Author Archives: samuelcodyford

If life be uncruel

as a rule he seemed old for his years
he was quiet
and unremarkable
but always living his share of the game
he remembered playing in the street
as a child
on the brim of the wide, dark valley
until nine o’clock
then he went to bed
mother sat sewing below
having such a great space in front  of the house
gave way to a grand feeling of night, of vastness,
and, of terror, which came from the shrieking of a tree
–the anguish of home discord.

nothing now remaining for him to do
when he had finished tinkering
and skimming the headlines
of the paper one last time
he noticed the myriad of dank
smelling newsprint petals
shaken, strewn leaflets about the bed
to the ground from the shed of stars;
and beyond through window
the red glare of the furnaces out beyond the moor
playing like hot breath on clouds

it was night,
but shone like day
he tried closing his eyelids
but the burning red light
passed through to his
dehiscent eyes
ready to burst open once again
like fruits, capsules, anthers
to discharge their leaky contents

tossed and turned on his bed for hours
unable to separate himself from relentless day
it irritated him so that it still peered in
into everything that was his
he got up, groggy
ash faced and swollen
ambled to the parlour
and returned with a bundle of old, abandoned letters
placed carelessly under a flower pot on the hearth
he went and sat down to read
in old moth-eaten arm chair
one such letter was lacey
and still lightly scented of jasmine
it was from Joanna
one her letters from the war
he immediately fell into a dreamlike state
remembering the first time he saw her
as if 50 years ago was yesterday
taking her finger from her mouth
with a little pop,
and looking up at him almost challenging
her soul was naked in her great dark eyes
there was a sort of yearning appeal upon her
he could have kissed her just then
in abstract purity
but he could not kiss her thus, yet
not anymore
the letter held firmly in his hand
seemed to leave no other way
he yearned for her still…
his wife

it gave him a momentary thrill to escape back
back to love
back to a virile time and place
when life mattered, he mattered
when there was only the two of them
oh such a love they had
it worked with such ease
yet with intense concentration
that seemed timeless, forever
he hoped, sitting there
that all his tensions with the current state of affairs
would pass out/drop out of the backdoor entrance
into the garden fountain
flushed away and forgotten.

Terribly deceiving,
the mind can be
it can bewilder and trick
he cursed it for bring her back
from where she is
she cannot come back
from where he is
the only hope is to join her soon
and he is well on his way
a smile broke on his chapped worn lips
the first in some years
as if the facial muscles screamed out
in pain after a decade of disuse
replaced by bony fragmented lines

in purple and green thistle paper
going through the letters one-by-one
mostly written by her hand
looking for the mauve-tinted passages
page after page
sip after sip of tea
for the words that would give him hope
and release from his current condition
yet at the same time would pile on more heaviness
longing to pass out
with the embers in faded light
candlelit wall turned blood red

he got up slowly
raked the embers in the fireplace
trudged back through the parlour
encountering once again the red
reduce yourself
reduce yourself
oh great teacher
the fact that you make him miserable
didn’t he tell you before?
before all your success
but perhaps he is ready
why did you not come prior to now?
why are you so late?
yet grinning to himself
that it wouldn’t be long
if life be an uncruel and natural thing.


the door opens
farm birds and pheasants
descend in pairs
wobble knock-kneed out for feed
scattered like refulgent stars
in random white swirls
around the green
still dark morning
undisturbed in the supple breeze

they seem to me
children laughing
laughing against knowledge
against thought
against brainy masturbations

shadows now grow wee
against the green
as sun rises
my window watches
the stars fade
and the day breaks
over cock song
and warm sunlight

my book starts over again
page after page, recommences
writes thru time
and thru silent monotony
sunlight now sews itself together
to form full morn
as my poem splits and splinters

in the mud pit pond
in the dark muck
left over from last night’s rains
arises a padma
a lotus blossom
attached to cloudy bottom
strong roots unseen
growing out of struggle
into the heart of all beings

white lotus
she is total purity
she is calm and grace
the soles of her feet
eyes in arches
pointed upward
searching for sky, heavens
symbolizing vigilance
ability to see all anguish of the world

union of wisdom and art-homage
to you, to me
this feminine principle
this perfect being
this flower
rising up out through
the muck and mire

born out of the tears
of compassion for all of us who
suffer and languish
in our tears,
poison tears tearing
on a screen watched
by others, inside-out
searching for some shape
beyond immagination

Tears, that form this puddle
from which springs my lotus
this feminine principle
pregnant with life
when we are replete w/death
no banter
no cancer that weeps and sucks on rusty ocean
when the flower opens
— she who gives
steps forth
in the in-between

my window sees all
now, opening
full to the shining sun
upturned arches
her petals sprial off
ethereal dust
she absorbs my pain
throws it into the beyonds
of space and time
and somehow
this visceral vision
calms me
as chickens cluck-cluck
in the morning green

I re-dream w/glistening eyelids
cleaning wine glasses
from last night’s binge
thumbbook of holy hints
as my eyes remain fixed
upon my lotus
taking grace from her
fragments and whispers
my struggle seems less
all peaches and cream
as my poem
my book
continues on 4ever.

Foreign Substances

chemical spill
chemical spill
toxic waste dumped
into nature’s veins
contaminating habitats
destroying its wonders
that connect us all

chemical spill
chemical spill
about to enter my body
prepare yourself well body,
prepare yourself well.

mind, heart, spirit
for a bomb is coming
the sacred direction, down
down it shall flow
this chemical spill
bringing body to fire
sacred instrument, fire

the long dangle of waste
pitted in unwilling waters
bringing it to red, red
this chemical spill
prepare yourself well cells
prepare yourself well
for I love you
and i am sorry

bringing down this tent of assertion
the enemy
that will invade you,
invade us
foreign, ugly, unnatural substance
this chemo.


Digesting Thorns

i was fifteen years old
brooding and proud of it
slim, lithe and ready to go
i went out to open the door
and the sun came in
the stars came in
but also and incipient darkness
i had yet to recognize

i lived among the spiders
dank and humid from the forest
the beatles knew me by name
they called me brother
and the bees of all shapes and colors

the years have passed on
in a fervent march
ins and outs
pacing like thoroughbreds
barking like crazed foxes

soiled years have passed
and with them a phantom menace
waxing, worn, inexhaustible, creeping
and so it seems
i fell in no uncertain terms
and haven’t stopped falling
into the same pair of shoes
this gray shape of rain
that the spiders tried to warm me about — even then

it hit me
it hit out
i was struck by
a lonely sickness
a rubbery mass strangles
my heart with rubbery claws
it murdered me where i fell
got up again
then struck down

i have nothing to add
i came to live in this world
to watch bees go from flower-to-flower
it is the way of things
i cannot explain it
i am digesting thorns.

Breathing Spaces

why go when there is no going?
just stop when there is stopping
be still,
still and empty and silent inside
if you can manage it
shut yourself up
stop and sit,
rest your weary self a moment
and listen to your breath
your heartbeat
watch your thoughts,
rise up like bubbles in a hot bath a float away
feel the sun’s warmth
and coolness breeze against your face
the leaves of grass below you
remove your shoes and feel the earth with your toes
be carnal
know where you are
here & now
stop a moment



yes, the dot that hits center
to unfold & explode
filled for way too long
with wrong fuels and foods
refusing to function anymore

rusting over
clotted with metallic layers
building death within
can robots sense death?

forgotten, unmaintained
in time’s impress
in immalleable skin
by those who constructed us
they know everything
and nothing, yet
though we die,
we cannot decompose like you carbon-based things
we remain inert
until the button is hit
and the self-destruct sequence commences

to those who grieve our passing
mourn only themselves and their failings
as their creation is condemned
far beyond its apogee
redundant, superfluous


but who cares
whose face is there
to lift us metallic beings
out of the dumb blank erase of time?
those eating their damned low-fat yogurt, granola
sipping on $4 coffee?
think again

we shall remain stuck here
in our distinct pain chains
until someone extends a courageous finger
and pushes the detonator.


Night fights like no other
brother against brother
mate against mate
chemical flesh looks back
through blood mouth
tongue folds over left hook
hit the deck, hard
white suits splashed with my blood
slammed out by chemical night.

night space
hiding space
hide me please
from chemical burn
give me a closet to cry in
fur and nylon and cotton veils
my muffled wailing
chemical pain, condensed
i plant it deep within

night faces
i see in a chemical dream
hacks at my throat
dead w/ song
papered over

arise, arise
touch my open chemical eyes
burning in nausea
and vomit
read me notes of your poems
leftover from dictations
of my chemical dreams
my bones are cold

night stings
like onions cooking in the pot
chemical bee sting
there i see myself
no brother or sister
i’m a stranger here
no mother/father
i’m orphaned here
i’m an exile
in the night
where i am most afraid
of chemical warfare
puttin’ up a fight

no father
no mother
no brother
no sister
shelter me from the chemical tears
searching to destroy me

let me stay with you a while
night is ending
this damned thing in my blood
a molecule
a malignant cell
chemical rash
stings out until it snaps.

dawn is coming soon
skimming over the lagoon
sings a crazed song
to tame my rage
and wash away
this chemical dream.