Monday, December 22, 2008


You are sizzle and smoke
Sour cream
Apple sauce
Fried bits of root vegetable
In charred non-stick pan

You are smell of oil
A present for each night
A dreidl spinning and landing
On Shin
Gelt melting in gold foil
Chocolate on my lips

You are cold night, dark
Orange electric bulbs
Glowing in windows across the way
Chopped onions and winter
Bags full of candy
Children hugging goodbye
For long school breaks,
Trips to Disney World,
Long walks home on icy streets

You are left out in the mainstream
Forgotten miracle
Small significance in the
Grand scheme of my religion
But you are not forgotten
All these years you are mine
And I hold you close to me

-GSS 2008


eight nights, eight lights
in this first fire I see myself
young and golden
glittering and warm
your body next to mine in
summer evening glow
each flame a memory
twisting wax spins time like a
dying wick
and we burn out quickly
each night passing swiftly
the flames increasing from
two to five to seven and
then the last night (eight)
I am reborn, a new year, new light
Your memory a page written and cast off
a book closed but well-kept
you don't collect dust
like my menorah, abandoned on a shelf
for a whole year before
set to life again

-GSS 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008


We sleep with fingers entwined.
Even when we stir in dreaming
Our hands stay solidly together.
Even in moments without consciousness
We know that we are meant to be
My body twists and folds with yours
Delicate shapes and lines
Softly moving into and out of each other.

I fall further into visions,
We are walking in the desert,
Climbing down the riverbed
Afternoon light shafting off the canyon walls
Drawing warm browns and yellows from the sandstone.

The sky knows we are here together,
The sun knows it, bathes us in her heat
The moon knows it, shines palely over our heads
The whole valley knows it, slowly winding out for us
Seeping into the horizon.
The ancient mountains see we are one
Their jagged peaks welcoming in their roughness.
The lazy swirling of the sediments in the wind
Reminds us that time is cyclical, moving backward and forward
Repetition and harmony,
Time spins out and opens wide.

We walk side by side, new and right
Earthly forces flaring into flames
With sunset.
We sit on a dry mud hill
Watch the sun's descent,
Our lips touching, breathing softly from each other.

In the night we fall wordlessly into sleep
Under a dark sky.
We hold each other even when the wind kicks up.
The power of this place pulls us naturally
Into our deepest desires, and we reach for each other,
Caressing and kissing until dawn.

--GSS 12/08


We found each other under planetary conjunction
A moon upside-down
Under the shadows of eucalyptus trees
On darkened streets
Electricity bleeding from street lamps
Shocking between our fingers,
But we didn't hold hands.

On a cube of changing colors
My hand found yours when
I touched the glass after you did
And our palm prints melted together
Changing from blue into green
Colors blending seamlessly.

In your smile I saw the fire that
Left me months ago return
Words flooding back like a deluge
Shapes and sky, sunset and rocks
Memories returning to wake me from silence,
Your body next to mine strong and sweet.

On a night that could not have been more perfect
Our spirits aligned like constellations
My eyes found in yours a common ground,
Effortless understanding and recognition.

I can still feel your hand in my back pocket,
Your skin under my lips,
The flow of breath between us, and
The desire to know more of you, all of you,
Even from miles beyond.

-GSS 12/08

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I am a mystery to you
I hide around corners and behind doors
I know you like a book
But you don't know me

I keep myself a secret
Deliciously puzzling
All the questions you
Want answers to
Are out of reach
Unless I choose to
Reveal myself

The sky is dark above us
The trees shaky and dry
Like my insides
The pigeons on the street
Are oblivious to my footsteps
As I run behind you
In the night.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Blue Autumn

In twilight the sun spreads
Moist hands over the trees
Falling in spirals as the breath of
Night spins orange silhouettes
From leaves
Colors dripping dryly as night begins
Then blowing, cracked and brown as
Autumn injects blue venom
Into the veins of all life.

Gena S. Schwam 1998


I am filled with mysticism
My head is dizzy with it
My heart is heavy with it
The future is strung up end to end
Dangles from a wire
While people fall and cities die
Storefronts burn and stars collide

You are at the center of it
You asked for my prediction
My eyes went black, my lips went slack
I couldn't find the words to
Tell you that you'll love me
From day one you were hooked
As was I
Tell you that you'll need only
This one set of eyes to
Look inside yourself

The mirror is the truth and paradox
My vision rises from within
Once spoken my words are sealed
A fairy in a pond
A ship in a bottle

My vision for you is crystal clear
I divine your intervention
Find you deep within my spirit
See you at the end of time

I won't charge you for this one
I know you will find peace
Whether with me or someone else
I'll wander alone but
I will always think of you
I will wonder why the universe
Linked our souls together
Then parted us for
An unknown length of time.

-GSS 12/08


In this sea of enigmatic partners
patience seeps, stringy, through my fingers
fine grains of dried blood, paper shreds.

I look below my surface and find emptiness
Small saplings of future evergreens
Pinecones crushed by small shoes, dog feet,
An energy hanging over the scene like a pall
No time for hello
No reason for goodbye
In this time of indignance
This war of priorities
A game made cunning by the players

Each tree shakes restlessly in the rain
Each leaf lets its stem tear cell by
Deoxygenated cell
Pore by pore
Wet branch bones struggling to rid themselves of
The mess of flat, waving hands
They fall in piles by the curbs
Receive only the ocassional speeding tire
Crushed under the weight of exhaust

I am exhausted by the race to win
More cards to my deck
More numbers on my cell
More addresses
More emails
I'm letting go of the frenzy
Reacting less to rejection than to
My own need for solitude
I'll take hermitage for granted no longer -
It has its merits
I was born this way and I'll likely expire
Alone, this way
Without the assemblage of fireflies at my fingers
Kept in clear jars, lighting my way.



I can see why it only takes one
to pollinate the crosshairs,
bring life to the fields,
ignite the fibers nestled on the petals -
only one tiny bullet to hit the mark,
tear open the flesh and bloom there.

The lift-off is homogenous
like a branding of normalcy
I've come to expect this waiting,
the humming bees at their work, cross-breeding
hairy seeds on wind plumes -
but their sterility signals only failure.

Black night hangs heavy with musk,
the rutting successful at last
and it only took one to plant the seed,
cells pleading for release,
aching, punching out of skin -
wet hides barely touching.

--GSS 2006

The bitten

I can't help but wonder if I am the biter or the bitten
The supple flesh taunting me to taste -
Or perhaps it is my own skin being penetrated by razor teeth
Tasted and savored,
Feverishly pulled free from tendon and bone.

The scars I see when I blink flash like beacons
Pull me out of my reverie, hard crack like a whip on my flanks
Instant snap of fire and my nerves jump to action,
Chomping at the bit, bright out of the starting gate
Waking me up from my thunderstorm sleep.

The intensity of the bite sends me helpless
With the sweet pain of it
And I know in an instant that I am not the one inflicting it,
I've been shut off until now, my lights dimmed
And it is the sharpness,
This frantic ecstasy
Which causes my insides to flutter open,
Hard-wired like a race car to go fast, so fast
Pistons and oil
Sweat and shine
Fast like a waving checkered flag on a tarmac track
Faster, like turbine engines during lift-off
Fastest bite of all, the dull sap of it
Vaguely honey-thick
The ebb and flow of it, amber and dark of it
Like a beating heart that I must - oh, must!-
Ingest, inhale, expel

I can't help it now, all teeth and tongue
Who does this thing that tears me open
Am I the biter or the bitten?
Our flesh blends together and we are seamless
I do not know my body from yours
Together this glue solidifies us
Your compulsions are mine
Your taste is my taste
Oh the nasty temptation of it, to become you,
Crawl out and leave myself behind.

-gss 2006


I'll outgrow you like a shadow
Watch you dance around me
Like the truth
Sitting in your cardboard box
A thousand white lies in lace
Little girl dreams musty and folded
Perfect corners, eyelets, mercy
The flowers from my bouquet
Still hang here four years later
Cast a dusty glance in my direction
Through the dingy mirror

I fancy myself a liar but
The truth is that I'm tired
Of playing the same old games with you
So I'm not going where you go
I'll not follow anymore
Leave wedding cake crumbs in my wake
When I turn another corner
Burning candles on the hills
Of my new fate

The picture that we made on that
Perfect day in May sits in the
Top drawer in my childhood room
Stashed away with old mementos
Things I revisit when I vsit
Which, these days isn't often
But I come back on occasion to
Reclaim my indecision
Sometimes finding that, once lost,
A charm can be uncovered
Resurrected from the mess
Brought back to life

Maybe one day I'll find us there
Years from now, and pick us up
Open the frame and toss us away
With the stale ivory gown
No one would buy
Maybe bring us back to life
If only to analyze why
We got broken enough to end it
Desperate enough to try it
In the first place

In the end I think I'd buy it
Give love another chance,
Just not with you.

-GSS 2006


Walking backwards bitten black
Trainwreck iron slick

Shift the rails sliding quickly
Casket thrown off track

Fastest draw from the deck
Bad call bad day bounty lost

Hanging sun lightning crack
Pitchfork bloodied on your back

Lantern light pale of skin
Down on the bed again

Under cover reckless mess
Uncover the hair from your nest

Tracing fingers over rough
Done too quick ain't good enough

Down again and out like blue
Winner takes the fastest noose

Dead dog tongue steel gray
Gonna wake me up one day

-GSS 2006


Take this delicate thing of mine
Palm it open flutter shut
Hand over hand I'm back and forth
You've got me shaken up

I'm raw and open
Delicate dusty
Underutilized undamaged goods
Waiting for your precious words
Empty and waiting to be filled

If I'm shut for good there's no way back
Not going wrong again
Not going ripe too soon
Only to be thrown away

Kiss me open pull me through
I want to see you
All you are
Want you to see me too

Let loose livewire words and I
Spill my dust through curling hands
The broken shelf falls down too soon
I'm sprawled undone and crushed again

Too brief the colors in this world
I'm dreaming craving black and white
To unpaint my mood again
To flow away and out again

The tide rolls in I'm cold and wet
Sleeping restless in the muck
Your hand on mine like softest silk
I'll follow you back to shore.

-GSS '07


Town court country night
Plastic flower seats
Fruitful time for focus
Lost in reverie
Filter out the sparks that
Taste like pleasure on my tongue

We've got time, friend,
For watching closely
The judge in her gown
All Rise, quiet now
Peace descends on the room
On the turquoise rug
On the garish curtains and their stains
And on the wall
"God We Trust"
But I never trusted you

Got knocked down and fell hard
Down in the place where lies form
Grass green on the other side
Made the mistake of loving you

Courthouse town and county hall
Gathered here and waiting
For my appeal
For the gavel to drop
For the sting to subside
So I stepped off the curb
Couldn't see the price I'd pay
That you came and took your piece

Town dead silent tonight
I've got eyes for bigger things
Always knew it in my gut
What you'd do to me

Got dismissed out loud
No disgrace
Justice served in two short words
Town court cold night
I'm movin' on
Spare your shame
Save my heart from your distate
I'll be long gone by the time you
Throw it all away

-GSS 2006

History Lesson

I stand at the apex of a bridge
Waiting, as I always do, for your flat smile
To take me down to sea level
At the bottom, Manhattan floats like
An empty egg
The yolk long since washed away
The nutrients of life buried in the brine
Of the Hudson River
The shell, a resting place for the
Microcosm of barnacles and brachiopods
The bottom-feeders and hangers-on

Neighboring islands rest in the same
Stasis, idly unaware of their status
As platforms for parasites and symbiotes
Each one, a mirror image of the other

Before they were detached from The Body
A single mass of granite stretched forever
With a giant ocean at the center
Molten rock and cooling lava
Transformed into basalt wastelands
Waiting, as I am now, open and ready
For the borers, the diggers, the chemical-makers
To emerge from infant air
The toddlers of the planet
Fumbling over their purpose
Forgetting their baby steps and
Going straight to adolescence

The great infestation gave way to the
Ones that crawled,
Dug themselves out of the stew
Set claws on cold ground and
Pollinated virgin soil

The experiments of nature took their turn
Each attempting the final success, each failing
To survive meteoric upheaval -
Bony wings gave rise to fur
Variations of every shape and size
The bipedals succeeded at last
As continents, freshly split and ripening,
Continued their steady cycling

The form was always malleable
Feet for clinging became flat for running
Across plains and ash fields
Brains grew and consciousness emerged
Pulling metal from the elements
Fire from dry wood
Sod houses from dung heaps
Skyscrapers from concrete

When I set foot on level ground
I find you, enormous eyes without light
I turn back and see the spires of
Manhattan Bridge
Fading in swiftly-moving twilight
I wonder whose hands crafted steel into
These obtrusive forms

I am surrounded by the fragile results of
Time's great experiment
Age will topple these, as well
And they will sink slowly,
A hollow, sodden city
Artificial future residence of
Evolution's best survivors

-GSS 1/04


I do not miss the womb
Some search forever for that place
The trench shrouded by moss
Waiting to be opened with eager fingers
Casually touched and prodded
Hidden in a swamp by weeping willows
The sanctuary waits for a lifetime
Twenty years or ninety – it does not matter
The seeker will find it again and return to ether
Floating in the placenta space, immersed

I wear my womb like a hermit crab
Wears its shell
I drag it from shore to berm, dune to dune
Crying invisibly for shelter I do not seek
Because it is already upon me

I wear the earth like a shroud
I smell the soil upon waking each dawn
It settles on me heavily and darkly
Though no one would be tempted to think
I am purely green
I do not have grass for skin or trees for legs
But I myself am a tree
Walking on fleshy roots, skin easily broken

I know I am not water or fire or wind
I brave the light of summer and the wind of winter
I die each autumn until spring returns and grants life
I am gifted with cycles
Fruitful years and barren decades
I have lived longer than many and I show no fear

My womb is a fertile crescent
The core of the earth and its heavy metals
Hold me in place as I move
Even when both feet leave the earth at once
They are brought back down again
As if to forget their temporary absence

I will never fly skyward or produce rain
I will never burn mountains bare
Strip the land of its nature
Stoically I remain earthbound, looking inward,
Reaching outward.

-GSS 2004


In my sickness I craved that
The way the light smeared the glass in broken
Arched up and over like a woman's back
Graceful slender curve
While thunder cracked outside

It bled out in all directions
I saw the fractures and fractals
Remains of crystals from ice that never came
Delicte white shards of glowing sun
On a day where sun was buried deep

I fell backwards and you were there to catch me
All limbs and heavy weight
Toes and fingers trickled with blood
The splendid pain of injection
Where the plastic tubing entered the site
And you sat for long hours while
The warmth outside did not reach inward
The coldness of my hand spread up through my arm
And the blanket did not warm me

Outside the light was stronger
Emerging from shadows I walked tall
While the light figures dappled over asphalt
Changing shape like bodies without limits
Those who bend and twist without bones
No spinal cord
No fusion
Just flow and melody in their morphing.

-GSS 2007


You said you wish you knew me back then
When the light was dim but my hair was gold
and the moon was not afraid to drip down on us
while you held me steady.

I couldn't care less where that time went.
We're older now and none of it matters.
I'm no taller than I was,
no less small, and my hands can still touch you
the way you like best.

I was too afraid to tell you,
even when the air left my lungs that day
and I fell sprawling on the sand
and you took me down to watch
the surf battering the shells.
Even in tiny pieces they were sharper than the
dullest blade -
I found my feet bloodied and torn
shreds of skin like confetti where I stood
while the water stole my footprints away.

If you wanted me you could have
had me, anywhere but in the city.
Anywhere but there,
and I would gladly have
followed you over and under,
crept into your bed at night
just to watch you breathing.

In the silences I remember, now
how you wanted me then and
why I wanted you,
but none of it matters.
We are grown, and time has done its work on us,
each separate and stilled,
the fire inside breaching the boundaries of
Every truth we ever told.

-GSS 5/2007


I've braved the toxicity of your life
Your tainted words
The acid pouring down on me like a torrent
All that rain and no flood, just corrosion.

I can taste the stain you left on me,
Barely breathing in my sleep.
I remember the weight of your darkness
Fists aimed at me, just out of reach.

You never knew you were a clone
Repeating what had been done to you
Like it was the most normal thing.
Simple, to threaten my life, fragile as it was then,
Curse it away before it had even been lived.

I knew before I pulled the trigger that
I'd misfire tragically, aiming at nothing
While picturing your face.
The sky like a giant target, one cloud,
You, in the center, my bullet flying by,
Just missing your most precious parts.

Delicate flesh, so vulnerable to the piercing
Blood pumping within, waiting to be freed from
Arterial bondage.

-GSS - 6/2007

For Laz

Floating down this spiral hourglass
My beating heart slows and fears it will stop.
The day comes to an end so quickly
Like carnations gathered for a casket
Thrown down in the dirt to wither slowly
Tiny petals moldering in dust.

I've awakened all my senses to the big picture
Some misfortunes can't be calculated
So precisely
Others are predictable and come when called
The expected deaths, the resurrected ghosts
They're all here with us day by day.

Others take us by surprise and shock us
The unexpected loss of friendship
The absence of companionship and love
The sudden fear of forgetting

When I recall the magic of your eyes
I will remember their golden gleam
The intelligent way you held your head
Listening to my every breath
Mingling with yours - the steady breathing
Chest rise and fall, and you on top of me, small
Not heavy, just silent, still and warm.

-GSS 2008


in this crazy swerving world of flesh
i have your bones in my jaws like a caveman
ripping and tearing
tendons and sinew
muscle and fat
skin and blood
all in my vessel mouth

hand over hand i climb down your spine
crawl into your open spaces
reach junctions and pauses inside you
hidden rooms and closed doors
the bed turns itself over and over again
breathing our steam and our fire

this is cannibalistic, this feeding time
i sink into the ritual and bow beneath it
bite marks and crevices
cracks in my teeth
fingernails and hair as smooth as silk
digestible fragments of you

i try to find your voice inside your throat
and the echo of my chaos slides through
empty holes
vocal chords slip through my fingers
your heart with its iron cage
i sit in the dust of your bones and hold only
the things i know
are indigestible.

-Gena Schwam 2003


It was a sunless morning
Red dawn Texas
Men sealing the fate of their cattle
With red hot iron brands
Fields coated in green down fur
Locked in with electric fences
Women cooking pig meat in oil
Batter bubbling in griddles

The aluminum bits of your frame
Flew in, crash-landing in their backyards
Before the breakfast mess was cleaned
Before the children hopped their bikes
And sped off to the playgrounds
Fiery unexpected death
Premature burial 40 miles up
Unceremoniously cremated by
Rocket fuel
Streaks of white dust, toxins in the sky
A bacon-scented morning gone awry

You've made your mark for miles
Bloodlessly screwed down into the earth
With your crew
Your toxins
Your fleeting fame
Your news-worthy attention-grabbing denoument
I mourn for you like the others
Watch the footage of your plummeting end

When the TV is off and the day is quiet
I look up at the clouds and realize
It was a sunless morning
And you added light
A metallic sun goes down tonight

-Gena Schwam 2003


This is my opening note on Blogspot. Welcome to Blue Autumn. I keep a personal blog on Livejournal too, but the purpose of this one is strictly for poetry display. I welcome all comments and questions, and anyone else who writes and would like to share their poems. I hope you enjoy. I will try to write as often as I can, but like other artists, my creativity often happens in small bursts, not every day. I'll go with the flow...