Standing Dead

I stand reckoning
the struggle of distance between me and standing
dead timbers Tall slender mo’ai gray and silent I listen
The field to the wetlands hums Starbursts
of stingers flit between wild flowers I hear voices
from the hill beyond mingled with wood thrush
Locks of curly shade hint of her hair I hear what
cannot be known Wonder will there be food
How are youth and wisdom reconciled What will be
my relationship with fire I see the sunset like a blind
date where she’ll stand me up straight and stiff and I
will show her the blankness between stars


There is a big place above the sky Gods
we made romp there with the moon who
calls down to us I’m right here on the hill
with the trees where the wind whispers
Remember when you flew with me
stretching between falls of life and remember
when you played jacks laughing like lunatics
never keeping score red orb motionless
in the air at a trillion-trillion calculations
per second hand hot with lightning striking
a jack only to look up and remember reaching

That Day

There were Canada geese Red-necked Grebe and Wood Duck
as I flew into the river
I met my wife and children
We swam in water filled with diamonds and fast fish
At sunset we huddled together in our nest under the moving lights
In my dreams I was a man who didn’t catch any fast fish that day

Balaclava Bray

First snowfall of the year
I grab my balaclava and head to the barn
pretending I’m a whale breaching the waves Forceful
spout a geyser of salty breath I wonder
if I were in town
whether the mask is worn over or under the balaclava
The horses nicker
I nicker back in whale song
Last summer’s Timothy and Alfalfa keep
them alive “They” have not proven horses
can get sick and die from “it”
I begin to fantasize, daydreaming I’m riding
the mare bareback full gallop across
a stretch
of hedonistic beach in Jamaica I’ve been late
for this orgy my whole life Her hooves thrum
the surf until she stops
at the body of a beached whale At first
I want to ride around
The mare insists I dismount
Go to the whale It is
choking on discarded masks
I pull one after another from its blowhole

Girard Tournesol has had a largely private poetry practice for 45 years. He’s self-published two books of poetry and appears as a regular contributor in several regional literary magazines, The Watershed Journal, Tobeco, and Bridges Literary Journal. As a member of The Pennsylvania Poet’s Society, his work is regularly featured in PENNESSENCE magazine. Additionally, his poetry has been published online at Dark Horse Appalachia, The Indiana Gazette and North/South Appalachia. Girard occasionally appears as a street poet busking for local charities.