Joan McNerney, “Tracing darkness with vagrant fingertips” –poetry

by SF


In the corner of Best Foods
sit gleaming towers of tomatoes.

Organically grown in fine
“gated communities” far from
toxic sprays, cheap fertilizers.

High above common rabble
produce, many of these tomatoes
will go on to Harvard or Yale.

So what if their price tag is high!
Jammed packed full of antioxidants
they will not linger on the vine.

Feast your eyes upon these healthy
specimens. Note rosy glowing
skins without poisonous additives.

Gourmets check out organic labels
for vitamin rich food harvested
au natural without preservatives.

These are red-blooded American
tomatoes with no “identity crisis”
about being fruits or vegetables.

Go ahead get fresh, pick one up
and devour a few juicy nibbles.


The Search

We are the lost who have
climbed hillsides…gathering
innumerable and unnamed
stumbling over sharp rocks
searching for our long shadows.

Tracing darkness with
vagrant fingertips
tasting the disdain of dust
we are long shadows
moaning with open mouths.

Eating bitter food grown
on the wrong side of this moon
our hearts caged in fear
fearing we have been cast off
fearing we have no destination.

Sands burning our feet
whipping our unnamed faces
we are long shadows crossing
this dessert longing for
an end to our thirst.

We are losing our shadows
entering empty caves
now listening for echoes
now finding wells of memories
innumerable and unnamed.


Lost Dream

I am driving up a hill
without name on an
unnumbered highway.

This road transforms into
a snake winding around
coiled on hair pin turns.

At bottom of the incline
lies a dark village strangely
hushed with secrets.

How black it is. How difficult
to find that dream street
which I must discover.

My fingers are tingling
cool, smoke combs the
air, static fills night.

Exactly what I will explore
is unsure. Where I will find it
unknown. All is in question.

I continue to haunt gloomy
streets in this dream town
crossing dim intersections.

Everything has become a maze
where one line leads to another
dead ends become beginnings.

Deciding to abandon my search,
I return for my automobile…
nowhere to be found in shadows.

Finally I look up at the moons’
silver eye…my lips forming
prayers to a disinterested god.



Slides under door jambs
pouring through windows
painting my room black.

This evening was spent
watching old movies.
Song and dance actors
looping through gay,
improbable plots.

All my plates are put away,
cups hanging on hooks.
The towel is still moist.

I blow out cinnamon candles
wafting the air with spice.
Listening now to heat
sputtering and dogs
barking at winds.

Winter pummels skeletal
trees as the moon’s big
yellow eye haunts shadows.

©Joan McNerney
Photo by Stratos Fountoulis, «On the boat to Heraklion,Crete, August, 2013»