Woman on the Brink

a collection of poems by Lori Williams


To List Of Poems

Born Through Her Pen


Words have grown old inside her -
she wrote poetry once,
in the days before hope was sipped
from a goblet.

Her verse was as taut as her skin -
smooth, lush, rich.

Men flocked to watch the curve
of her jaw, as she read aloud
of love and passion.

The words were written for him -
a man born through her pen,
perfectly posed on expensive bond.
She knew he would come
before the muse called again.

She wrote thousands of poems;
waited, sipped. Her audience
and beauty wasted, all for him -
a man who existed, inside her.


Analysis of My Middle Age


Where is the smoothness one hopes for
in mid-life? With each stumble on jagged rock,
every tear in the skin leaving weeping scars
of wisdom, I think good, another lesson
learned, a new mountain successfully scaled.
Skin repairs and tears dry. I am enlightened!

Only to find more rocks, higher mountains,
sunrise hidden by the darkness of my discontent.
Where is peace, a gift owed by gods who set fire
to my dreams? I wade through the ashes
and rebuild, but am foresaken. Fool?

I've let the smoke clear, awaiting a glimpse
of a path strewn with flowers, scented with promise.
I search the sky each morning, anxious for the warmth
of the sun to make me beautiful again, for fear
makes ugly all it touches. Truth disappoints the
optimistic soul. Yet, I go on

as I must, for the heart is ever childlike,
beating patiently, faithfully, though torn
and healed and torn. It shall never
stop waiting for the sunrise,
and the well-deserved peace just beyond
the horizon - behind the jagged rocks
that always call my name. Fool.


Freddie's Bar Rag Blues


Freddie leans over the bar now and then,
contemplates circles; deep, ugly and rough,
embedded in wood by sad, angry men
holding elixirs that weren't enough

to redeem their souls 'fore closing hour,
another day gone with stains of past sin
tainting their present, acrid and sour
like lemons that float in last call, cheap gin.

He slowly wipes down the length of the bar,
rubs at the circles his patrons have made;
his rag cannot clean the regrets that mar
the wood, made by drunks who hope they will fade.

Freddie the barkeep, just rubs endlessly
the scars of old men, whose sins he can't see.


Old Puppy Serenade


My old puppy howled her dying song --
notes curled around the indent of me.
My dream changed from whispers
and fruit to black maws shrieking

through forests of blood and grief.
Slipped her in a pillowcase
scented by nightmare sweating
auburn hair, and carried her to church,

stealing holy water to baptize her free.
Sat in a pew and shredded the psalm
missal, until ready to leave my best friend
in a pile of cotton wrapped kindling.

Back home, I smelled her in the air,
burned incense, put her leash away
and found my indent in the sheets,
where I slept sadly upon her good-bye.



Copyright 2001


List of Poems

Born Through Her Pen

Analysis of My Middle Age

Freddie's Bar Rag Blues

Old Puppy Serenade