Blue-black Feathers – by John David Grayson

Blue-black Feathers

While you sleep, I light cigarettes and breathe blue-white smoke under your door. I
imagine that I’m sending out my prayers to form the likeness of a crow on the other side of the
door, to watch over you, and a snake to wrap around your arm like a god’s. I imagine that I’m
sending out creatures: now a turnip, now a top, now a Dervish, to curve your dreams into eyes to
see these smokey intercessions.


John David Grayson wrote this piece in 1995 when he participated regularly in the Knoxville, TN open mic and slam scenes while in graduate school. Poetry has enriched his life in so many ways, and he wanted to share a thought from the slam scene from those days: “poetry is a contact sport.” He supposes it still is. He thanks his readers in advance for their thoughtful readings of this piece, and is grateful to all those he slammed with and open mic’d with, since poets help poets thrive and inspire one another.

Statement by Featured Artist, Shelley Thomas: The cadence of words, like his cigarette smoke, fills my mind with images and shifting magic. Images form, themselves incantations, slow and rising, morphing, unfurling. At first a cloud, then sea foam, then fog.  Viscous and syrupy, dream-like visions. Things luminous and spectral, like a feather slicked to the surface of sea glass.
Art: “Lucid,” 2016 (Lake Ontario, Canada)