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Death & Rebirth: Three Poems

438 words

Rust Belt Hotel as Metaphor for America

It’s abandoned, it’s been abandoned for
About half a century now. Once it
Was impressive — vaulted ceilings, tall
Windows surrounded by a polished floor
Of marble, an art deco lobby . . . Bit
By bit, though, it all fell apart. Wall

Paper peeled, and where it peeled, graffiti
Came instead. Needles litter the curving
Staircases, the front desk is shattered, glass
And god knows what lay everywhere you see —
The dumbwaiter still works, disturbing
Weirdness of luck. Or maybe it’s there as

A sign, a message sent from the far shore
Of fate itself, warning us that nothing
Has a reason — the dumbwaiter goes down
And up — but the hotel has no front door
Anymore. Non-paying guests are tearing
The place apart. They bleed sigils that brown

And drip along the ballroom where other
People used to dance, once upon an age
Ago. Junk magic can’t save this, can’t turn
Back the foulness that rots away culture.
This was lovely once. The neighborhood changed.
It’s ruined. Done. Knock it down. Let it burn.


The Wolf Hunts are Over

Search carefully for the moss blurred rib bones,
The tumbled vertebrae that no longer
Lay in line. No graveyard, just grass, just stones,
Just paleness in brown shadows that linger

Ever so slightly to catch the eye of
Those who might come here looking deep enough.

The tangled roots hide, the shaded hollows
Hold slender traces. Step lightly, skulls are
Leafy mounds now. They fell, necks broke, gallows
Made from these very trees. No abattoir

More tragic. The full moon spills across their
Quiet bones, but they’re past changing or care.

Wolfsangles and wolfsbane, silver bullets
And hangings all come to this: martyrs’ shanks
On forest floors. We come each year, regret
Their loss and leave offerings, to say thanks.

A slightly different version appeared previously in An Anthology of Poems from the Red Salon (Red Salon Press, 2018)



Someone worked old magic in these trees. Spoke
Galdr in our ancient tongue. Drew back our
Spirit from the ground like strong sap rising
Into the hearts of birch, the souls of oak.
We were forsaken once but now the hour
To be reborn is here. Berkana. Ing.

Othala. Our time re-comes. Again. We
Feel the throb. Drumming. Bringing what must be

Into being. Quicker now and ever
Stronger, soon we emerge once more to take
On form. We have been shadows far too long,
Almost forgotten, almost denied. Blurred
To myth. Named devils. Our return will make
Old ways renewed again. And double strong.

First appeared in We’ve Seen the Same Horizon (Red Salon Press, 2019)



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  1. Boudreaux
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Wow nice work, especially the first one. Do these follow any particular structure or form? What ever happened to Leo Yankevich? I miss his input.

    • JuleighHowardHobson
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      Thank you. They follow pentametered nonce forms–the first uses the scheme abcabc; the second is abab cc. The third is a sonnet based on the abab cc form of the second. I grew weary of the old forms, but not of form itself. We lost Leo in December. A terrible hole in the world. I miss him too.

      • Boudreaux
        Posted August 20, 2019 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

        By that do you mean he DIED? Shocking. What were the circumstances? Elegy time?

        • JuleighHowardHobson
          Posted August 20, 2019 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

          I don’t know how, just that he was not doing well for a while before…and then I received word of his death. Dec 11th 2018. And, yes, time now for an elegy –for many elegies. We will not see the likes of him again.

          • J. Goodlow
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 10:40 am | Permalink

            This is sad news. Glad to see your work here again, Juleigh.

          • Boudreaux
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

            I’ll tell a story about him. Leo recommended the works of poet AE Stallings in one review, and I agree she is the greatest living poet. He recommended her second book, but I liked it so much that I got her first book Archaic Smile cheap, which is up to $90 on amazon but had been as high as $500. How nice to have a rare first edition. She has really grown in reputation, so Leo and counter currents have profited me!

  2. BroncoColorado
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    The poems speak of loss of community and meaning. Only ‘blood and soil’ can reattach us to our ancestors and give us an impregnable wall of confidence.

    • JuleighHowardHobson
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      Exactly. We might watch the world decay, but we ourselves are not touched by it, not essentially–our spirit shall prevail, double strong.

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