Saturday, March 17, 2007




The hum of the electric heater
is the only sound tonight
drowning out the lapping waves
and the foghorns.

Soon we will hook up
the de-salinators
unless the fish are floating
belly up.

Then, there will be no point.
We have headed into dark waters.
Are they unmapped?

They are not on any grid
in any book I have ever read.
I am remembering America
like a great beacon
that lit up the world
with a cold, blue precision:

This is the territory
Here it is safe

Stay inside the circle
Stay inside the light
The light dimmed.
Maybe the light died.
Maybe the light
simply shifted its focus

the light was a lie.
Nearly everything is these days.

I am remembering America
like a big fuzzy blanket
like Christmas morning
like my first kiss
like the way he looked at me
when he slipped the ring on my finger
like the first cup of coffee
on a cold winter day.

But tonight
there is just the boat
the small whir of the heater
and the black
relentless sea.

Janet Phelan
copyright 2007


We meet at the cafe
after hours.
His hair is dark, tousled
his eyes bright with something
I cannot at this point define.
Not pain/not hope/not loss/not lust
Something imperative
and compelling.
Observe and remain vigilant.

The question on my mind
(and it is always the same question, now):
Does he have the virus?
Is he infected
with self-insistence,
so easily leveraged
to betrayal
Or is he yet uncolonized?
And if we meet again/
like this
if we continue to meet/
like this
will he remain

threats--bribes--implanted subliminal suggestions--
I have some peripheral
as to how they accomplish
their aims:
Picking them off
one at a time
A whole army of pod people
now strewn in my wake.

At this point in time
the exact mechanism
hardly matters.
The result is the same:

A person
becomes a pawn
Love morphs
to betrayal
A kiss
becomes a weapon
and another tiny piece of my heart

He sits across the table from me.
It is the blue hour
where shadows gain substance
and substance
becomes filament.
It is the hour of magic
and transformation
where everything that is possible
lies cocooned
and poised for flight.

I am looking into his eyes
fathoms deeper
than I have ever dared to swim.
A song forms in my throat
and dies on my lips.
This is my reality:
Bullets whiz around me
and I can no longer remember
any songs
my mother sang me to sleep.

This is my reality:
There are no more cafes
There are no more coffee-houses
No more chance meetings
blossoming into rendezvous.

This is the front line:
Deal with it.

Janet C. Phelan
copyright 2006