The Witch

sampleThe Witch

the witch that is my name

cartwheels over the city

clowns around when there is nothing

here to laugh at

when there are only tears to spill

to dampen the grave dust grace

of lost stars and missed chances

you aren’t the only one

needing to be charmed back to wetness

not the only one who had lost his day

in the night of frustrations and distrust

not the only one who thinks

the witch that is my name

can do more that any one name

can possibly do


you don’t believe in fairy tale stuff

there are no happy blending

no shuffled coils

that can ever lead you back

to the safety of the tomb

the witch that is my name

cannot remove the pain

that creeps into your bones

that leaves you feeling

like a ghost without a skin

cannot move you along this path

any farther than you are now

but will not sit around with you either

there are floors to be swept

things to be undone

the witch that is my name

flies around blind alleys

with the same discomfort as any other

lost hankering figment

the blood in my veins hurts for you

takes me where I least expect to be

and leaves me the word

the unutterable word

that cannot help anyone

that cannot bring comfort to anyone

but me

cannot replace your skin

cannot take your place

the witch that is my name

has been divested of all power

except the power you give yourself


This month I’m looking back to the pieces of mine that were published in the first Renaissance Conspiracy anthology in 2004. All of them under went the Conspiracy workshopping then a group selection process to pick out the ‘best’ for the several poems each of us submitted. Peer review that was a fun experience.


cage in the rain

This piece was inspired by a line in a poem I had read – the line went something like ‘the wind that is my memory’ I sprung from the structure to the witch etc. I straddle this balance between abstract and concrete, surreal with emotionally grounded.

I let the language riff on cliches: ‘happy blending,’ ‘safety of the tomb.’ Allusions to witchy stuff abound – ‘grave dust’ ‘charmed’ ‘ghost.’ The group loved the line ‘ghost without a skin.’


cage in the rain

The true in this poem is that I have had people tell me that sometimes when they get caught up in distress or difficult decisions they think ‘What would Duncan say?’ Hence the witch that is my name does a calming magic in their lives for a few moments.


cage in the rain

I pushed the emotion into a meditation on how I feel about being that witch – as flattering as it might be know the thought of me helps people it also creates a sense of responsibility I don’t seek. It’s not as if I don’t need that sort of energy in my life too. In the end I know I am merely a symbol for them and that the power is one they invest in my name is one that they can invest in themselves as well.


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