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?

Communion ©

By Roy Dean Doughty

Written October 10th, 2008

Listen here for my reading of “Communion”


Yes.  Now, the night begins to shine with these luminous
Cathedrals, neither starlight, nor moonlight, but spaces
Bigger than God, housing such certainty, that we no longer
Even have to look outside to sink deeper into the enigma.
Yes.  That syllable, that immense sanctuary lit by the light
Of dreams, the light of the far away brought frighteningly near.
Yes. How could we think to sleep, when it is finally here:
The inexplicable edifice of Time.
This is not the place that we imagined it might be,
Muscled with exotic black jaguars, crowned by golden
Ziggurats, ripped out of our chests by the sanguine power of priests.
It is, instead, the ordinary made monstrous and moving
By the growing completion of a feeling, the emotion
X that dwarfs the God who made it, the fulfillment,
Tonight, in this planet of sleepless doom, of something
Set right, in the shade of suburban eves, in a giant stillness,
Which now comes feathered and hungry, a sharp-eyed raptor,
The black corvid of the last, great, possible moment,
Which swoops down and plucks the heart from its
Breathless bed, so that all of our longing disperses in a fury,
And a red blooms forth from the altar crying “Yes!”

Baptismal Voyage ©

By Roy Dean Doughty

Written September 25th, 2009

Listen here to my reading of “Baptismal Voyage”


Sometimes the body’s destiny begins to reveal
Itself: the pump of the heart, the elastic tributaries
Of the nerves, the imperative verbs, which spark
In the intricate brain — all turn together,
And point in one direction. The limbs ask:
Why did these gifts of sudden being and lack,
These interchanges of cellular ambrosia,
Awake this morning from a nightmare of dirty flooding
To find the blues and grays of the scrub jay
Swooping their lights through dawn’s green magnifications,
Its body of sky and water inside our own?
Lovers know the childish giddiness of touching,
The rhythms of the text that can make even ecstasy
Cut through the curing ceremonials of trust, when lip
Entrances lip, through speech, through kiss.
Oh how the despair finally tears us free,
With all of its roiling contradictory currents,
How all this breathing in one turbulent place
Makes harmonies of birds and woundable bodies,
Who in the midst of life are buried at sea.