Three Poems By Ken Turner

God’s Net
  
Like silken threads unspooling in the night
shifting tones enlace and tug the dreams
of restless sleepers. Fading moonlight gleams
on waking minarets. The chant is tight       
and clean, determinate: it spins a sweet
familiar web, a gauze of sound. Five times
each day this net is cast, and God redeems
anew — or offers to — with each thin note.
Enchanted mesh suspended in the air,
woven of rise and fall of voice and echo,
settles soft on each reluctant soul,
sleep-slack. Minds stir. Day’s work awaits: repair
the frayed world’s cloth, and each his own. First, though,
this call: to pause and pray and make us whole. 
Feeding Time
  
At dusk they wake to sweep the neighborhoods,
their leathery wings engraved against the flames
of sunset. Pricked by instinct out of sleep
when others dream of rest, they scud the sky,
  
their leathery wings engraved against the flames
the sun gives up. Compelled to snap and gorge
when others dream of rest, they scud the sky
in waves, a deeper darkness in the gloom.
  
The sun gives up. Compelled to snap and gorged
with heat and blood, crowds swell and course the city
in waves. A deeper darkness in the gloom,
wild-eyed, they take what weapons come to hand
  
with heat and blood. Crowds swell and course the city
of sunset. Pricked by instinct out of sleep,
wild-eyed, they take what weapons come to hand.
At dusk they wake to sweep the neighborhoods. 
Sweeping the Streets
  
             “Without the broom, the dust cannot be swept away.”
                                  Chairman Mao
  
Whispers snake the streets, the dust
like smoke uncurls in morning dark.
Broom strokes scratch at yesterday’s crust
  
of grime. Straws brush the gutter-must,
ink the asphalt scroll: mark
whispers, mark snakes. The streets, the dust
  
exhale grief beneath each thrust
and swirl. Streetlights dim, dogs bark,
the broom strokes scratch. Yesterday's crust
  
breaks under scrapes, a labor robust
and public as blame, as lies and dark
whispers. Snakes in the streets: their dust
  
once unsettled the land like a sand gust
from the desert. Venom and grudge sparked
bruise, choke and scratch. Yesterday crushed
  
to grit, the antique smashed: a bloodlust
of bitterness burned through its arc.
Now just whispers snake through street dust
as broom strokes scratch at yesterday's crust. 

Ken Turner has lived and taught in Asia, Africa, and Latin America as well as the US. His work has appeared in Southern Poetry Review, Atlanta Review, Silk Road, Summerset Review, Asian Cha, and elsewhere, including several anthologies, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

One comment

  1. Softly spoken yet firm as gentle steel—never bending and always radiating calming warmth. Ken Turner has a way with words, that words, alone, cannot explain. The flow. The energy. The meticulously detail woven in the silk.

    I am a big fan of Ken Turner’s work. Always have, always will.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Like

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