Ian Randall Wilson – Five Poems


The Ice Age  

Someone is nervous somewhere
with all the shouting
and the helicopters passing over.
A part of everyday is missing people.
The common mill about
in consequence of loss.
To watch the news is to see
the enemy inside all of us.
A dog barks.  A woman cries.
The crows stand the power
line, croaking for peace.
Peace and a little moment
in the woods near the river break
where the bank is green.
The vegetation maintains
its own counsel
unlike the clamorous winds.
Chen Zao once predicted this, saying,
Do not listen to the man
who loves his own voice.
Winter clouds
again I ask,
please not obscure me.


Even Chickens Exercise

Between glories everything is not
one.  The white light,
that used to radiate from the bed,
well here is a man
left ordinary.
I twirl my thumbs.  I sigh.
The floor boards creak.
With her downstairs
and me up here,
no silk finish.
My hand in the dark
and always my exemption.
For the old man,
a cherry tree lost to blight
is something to lament.


I Have Lost My Walking Stick

At this age I shun the difficult
as I do the high grass
out back, filled with droppings
from the neighbor dogs
and ticks. I don’t need
another force applied,
tiny bacillus though they may be.
It’s sapping me. It’s an effort
getting up each morning
like I’ve already slipped
into the after life
and with each step–
well, look, it’s another day
under the marine layer.
From the brooding sky
the much advertised sun
of the tourist brochures
has abandoned us.
In time, all of us abandoned
to fates worse than ticks.
My own heart is rumbling.
The pump seals,
I can only hope they hold.
On Sundays I think I hear
the dead laugh or maybe
it’s a ringing in my ears.
From next door
the lovers moan.
Oh, I can hear that.
In my house this spring
the oak must avoid
the open flame.
Tell me,
has the jasmine
finally bloomed?


The Taste Of Broken Glass  

Driving beyond the reservoirs,
the basins with their fallen levels,
drought, the years of it,
has parched them.
I can see
the car someone dumped
at its center
rusting like a beacon.
Further on a bird
in a tree,
too tired to sing.
The palm behind
that old abandoned factory
has loosed its fronds.
Nothing left to fall.
My father said the years
don’t get easier–
thanks, for letting me know
of Graceland dimmed,
that lip service
serves no one
and is mostly noise,
an empty stadium
is a room without a roof
filled with empty chairs.
I am literally sick
of the literary life.
Who cares for sense?
Oh, summer muse,
please keep your feelings
to yourself.
Give me no more words.
Time cannot be outraced
no matter what the Bard
in the sonnets claims.


Free As The Next Man

He has started smoking
weed again in hopes
to still his hands which shake
in the rhythm of his broken brain.
The flock of wheeling birds
he glimpses through the window,
what freedom there.
His doctor let the truth out,
but really, did the old man
expect otherwise?
The wrong blade tears its wood.
Too much salt brings on the inedible.
It’s possible one more book
might possess the answer–
ask the sky, but is it likely
the white cloud passing over
knows more?
At some point life
moves beyond the metaphor of waiting
into waiting for another night of sleep,
and the darkness to cede
its power to the light.
Soon the sorry morning comes
once more, taking charge
of the empty house.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

I’m sorry to say that after more than a year of the current administration, I have grown weary and often filled with despair. Mostly beauty escapes. At this point, I have to look for moments that seem beautiful, even if some of them feel sentimental or precious, because they may be the only bits of decency that are left to us. So the young shaved-girl on TV crying over her dead schoolmates is beautiful. The videos of the cows who kicked up their heels in frolic upon leaving their German barn after winter is beautiful. My old black cat sleeping next me, that is beautiful, too. Moments, only, the briefest intervals of peace and release. They don’t last, but somehow, they sustain.


Ian Randall Wilson‘s first collection, Ruthless Heaven, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2017. He has previously published two chapbooks, Theme of the Parabola and The Wilson Poems. His fiction and poetry have appeared The Gettysburg Review and Alaska Quarterly Review. He has an MFA in Fiction and in Poetry from Warren Wilson College. By day, he is an executive at Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Tintype Author Photo by Matthew Pailes