A collection of poetry
by Patricia Wellingham-Jones
from Mongolian Art Exhibit
I turn a corner, stunned now by faces /
on the wall—masks of deities, shamans, /
in papier-mâché, carved wood, stuffed skin. /
Black brows pull down over glaring eyes, /
red mouths stretch in snarls or gentle smiles.
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Empire of Sand
—inspired by the Japanese cinema classic,
Woman of the Sand
Even at night, the sun burns on.
Dogs have given up howling,
lost in the orbit of their tails.
Heat slithers across the dunes,
meeting no capable enemy. Water
a dead reflection
on collapsing ridges of sand.
Sand in his clothes, sand in his teeth—
if he could tear away this veil of grit
whole oceans would rise to his touch.
The heat sometimes makes him forget—sake
is fire from the other side of the sun,
thin banshee of mortality
hissing like chaff
in the cracked well of his throat.
He can't help but pace in this cage.
The mob of laughing voices
toy with him like a wind-drum.
You can't tie a man to a stake
like a dog, he bellows. She,
on the other hand, knows better
than to chase. Knows its best
to work, wait, and preen.
What else is there to do here, but shovel,
shovel, shovel, fuck all night,
and make plans for escape?
A basket of carrion not nearly enough
to trap the crows of this desert.
All hope of deliverance so much sky, shifting
beneath her feet.
Born in 1959 in the pristine mountains of British Columbia's Kootenay region in Canada, Arthur Joyce began writing and publishing in high school. A decade of work as a freelance journalist in regional newspapers led to a popular weekly heritage column in the Nelson Daily News of Nelson, BC and two books of history on the classic homes and streetcars of this historic Western Canadian city.
Joyce sees poetry as the ultimate expression of the writer's art. Early influences were Dylan Thomas and Irving Layton—Thomas for sheer bardic eloquence and Layton for his sensual passion and unflinching courage where controversy is concerned. Rainer Maria Rilke's poetry provides what Joyce calls the necessary spiritual underpinning to any true sensuality, and he agrees with Emily Dickinson that the best poetry takes the top of your head off.
Joyce's poems and essays on poetics have been published in various Canadian literary magazines, including Canadian Author, The New Quarterly, The Fiddlehead, Whetstone, The New Orphic Review, and Horsefly. He has published numerous limited editions of his own and other authors‚ work under his imprint, Chameleon Fire Editions. He is currently at work on a full-length collection, The Charlatans of Paradise, which he hopes to have published by fall.