Orphanage of Imagination By Wolff Bowden
Sample Poem which won The Sarasota Reading Festival Grand Prize for Poetry:
Into The Day of Saturn
Happy Valentine’s Day. May your face appear in every parted locket and every disowned scallop shell. May the color blue behold your body while sun washes your shoulders near the window. May gorgeous creatures invest their lives to understand the borders you mark between flesh and mind. Happy Valentine’s while we still have a chance. While breath still moves her broom across the floorboards of belief. You belong to love as nests belong to trees, as snails belong to swirls, as musk belongs to the hunt, as phlebotomy belongs to vampires, as rings belong to promises, as corn belongs to crows, as trophies belong to illusions, as ponds belong to the thirst of ponies, as wheels belong to roads, as shadows belong to the ache of heat, as oars belong to wake, and as happiness belongs to the capricious pangs of the soul. Bliss to you on Valentine’s. Roam wide on Thor’s day until it becomes Friday, then sleep deeply into the day of Saturn. Fasten your cape to the sorrow of a mule. Give birth to your obstreperous intellect and become light as a child again. Write in apocryphal veracity. Roll your eyes at Orion. Shave your head until it pulses as smoothly as a human heart. Punch out the teeth of your fears. Throw your body of pine needles into the fires of fate. Because we have today and only today. Because we have Valentine’s and only Valentine’s. Because we are. Awake and come forward alone, to the place where you will meet a lover with mistletoe eyelashes, a lust as muscular as the demon who shovels coal in Hell, and eyes for only you; a lover who refuses to acknowledge the despair of the world; a lover as much at ease with actions as with words; a lover who laces fingers with you and walks until you both are suffused with constellations, orphanages of imagination, the sound of one river boring into blackness. Suffused with red light in homesick windows, the ghosts of brevity and butterflies, listless mandolins, cartographer’s wandering dreams, the exhausted oxen of discipline, and the scent of a thousand seasons surrendering to each other beneath the circus tent of time. Valentine’s of happiness: May your ambitions conquer without combat; may your apples spin upon their stems like dizzy globes; may your love come to you soon and never depart; may your crayons draw forever and your glue seal every wound; may your lunar and solar meet against a sea of sand; may your lips refuse the kiss unless your heart is home; may euphoria seduce your loneliness; may penguins sew all oceans into faith; may you light a billion candles with your mind; may ripe peaches fall like legends in your mouth. Happy Valentine’s. Go outside. Stay in Love. Oil your heart more thoroughly than an angel’s printing press; oil it with the milk of jasmine and the sweat of poppies. Use poems for rags because inspiration’s grease is pure and plentiful. When you talk in your sleep, tell your hopes you are on the way. Warm them with sound instead of light. They listen to you. Reassure them. They know why you cry sometimes and cannot sleep. They loiter like homeless kings outside these walls and wait for bravery to manifest.