Outside The Line,

A literary column

By Marcia Diane

I have a confession to make. I’ve stopped reading and listening to poetry. I know, I know how weird is that. It has to do with how it breaks my heart. I suggested some audio sites for good listening in this column and whenever I do, listen, I get well, riled.

Some of the poets are so achingly young, some so damaged working to expel the damage into poems for it to hold that damage, release them from it. Some so talented it takes your breath away.

And as I get ready to tell you all this, write it here, my MSWord won’t behave right. I’ve got two files one (.) away from the same name. What could that mean. It won’t let me change the name. Always before I could.

Something wants me to share all this with you stalwart readers on this too warm winter day. Even the weather works to make us weep some days.

So who shall I feature…a moment please…while I read and weep:


Downstairs In Dreams

By Chase Twichell

Trying to fall asleep,

I count down stone steps

into the dark, and there they are:

Centaurs, half in and half out

of the woods, hindquarters still trees.

Downstairs in dreams I look

directly into their man-eyes,

which are opaque, absorbent.

They don’t speak. I don’t speak

of the long yellow teeth tearing off

the little dress—just for a glimpse,

no harm done. No hands, no harm.

Their hindquarters still trees.

No words to explain or contain it.

You can’t translate something

that was never in a language

in the first place.


Chase writes about this poem:

“My father was a Latin teacher, so at bedtime we got the classic myths and stories from The Odyssey, including a variety of creatures half-human, half-animal. Centaurs in particular fascinated me because they were both horses (longed for) and mature male sexual beings (feared). This poem cages childhood trauma in myth and dream, which acknowledges and preserves the fact of it but keeps it safely remote and unreal.”

Twichell is a published author; Copper Canyon Press and like many of us, migrates between the Adirondacks in upstate New York and Miami, Florida.

She jumped right out at me from Poets.org, the site I gave a couple columns ago which appears in my in-box daily. I swear I didn’t search for a match to my opening lines here.

If this touches some of you readers and writers out there, join us won’t you at:

m.diane.writeon@gmail.com for our monthly writers group…we’d love to see you there.