2 Poems in North Gates Magazine

Valery Oisteanu

Rent My Shadow

Once I had a liquid shaw, kept it in a jar
But I know it hid in a black box at night
And in the morning stained my curtains bloody
An imprisoned shadow stinking of fossil and fear

The closet was full of sweating specters
I had to choose one as my constant companion
Which landed me in trouble with my ancestors
Others I rented out to my followers

The shadow had its own shadow traveling through air
Sometimes emerging from my tombstone-imagination
A cardboard shadow darkened by the full moon
Escaping and climbing over the rooftops

A stalker at dusk, smoking a pipe, smelling of agony
It never resembled me, so I chased it away
It just looked like a fern, like cold seawater algae
That broke through windows passing on the street

It held hands with strangers in the alleys
It moaned frequently, ambushed trembling visitors
It danced on top of the doorways of abandoned buildings
The wicked thing had the colors and shapes of gloom

Finally, it disappeared in a wreckage of bodies, beneath a cloth
And when I slowly opened the jar,
Invisible ink spilled onto the bottom of my shoes
Right foot, left foot, skimming the ground Rising into a sky of tattered silhouettes.

Collage: Enough is Enough

Woodstock Rain

It’s still August, and my poems are broken in half
Shattered stanzas, wrecked words, broken beats
Random sounds of crashing branches and squirrels’ nuts
Trees tumbling into the creek, the dark waters
Flowing trembling into the tributary
The dispirited birds are barely singing
It’s about to rain, boringly, without hope
Calm before the summer shower
Dead leaves already dropping
Not enough to cover my notebook
Jolted from my thoughts by a turkey-buzzard
Rain again, stretching over days and nights
With hypnotic melodies of the forest
That drives everyone crazy
Eyelids are beginning to rust
Wet inside out, outside in
The slow drowning of flowers
The quietude of summer’s end echoes
This composition has no coda
The worn-out forest weeps
Surviving trunks hold onto each other
A struggle among forgotten cycles
Only the mountains are still walking
Triumphant toward the horizon

—The Gates of North Magazine, 4-5-6, 2021

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