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Patty Patten Tiffany

Poetry from Key West (and beyond)


 

Day Hike 

 

Yellow flowers dangle

on the mountainside

whooshed over by cool wind

popping back for sun

 

neighbored by tiny red tendrils

arranged in delicate disorder

waving between granite stripes

in sharp cascades 

 

slender shoots beside moraine 

quiet in summer

ready to rumble 

under avalanches to come.

 

A patchwork of gold

sparkles the steepness

of endless Rockies’

aspen-lined peaks

 

far above the clear, cold rush

and smack of the stream

its red-gray smooth stone 

just below icy water.



 

When I Stop Loving You

 

When I stop loving you

after a prolonged period

in which you scorn me,

 

I will exile you to Pluto,

downgraded 

from planet to icy mass,

something like you.

 

All the women you flirted with 

and longed for 

will be waiting, 

frozen but amazing.

 

Ice vixens on a cold planet,

long fingers piercing,

pointing at parts,

sharp teeth laughing,

 

while I spy

through the telescope

your continued misadventures

at the hands

 

of happy harpies

shining like sequins

as you shiver.



 

Thunder Goddess

 

Hear her mighty song

crack and roll

to emphasize 

a point.

 

She is a senator

a healer

a mother of lighting

who blazes the night sky

 

to open the dark below

heave up old highways

scorch old earth clean.

 

Avenger, unleashing

bolts and hail

to tainted earth.

 

“Come, Goddess,” we beg,

“Clean us, cure us,

unfold your wings

 

to lift the dams 

before the flood.

Wash us with your might

 

to the brilliant place 

where thunder 

is the power

 

and women 

shall wield it.”



 

Collision, St. Lucia

 

Hurtling along

hairpins

we soar down mountainsides.

Faster, I think,

Faster.

 

Past the waving profusion of

red ginger, vanilla, bougainvillea, 

the heavy, drooping pods of the bird of paradise.

Past catamarans with tall masts,

full of tourists, pasty in the hot sun.

 

And the dark faces of the Lucians…

saucy plump the youth,

but quickly aged,  

haggard and gray,

 

Shuffling, 

missing teeth,

missing jobs,

missing the modern moment.

 

Trapped between slavery

and freedom,

promise of a rainforest paradise

gone wrong.

 

we speed up

and the faces disappear

in the blur

of a rough road.

 

Faster, I say,

Faster.



 

Waiting for a New Hip

 

No breakfast

no late snack.

Oh, no,

just two 1000 mg Tylenols

and an OxyContin to be sure.

 

Lovely black geishas,

the new pre-op handlers

softly touching 

my arm, the place 

for an IV,

 

while the teams 

roll by;

anesthesia 

having the most fun 

of course,

 

all acolytes

of boy wonder

surgeon king,

demigod, 

million-dollar baby,

 

seeing my x-ray

with laser eyes

operating in two theaters

back and forth

O.R. drama

 

with wannabes

who pull muscles apart

cut nerves

saw bones

hammer in metal

while I swim 

in a comfy coma

dreams on parade

no sound of saw or hammer

 

all hard at work to replace

the dead joint

eaten by a thousand 

joyous jolts

or one wrong move maybe

 

forty years ago

tangled over a fence

on a horse I once loved 

more than life. 

Longtime friend of the Macabre, Patricia Patten Tiffany was born in Appalachia where she absorbed her poet grandmother's love of reading and writing, along with a reverence for nature and the rolling hills of home. Dreams of travel to a wider world came true during her master's program in German, eventually allowing her to live in Mexico, Canada, Austria, and Germany. Later, as a dean of admission for 22 years, using words precisely to describe, counsel, or embellish kept her joy in the company of words bubbling with creativity.She now lives on a bight in Key West, where her home floats and sometimes rocks, at the whim of the fickle sea. She is a member of the Key West Writer's and Poetry Guild and has published her work in Danse Macabre, Decimos and several anthologies.

Patty is the author of the well-received Awoken: Poems of Key West and Life, available on Amazon.com.