Stephen Mead: Two Poems


Isles of Silence

At first I thought it was only the house,
rooms in a vacuum & people the same,
the people having mouths any statue would envy.
Yet all the conversations withheld burned
from their eyes & every street streamed
with something near to humming,
but not humming yet.

I thought:
I am speaking the wrong language.
I thought:
these signs I give are wrong.

Yet my riddles became plainer & my voice clear as glass.
Yet my paintings became circles & all of melting edges,
& all very transparent.

I entered cove after cove only the colors said: stay.
Then the whole town turned to water & there was no shortage
of veils, & I, like Lot’s wife, could not avert my gaze from the scene.

Even in leaving the silence sticks, a scream I can’t touch,
to pack & make a home for, that scream of the inaccessible
I keep trying to find a word to describe
because the breadth penetrates still.


Modern Odyssey

Angels have pain.
Their own Homeric epics are gleaned
from singed wings. Mortal failings recall motion,
longings, untold hegiras.

Such pilgrimages search
for passion if not love,
for thrills if not fulfillment,
for those dazzling moments of appeasement
if not total peace of mind.

Baby, though they’re good,
angels have hunger—–
Travelling, travelling,
Sisters of Salvation, Brothers
of Mercy, their Nike ankles rove.

Listen, it’s like mercury
shattered: the correspondence of magnets.
How they try to re-piece the lost shards glimpsed in anyone
else. How sorry they end up, and with a martyr’s gag.

Desperation agitates silence.
Internalization condemns,
then transcends bitter
rage, defining the sacred.

Later it’s just a story.


Copyright ©2024, by Stephen Mead. All Rights Reserved.

Stephen Mead is a retired Civil Servant, having worked two decades for three state agencies. Before that his more personally fulfilling career was fifteen years in healthcare. Throughout all these day jobs he was able to find time for writing poetry/essays, and creating art. Occasionally he even got paid for this work. Currently he is resident artist/curator for The Chroma Museum, artistic renderings of LGBTQI historical figures, organizations and allies predominantly before Stonewall, The Chrome Museum.

Stephen Mead: Two Poems
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