W. Jude Aher

Years stand hard and forgotten; grass lies paved by dirt on a sky open field, a swallow holds to night by a city's sometimes eternal wind. To finish a bottle of wine chilled simply by a late fall's air. Care lacks feeling or feeling lacks care, to stare over the heads of memories toward the vague lights which forever lie owned to a city's distance. A chuckle, only inside and almost quiet passes on the lack of effect of the finished wine. Swings lie still in shadows whispering their lack of use in echoes that weigh more heavily than does the silence which rests thick on the edges of oneís fingertips. The moon appears seemingly full, but can feel that it is not quite. He rages against nothing, but owns though maybe with slight difficulty, into a distance chasing void, created by fences and long nights, by long shining lonely lights.

Something less than or more than a dream broke open here for him in an age still vaguely lingering on. Tears freeze before the ground has once fallen into this park's silent well, a sound even he barely hears. To remember for no one, though maybe for a lost poem long ago written for no one, in concrete and sand. Though only his fingers remember the hand. Commands for a woman he couldn't know. For flesh which woke up alone, finding its edge frozen in the wind. Doors open and doors close all the same. And names are the echo still of nowhere. A world had screamed for art and death, and only he seems to fully win or lose. A church lives its shadow over a nearby graveyard.

I see the sky, maybe not again but still. It is lengthy as black clouded mirror, open full. My neck aches and something from long inside screams. No sounds pass my skin though still I reach out and into this sky. As a woman sexless I meet my own high pitched gaze, or do I? I wonder as again I drift ignoring my maleness, maybe sexless to meet someone with more reason to try. All the screams of my frozen tears as all the trying fill of high-born years lie as chipped paint hard against paved dirt just beyond my side. And Tolobly, a white bear stuffed with many passing fears and dying fears, snuggles in my palm close to my chest. I stand maybe asking for a moment of rest, and maybe not. For I soar in full command still again, placing my hands through these eternal watching eyes grabbing my questions until they open back into me. A cape long and black echoes the wind from my shoulders, matching my every screaming command.

A sudden sound reminds me of where, as of the cold frame which accompanies a winter's blackened wind. I face the ground and the lack of prints my feet might make as I come to notice the break of voices. And with the care to achieve a quiet meeting of faces to wonder on the need of flesh in voice to somewhere find me, I fight the wind to draw the weight of my cape tight to me. I cross that field to walk the line of fence, and to lead myself out its still gates. I watch a group of people pass in as I walk out, and but reply to them with a nod. More than a child, her hair reminds me, and I walk on. Along my own shadow I walk the late night street lights.

She sleeps restless, until it seems that she is too tired to try anymore. She removes her blanket as she sits to the edge of her wood-framed bed. Her feet fall not quite to the floor. Still a child?, and yet growing how old. The taste of wine and his lips linger somewhat stale as her hands fall to her lap. Cold reaches her nakedness and she feels upon liquid found within her thighs. His hands were too big, and though she wanted him more, his face was but a lineless voice carving the ache of want into her breasts. She stumbles in the dark, crying quietly as her foot collides with wood.

She walks rigidly through the hard, carpeted hall trying to move soundlessly past her parents' and sisters' rooms. Something feels too soon. She has often wandered this house late into the night, and no one has ever awoken to her movement, yet still she fears her every sound. Still naked and very silently laughing at the fact, she makes her way as dim as the light into the bathroom, the door locking in a single click behind her. Water steams the air around her, as she strains into the mirror to look for marks which might remain from the past night. She notices the scratch upon her breast, but simply turns to tie up her hair, simply more red than blonde. She stares into the effect of its curving across her nakedness.

But she doesn't want to see him again the next day and the biting heat from the bath's water touches upon entering her. She leans back still to what she has forgotten. A reddish glow dances on the edge of the tub and vanishes as she asks out for its name. And she wonders whether its face is really faceless. She traces a form into the water and closes her eyes to dream of anything in particular.

Sleep doesn't come and I stare into my white-lined pentacle circled alone on my floor. The room sways close with room as I lean further away from the wall. Color turns to shadows with the advent of Black. Sleep waiting too far away. And so, in tired moves, I rise into a darkened robe waiting upon the floor. I turn to sit upon the pentacle and maybe dream? A poem builds in competition with the beginning reach into which I try to dream.

You Want to stop

the echoes -

as creases upon

faces - late some

Night Never Seen -

Sand Voices adrift among the Stars

afar upon the edged lips of

your fingers -

A dream;

Force plies against force and maybe somehow into. For the moment, I can't seem to lean anyway. What duality holds the single name of I? Tears and frozen years ply for my fingers and today.

In silver and Black dirt -

the head of a man,

and a Screaming Woman -

Dreaming for -

Soft Fingers in

grasp upon your

arm - Bodiless,

and just -

You lean not to turn around upon

a touch -

Such that,

And suddenly the right of my reach holds through to tie the poem into an equally sudden stillness. I cross through into what is nameless or is where. And I carry my soul to my own near of Death and dream. I am screamless and want but I don't know. I feel for the vision of a face as my fingers tire in themselves of shadows. I bend in water as sweat falls upon my brow. A poem for no one, and a thought on how easy it is to stop. My robe unseen blends scarlet into Black as shadows and night hold my body still. I cross onto and wake, tired.

It is a naked day as winter is born with the air. People huddle into themselves and their coats as they wander hard down concrete streets. Children in sharp voice cross upon my ear and I turn to watch them, never too young, tear through the flow of frozen age in motion. I tire less and laugh inside. Determined and with nowhere to go. But sewn with a sudden urge to meet water. Time breaks down as I turn down another street, down another direction.

She loves the strangeness of this park so large and yet so hidden within the concrete walls of an even larger city. Built for Alices in scream. Here she often finds the privacy to dance open to her dreams. Where frozen trees whisper only to she. She has no flesh but only form. A quiet Saturday afternoon can support the stage of a burning storm and still retain its quiet. Someone walks a path just ten feet away, and here alone she dances and is never seen. Does she ever wonder what she'll mean?

Quietly she grabs back her coat from the ground and returns to the path and the eternal passing of strangers as people.

Water and winter lean warmly upon my eyes. A lake contained by a city or a city retained by the unspoken of a lake. Greenless trees watch as I, trying only their bend to a frozen wind. I watch and end as the water tries not too hard to ignore me. She almost trips over me as she runs past and then stops too far on. Her hair suddenly falls too still. The water reflects stillness in gold and red as a single tune softened, and her eyes almost reach me as she turns to walk easily away. And I stay there feeling of what to write across the water's edge, autumn upon my fingers. Almost her face remains with my fingers as I still reign with the water alone, moments sewn and past. A smile and do I quite catch it. I watch my fingers for a moment and then walk for the water's edge to rocks.

The night begins and I still find myself following the course of rocks, but the sight of water has long gone. The city returns, but with the night it seems that my moments might stand somewhat more free. Or so easier are the illusions of my words. I walk toward the section called The Village, a fantasy world drawn in lines here through its people and music. A guitar breaks a string to my left on a corner of concrete. Someone sighs and I walk on. "But dreamin' was as easy as believin'."

It seems that I had passed these clubs a million times, and yet have never entered them. I wander toward the music, never quite wanting the noise. Somewhere I haven't quite noticed I stop. Music stirs through a doorway while I wonder where the sky has gone. I watch buildings cry silently into black. A street light shares the piece of sky I seem to find. I can't really mind, for these shadows own more than me to belong. Daydream believin'. And when you remember a silly song, maybe it is time to move on. But I collid with something before even my head leaves its search for sky. I hold her so as not to fall and then easily let her go. Her hair is shadowed in dark and blonde, and hides her face as it falls. She moves to turn away from me and then suddenly stops. Brushing her hair back, she just quiets and stares into or onto me. I smile almost but so, and move on, just to be held by her voice. But is it here, really here that we met? But she just smiles, and then I remember her from the park. She is still running for her smile.

I more follow her than she me. We crowd toward music and against people. The night is growing slowly. Somewhere while a tired musician completes his set and across empty wine glasses, I kiss her. And I come to leave that place holding her. She staggers occasionally, leaning all the more onto me. I can feel her pulse warm and young as she stumbles once against me. For a moment her breast holds strong through her blouse, firm as her nipple itches in my hand. She steadies as we wander longer into the night. Shadows mark us to concrete. And as she sobers a little, she talks more. Her youth shows through occasionally but her need holds her more, or so I feel below the edge of her voice.

Suddenly, it is past one in the morning, somewhat early I feel, though we are standing with night crowds on a subway platform.

She will meet me the following afternoon, though I don't remember asking. She is late and I leave her running onto a stopped train. I suddenly remember and pass my address to her. She remembers and shows me the paper I had already written it on. The doors shut and close out the name of my street. We pull on the metal walls of defeat. I turn away thinking of where to get a little smoke for the following day. My cape blows heavy and high as I meet wind out again on the streets. I remember that I still have a few joints left from last week in my unused coffee pot. I still can't place where I had obtained that coffee pot since I never drank the stuff. But so and I head toward my apartment. My pace is slow and easy with the wind.

She holds her shoes in her hand and sneaks slowly up the stairs toward her room. The wine is wearing down, and so she barely stumbles once. She holds her smile closed until she hears the click of her door behind her and, as quietly, listens against the wall of her parents' room. They are asleep. And though she feels silly since she is practically eighteen, she continues to listen for a few minutes more. And then falls back on her bed breathing easily.

Sleep doesn't come and she lies with her nakedness alive against her sheets. She wonders if she will sleep with him the following day. And as she feels through her own skin, she knows that she probably will. Merely another who will never reach her. There is something black and cold behind his eyes. He doesn't really push to touch her and at the same time he kisses too hard. And when she said good night he just shrugged and walked her to the train. She wonders whether he has ever climaxed. She thinks that it matters more to guys. She knows that he will try tomorrow, and smiles as she slowly fall into sleep.

I sit again in the circle of my white pentacle, trying to concentrate through the still effect of the wine. But I need somewhere to go or this weird play of mine will stand plotless. Sometimes it is more difficult to go out. I find her again in my mind, and so picture her taking form in black. A tunnel grows long and fine in the void. Her hair is a shadow and I move toward her. A streak of scarlet light seemes to pass across her eyes. I shake my head against the wine, still trying not to lose her. When I don't, I move closer toward her. She is a part of a somewhere not remembered sky until I fight to find her in the dark shadows of her bedroom. I try to fix her awake and sitting in the center of her floor, but all I find is sleep. I lie next to her and watch her nakedness breathe. Her hair is full and red upon her thighs and I bend to kiss her lightly there. That she will hear me through that kiss, I hold her from inside, speaking from an older poem softly,

Slow Time, Slow -

What don't You Know -

Evening falls late,

as Autumn in mid-Winter,

Frozen Streets

crystal in ice 'til

on the floor of weight

it Breaks -

Hearing myself hold her becomes strained, but still I whisper trying, my eyes closing more tightly ...

Water Simple down a mountain

echoing Nameless calls -

Falls Black the air

Quiet long after

Darkness -

Amber Burnt glass

fronts an image

Shadow Seen -

As I hold her closer, I feel her shake away from me, or is it the wine still, but Iím not listening. I am coming to remember this longer poem.

a tiny Scream -

While Someone

Dreams Behind Paper Walls -

Just, ...

I suddenly can't quite see her or remember and watch blackness take the form of my hands. They hold one another tightly, my nails almost breaking skin. I rise quickly and feel a rush of air pass through me. I usually smile at my own playing, so serious must the games be. Flicking on the light, I search behind doors for my coffee pot.

Long into the night she turn in her sleep, brushing her hair from her breasts, and clutches herself down into her pillow as again sleep.

I barely heard the bell ring from my sleep. I jump as I wake and stare immediately across the room to the bookshelf and the small black and gold alarm clock. It is late. I remember the joint and then pull on my robe as I rush to the door, still somewhere asleep. I buzz her in and wait in my open door. I watch her walk carefully up that dark gray hall. As I move back from the door for her to enter, she stares in dismay at my dress. I tell her that she has awaken me. I grab some pants to get dressed and at that she almost laughs. I watch her and then shake my head. Dropping my pants back, still sleepily, I move into the kitchen to make tea.

I return with two cups to find her sitting on my old purple velvet couch. Her dress falls from her breasts to her feet in a broken pattern of bright color. It crosses with her legs as nakedness with its easy form. Sitting next to her, I offer cup to her hands and her lap and then fall back against the couch.

I begin to wake up a little later. By then, she is playing with my stereo and looking through my records. Finding a half-used joint on a speaker near to the couch, I ask if she smokes. Her hair flies down her back as she turns to me. And we smoke on the floor near the music.

Saying nothing, I hold her easily and take her lips onto and then into mine. For a moment, she falls against me and then she falls away. I suddenly look at her and tell her not to worry, letting my hands fall away. Becoming suddenly serious, she speaks that she isn't worried. I almost catch her smile as she opens my robe and kisses me easily upon my chest.

I enter her and watch her eyes close. I kiss her and move slow to feel her. Long I turn within her, always looking for somewhere to be. And slowly I feel her come onto me and her want. There I reach myself into her for all I am to focus. And with more is the harder she yearns. Each time I rise to her, I can feel her fingers tighten. Time falls away and water suddenly bends. And as I come liquid to meet her, I know her to tense down to her soul, and then pull full onto me. Silence screams into we, and we slow together into tired sheets.

She shakes suddenly and she pushes me out of her with force. I can feel her body shake. Her eyes suddenly scream lost, to tear into as away from mine. I sit up maybe too quickly, but as if in shock still she stares. I rise from a spotted bed and then watch her stare fall there. I watch naked on the couch as she slowly, too slowly rises and begins to dress, keeping her eyes from me. Finally dressed, she turns to me and I think that she will speak. But she isnít looking at me, she is somewhere intent upon my nakedness. I reach out my hand to her to see her turn again, and into her coat. She is late and has to go. I smile to her but still she just stares, and so I shrug and say good-bye. To this she nods and quietly as she leaves.

Somewhere after she has left I hold in tight to my lungs the last of my smoke as I begin just another poem. Never just, as I drift into the reality of my only, of words and paper.


Black Day in But the

Winds which stay

across time, a Stillness

concrete Falls Soundless

a Scream echoes, what

and for more -

Nowhere to Stand

Earth is the charred View of my

eyes -

Useless tries -


Where are dreams -

in the seams of a Body -

Yearning to Run -

free of -

All the wheres who dare

to Demand closed


For the Sea to tear into me,

Blue -


is it But always

change -

Sand into Falling wind out

to Beyond Space -


Tired of Black Wood

Faces -

Running Nails through their

eyes -

in traces of all they never

are -

On Demanding lines

of Inversion Lies

and Tries - and Tries

All the empty tries

For Justice is

a call in the Wind -

From where I end;

to where I Begin

Do I remember her or forget her? So, another poem and I turn back to me.

Later, always later when her family is asleep, she sits cold on the floor leaning her head on the edge of the bathtub. Warm in steam she feels movement across her face. Sometimes day dreams later in night. Silk on the white skin of princesses. Silver horses who are carried by elves with wings. A music which sings in the wind. The play begins only harder this time. She lies warm in her tub, water pushing touch from her body. Castles build and she loves the night. Long behind closed eyes. Long into the night she drifts between her silent screams and this knighted dream. Empty-saddled turn before her as she tries even harder. And water turns clear upon her nakedness. And water turns from and blood, upon tears and closed eyes. And she just remembers seeing a razor fall in a bend of her dream. Metal chips in its fall hard to a stone cold castle floor. A Black knight laughs behind a thick wooden door. Tired, the princess sleeps.

I try late into the night, some night trying to picture her form. Never quite succeeding. Time watches concrete on the streets below. Echoes sew in my mind. Echoes sew in the void as I rise from my circle.