VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Allison Grayhurst

What were you as a man Aristotle?

           Bend the mind in fifteen different places

to pull out a particular, that

at the moment of capture,

shifts form and demands further



through definitions, substances,

entities – modeling God

on unity, and evil on chaos.

           What genius generates such a mind,

dilemmas purely in abstraction –

a voice swimming in a multi-layered

vortex of ideas and sophisticated vocabulary,

adept at defining, circulating, making movement,

unparalleled density in each paragraph,

in each line of unmatched cerebral dexterity?

           So I found you and I don’t know how

to take you in, if I can, but your observations

of elemental spirituality are exciting, and each read

is a like long dive into a living coral reef-barrier –

colours alien, animals sublime – both prey and predators,

proficient in the art of survival, and the energy!

Take me in –

           if what I thought would take a week,

takes months, and I sift through

your summits and grooves slowly, tasting

sugar, sour wine, touching

the tips of wings from the flight of many birds zipping

around my atmosphere at capacity – sometimes

as shadows, sometimes showing their bright plumage,

and those times I can glimpse, participate

in your singular reasoning, hear a man’s voice

labouring under metaphysical complexities

and bend my mind to the cyclone of your gospel,

spinning, upside down but in perfect order –

           maker of an intellectual sermon,

thinker uncorrupted, unlike your mentor Plato was

with his didactic prejudices, with his what-fors

his where-fors – but you!

           piecing out the divine,

making meals, ideals without rigidity,

chaptering out the primitive and the holy combined

with your plying, delving, ricocheting symphony


The Peace of Angels

 I will release to receive

the peace of angels.

I will count the changes

as realizations, tip over

the radicalized, and be singular

in my transcendence.

Purpose is a translation. Within

are experiences discarded

or validated by memories.

Floating or being summoned

are counterweights, dangerous to stand


but in the middle.

Loss is a hot vapour – burns as it first rises

and then, no more.

Love is everything – fills a moment

with the breath of eternity.

I will find the colour that draws me

the closest and I will choose it.

I will release the rest, know this surrender

as an exhale, a baptism to witness

that splits the sky.

No grief, No madness

 See yourself with real eyes,

there is no need for useless mythology.

The winter has come, the plants have died.

In spring they will take root and begin

to show promise. Just like you,

nothing magical –

You swell in times of joy

and deflate in times of sorrow,

stitching the inflatable boat.

This is your seat, accept it.

The struggle is the dream,

a hot order of suffering, unnecessary. Stand up, kiss the Buddha and sit down


 Unyielding heat

joined to the glowing trees

and take-away flowers.

My pleasure is broken

like a dream when waking.

Today I vanquish my delusions, eat

the green strawberry and circle

my loneliness, ghostly but growing

bones and ligaments.

My choice feels like a crime

when there are only some I can help save,

when my soft embrace must yield to stiff arms

and August has just begun –

no shade, no signs of rain.

Published by Mike Zone

Mike Zone is the former Editor in Chief of Dumpster Fire Press and managing editor of Concrete Mist Press. The author of Screaming in the End: Poems and Stories, Fuck You: A Fucking Poetry Chap, Shedding Dark Places (almost), One Hell of a Muse , as well as coauthor of The Grind and Razorville. A frequent contributor to Alien Buddha Press and Mad Swirl. His work has been featured in: A Thin Slice of Anxiety, Black Shamrock Magazine, Horror Sleaze Trash, Better Than Starbucks, Piker Press, Punk Noir Magazine, Synchronized Chaos, and Cult Culture magazine.

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