I have been writing poetry all of my life, but about 12 years ago, my consulting partner at the time said: “There are two kinds of writer. Those who concentrate on some genre, so they can sell commercially, and those who write as a spiritual exploration.” That was a lightning bolt moment, I knew at once that I belonged with the explorers.

A decade before I had begun a daily meditation practice, so that it seemed only natural that I should append to that practice the daily composition of a poem. I had read somewhere of a Buddhist monk who had vowed to carve 10,000 Buddhas, and I vowed to write 10,000 poems.

10,000 is a big number. To write 10,000 poems at one poem per day is a project that will take you more than 27 years.

Read the rest of my introduction here >>>

The War On Women II: The Knock at Midnight ©

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written April 10th, 2012

Listen here for my reading of “The War On Women II: The Knock at Midnight.”


Obsessively vigilant, the sky watchers,
Good sons of vigilant mothers,
Possessed a militaristic capacity
For disciplined effort.
And so, when the night’s darkness fell
On this spring dawn
As silvery veils of rain,
They read it as an evil premonition.
They could not help but see
These violations
As a dangerous woman in a sable bodice,
The moral density of a purple flower
Voluptuously tucked between her breasts.

They say, those men born into uniform,
That it is nature’s law
That even our most intimate relations
Express themselves as combat:
Repressors perpetually battling activators.
While the others, the soldiers’ apologists,
Those men born into academic tweed,
Explain: “This is the animus of the mother,
Who always eats the innocence of her children.”

Mrs. Flórez, her husband strangled,
Was snatched away at night
While her children screamed.
It is raining.
And in the morning,
No one has the bravado
To speak of such a trivial form of death.
Instead, the men in uniform or tweed,
Resort to euphemisms.
“The feminine body — the dark, the rain, the dawn —
“Is to be subjected to preventative detention,”
A measure, they claim, designed for her own protection.
But when night comes
With spring’s soft warmth and wet,
And the body’s house exudes its purple calm,
Their words are truncheons beating down the door.

Premonition ©

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written February 20th, 2009

Listen here for my reading of “Premonition.”


Because our houses stand on tremulous fill
Atop the dormant body of a swamp
Once forested by cypress and by fir,
Sometimes the resinous odors start to seep
Though our too-porous floors,
And waken us with the unsettling breath
Of thwarted ancientness.
Time is displaced, and we feel the loneliness
Of that forest taking us from our beds,
Like the gush of an early tide, our small
Skiff lifted by an inexorable force.

Our fate, on such nights, is both dreadful
And wonderful, as the skiff  floats, not only
On brackish serpents, their strong backs
Made muscular by the mysteries of the sea,
But also on our own bright brackish blood,
In the way that animal images flood our dreams.

Now we stagger through the dark house,
And stare out the window at a sky, where,
There and here, disturbing smears of clouds
Reflect the city’s red undying glare, where
Clearings, like plush cloth, sprout tears of stars,
Where listening is a feeling in the skin,
And skin is scent and sweat and exultation.

A voice from nowhere says: “I never sleep.”
And hearing that bruised, huge strength pulse through our feet,
We smell, with lizard fear, the word “begin”.

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.