by George Korolog 

Smelling as a Position

Now there is just the hard cement under your feet,
a foot path where birds might surprise you
with a suggestion to inhale deeply

and spindle downward, featherlike,

off the road,

rolling into the absolute certainty of dirt,

acrid and stinging, like you remembered,
before everything had all gone bad.

They are singing in the swells

of air that used to be nestled
around you,

like tendrils of mist rising from block ice,
a nose planted in a well oiled glove,

or a face, nestled in honeysuckle,
or something smelling blustery

if you only turned in the right direction.

The bouquet of tar bubbling on the street,

the perfume on her sweater,

inhaled so deeply that
you forgot how to breathe.

The scent of sweat panting.

Now the world is just clean lines

and competent design
pretending to provide a path,
even as you turned your back on it.

You didn’t want to be noticed sniffing
or having someone steal

you away on the inhale.

You wanted to stay in it more than you knew.


The sun is adamant.
It traces the world with fiery fingers,

filaments intent on their own slow rising,

insinuating with a taunt,

teasing the underside of the nether world,

while blotting the new sky

with ribbons of fresh color,

like a new painter blossoming forth

with coming promise,

with the gradual reassurance

of time to settle               

into the rhythm of change,

preparing us for the moment

when it reaches the other side

and begins, once again,

to take back the light.

The sun does not choose to spew

and splatter wildly.            

It takes the fight out of us in silky measure

and soothes

the world into gradual change.

It knows that if it rose too quickly,

our eyes would melt through

the cracks in the hands that

were held up to cover our face.

The sun does not want a fight.

It beautifies and refuses

to leave us alone with the pain

in our terrified eyes.

It comes with the promise of return,

of slow transit, and the assurance

of an unbearable beauty

that we dare not face.


I strode into your

raw fluttering,

your exhibitionism,

thinking of us,

both willing as moths.

I looked up and saw you,

tonguing the last of the sky

with your marble dreams,

rocking burnt amber


slowly across the wind,

your sad crimson bleeding

across a macaroon sky,

I reached out and

cupped the scent of your color

to my face and inhaled,

hoping to fathom

fathomless things.

Did you miss me

hiding in the far corners,

blushing myself,

waiting for you to arrive?

I am desperate to transform

you into the purest white

but I am consumed by

gobbets of recollection,

by the greyest blue,

seeping with me into the ground.

blood moon

The moon is hanging in there

with a big ego,

receding at one and a half inches  per year.

It’s not a trick.

 10,000 years ago the Sahara desert

was wet with frogs

and the moon was four football fields

closer to earth,

reminding me again

that I become when I listen

to the growing distance

of my own round image,

embarrassingly red.

About the Author:


George Korolog is a San Francisco Bay Area poet and writer whose work has appeared in over 100 literary journals internationally, including The Los Angeles Review, The Southern Indiana Review, The Bookends Review, Tar River Review, Pithead Chapel and many others. He has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and twice for Best of the Net.  He can often be found backpacking alone in the mountains or forests, along the ocean or in the desert, and is sometimes known to write on bark and rocks with pine quills. His first book of poetry, “Collapsing Outside the Box,” was published by Aldrich Press in November 2012,  His second book of poems, “Raw String” was published in October, 2013 by Finishing Line Press.  He is working on his third book of poems, “The Little Truth.”