Mask of Cherries and other poems

by Grant Tarbard

Mask of Cherries

To all the ones without a destination

The mirror doesn’t
exist when there’s no grooming
figure applying

a mask of cherries.
The periwinkle lipstick,
her ghost of blusher

in powder puffs of
orchids, her eye liner shields
a blue nebula.

The sloe mascara
that will be clotted tears by
the drone of midnight’s

liquor coated bells.
The mirror has a pasted
glue masquer with a

lone charcoal player
who exists in the crumbling
glimmer of sad songs,

a mask of cherries
orchid lipstick, eye liner
her ghost of blusher.

Lament for the Loss of Silence

there’s no frontier
in the old dog willows

of empty chip wrapper cables
that blow about in the wind

raw flesh given
to capture the last moment of calm

no newsprint boundary
no static radio no man’s land

rest is at work
hushing babes to sleep

the best silence
never happened



our lifecycle is
like a globe, when you’re
to the east of death
you end up in the
sunshine of the west

the scene of the crime
was a lifecycle
burned in the fire
of Hades’ lust for
fair Persephone


New Years Eve, 1986

That vinegar taste,
my first sip of wine
at a party that
the girls took hours to
fabricate themselves,

hair in rollers a
week in advance. Oh
yes, that silver foil
for highlights, that old
rotten egg perm smell.

The pop delivered
from the milkman in
the morning, a case
of it stored in the
shed with the spiders.

We didn’t have fizzy,
except on Christmas.
The glass bottles of
different colours,
florescent orange,

florid sin crimson,
midnight black, to a
small flat boy it was
as fascinating
as the contrails

of a space shuttle.
Come the party, I
was plied with Guinness
and beer by the men,
white wine the women.

I spent the party
on chocolate stairs
hushed, playing with my
friend in the alleys

of his village, no
one bothered me as
they were engaged in
grown-up talk, which I
now know is claptrap.


Lear and His Fool

Desperate in a daughter’s woe-be-tide
There lies a selfish boar, cherished, haggard,
Vain, and to Cordelia he denied
Her share, with hardly a rattled scabbard.
Pictures of what he once was are cracked, lost,
He’ll end his days upon the madness rock
They whispered, he’ll catch his death in the frost,
He’ll tempt his ruination with sweet talk.
While the world sleeps he watches the moon’s lust
Feather ivory across the mud smear
Sky. The king furrows his brow and throws crust
After spear and cries ‘the moon’s veneer!’
The moon is a kite owl in a silk pouch
Boxing with mist, all his former selves slouch

Disappearing as
quickly as they came,
rowing in the clod,
just waiting for the
suffocating hand.

Smell the blue air of
his no man’s land. His
mouths are fountains that
sprout trees, the death of
a film spooling out

in a collection
of light, the moon is
a kite. It’s roots are
zinc white. Move dust to
the light, move stars from

the night, solemnly
he writes. August is
his soul, kingly gems
thrown in a puddle
of mud, exile of

blood, his malady
is his clarity.
What horrors unfold,
his genitals are
frozen to the ground.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Grant Tarbard is internationally published. His chapbook Yellow Wolf, published by WK Press, is available now.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Scott7painting by Skot Horn