Two Poems by S. Kay Murphy

My Beloved Disorder

I put words on a page.
It is at once my compulsion,
My passion and my redemption.
I extract them from my brain.
I do not skip after them with a butterfly net,
Nor do I coax them out with small tantalizing treats.

I pick them out with tweezers,
Squeezing indelicately between the
Anterior frontal and left parietal lobes,

Then wiping the bloody tongs against
An already yellowing sheet of newsprint
Or a molding journal page.

Sometimes I use a cauterizing scalpel,
Ignoring the odor of burned flesh
As I slice off long, complex sentences,
Pressing them into the pages of a book.

I often scream in agony during the brutal process.
But I never allow myself the relief of anesthesia;
One must experience every excruciating throe
In order to appreciate the exhilaration and elation
Once the procedure is finally over

Which is why I keep going back to it
Again and again and again.



Montana de Oro, California Central Coast

I have walked those bluffs
In clear wind and pale fog
Cold sunlight and warm rain
And seen mystical things:
An elephant seal dozing;
A coyote ten feet from the trail;
Two otters making love,
Rolling in their seaweed bed
Face to face;
The small bi-plane that
Tipped its wings hello
As it crested the ridge and
Saw me walking there

And once,
Standing heedlessly
In a steady spring shower,
I watched as whales
On their journey paused
To breach and loll in
The warming pacific waters.

In that moment,
I would have given
Anything to be
Out there with them.

S. Kay Murphy