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vers libre

a selection of poems from  love in ascii
by Jane Gallion

crazy janes latest incarnation
butterfly dreams
low impact love
ex libris
killer blooms
the real reason
thats a switch
warming trend
love at first sight
semper lie
if only
moment of truth
dormant season
confidence man
          moon in fire
hands on love
love past 30
winter love
true believer
mushroom man
rain ceremony

crazy janes latest incarnation

thats the very bush i crept beneath to die
i shook those mouldering bones
o i wagged
that crumbling arc inscribing last years leaves
when i was patted
o i danced
scattering wild jacks ashes
      over there the bishop
      sleeps much higher
      clothed decently in marble
      & somewhere up there i suppose

& thats that
are you satisfied
you expected perpetual care maybe
now lets get the hell out of here
ive got work to do

butterfly dreams

all the way to mexico
along the pacific flyway
trees in their ancient sleep tremble
when the monarch flies south
redreaming that infinitesimal wild weight
trunk recalling the familiar
contact delicate as lashes
      touches just here
      there &
      there . . .
      leaves scattering
      branches crashing

& afterward
marked with the scent no storm erases
no wind dispels

low impact love

a loves b
who enjoys a meaningful
platonic relationship with c & d
who would really like to get closer
in a spiritual way to e
who has been advised by the
ascended master ram tha
thru his channeler f
to form a more tantric sort of bond
with g as soon as he recovers
from divorcing h
who is now sharing an apartment
with i & j and ks exhusband
who was longing to bed l
until she came out of the closet
      spring twilight at the waterhole
      you lying in wait listening
      for the whisper of my coming
      the killing leap
      & afterward
      the rough tongued love of the predator
      licking my blood from your paws


how could you let this happen
you werent supposed to surface
pudgy grey & earnest wearing
      1] brown shoes
      2] briefcase
      3] wife

go back to sleep
old winged serpent
lie down
o how could you let this happen
      now o have to admit you
flapped & stumbled
that soaring was beyond you
that you once had teeth

ex libris

because of you
id never read rimbaud
fearing to find myself with a toxic dose
of that same smoky frenzy

because of you
ive become rimbaud
burning alive in egypt
in hot pursuit of the poets prize
equal parts love & suicide

killer blooms

whatever gave you the idea
that flowers were merely pretty
      angiosperm invaders
      conqueror blooms
      flowers taking over the world
      sporangia delenda est

cover your back
set guards
killer blooms are coming
theyll have your life
      whatever made you think
that flowers were merely pretty
ill bet you think
love is pretty too

the real reason

i believe i chose you
just because you will never love me
because of the oilslick gleam the hall light
throws on your black leather back
because of the doppler effect
i believe i chose you for the music
your wounds make
fastened chiming to a bare rib
for your noble departures
when you smell blood
for the grace of your renunciations
i chose you for your tenderness
when you kiss your horse
& lope off briskly
into the sunset

i chose you because i feel safe with you
because you will never love me

thats a switch

seeing you again
after so long an absence
i understand why i always
felt like a tall tape player
      you turned me on
      left me perpetually running
      ignored my music
      & while you were out of town
      my batteries
      ran down

warming trend

i prepare myself to love you
like a seasoned gardener
back to the march wind
ignoring sudden gusts
shivering now & then
turning the thawed earth
with a rusty spade
      if it were the mindful quarter
      id be within walls
      if i were mindful
      id be there now
      making lists
      keeping score

but the senses move me
thoughtless as a spring peeper
in this emptiness
not yet pregnant with green
i cultivate
ready myself
loosen the integrity of my soil
to receive the seed


one more time
scrying the darkness
one more time
eyeless in darkness
invoking the serpent of sight
i make up
my mind like a bed
smoothe & tuck
straighten the pillows
one more time
scrying the darkness within
invoking the coiled serpent
invoking the winged serpent
i am etherborn
drawn to you
like a falcon to the empty spaces


the longer its been since
we made flawless love
under a ripening moon
that last summer
the more your image grows towards perfection
      o those blue eyes
      in the hot shadow of maple leaves

recreant time is refining
redefining you
      o come back to me
in the maple leaves blue shadow
before the worst happens
& you become a god

love at first sight

when meeting
ordinary people exchange facts
hang out data
like laundry on a clothesline
rusty & propped with forked sticks

Where I Went to School
How Many Times I've Been Married
What Lovers
Left Which Wounds
      i have always known you
      the hollow of your shoulder
      was no stranger to my cheek
      my body no chance aquaintance to your arms
      those inevitable blue depths
      your eyes
      what every winged thing knows
      tiptoe & terrified
      on the nests edge

semper lie

i will cling
no more tightly to you
than a twig
to a momentary curving claw
than a stem to a leaf
in incandescent autumn
than a heart clings to blood
      rest assured

that i will cling
no more tightly to you
than north clings
to moss growing
on the darker side of a tree

if only

o i wish id met you
before i marked so many items
off my list of
Sins to Commit Today
flashing that soulcatcher smile of yours
among the apple boughs
i wish wed met
in the teeth of the angel
at the gardens north edge
so fine a transgression
id have to work up to
contrition enough
to beg forgiveness

moment of truth

im leaving
absolutely leaving
packing my things
& hitting the road
ive had enough
& its none of your business
why im crying in the bathroom
thinking what its going to be like
when youre not around
to leave the toilet seat up

dormant season

that whole days pass by now
without a pang
that summer green passes
into trees lining autumn streets
like lovers half undressed
shy before each other with bare arms lifted
feet half hidden
in shed leaves meaningless now
as clothes on bedroom floor in moonlight
      that nights are long enough for sleeping
      days short enough for smiling
      deceives me with delusions
      that i've survived & so transcended
      all the tender crucifixions
      of spring


its true ive changed
i cant deny it
i have enother name hidden
in the heart of the old
not a new ne
but different
you sense it
the scream of the butterfly
before deep sleep
my wings are so new
crushed & still damp
if the juices filling them bring
such pain that i cry out
help me
      no one ever told me what it was like
      to endure this metamorphosis
      i was just
      expecting to fly


changing the sheets
you slept on
in my arms
makes me feel like a killer
the imprint of your body
with a laundry bag

confidence man

there's something disturbingly wrong
about this sense of
utter contentment
that wakes me before dawn
cruel as a clock
      while i slept
      my arms curved to your body
      you stole them all away
      my guilt-edged securities


what did you think youd find here
when you came hobbling
home from the wars old hero
duty faith & love
a cofferful of virtues

youve been gone a long time
old warrior
treading on the heels of glory

what did you expect to find
when you came hobbling home
theres nothing here for you
old hero
you took it with you
when you left

moon in fire

ramming around
looking for action
no time for poems or peace
i am dry as august tinder
brittle as twigs
sweat salty
heat lightning
summer lightning
i capture your reflection
on my bedroom ceiling
hold your image in store windows
pile like a sacrificial pyre
my stripped bones for the blaze

what impassable
impossible mountains
pitilessly divide us
what heights stand between
the bolts of your power
& my willingness to be burned

hands on love

your armchair man
commonly considers too much
to make a really
fine lover
thumbing thru catalogs
with his feet propped
& phoning up the florist
      i am genesis
      a garden enclosed
      only sincere husbandmen need apply
      must have own tools
      be accustomed to hard work
      & not mind serpents

your armchair man wont do
prudently negotiates
pre ecstacy agreements
& besides
hes always on a diet
having spent
too much time making sure
hes gotten his just desserts

love past 30

come off
the greasy kid stuff
at this stage love should be art
not combat
dont rattle my doorknob with
adolescent snorts
drop in casually
light as leftover leaves
when the new sap runs returning
love me
not exactly from a distance but
in a rarer atmosphere
exchanging love like electrons
covalent bond
      any fool can sweat
      any fool can weep


meaning to migrate
to more congenial soil
than a crack
in an l a sidewalk
traveling purposefully
but no more conscious than
a weedseed clinging
to some hippies pantsleg
flower child
in search of somewhere to blossom
snowed on
hoed up
mowed down
& still
greening for another spring
      this buds for you

winter love

love in winter
like a spark to dry tinder igniting
that bonedeep interior heat
      kindling crackling
      icicles lengthening
      eaves dripping
      blankets on the floor

come on snow dancer
come on winter lover
rip the decorous silence
kick off the blankets

      you remember how


i will go viking
from cove to inlet
to harbor
plunder the towns
where small people sleep
dreaming small dreams
i will feed my rowers with
jolts of speed
with cruel disregard
of their servants needs
i will never tell
the truth
about my violent profession
that i love only the moving sea
that i go viking only for
an excuse
to launch my ship
into the sea again

true believer

im sure its just a coincidence
but sometimes
being committed to the revolution
is like
being committed to an institution
while stoutly certifying myself
a freak (dont call me hippie-straightie)


"Jane, you're crazy!"

o fuck
they know

mushroom man

ive been known to go
whole weeks at a stretch
without once thinking about you
once i tilled up
2 full seasons of my fallow love
sowed it with
hollow eyed college boys
pale professors going to
bitter seed
a short row of rednecks ripening
juicy under summer sun
& 1 tall tragic perennial hippie
to keep pests of
companionate planting

ive been known sometimes
to have my mind on other things
but downcellar
after stocking up the harvest
your insidious tender caps
lurk in sunless corners
& when i sweep them out the door
claim all the careful rows
for your indestructable
wild spawn

rain ceremony

come on

      jingle jingle rattle

come on
summer storm
wind thunder come on
      jingle rattle stomp

i have painted my cheeks with petals
my breasts with drops of silver
in a dry riverbed on stones
i lie naked
tracing in hot dust with the eagle feather
old signs of magic

come on lightning

      crash jingle rattle

come on rain


come on
come on

and this one, for my father -


when i was 4 years old
you found me in the back yard pretending
to read the tornoff edge of an envelope
lips moving as my eyes moved
side to side of the paper
& taught me to read the backs
of cornflakes boxes
in belongias general store

when i was 5 you transformed
the dusty driveway into the mudpuddle of my dreams
& washed me off before mamma got home
you showed me blue butterflies
between the branches of the tarweed
proof that the sky was falling

when i was 6 you were blinded
building a house for a rich fat christian
who said he couldnt be held liable
then you went far away to be taught how to
tap the sidewalk with a white cane
& decode echoes
how to read invisible bumps
fingers moving over the paper
light as blue butterflies
how to marry the dark

when i was 7 mamma divorced you
& married a drunk from missouri
then i went far away to be taught
how to submit when it was my turn to be blinded
how to pray for echoes
giving myself to rich fat men in the darkness

i have come back to you from
the merciless sunlight
i have come back to dance with muddy feet
red ochre defining like blood
the outline of my hands on the cave wall
1 for each death
i have conjured out of the depths
fantastic beasts by magic
i have breathed the sacred smoke
conducted ceremonies according to the moon
read the future in the entrails of victims
i have eaten beasts
i have eaten man
i have eaten god

i have passed thru the smoke
i have danced the transformations

i am here
i have come back to the caves & the silence
i have come back a shaman
to the blind darkness under altamira
i have come to work a brutal magic
i have come here muddy blind & naked
to be taught how best to kill
how to write on stone with the hearts of rich fat men
who murder sight & cannot be held liable
who manufacture pain & will not be called to account
leaving behind
bloody handprints
1 for each death

in the blind darkness under altamira
i will be the true sight of your murdered eyes
teach me to read what i have written on stone
teach me
i promise i will not be silenced
i will be the mighty singer of victims
i will be the dream catcher
keeper of the holy images
dancer in the smoke under altamira
reflector of light that cannot be broken
give me your eyes
teach me to see
& i will be the vision
that cannot be killed

- Jane Gallion  [4004 BC]

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revised 7 December 2007
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