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“A Cloud Mountain”, “Of Such Music”, and “Color and Discolor”

By William Doreski

A Cloud Mountain

The dusk above Epping bulks

with black cloud on blue-black sky.

The blur of oncoming headlights

ribbons in a tough endless glitter.

We’re driving west toward Manchester

but appear about to drill a hole

in a nameless, unmapped mountain.

The oncoming cars have escaped

a crushing and desolate fate

toward which our lane of taillights

rushes without hesitation.

We’re too overwrought to parse

the illusion of a huge mountain

that dissolves as dark overflows

and swallows the sky’s geometries.

You focus so firmly on driving

that I must keep us both awake

with unnatural chatter about

the numbing flatness of Southeast

New Hampshire, the over-lit

gas stations and convenience stores

crouched beside every off-ramp.

Driving headlong into the night

we’re so engorged with traffic

that our bodies tense with the pain

of an accident that won’t occur

but still lurks around every bend

with its blue and red lights flashing.


Of Such Music

A few sick chords begin the day.

Music dies with its musicians.

The white hair of the last one

had spun fine as cotton candy

He entered a cloud and faded.

You were not his principal fan

but related to his music the way

hermit crabs relate to their shells.

I remember only a few songs

written in the yellow haze

of our mutually wayward youth.

Lately his name arose with sighs

for our crumpled adolescence.

He had to unstring his guitar

before someone did it for him.

Maybe it was the same blue guitar

that played things as they really are.

More likely it was a stock Fender

with its brilliant lacquer keening.

Today a new storm is brewing.

Winter likes to erase our tracks

over and over, leaving us shy

and breathless in sudden dark

of severed rural power lines.

Our portable generator strikes

loud and immutable chords

that ring up to a mile away.

Of such music are we made—

our bodies tingling with fear

of the night, every dream tainted.

Color and Discolor

Last night you phosphoresced blue

but this morning you’re plain as salt.

I also lost my tint and feel drab

enough to roll naked in the snow.

The new day bristles like hedgehogs.

Its parameters might confuse us,

but landmarks like the Civil War

statue and town house weathervane

retain their lack of significance.

Despite the bland and creamy outlook

we should prepare ourselves for passions

only desperate moments arouse.

Those never occur in daylight, though—

only when stars peer through mist

to endorse the great adulteries.

How often have we framed ourselves

to hang in the famous museums?

How often has the paint peeled

from our carefully limned portraits

to expose flesh instead of canvas?

No wonder your pale blue faded

as badly as my sickly green.

No wonder the snowstorm feels

so tentative dispensing its favors.

Let’s brave the icy village roads

and sidle down to the cafe

where drinking coffee discolors

everyone to the same drab shade.


About the Author

William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has taught at several colleges and universities. His most recent book of poetry is Dogs Don’t Care (2022). His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in various journals.


Poetry, The River

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