Sunday 27 February 2022

Five Poems by Padma J. Thornlyre


The Kiss 


I need to read more

books on a woman’s


body, leather-bound

or cloth, books with


gilded pages, aromas

(dust or new ink)


and real weight,

words I can taste


like menstruation

and semen swirling


together, like shell-

fish, like sea, words


that roar like surf,

break salt-spray, cry


like dolphins, words

that jellyfish-like rise


and fall as a mermaid

above me, wave-spun


of glittering scales,



pages slicing tongues,

drawing blood into


the tide, blood

into seaweed


with all her flashing

fingers, pages groaning


like old, wooden

fishing boats, pages


with hollows where

the wind can sing,


where a man can

vanish just long


enough to finally get

out of his own way.



New Mexico #1 


A northern New Mexico wind for the first

time in two weeks speaks less loudly than


sunlight and overnight, it seems, Raton’s


ravens have doubled their taut vocabulary,

hopping between branches in symmetrical


dances, jawboning. Patronizing the Pappas

Sweet Shop for the first time since moving

here from the cold, shady side of Colorado’s


Bear Creek Canyon, I sip a tall sarsaparilla

while awaiting the Hatch green chili burger


I ordered medium-rare, my back to the loud TV,


reading Anne Carson on God, E. Brontë, Sappho

and a warming Earth, waiting for Rome to fall.



Wagjaw #13 


It’s odd, walking

home from work

in the dusk, the


traffic behind me

on this narrow

canyon road:


I can’t see it coming.

Death will either

take me or respect me.


It’s a strange-looking

thing, this scrambled

bridge, mutilated


by last September’s

floods. A pickup

charges past, a sign


in its back window

declaring, simply,

“Donkey.” A bath


tub rises, a stuffed

lion’s padded feet

caught in barbed-


wire, daisies white,

daisies yellow.

Dead wings


dissolve on the gravel

shoulder. A well-lit

man lies content


on his rainbow

hammock, crossing

his ankles and gulping


a beer in fits and

starts. His golden

retriever stands stoic.



Ponderosa Pine


He buries her where she won’t be found, where the ubiquitous sponge of reddening pine needles carpets the porous, gritty, granitic soil. Aided by a windless calm, over the span of several days he meticulously arranges a grid of poetry, individual leaves pressed into the ground as seamlessly as the uneven contours of the forest floor allows. The nurse who wakes him to take his vitals and measure his blood sugar thought she heard him crying, but finds him snoring, instead.


WagJaw #15 


Cube is about knee-high,

a bluish crystal. Its ladder


reaches the clouds, unsecured,

yet stable: though it lists left


ward, made of some sort

of hardwood. Palomino


mare, unsaddled, rears

and races. Yucca blossoms


dot the afternoon. Indian

paintbrush, cactus flowers,


too, scatter in all directions.

Storm breaks violently,


but ladder and cube silence

themselves in a shaft of dim


light. The desert drinks greedily,

blossoms open before my very


eyes. I hear the rush of flash

floods from nearby canyons.

PADMA J. THORNLYRE - 62-year-old Padma Jared Thornlyre moved to Raton, NM from Bear Creek Canyon west of Denver four years ago. The most recent of his nine books were the four-volume Anxiety Quartet (2020-21), Mavka: a poem in 50 parts (2011) and Eating Totem: The Mossbeard Poems (2008). A member of the Fire Gigglers, poets and musicians who camp together every summer and sometimes perform together, too, Padma is also the Editor of Mad Blood, an "underground" literary/arts magazine about to be revived after a 15-year hiatus, and the primary book designer for the poetry co-op, Turkey Buzzard Press, about to publish its 34th title, Dancing at the Crossroads: The Final Poems of Michael Adams, which had for seven years been gathering dust on another editor's desk. Since 2011, Padma has labored on his first novel, Baubo's Beach, at a snail's pace: it's a narrative weaving together a lifetime's worth of remembered dreams. He says that spending so much waking time exploring his own unconscious, oft-dazzling and however fun, is emotionally and spiritually exhausting. Padma lives in a 900-square-foot double-wide with Sappho, Juliet and Kiki, his cats, where his personal library competes with art by his many talented friends for wall space. 


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