With Swiftness

Make swift work of this!
I don't remember why I'm here-
Sucking air like fire,
Each lung a furnace, each its own.

I have carried this here myself.
The flint and steel -
The wood, with starved flesh and bone -
I laboured to set it all aright.

Here ( my here), Darling ,
Add to the scuplture! 
Concealing sparks and fragments,
I breathe and set the stack aflame.


Within a week dust fell
Upon the shoulders of
A timepiece.
An enormous shell.
An empty show box.

My well-worn rag is green
And pushed against fine things – 
And table legs.
Hallway rails.
Vacant chair arms.

In the hallway -step-step
Then skip my hearts beat.
Ragged door.
Behind its wall
No voice of reason.

Within these weeks dust fell
Upon each mountain object.
Wipe the clock.
Turn and place
My fingers round the doorknob.

The old rag fallen carelessly, sleeps.
Beat Beat -this life pumps –
The door cracked – 
My life’s unreason
Stands waiting.


I speak it to the sky
(face up, eyes blinded)
Water swallows my hearing.
I rest, unborn.

Say, say, worn blue heaven,
Born this morning,
Lend me your mercy
And your days company.

Love has come. And flown.
Chased stars and closed my eyes.
(now this water casket)
On waves of refuge.

I say it to the winds!
My breath carries onward.
Lend me Your secrets… then
Release this heavy skin weight.

Here’s my Head

Here is October.
Are you glad to see me?
Have you waited 
In hope I’d be alive again?
But I have diminished.

Did you wait long
For me to come around
For dim evenings
And ricocheted sound bites?
But I have changed.

Here is my head
White faced
And calloused shut.
As if the world could do damage
To the wind.

It is not I – 
But a one trick pony
That lays its eyes on the population.
Necessary – maybe –
To survive these seasons.

October… then. 
Then, here is my voice
A meek offering
As if one could change the decision
Of God.


It is clearer.
A pair of cruddy working shoes
By a metal door-
I am heavy - Off comes the day!
Costume. Name plate. 
Used up words and unused love.
This old basket holds it well.

See my dear friends!
Pages bonded and lined up in rows.
But some escape
And find themselves lying quietly
in unexpected places.
My heart longs to stack them.
Up against the door.
For this: A final barricade.

A pen. A sharp pencil.
Loose inked Paper.
I muse, I write, I bleed.
Music plays a serenade –
An ode to pages gone missing.
Mortar, life’s blood, tears
Hold paper bindings against the door –
Lay down my trowel. Sleep.

Shelley Rae Bell

Ghosts of Souls

Always, some thing gazed upon me
Like a throne room king
doling out corrective measures
with no graceful reserve.

Now. In Solitude. A measured peace.
Footsteps echo in recesses.
Soft, billowy figures. Promises.
Leave. Leaving. Left. Imminent.

Love sits with me. (You Thorn)
And mocks my moves.
Carrying on with stones. Ghosts of Souls.
Footfalls that rattle away into the distance.

Spectors! Take with you, Hope.
Let Love be bound to you - and go!
And finally, unattended, lay desire down.
I'll wait for leaded lid to close my days.

Shelley Rae Bell

I Would Drown

I do overflow
     (being too much to contain)
   in too small a vessel.

A man who restrains
    (creates a border wall)
  becomes cracked with vanity.

Match. and Checkmate
    (why should I flounder?)
   so I am diminished?

I would drown
    (in the undertow)
  of obstructed waters.

Shelley Rae Bell


What Time is It?

Threads are scattered
across my lap. How long 
have I lain cross this table?
Tic Tic the Clock
in the back of my head -
and the table rocks.

Threads. Thread...
bare in my hands.
The original tie -in.
Like a macramé hanging -
in its unformed state
yet frayed from sliding fingers.

And the time.
Ceasing. Unceasing. I relent.
the hands, the pen, the plug.
Toc Toc the Clock.
Stand - and the threads scatter 
Across the floor.

Shelley Rae Bell