with the different poems, and in fact they aren't even chronologically arranged exactly. I s'pose I could, but I kind of like the jumble. They were written between 1986 and 2002. I hope people enjoy them."



warped and entangled in rat upon snarl

daily my intimations of personal greatness

propelled me willy nilly along swathes

I rarely was conscious of cleaving

My crocus eye never quite caught gear

as I trod prosperously into the mirage

of a glistening promise never quite prospected

I never thought to examine my pinnacle

as an unwavering plane, so simple

for some untrained eye to track

A-wallow within, the glorious quest's

geometry appears to have evaded me

So certain of my touch of magnificence

I never elaborated it - never shed light

upon the elegant needy crystal.

You might say I was a fool dancing upon twine,

so strictly to forego reality,

living only to envision. I knew

the dreams were figments!


yet my vision, hark, was faultless,

my coil unique, so direct.

Still I hear a voice call my name.

I am a grand highway, I am true.

Alive, I am new,



The Victors


it isn't a drama,

and never surreal.

the tense smiling dogs of war dream.

they long night and

day with every breath for

young girls, fecund women.

desperate to touch his own

unborn child, each feels

reduced to body

alone. they think, entranced

amidst the thunder and roar

which in each heartbeat

refines their souls,

of life, sight, reflect

upon light, or reclining

recall a parent's soft caress.

they imagine love, yawn or howl , and

yearn again for the newness of loss.

it is time that roars,


yet their

torn formless rat corpses will

putresce and become a

victors' sweet pride, the dance

and glad song of parades.



beneath the moon

my nostrils flare

the night smells like your body

coalesced, set dark and deep

an alloy steeps sleek alloy steeps

midnight's lingering tinctures

compose, with a guileless

line, your eyes, teal eyes

and sliding crow through blue thin mist

I savour almond darkness coiled,

dusk's blood braided through the bouquet

of your sleep, the desert's solitude

purpling sky the rich sand's red

prescient whispers swell in the

hissing waves at dawn

--my heart quickens!

swaddled in your dream's incense, it's

my voice I hear call, yes- I

declare aloud your martian name

I could be lost as I hear

a complex fiddle strain

confide no more than that I'm here

no stream to guide me nowhere

to hide what need not be concealed (that is,

what I do not own

yet suddenly hold so close)

low full moon

pale cypress billow

night smells like

your body

moon still reminds me of you, sometimes

for Cathy Keachie

you weren't ever one of the women I

wrote poems about. I gave you no promises.

never tried to get you into bed,

even with your face like summer.

Cathy you filled me with strength already.

I had no cause to doubt I was your

handsome prince. (you said so!) we shared time.

came a dance we swirled thrice about.

then just happened to be circling different loam

for the next pair of decades. a thousand other dreams.

nothing has changed all that much really since you died.

that's a hard one to reconcile, but life seems to eke it

through. one time, I think you'd remember this, I was tripping

on my own, white LSD, in your stone farmhouse. flat speechless.

hand in hand you and I gazed into the transcendent fireplace. hours,

it seemed. I told you when you asked it was the ocean I saw.

then laughed about how that sea had looked like your eyes.

(yet never asked, but now I do - what was your vision, in the flame?)

you know, Cath, moments still come, whole days, when I

shut my eyes I don't dare move. lest every motion shatter,

gravity spasm, and all light abandon my face.

no big deal. same old stuff, you know. (where have you gone?)

stirs me at the odd moment, though. all no different from before, I

know, but then we were too young to think anything of it.



1. Deep within my heartache,

dancing like a ghost,

is a strange little man

who is joyful.

Inside of this shattered spirit,

conjuring like an open eye,

the eternal image

of a heart which laughs.

2. Abiding in my grieving heart,

banshee howling a capella,

is a shining room

of vibrant peace.

Alone in the center of fearful love,

singing like a vagrant,

light swells and flows

quietly, sweet wonder


sweet wonder

A Tanka's Heart

I held two mirrors:

one reflecting blossoms, sky,

snow, goats. The other

bared my lone eyes surveying

silent nature in the first.

It's not required: the

miraculous rejected

at every turn.

we find it in the wasteland,

here, where paradise is sown.

halfway up the mountain

blind and cheerful with

his choices. tea from

a stone cup. a lone

column of rising

smoke to tell the tale.


moon-faced hermit by

the candle knows a

tao he never speaks

never tells, so I

may hope to find mine

Love's a fantasy,

living's work. Yet if you don't

work, the fantasy dies

my eyes

the clouds turn out to be steel leviathans forging the airways.

would have been more than enough, let us tell you, from

the beginning. el numero uno up front and side-wise, yes,

plenty to embrace from the proverbial get

-go. but then! then they rode the seas like samurai, rolling

strode the denim skies like sparkling sons

of a grey wind, enveloping whole mountain

ranges in coiled raging ecstasy. there was a harvesting.

cliffs wailed, stars muttered. quarks and rumors of quarks.

dogs and cats disguised themselves as parking meters, televisions,

jade toads, plaid scarves. no one's noticed yet. windows

the same as doors by then, statues like masks, and

somehow, again, the drifter did escape.

we always felt exhausted after consummating

these taxonomies; but knew we'd done our best,

we always did, and could expect mist-colored roses

at rest beside our porcelain plates, as reward,

seething and rustling in the candle-lit dawn. like it is.

my eyes read a book I cannot see. the

clouds turned out to be steel leviathans

Roxanne By The Sea

--I have heard the drowning men, she said.

They are so lucid at their sodden ends,

overwhelmed at the sudden clarity of vision

filtered through the fluent coiling sea.

--They do not bellow or caterwaul. They don't cry out

nor even, at their irrefutable last, choke and glug

like porpoises somehow gone tragically wrong. (No

anticipations in the dark of last-minute deliverance, you see.)

--They never thrash (or not for long). My dears, she says,

my dears, they sigh! Oh, can you believe it? she entreats.

That final transit of breath is no triumphant roar

nor ragged moan -- but a fervent gasp, then sigh

like a whisper, perplexed by the struggle passed,

(for now they no longer quite recollect life). It's true,

for I tell you I've heard them, I swear, those impoverished

sweet sinking men as they pray their drowning never ends.

The Poet, Again Finding Nothing, Somehow Glad

So the circle. In my youth

I too feared my inner poverty. How could I not?

But I grew, at least I changed. What else? I stumbled, faltered

through my days. Like lifting stones I unearthed a sublime

number of words useful for masking the barren-ness I'd concluded

I perceived in my soul's bottomless liquid labyrinths.

Searched out a surfeit of synonyms to disguise the ones

I worshiped most, who lit me like a small match:

Berryman, Borges, Eliot, Frost...

In the process almost always I ignored them somehow,

receding into a cloak of despair or ecstasy -- one

always nearby to belie the other. I slept witnessing dreams

as if they were my own, all the while suspecting they

were not. I was never quite sure when I woke.

(This may not be precisely true but was just so nonetheless.)

And so arrive here now replete with nothing but this I --

which surely prefigures the same absence I will carry, some bright

morning, into a grave whose nature I still cannot,

perhaps because I so seldom try, imagine.

Yet I am whole. How is this? -- my fear presently resolved,

somewhere within this foggy maze, into outrage and laughter,

rhapsodizing I am fulfilled and strong as though this were the

golden heart of summer, and I the soft shore

reflected in a sparkling stream.

Like I was born already knowing

all my questions need never have answers.




Should I ever die,

be sure I shall not

die of disbelief.

Not I who'll fade as

though I'm the only

one who'd ever been.

Nor shall I need regret

a turgid lifetime

nurturing some million

stinging rank regrets

passing through my coral

eyes like burning birds,

searing final Sight.

Devastating hope. Not I.

If I should ever

die, I pray: I see

your face, your face. Then,

hallelujah, friend,

suddenly nothing!

Nothing wasted. Nothing lost.