Friday Poetry by James Goertel. I Am The Night

Friday Poetry by James Goertel. I Am The Night

I AM THE NIGHT from James Goertel’s new poetry collection, Under The Same Moon, stalks the hours between dusk and dawn.

Friday Poetry by James Goertel. I Am The Night

Joseph Noel Paton. The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania. Photo credit: wikipedia




the sun has set,
whether on blue or grey cast day,
and so the night steps softly,
timid at first,
through the unfocused light of dusk,
then, with a blink,
as the eyes struggle to adjust,
the shroud, the veil, the mask,
completely across the face of the sun.


and with the drawing of the drape
comes the quiet,
the space where thoughts are free
to drift as embers,
to flicker, to fade, to flit, to form,
to fly in the face of,

there then gone, off then on, here then there,
fireflies outside a window, inside a mind

where voices may not follow,
their footsteps stumbling through darkness
never finding their way to listen to,
sit amidst the sound of brush strokes,
contemplated equations,
the whir of words spinning like mobiles
across lobes from left to right to left,
science carnal with art beneath sheets
where Gertrude Stein and William James
pose like Picasso nudes.


when night falls
the world is un enfant de nouveau
asleep in the infinite silence of space,
the lunar shift of tides
rocking her gently from side to side.

the yawn, the sigh,
anchor and moor
in a black sea of sinking dreams
and shifting starlight.


stalking a house full of incandescent light,
windows opaque at last and
only hinting at the trees
just beyond their frames
filled now with the black paintings
of Frank Stella,
this artist-in-residence
settles into the rhythms
’round midnight, jazz riff words
drumming off walls,
filling fake books with poetry in motion,
emotion cutting through smoke and fears
to comfort the little boy still lost inside
nightmares lying in wait beneath beds,
behind closet doors just barely left ajar.


I am the night.

I swallow the fear, the loneliness,
the depression of the day, inconsolable,
crouching in the depths
of a vampire soul blood-lusting
for the dark end of the street,
to wander with wanton abandon,
leaving behind the light,
rising with the moon as the sun surrenders
to my sanguine cape spilling
across the shoulders of this earth.

I am the night.


something about
out of the blue and into the black,
coming back again and again to breathe deeply
the coffee-narcotic filling this 10 x 10 room,
a seemingly suffocating proposition,
though air apparent, for an heir apparent
to another night of ink black bliss inhalation.


night is not murder, night is not death.

night alone watches over us
as we sleep below its surface
navigating the depths of dreams
as disjointed and jarring
as the prose of Tender Buttons,

from which, to night, we awake, safe,

pulling the comfort of hours
still left before twilight
even closer beneath the chin.


tired eyes
the Cimmerian destination
they travel to,
leaving behind Homer, Milton,
even this nocturnal meditation
of this good night.


James Goertel. Under The Same Moon


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Born in North Dakota, James Goertel spent twenty years working in television for ABC, NBC, and ESPN, among many others in the U.S. He currently teaches writing at Penn State. Carry Each His Burden (2011) was his fiction debut. Each Year an Anthem (2012) was his poetry debut. With No Need for a Name (2012) and Self Portrait (2013) are his follow-up collections. His debut novel Let the Power Fall will be published in 2014.

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