S&R Literature

S&R Poetry: Three poems by Don Raymond, Jr.

About The Typeface

The words are set in ink
on the pulped innards of trees.
The idea for words
comes first from Sumeria
as wedges in wet clay: tales
of what came before, lost
to flood and forgetfulness.
The shapes of the letters
formed in Phoenicia, and sorted themselves
into vowels and consonants -
each breath a brush stroke

traced by hand on the skins of animals,
or anything else
that would bear a mark
the shattered jar’s wine
leaving drunken trails
of words in clay.
Ostraca and papyrus:
in the land of forever, something besides flesh
         that would fade, crumble to nothing -
thoughts held in fragile vessels.

The guttural language of English,
bastard child of French and German,
        descends (most likely … at least, possibly)
from the steppes of Russia
the words for sky, for father, for the god
that was both of those.
But none for the chasm
between the thought and its capture
wild lines on stone, begging
to be free –

* * *

Storm Season

The old men in the village told us
how the roaring of thunder
was really the bellowing of walruses
who, long ago, when the Great Winter
held the seas in a fist of ice
had forsaken the waters, and learned how to fly.
Their great cloud bodies,
grey and white in the winter sky,
swam ponderously through the ocean of air.
fighting, come the breeding time
lightning spearing the ground
their great yellowed tusks -
with groaning thuds they crashed together
the spray from their bodies fell as rain,
as fresh water, so long from the ocean
they have forgotten the taste of salt.

* * *

The Mercator Projection

Upon a far and lonesome shore
past the shipwrecked shallows
Sargasso gulfs and sirens seaweed, her salty hair
the flag made fast to catch
what winds might beckon us onward
no home beyond this hull.
Fresh from the horse latitudes
leering lullabies on lunatic swells
where the waves wash clean
the mountain's bones, mooring
in this uncharted place, the sand
a fever dream of virgin white, none have come
this way before, in the silent bay
when we turn our prow
to kiss the deeper blue,
our footsteps too will vanish.


Don Raymond lives in the tiny hamlet of Alturas, CA, where he corrupts America’s youth as a substitute teacher. He has also worked as a lightbulb salesman and as the manager of an Egyptian Museum, and once didn’t make a left turn at Albuquerque. You can read more of his work at Architrave Press and The Molotov Cocktail.

Categories: S&R Literature, S&R Poetry

1 reply »