Growing Wild Imagination
By Christy Bailes
Imagination grows wild over my life,
like the grape less vines I found, wrapping
red circles around wood branches, so tightly
pulled, I couldn’t cut through the tendrils
without the stem folding, as the
firewood pile, anchored so heavy to earth,
didn’t move, oblivious to my painstaking
attempt at severing vine from wood.
But vine felt more like vein, the more
I tried to cut, as if I were cutting every
idea I had into clippings, the lifeline
to my unusual brand of writing style.
What makes wood better than vine?
And I wondered if my words strangled
others in the same way the vine crept
over every log, every branch,
hiding perfectly good firewood from view.
So I tossed the hedge trimmers to the ground
and began pulling the vines with bare hands,
but they wouldn’t come, as if I were trying
to rake wet, knotted stems with my fingers
because my strength wouldn’t allow me to rip
good veins out of a deeply rooted ground
of imagination, growing so wild everywhere
I couldn’t stop what clearly wanted to spread.
The Jersey Shore
When I walked into Asbury Park Auditorium,
the heaviness washed over me like
the dead shipwrecked in a kaleidoscope,
twisting and turning into cubes so heavy
I couldn’t breathe. But one spirit wanted
to dance, spinning around, making every
hair stand from his icy breath. He did
the dance of death, strong enough to
punch through the ray of light and show
his crooked, pothole eyes and sailor bear,
tainting the sadness from his sunken ships
with his dark music and evil grin.
The old hunchback
has many elbows
and bones, so thickly
grained with age, I get chills
from the shadows it casts
when my car pours light onto
its meaty frame. It has a
fat arm that flexes almost
into Mill Road, bragging to
passersby about its wooden veins,
which run in so many directions
I fear one of them might scrape
against my roof and wake the roots
so deeply planted in darkness.