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Joshua Davies


Patterns in Vapor


Gods, civilizations arise; and dissipate. Patterns in vapor.
All our sciences, philosophies illuminate? Patterns in vapor.

The bay is thick with mist. No stars; instruments useless.
To bring the ship to shore, they navigate patterns in vapor.

Warlords sign the treaty, draw their maps and move their money.
With corruption on all sides, why negotiate patterns in vapor?

All that’s been stolen from you, across the generations.
No result undoes the pain, as we remediate patterns in vapor.

Stop your boasting, Ozymandias – I’ve heard this song before.
All your pretty accomplishments? Ornate patterns in vapor.

A friend reaches out, shares her story. I had no idea.
A belief, whole narratives disintegrate; patterns in vapor.

Witnesses, experts testify. Attest and refute; all in earnest.
Lives hang in the balance, as the jury debates patterns in vapor.

Where is the music that moved him; all he loved and held precious?
The ceaseless beauty in this world cannot mitigate patterns in vapor.

Water never vanishes. No cell, no instant ever lost.
Each tear we share sacred, inviolate patterns in vapor.

Dissolve and coagulate: the alchemist’s transmutations.
The process is what’s essential: celebrate patterns in vapor.

He sits in meditation. Birdsong through trees. Rippling water.
All existence; all he ruminates: patterns in vapor.

Start the fire; grab the blankets. Signal your message through the smoke.
Across the distances, they witness elaborate patterns in vapor.

Pen to paper again, Shuki. What can you possibly offer?
All solace, any truths that you delineate? Patterns in vapor.




Such Music


This beauty so delicate; fleeting and so tenuous, such music.
The sound beneath your heartbeat so tremulous, such music.

So mesmerized, absorbed in you. Your words and all you do.
Supple mind; the fluid way you move so sensuous, such music.

Waves that wash the granite walls, cliffs embedded with echoes.
Fissures worn smooth; the atoms unspooling. So porous, such music.

So much passes between us. So much spoken; and unspoken.
Your hand in mine, one pulse to breach the isthmus; such music.

Tap the well that feeds the spring; suspiration in the morning dew.
The water that speaks through you so generous, such music.

I don’t know where the songs come from. I wake – the words, the melody arises.
I’m so grateful for this miracle, its origin so nebulous, such music.

Who plays the chord, Shuki? Whose hand arranges these strings?
Inexpressible, the composition that renders us, such music.



So Malleable


This chain of events that pattern my life: each fateful link so malleable.
The tenuous grace that keeps me from falling off the brink so malleable.

Stare deep at your reflection: textures change as light begins to waver.
This person you’ve become will vanish, begin with every blink—so malleable!

I believe I know what’s right; then I hear a different point of view.
Another person speaks: again I fall in synch, so malleable.

Is there no thing that doesn’t claim me? Is any impulse not tangible?
I exult and falter, become an exile, seek refuge as I sink: so malleable.

The ground here is so porous only a sponge appears impermeable.
No boundaries: every root and every route interlink, so malleable.

I used to know whose words I spoke, but the voices have been stolen.
I blend with the remaining silence, relearn how to think. So malleable…..

The medium slips into trance; a thousand spirits spool inside her.
Listen as they spill across the page: this shifting ink so malleable!

Look to the water, Shuki: it buoys all, holds any reflection.
This unity the streaming consciousness you drink, so malleable!

About Joshua Davies

Joshua Davies has written poetry since adolescence. Along with ghazals, he writes predominantly free verse in a lyrical mode, as well as epic poetry, haiku and sonnets. He is also a singer and writes songs primarily based in blues, gospel, spirtuals and other roots musical traditions. He studied at Antioch College, and performed professionally in dance, theatre and performance art. Growing up with martial arts and alternative healing, he has taught and practiced Acupressure and Chinese Medical Theory, Yoga and Qigong for a number of years. He and his family live in Minnesota's St. Croix River Valley.