Philomene Long: Four Poems


You are green and dark
The field I walked as a child
Slowly, slowly the snow
My favorite word was
Far, far
And the stars
How I had to close my eyes
Before they came too close
And the snow
You are
Like snow
And far
Love, love
In our solitude
Even the sun will abandon us
Put off the naming of things
We’ll do it together



Cracked glass mirrors
Cast rainbows
Her eyes
Green windows}
In the golden night
Remembering a sunset
She looks to
A far away moon
Velvet curtains sway
With the slightest breeze
Before the slow California sky
High on her wall
A portrait she has painted
Of a small red doll
It has her own smile
Her paintings have
The simplest line
Even the joyous shoelace
Lately I have come to this room
To sit in her wine velvet chair
I come to tell her
“I find it dangerous to be a poet
I will soon to be sprawled in vacant lots
In every gutter of this town
I wish to be as far from my body as possible”
Cracking, my voice spills
Into her mirrors
Her palms open
Like narrow paths
The mountains are not far away
Her open palms
The comfort of this room
Do not come into the world’s eyes
To the crowd beneath her window
Roaring with confidence and greed
There have been others
And there will be more
But none like she



I step inside the poem.
I can barely see in the mirror
Which is her sky
Through its cracks
(Let me say this carefully)
I see her poets—
Their diamond eyes
Their lips of black velvet
But they are not enough to save
The world from falling, falling
She exacts yet another death
Naked, they lie face down
Before a greater silence
A greater blackness
I cry out to them
But they do not hear my wailing
Nor do I
I speak to myself with an
Alphabet that flows
Thick like blood
At the edge of darkness
I no longer know
What I have lost
Then finally—
The poem’s agony of light



The Universe is about to crack,
could we perhaps,
Let it relax,
Plug up it’s nostrils,
Put back it’s scab,
Stop it from oozing,
It’s got loose of its veins,
It won’t stop and it won’t go.
It’s doing something else.
Is there a fire coming out
    of your fingertips too?


These poems by Philomene Long, who passed away in 2007, were submitted by her twin sister. Pegarty Long is a producer and director, known for the films An Irish Vampire in Hollywood (2013) and Incision (1999). Pegarty has continued to share Philomene’s fine poems whenever possible. Here are four of Philomene’s finest. (Featured photo of the author by Pegarty Long.)

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