Annie Wyndham Writings
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He could not stop talking about her
and when he could not be silenced,
they arrested him.

Alone in his prison cell, he wrote of her.
So they took away his pen and paper
and destroyed his words.

So he scratched poems about her
with a matchstick
into his soap.
And they cut off his hands.

He stood by the window
of his cell at night
and sang to the sky
of his deep longing for her.
Then they cut out his tongue.

He lay on his prison cot
and thought of her.
They could not stop his thoughts--
And so they killed him.

Does it matter who she was?
Who he was?
Let’s call her “Truth”.
Does that change anything?

This is not about him.
This is not about her.
It’s about Them
and what they can
and cannot
kill in us.

For every voice that’s silenced,
a thousand more
will take its place.

Published in Raving Dove, Spring 2009.


They gravitate there because
the coffee is deliciously foreign,
the window uncluttered,
a fresh flower on every table.
Here sit the town poets, writers, playwrights,
pens flexed, concentration intact,
sipping espresso,
awaiting the elusive muse.

Jack slips from behind the counter
to wipe a table, empty the ashtray,
collect the wadded-up, ink-soaked napkin
from a patron filling his leaky fountain pen.

Almost noon.
Jack quietly removes the soothing Vivaldi tape
and inserts the Second Street Chaotic Band,
jarring the little zone of complacency.
From the corner of his eye, he watches
as two pens freeze in mid-air.

The writer at Table 7 grimaces, his train of thought wrecked
by the strident strums of an insistent banjo.
He gathers his papers and pen and heads for the door.
The poet at Table 3, slumped in deep thought over a cup of cold
cocoa, suddenly deprived of a blissful serenity
mistakenly assumed as part of the decor,
stalks out, mumbling,
into the rainy morning.

"Well," says Jack, rinsing out the coffee pot. "If they sit here all day
just thinkin', we won't make nothin', will we?"

Published in Coraddi, Fall 2007.

At the Table of Time

The smokestack spews its gritty plumes
of blackened filth, defiling the patch of sky
above the noisy city
while I sit miles away in this ancient courtyard
breathing in pure country air,
feeling the warmth of the sun
on my face and arms.
A ornet, uninvited, circles the maple syrup jar,
as a chilling breeze arrives to remind
that summer is almost gone.

Fifteen kilometres away from the belching paper mill
we lunch at a country farmhouse, near
green rolling hills and a babbling brook ...
a quiet repireve in a world that
dispenses both blackness and gold,
filth and beauty,
sadness and ecstasy,
where the gods delight in watching us
juggle our conflicting priorities.

 Published in Istanbul Literary Review, Issue 14, Spring 2009.

Little Sparrow

One grasps at love in desperate leaps,
clinging to life like a barnacle
on a doomed vessel,
destination unknown.

From a ravaged body, the defiant thrust
of one mighty voice
still pierces the airwaves.

La Môme Piaf ne regrette rien.

Published in Spoonful Journal, 2008, Issue #3.

Stranger in My Bed

Tenderly he rocks me in his shell-shocked arms
humming the melody of a song
whose words he no longer remembers.
The week he left for war, I wore his shirts around the house
as if that warm, familiar scent cemented something,
implied continuance.

They gave him a medal (two, actually) and sent him home
broken, patched for mending--until the next call up.
There’s a different smell about him now—it’s one of Fear,
echoed in the hardened eyes which glare out, uncomprehending,
as if waiting for someone to explain.

We share a pillow because I want to be there when the nightmares start,
when his restless breathing turns into a shrieking  howl,
like an animal being slaughtered.
Sometimes, at the sink, when doing dishes, I pull out a memory
to make everything as it was again. 
Only it isn’t,
is it.

 Tenderly I rock him, in my arms,
wondering how this came to be--
how going to war  could make him disappear,
leaving me this stranger
in my bed.

Published in Burlington Poetry Journal, Fall 2008.









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