Ode to a Clepsydra – #poetry

Ode to a Clepsydra

Ode to a Clepsydra

To the alchemist’s eye, water = emotion, and so it is
that our moments can be marked by the rise and fall of
feeling, a steady stream of anger-eager-joy-hope-faith
devotion to emotion.

Days that pass without touching the interior of
our mortal casings are deadlier
than disasters. Moments that come and
go unremembered, unmarked by impact
on our souls, are the ones we most
regret, when we consciously number our final breaths.

So let’s trade the customary tiny grains of rock, sifting
     to peak beneath their ingress, for a steady liquid
stream — drain
  drops. Let the pool beneath rise and w i d e n.


should be the sound of living life.



the sound of life lived well.

Watch that WHCD clip with Michelle Wolf – #poetry

Watch that WHCD clip with Michelle Wolf – #poetryWatch that WHCD clip with Michelle Wolf

You will feel better.

It doesn’t matter
whether or not you agree with her, or you
think everything she said
is in good taste.

She told the truth
in a series of extended thoughts you actually
have to follow
past a second or two.

Just figuring out if you’re offended by what she said
is a worthy exercise. As is
googling it, or searching YouTube to find
the full 19-minute-plus version
without commentary
from the damage-controlling peanut gallery.

Everybody’s got something to say about what
she said.
Said / we said / they said.

Make up your own mind.
You will think better.


~ Kay Lorraine

May 2, 2018


Winter Showers – #poetry

When the rain starts again, comes the relief. The relief of being loosed
from months of being careful-so-careful about how long
you let the water run at the tap
or linger in the shower.
When the rain starts at last in November,
you can forgive the desertlike stinginess of September,
thumb your nose at the fiery threats
of October.
You can smile at the sight of reclaimed waste
water spraying its broad horizontal arcs
through vertical winter showers.
And the cows look, well…
When the frogs start their horny chirping,
you all are.

Written sometime in the early 1990s

World of Flesh – #poetry

I. Through the day, you are in it, whether
sucking down piping hot coffee
at seven a.m., or moving
your bowels at 7:30, or
craving some-
thing — anything at all that’s sweet and filling —
in the midmorning hours.
In the walk of the woman
in front of you
in the hall, whose heavy hips
still sway with onetime
accomplished, perhaps-now-forgotten
seductive swish
it reminds you.
You are in it.
You are

II. Don’t run and hide. Don’t
bury your fingertips in a keyboard and
glue your eyes to the screen, groping
at the mouse to flick the screen saver out
of sight again. Don’t
pretend to work. You can’t, so long as
your lively mind wanders back to last night —
You are not
We’ll find you
where life cascades through
a gorge cut deep into the bedrock
of daily subsistence. We’ll find you
tumbling through memories
of her —
Don’t pretend to be here.

Lick your lips.

Written sometime in the early 1990s

You live close to my bones, you… – #poetry

You live close to my bones, you
with your soft eyes that can
hard in a turn,
your solid arms with their sure
embrace around my heart,
every bit of you, from ten solid
toes to strong-wide shoulders
forging through life
with your iron will — you
inhabit me in the nearest,
dearest of places, shedding light
on my most secret marrow,
counting out,
in red cells and white, the flow
with every beat of my heart
for you.

Written sometime in the early 19902

Ethereal – #poetry


The ancients trusted their guts — they knew
as well as we (but were braver in the saying) that
all we are,
all we have ever been,
all we will ever be, is made of

Breathe in… breathe out… there’s magic in that — the stuff of life
ingested from invisibility, the building
blocks of flesh and bone
into the palpable. Breathe in… breathe out… there’s magic in that.

They call it “stepping down”, that chain of commands
from saint
to teacher
to student
to life,
the pulling out of the atmosphere those invisible lessons that should make us brave
and noble
and good
and kind, those traits all too rare that should make us
much more than animals and a little less
than angels,
that are rarely measured, except
by the good wishes and good-bye parties and the sorrows of those left behind,
whether by job transfer
or dropped-body passing… all of us along the way
that life will give to student,
who will tell teacher,
who will show saint,
that this life dwelled among pulsing veins and moving fluids and the tyranny
of the anxious loveless and the rise and fall
of wishfully
affectionate ways amongst onetime strangers
is one of those things
that truly matter,
that really counts
for something.

How do we number the ways that we fall — for things, for people, for ideas, for all those qualities
we crave? In falling,
we rise —
to the ethers,
to the upper, purer air above us,
to the celestial realms that have meaning for us now
only in shadow
and unenunciated veneration for ritual and symbol that,
no longer in style, molder
among winsome monks and devoted nuns of every ilk. All of it,
is made of air,
that stuff that the ancients had full faith was the root of their existence, folding
over into their tolerance for mystery, much higher
than ours… their need of it,
their trust in it, exceeding the capacity of modern logic.

We want,
we want,
how we want,
how much we want. Putting
our fingers on what it is we really desire
for ourselves, is no more easy
than counting motes of dust aloft in a sunbeam, and half the time
we kid others
into thinking we want it for them, when truth
less noble, less
easily justified and quantified, but far
closer to bone and flesh and pulsing fluid than slips comfortably past our lips.

The ancients trusted
our guts — they said what we are
too cowardly to admit — that
all we are,
all we have ever been,
all we will ever be, is made of

Breathe in… breathe out… there’s magic in that.



Fecund/Fallow – a #poem of balance


I am searching for poetics
between jobs.
Like a displaced, untenured professor,
cast adrift by budget cuts
at the local community college, I
amid my books, scanning the want
ads, knowing I can do better,
I must do better (and fearing I’ll never
do better)
than my last job, jealous
as I’ve ever been
of these uncertain moments between
prospect calls
and resume faxes,
when I catch a glimpse of heaven
in a cat fight
below my window.

Depth Perception - Selected Poems by Kay Lorraine
Depth Perception – Selected Poems by Kay Lorraine

From Depth Perception – Selected Poems


If no one else did – a #poem of passing through

If no one else did,
I saw you.
Trapped in a car turned on its head, the
hood sucked into itself, the front wheels
hanging crazy like palsied fists
of a punchy, cauliflower-eared worn-out boxer,
with two firemen wedged in
the cockpit, trying to separate you from the
steering wheel’s embrace.
I saw you, your eyes wide
with lazy rainy day disbelief, the pain
taking a backseat to shock, one hand reaching out to clutch, to grab,
to feel, to touch life
you saw flash before your eyes
on the slippery X of an on-off ramp.
You weren’t in any hurry, this afternoon,
but the other driver filling out reports
with the police, was.
I prayed for you and cursed him,
and pulled into the passing lane, checking twice
behind me as I signaled.

Depth Perception - Selected Poems by Kay Lorraine
Depth Perception – Selected Poems by Kay Lorraine

From Depth Perception – Selected Poems


Firewater – a #poem of retrospective hope


Days of showers,
weeks of rain.
When it first comes, we’re taken by
surprise. Didn’t anyone tell the sky
this is the worst drought in 50 years?

Days of showers, weeks of rain.
the only consolation of running laundry
to the laundry room in pouring-down rain,
is that now we can do extra loads,
and not worry about running up our water tab.
We can take long, hot showers again,
too, now that rationing
has been lifted.
But habits that mix hygiene with fear
can be the hardest to break.
Natural compliments, they still make us think
twice about flushing the toilet
while its contents are still light.

Days of showers,
weeks of rain,
Back East, they think us crazy when we call,
whooping for joy at this should-be-everyday
Why should it delight us at all?
Days of showers, weeks of rain.
Smoke from wood fires hangs low
in the air, smelling good — a far cry
from the anxious tinge
to wildfire scent. And there are some who live
in the hills who think twice,
I’m sure, about lighting fires in their hearts
after the blazes a few years back…
but now we have days of showers,
and weeks of rain.
Light the match and set it to wood
and bless the warmth the cold wet
and will allow.

Depth Perception - Selected Poems by Kay Lorraine
Depth Perception – Selected Poems by Kay Lorraine

From Depth Perception – Selected Poems


Steam, not Smoke – a #poem of waking

morning fog over a pondSteam, not Smoke

Now the rains have come
and there’s’ no threat of wildfire
for another year, at least, provided
they stay.
May the rains stay.

Coffee cup in hand, I linger over the steam
rising from my reflection-in-brown,
and breathe deep —
Now I can greet a sharp bite
in my nostrils
first thing in the hazy morning
without checking on the waist-high tawny grasses
waving from the hills beyond
my kitchen window.


Copyright © 2017 by Kay Lorraine – All Rights Reserved

Depth Perception - Selected Poems by Kay Lorraine
Depth Perception – Selected Poems by Kay Lorraine

From Depth Perception – Selected Poems by Kay Lorraine