Voyage ©

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written April 3rd, 2010

Listen here for my reading of “Voyage.”


In the silent interval between two storms,
A somber ship cuts the weight of rippleless waters.
See where the wake divides, and a trough of calm
Quietly foams between the here and gone.
Now we succumb to night and become the pulse
Of a slow and primitive slumber of affection.
In the cavernous room with the crystal chandeliers,
Whose constellations glitter in the stillness,
Taste how the dark adagio swells the air,
And fills the lungs with the antidote to sorrow.
When the colorless ship slides through the lolling ocean.
Feel how we glide once more through the heavy splendor,
Our veins dilating in the exhalate.
Hear how the song elongates through the night,
As the vast ship slips below the smooth, black waves.

Nocturnal Undoing ©

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written October 7th, 2007

Listen here for my reading of “Nocturnal Undoing.”


Although the enfeebled stars and the waning moon
Are scarcely visible, they still possess,
Through the intercessions of enumerable
Tiny threads, the potency to pull us from our sleep.
Now they have set us to wandering in a realm,
Which we suddenly realize is characterized
By something much more than simple lack.
The threads are actually attached to places
Buried deep inside the body, places unreachable
From the exterior, and hence, beyond the balm
Of any comfort.  We wake.  And the night, an agency
Of reparation, enlivens its hold on us, so that the Un-
Forces — unconscious, unreachable, unlit —
Bring us under the influence of those enfeebled stars
And that waning moon, where we may grieve, at last,
In a complete darkness, exterior and interior,
For the uninhabited husks of the undead.
How many times have we passed through the dirt
And darkness having surrendered our bodies
To these lost ones?  We die.  We live.  We sleep.
We are awake.  And the many forms, which shuffle
Through our bones show by these threads that tug us
Towards the future that birth and being were never
Ours to own. . .

Cellar Door ©

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written August 12th, 2009

Listen here for my reading of “Cellar Door.”


Every year the old root cellar drifted farther
From the house, and the number of steps
Down into that abandoned hole
Seemed to multiply, so that what was once
Familiar as a place to store milk and eggs,
Only an easy step from mother’s kitchen,
Was now an enigma to be shunned.
And yet that weathered door
Incongruously lodged in its grassy mound
Held an inexorable appeal.  Also,
The experience of stepping from noon
To midnight without any mediating
Gradations crashed polar opposites
Together in that darkness in a way
That was thrillingly alluring.
The place ate children, hands on long
Tentacles darting out like swallows
At dusk to pull them in and down.
Down.  Once in, that was the sole
Direction one could move.  Down.
Out, of course, was no longer even
A concept.  And how the lost one
Changed in that descent!  where black
Stars, like locusts, swarm into the body’s
Defenseless cavities, their fluxes and floes
Captaining that strange, amorphous integrity
So typical of childhood’s exuberant explorations.
So that even now, as you look around, your eyes
Only two probes that bob on flexing wires,
You cannot say how you got here,
Or who you are, and when those small,
Blue-skinned people come out of their cloud
To collect you as their food, you will
No longer even have arms to fend them off,
Or a mouth to cry to no one: “I am gone.”