Reunion ©

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written January 6th, 2009

Listen here for my reading of “Reunion.”


“During this time be blind, and cut away all desire of knowing, for this
will hinder you more than it will help you.  It is enough that you feel moved .”

The Cloud of Unknowing

 After the storm has passed over, the whole
Saturated earth heaves, and the cold stars,
And the sinking, wounded moon, withdraw
Again behind rising, silken vapors.  Slow.
That is the experience.  A motion like a vagueness
That says: “Slow”.  We know that something
Momentous is underway, that the emergence
Of something ancient in ourselves,
Whose cravings, after four-billion years
Of evolution, are inexorably dissolving
The simulacra of a quantifiable identity
To reveal the rugged primitive of what we are.
Slow.  And yet, even in the midst of our fetish
For surfaces, these timeless mists remake
Nothingness into a vast being, a being
Alert to the ceremonies of this most potent darkness,
Which extends infinitely in all directions at once.
Slow.  Space.  Gone.  And yet here, just here,
In the slow, in the space, in the absolute stop,
At the extreme edge of disintegration,
Beyond the fears of the contemporaneous,
We meet our twin, the forever incomplete vagueness,
Who erases the last vestiges of our skin,
And makes us one with starlight and with night.

Vessel ©

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written March 26th, 2009

Listen here for my reading of “Vessel.”


The day has slid away like green letters
On a blue ground, or blue letters
On a green ground, or red ones
On a white one.  But the list of its
Constituents is written so tinily,
That the sound of our intense straining
To read it, cracks the necks, backs, hips,
And knees of those the sun has compressed
For too many seasons.
The reader finds the message illegible.
That’s how night happens,
The exhaustion that comes without
The respite of sleep, the mesmerized
Gawking at the twitching shadow striations
Invading the vulnerable house,
The furtive look out, up, and into
That thick mollusk flesh embedded
So luminously, so sharply,
With all those little, aimless shards of fret.
We are tired. Tired.
So the eyes become passive,
But the sky does not.
It fills with fluttering bits of stars,
The mollusk flesh dissolving into mists
Of the tiniest of dragonflies, each one with a tinier,
Forgiving, human face.  They hover, almost
Successfully, in one place, the mass
Drifting westward from a living east,
But so slowly, so silently, that they seem
Like those ragged saints who stop us
On the street, and move their cracked lips
Plaintively, but do not speak.
The body cries out for relief.
And now we hear a chitinous, crackling sound,
As the whole skeleton shudders, and collapses, down,
Down through the misted flesh, like shattered glass.
Now we are hollow.  Now we are still.
Now we are ready to be filled.

Camping Out ©

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written April 8th, 2010

Listen here for my reading of “Camping Out.”


This is the hour of night when the docile sky
Loses its urban mask, and starts to shine,
Looming again with its great gothic spires.
We see the enchanted cavern inside the mountain
Where the piper charmed the rodents and the children.
Our whiskers twitch and warn us that the stone,
As big as a big rat’s gut or a child’s heart,
Is at last about to fall.  We hear it
Thunk down in the soft, spring turf of the yard.
That’s when we see him, lying red-faced, and staring,
In the light thrown through the windows of the house,
The one who hobbled last into the crystal,
But did not taste the candy. We touch
The small nude body with the toe of our slipper,
To see if it will dissolve.  A fragrant vapor
Wafts from the remains, but they remain.
And we note that there is a wedge-shaped, golden spike,
In the midst of the chest, affixing our guest to earth.
With both hands we pull, we desperately pull,
And when we pull it out, we tumble hard.
We lay on our backs and gaze up at the stars.
How long, how long, we wonder, have we been here,
And what is this golden feeling in our chest,
That keeps us from waking up, and moving on?