Friday 18 November 2022

Three Poems by Damon Hubbs


Fog Deer, Southern Catskills


Along the broad, buckling meadow of the Beaverkill 

     the fog is wick and whale

and the white-tailed deer 

     are scattered in crepuscular council—

visible and invisible.  

     In the green toadstool light 

they have the imagination to fear 


but instead

     browse the sumac and dogwoods

as unconcerned as the stars 

      that sharpen themselves on the evening sky.  

The fog hangs like a hobby-lantern— 

     material and immaterial

a still-life or dead-standing thing. 


The deer are leopards

     with pelts blotted with rosettes 

as dark as the gleam in drugged pupils 

     and jaguars, tigers, panthers 

opening and closing 

     spear-hung mouths black as the caves 

of solitary mountains. 


Seen and unseen

     the bucktail deceiver swims 

and sweeps and ties the river

     in rainbows. 

And the fog deer 

     in the broad, buckling meadow

continue their transformation, unattended.




The toad is in the earth 

and the toadstone is ledged between his eyes

in a kist 

of fossilized teeth and jawbones


a cretaceous charm, buttoned perfect 

in form

with a stridulation of colour 

rubbed green to black  


a cairn to mark 

the threat of venom, 

an amulet 

for snake and spider bites. 


At the Toad Fair 

he swallows a child’s sore throat 

and sells it to the crow 

as a music box. 


But there is no antidote 

to the jealousy

that drily picks 

at his black blooming flesh.  


The toad is in the earth 

and in the heart of the stone 

glows the dream of the toad:

a princess tearing tibia from fibula


pes from crus, her mouth as red 

as the blood of the Wise Wife 

of Keith. The femur is a jewel 


snapped from the frog’s golden crown 

clattering against tongue and teeth,

and then her kiss disappears

like a starless river seeping back into the earth.





In my red cell 

I see the sun spill its pollen basket 

a smear of yellow across the treetops 


and know my executioner 

is soon to follow. So close


those excitable hands 

I can taste 

the dirt under the nails—

proof of the season’s reign of terror. 


I watch, spurt   

     spurt, spurt

as she falls from her blue tower

and her, 

     and her


and her  

from the sagittate thrown 

of a purple chamber— 

a trickled sigh lost amongst a rivulet 

in bedded soil. 


Discarded, one by one.

Pinched with formality 

like a knot garden hung by its own rope,

until our windowbox is a pine box 

carried on the shoulders of birds. 


But what if we were not spent, executioner? 

What if in our shrivelled blooms was the seed

of something uncertain, a humming towards meadows 

chimerical, stygian and self-luminous? 

Damon Hubbs is interested in mansard roofs, futurism, Hudson River School painting and vintage ceramic pie birds. His poetry has appeared in Book of Matches, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Synchronized Chaos, Don't Submit!, Bruiser, The Beatnik Cowboy, Horror Sleaze Trash and elsewhere. He has work forthcoming in Otoliths, Streetcake, Black Stone / White Stone and Roi Fainéant. Damon lives in New England. 


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