Poetry by Bill Livingston

Bill Livingston
Bill Livingston
Poet Bill Livingston

Originally from Altoona, PA, this poet, humorist, screenwriter and advertising copywriter has been published in Danse Macabre, Saturday Afternoon Journal, Blue Satellite, Sic Vice & Verse, Flipside, Mobius, et al. He is a supporting member of The Poetry Project and an original member of Brooklyn Poets and Bowery Arts + Science. He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and twin daughters.

 

SANCTUARY

 

As the young blackbird emerges

from its nest in the stone cherub’s mouth

members of the congregation cough

through pauses in the benediction

others sleep, dream of sodomy

and stirring up sweet fruit

from the bottom of yogurt cups

convicted child molester sneezes

rudely spraying

two rows in front of him

a stranger awakens with a start

blesses him

unqualified, insincere

under that beautiful vaulted ceiling

bolstered with alternating columns

of hope and futility

they’re both damned

 

FERRY POINT

 

Perseid scores the black canvas sky

With cat-scratch meteors,

Banishes the dog from Cassiopeia’s throne.

The bath-warm lake pleasures the willing shore

With its tongue-like waves

Before tiring and turning in for the evening.

Even the brightness of supermoon

Cannot overpower the starshine eternal.

Now close your eyes.

The galaxies repeat themselves on your lids

Like a memory that refuses to leave.

Close them tighter,

As the flash from a knockout punch

Comes unwelcome into view.

Now open your eyes.

The painful shadows of distant pasts

The inevitable pleasures of tomorrow

Present themselves in the pre-dawn canopy

Until Orion, watching over you,

Drops his club

Releases the lion

Turns and walks away.

 

TRANSITION

 

Surrounded by entourage

of stuffed animals

giraffes, unicorns, the occasional penguin,

Disneyfied reminders

of childhood in the rearview.

She climbs down from her loft bed,

selects a body spray – warm vanilla sugar

and pirouettes into the perfume mist.

Breasts budding like violets,

pointing towards a future

I’ll no longer control.

A lightning week has passed.

Feeling the transition,

she was prepared for the inevitable.

Well-armed by her mother

against the flow of the crimson river.

So grateful it wasn’t on a school day.

As the scent of body spray hits my nose,

the sight hits my eyes –

the red in the water.

And I’m the curious little boy again,

discovering my sister’s bellbottoms,

crotch of red, soaking in the tub.

The white lie hits my ears

I had a bloody nose!

Then the whisper of truth from my wife

as my eyes widen

then well with tears

at the tragedy and triumph of growth.

Now objects in the mirror

are older than they appear.

Time was never my friend.

There’s never enough –

like a daughter’s embrace.

And soon I’ll relinquish that privilege

to an unworthy lover

who thinks I wouldn’t break him

if he broke her rules.

All of the birthday parties and summer camps.

All of the art lessons, guitar lessons,

gymanastics lessons, ballet lessons,

the outrageously expensive dental scaffolding

will become distant memories

as she grand jetes away from the child

whose hand is so small in mine.

Now is she woman.

Now is she woman.

Now is she woman.

Ready to bleed on the battlefield that is this life,

 

now is she warrior.

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