Two poems by George Bishop

Under the Owl

I’ve lost count of the bones
beneath him, grown tired
imagining his way around
darkness, the mechanics
of each claw—it’s the heart
I want as he races angels
to rabbits, I need to taste
what he takes from minds
rat wired. Good as angels
are they’re no match for
survival, which is why they
prefer prayer, the odds of the
out-of-control thrust into
the overcrowded cells
of yourself. For the moment
things seem to be seeing it
your way, you feel what you’re
looking for looking for you,
a visitor on his way down
the hall of your past when
forgiveness steps in, extends
your stay—such escape’s
forbidden, you’re back
under the owl where you
should be, guilt driven, silent.
I think that’s what he’s been
thinking up there appearing
more like a tree than a tree,
every bit the opposite of a soul.

Learning to be Poor

I learned too late it’s only
a matter of letting it rob you
in your sleep, permitting it
to peel away your desire for
anything except desire—
no easy thing unless you
surrender to the man
or woman you’ll never be.
But if you do, you’ve escaped
the death watch of ownership,
the suicides not-so-simple
pleasures can’t help but
commit. The rewards of
disappointment are nearly
endless. They scrape your
windows in winter, try to
scratch out the answers
of glass. The universe is yours,
not a manmade god left
in the stars, just gases roaming
the darkness, desire hidden,
the light ready to reach out,
only interested in other forms
of itself no one’s ever seen.

George Bishop is the author of five chapbooks, most recently the forthcoming “A Little Like You” from Alabaster Leaves Press and his new full length collection of poems “Expecting Delays” will be published in early 2013 by FutureCycle Press. Recent work appears in New Plains Review, Naugatuck River Review and Lunch Ticket. Bishop lives and writes in St. Cloud, Florida.

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