Three Poems by Mary Shanley

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Blown Away
Little leaf
you were blown away
so easily.
In the end, you were so beaten down,
there wasn’t much of the earth element
remaining in you; glistening, you were
mostly spirit.
With your last breath,
you exhaled and arose
into the arms of the golden
beings of light, who awaited
your arrival and greeted you
with songs of celebration and joy.
I can no longer hug you
or hear your voice
but, believe you are safely
in the company of loved ones
who have already floated
out of their bodies, into pure
You no longer need to bear
the loneliness of the nursing home.
No longer captured by schizophrenia
and a wheelchair.
Now, you fly free, with the Blakean
angels and guardian spirits who
accompany you through the spheres
to your
place on the bardo thodol,
to your place in heaven,
to your place next to Mom.
She travels beyond the narrows
of time and destination.
Bravely invoking the uncalculated
journey, she watches it unroll before her,
like a Turkish rug.
She is wearing a Dada t-shirt,
as she revolves around the earth.
She doesn’t stop to consider the content
of her days. In the moment, boundless
form the trail she follows, unaided by compass
or companion.
Watch, as her amazed eyes peer into
her deepest place.
She calls each day forever.
Her hands worship the immensity
of the deepest blue sky, a portal
into eternity.
She counts blessings and adjusts
to reverses, allowing for support,
when needed.
Along her enchanted road, when organic
connections are made, the presence of these
kindred spirits send a quiver of shimmering
energy down her spine.
Posture of Defeat
She was hunched over
like a woman with advanced
osteo of the spine – but that’s
not it. Her posture indicated
her psychological state. After
forty years of battling schizophrenia,
institutionalizations, shock treatments
and toxic medication, her delusions
finally won out; exercising
an erratic control over her personality
and her body..
She has been entirely captured
by this vicious disease, allowed few
decisions. Her dyed black hair hangs lifeless,
her tongue droops over her lower lip, drooling;
her fingernails overgrown.
It is a deep jungle; she is in there.
Mary Shanley is a poet/storyteller, living in New York City with her wife.
She began publishing poetry at the behest of Allen Ginsberg and Lucien Carr
in 1984. She first published in Long Shot Magazine, co-founded by Allen
Ginsberg and Danny Shot. Since that time, she had had three books of poetry
published and one book of short stories.

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