The wisteria is blooming again
drooping through the lattice
dripping sweet scent
bees darting blossom
to blossom. Honey bees
bumble bees, carpenter busy bees
with their buzzing ministrations
oblivious to my solitary concerns.

Bees clamber over blossom
and limb, apis mellifera
bearing pollen laden sacs
to the hive. The honey bearing bee
is too busy to notice me
watching from the comfort
of my deck chair.

How have I failed to notice
the vine hugging the lattice
like a snake coiled around its prey?
Pendulous purple blossoms
hang like dripping poison
ready to strike unlucky
prey venturing too close.

Fountain flows nearby:
a nude pubescent boy
holding a conch shell. He reminds
me of myself as a boy watching
other boys, afraid to linger a glance
too long for fear of discovery.

Secrets once lurked in the
shadows of my heart
long since shared in the
beds of male lovers

Am I that different from the wisteria
With its many blossoms?

© Julian Spalding 2014



I am your garden’s black swan,
a mirror of your hunger.

Caress my smooth, silky skin,
deep purple passion.

I hang pendulous, yield to your gentle tug.
I dream of your teeth in my soft white flesh.

Sink your teeth in me, savor me.
Devour me with lusty abandon.

©2013 Julian Spalding

The Visitor

The year before my family moved to a new city
I lay in bed, Japanese rice paper walls
reflected in mirrored doors.

Plastic model planes smelled of
fresh glue atop my dresser.
An adult visitor leaned
knocking them to the floor
crunching plastic, not noticing.. or caring
as he and Dad talked of things I
barely comprehended.

Stuffed feelings of not belonging
lingered in my throat,
my only medicine a book
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.

A plane motor whirred, horse neighed.
Can I find myself in 1956?

©2013 Julian Spalding



It is cinnamon on the tongue,
a flock of ravens cackling in a tree

the aroma of morning coffee,
blood coursing through my veins.

It is my lover’s touch against skin,
the scent of a rose

silky avocado sliding down my throat,
the ocean surf lapping my feet.

It is a hummingbird’s flutter of wings,
darting blossom to blossom

a hyacinth blooming in spring.
It is Mom’s life in a shadow box

ginger orange marmalade on morning toast.
Its door opening into my soul.

©2013 Julian Spalding


Ode to a typewriter

Southern Oregon Poetry Third Prize, April 2014

When you stop typing you smoke,
keys stuck together in inky clump.

Your keys clack, carriage ratchets, paper rustles,
cool metal cold to touch, resisting fingers.

Hemingway’s Old Man born of
cigarettes, metal and ribbon.

School papers clacked out in midnight madness.
Ginsberg howled in his flight of furious fingers.

Chthonic rumblings of silver QWERTY.
Newspapers, books owed to you.

Letters. Remember those?
Signed, sealed and delivered by hand.

Your footprint is in my brain.
World made by hand.

Stuffed in my closet
at night you sigh.

©2013 Julian Spalding



Your little lanterns light
my evening walk,

cascading mist of
glimmering moonlight.

Colors of vanilla and blood
whisper in the breeze.

Irish sheep splattered red and blue
bleat in green pastures.

You are their temple
of jasmine gardens.

Peat fires waft through your boughs,
a cloud hanging on the mountainside.

Your hedgerows line my path to
trilithons shielding graves of ancestors.

Tender, delicate flower of youth,
pendulous eardrops of swollen blossoms.

Languid, drooping flower, floral ballerina
dangling opulent purple trumpets.

On a soft Irish day you are a
soft touch to my heart.

Your colors shimmer
like fireworks in the sky.

©2013 Julian Spalding


A Poem for Sandy Hook

by August Schulenburg

After the upturned desks, the hiding in closets, the running and
The no time to run; after the lines of red-eyes and open mouths,
The microphones pressed in the faces of children but
Not all of them; after crying in the far office bathroom
For kids I’ll never know in a place I’ve never been, again;
After the petitions and tweets and posts
And speeches and hearts going out out out again,
After the never-again, again;

Again it will happen, in Damascus and Panjwai,
In Columbine and Oakland and other places
Named for trees and flowers; again the promises and laws
Will blossom and fall like trees and flowers, and the kids,
Like trees, like flowers, will be too beautiful to bear but
They will be, borne to places under ordinary grass.

After the grass and the stones on stones, after the name
Of the man with the gun is spoken for the last time,
After there are no words must come the words,
Because there are words and you know you know them,
I do, even if I don’t know how to say them.

They are the words welling up in my eyes as I
Picture the backpacks and crayons; words like cool rain
On scalded minds, words like rivers over dusty laws,
Words that shake my body when I hold you close,
And I am, right now, holding you close), words
We bury under ordinary grass, because we are busy
And afraid and polite and the jerk in the checkout line
And the asshole in the traffic and the inconvenience
Of all the what were we talking about again? and then,
Tomorrow, another after.

After another after,
I must say rain and river,
After never-again again,
I must sing of backpacks and crayons;
After there are no words,
We must make new ones,
Words fashioned from the sounds
Children make when
They collide in bright-eyes and bruised-knees
On playgrounds,
Words that don’t wait
To make the world
What we say it is
When we say
This is what the world is
To children.