The Serpent Coil

The following post is for One Shot Wednesday is my response to the latest Bookstains Challenge. This challenge takes an abstract form— considering Barbara Hepworth’s untitled sculpture as the source of poetic inspiration… (read more)

Fetal positioned squinting eyes
Beginning life shock—that burning light
Swaddled in newspaper sterility
Spinning backward, sleet rain, movie reels flipping
Maddening sway, she shifts her hips
Fool me blush and licking lips
In totem stockings run from pain
This living through
Your bit insane 

Metallic tasting molars
Tin foiled, tempered stealing
Collide in scope stains as
Color wheels spinning
Through imagined laughter of Goethe
Inspiration from Whitman
Lucky to be alive
Once again

Crawling clumsily through nothingness
Past streaming years, recalling anger, swallowed tears
Among the branded tracks & spineless backs
Wrenched in clutching sadness, shading leaves
Serpentine madness, mineral evergreen
Quivering half-bent upon bathroom floor
Eying grime, filth clings to belly
When the walls cave your heart
Unmoved, mind stirring
Forgetting all that past as learning
This lowly love
When song born again

Apple stands, seedless core
Black almond shaped smoker’s trache
Peeling back the serpent coil
Piano wire fangs puncture
Harp string strung out desire
Reddened to appeal, bon appétit
Search to feel when incomplete
These corrosives kill
Through core of earth
Our sphere surreal
Until dusk from birth

Care for a reading?


One Shot Wednesday!
Participate by posting a poem & sharing feedback
Brian Miller is your host this week!
@ One Stop Poetry


55 Responses to “The Serpent Coil”

  1. “Collide in scope” NICE play right there. To me, that’s check and mate.

  2. Hi Keats! “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” Sorry, I couldn’t resist 🙂 Appreciate you stopping by.

    • LOL… It’s an old nick-name. My mom’s called me Keats almost all my life. My real(ish) name is Kila (pronounced Key-la, short for Kilashandra), and I started writing poetry from the time I could string letters together… Her favorite poet was Keats… thus the nick-name was bestowed upon me. And yes, that is a lovely poem.

  3. nice. some great word play dustus and several differing feelings with each verse…the second made my teeth hurt just a bit…smiles. nice one shot!

  4. I just read yours…. awesome stream of conscious flow, overall great stuff!

  5. Effective, distinctive imagery and word choices.

  6. Serpents and Apples—oh how very biblical, Dustus. Oddly enough I’m struggling with how to meet this same Echostains challenge–and in contrast, the shooting a coyote on Beacon Hill got my pen going instantlly. Wait–now I have THIS sculpture connected twice with bullets…..eegads. Now sure what might come of this surprise.
    Anyway, Hi. Enjoyed your poem.

  7. How can a lifeless item bring so much imagery and feeling so deeply wishing it gained that life-in you and your words, Adam
    Greatly done

  8. Wow! that’s a really powerful poem Adam!
    I like the way the serpent lulls her prey into false security;-
    “Maddening sway, she shifts her hips
    Fool me blush and licking lips
    In totem stockings run from pain
    This living through
    Your bit insane ….
    and then straight in for the kill!
    Thanks for joining in – appreciated!

    • You know I love your challenges, Lynda. They are my favorite prompts. I even like them better than the ones I post on Sunday. lol Will be on the lookout for the next one. Cheers 🙂

  9. […] we have a fantastic poem by Adam Dustus – you really must check out his blog – and One Stop […]

  10. Really enjoyed your reading of this one…good word play in the lines.

  11. Lots of Biblical references and I agree with previous comments Adam clever alliteration here to prove the point. I do think I need to listen and read a few more times before I get the meaning of the poem. Strong closing lines, and your reading was very passionate.

    I’ve been told off for saying “great stuff” on my comments…so I’ll say powerful wordplay word smith

  12. you left me kind of breathless – such a lot of fantastic imagery in there – crawling through – and your reading adds much to it – heartfelt – intense – tight

  13. I must say Dustus, this my fav of yours so far. The words, everything about this poem is just perfect.

  14. A feast…I’m still chewing on it!!!

  15. ladynimue Says:

    whoa ! first one shot i read and this was unbeatable stuff !! you are the master !

  16. and the dots connect…Evelyn Wood approved

  17. haha – love the symbols – a strong poem

  18. “Totem stockings run from pain…” brilliant line! A sumptuous feast of sound and image!

  19. This is just inspirational; your writing style and captivating way with words. Glad I stopped by ;). Words which paint a scene with such radiant colours indeed … Thank You for sharing 🙂

  20. Yikes! Give me an umbrella. Someone is throwing their possessions out of the second story window. “Don’t jump,” I scream. “I’ll pay your rent.”

    What a surreal piece of writing. Yes, I hear Whitman but I also hear Ginsberg and a little bit of Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues.

    I read the poem once. Then I listened to it twice. You can’t just read this poem once to enjoy it.

    These are my favorite images:

    squinting eyes
    life shock
    she shifts her hips
    Crawling clumsily
    swallowed tears
    Serpentine madness,
    mineral evergreen
    half-bent upon bathroom floor
    Eying grime, filth clings to belly
    Forgetting all that past as learning
    Harp string strung out desire
    Search to feel when incomplete

    Your reading was superb…and now I’m going to eat an apple.

  21. The whole poem seems made up of hard hitting, quotable lines, adam. Each stanza is self contained with its interpretation, and yet each moves seamless into a whole, full of emotion, pain, loss, growth, all kinds of images of birth, and a lot more I probably have missed, and all the unusual word associations “..mineral evergreen…”-masterly. Just excellent.

  22. thoughtsnotlost Says:

    Your words just mesmorized me. I was captivated!

  23. Fear, anger, hurt, original sin and woman, your name is HURT written all over it. Powerful, sir, really powerful and painful. I am hurting still as I’ve read it three or four times now. Excellent! Gay @beachanny

  24. “Crawling clumsily through nothingness
    Past streaming years, recalling anger, swallowed tears
    Among the branded tracks & spineless backs”

    That just pierces right to the heart for me. Good one, Adam.

  25. Nice words about so manyemotions one experiences in love/desire

  26. I love the dark decadent feel this gives me and this is most definately one of my very favorites of yours Adam.

  27. Jesu! This is much deeper than I am, Adam. I’ll have to read this again, and again, and again,…but your reading of it helps greatly.

    The impulse forward is what I grasped most, and the imagery is just so….complex….I will have to study this more.

    I feel like you have rounded the Universe in this poem…>I just need time.

    Lady Nyo

  28. Some nice throwbacks there, Dustus, and some captivating imagery besides, dark as it can be. I would concur with hedgewitch, though – you certainly thought up some unusual mixes for the image, odd word associations, but it all works still, it’s not broken or inconceivable; they build the uniqueness of the piece, and furnish it. Emotional and distinct. Powerful piece!

  29. dustus, you brought this abstract to life – emotions as if this serpent coil was clinching the earth striving to give birth to its new life form (the human). Intense write…bkm

  30. your ability to turn the fundamental stages of life into a piece such as this is impressive. bravo!

  31. Great piece Adam, each verse yanks you off into another direction. Loved the hidden rhyme in places too (“madness” and “sadness”, “wire” and “desire”, etc.).

  32. “Among the branded tracks & spineless backs”….love the way this feels in my mouth and as it exits as well.

  33. You covered many angle of this piece. Splendid. You really looked over that sculpture!

  34. Clever, liked the alliteration and word play.

  35. This is one I will enjoy reading many times and I’m sure each time I will discover new meanings. Wonderful, Adam!

  36. amazing wordplay with coils of meaning… impressive.

  37. Longer than your usual style. lol
    Great poem though, i was gripped through out

  38. Wow Adam, beautiful flow. This is a great poem. Keep them coming! 🙂

  39. Gets me thinking on so many levels I’m not even sure how to comment. Well done.

  40. I love the word play in this piece Adam.

  41. Your are disgustingly creative! I mean that lovingly. Great poem, you rocked it. ♥

  42. Phheeww!! Your wordplay really stuns me, Adam! Intense and powerful – these are the qualities that I can attach to this poem..
    The cyclical nature of life (and of everything else too) is so well depicted here… with all those analogies ofcourse!!!

    A great job, my friend!

  43. I read this, and I think I’m in the Garden of Eden — or perhaps just expelled from it. Good one, Adam.

  44. A take from this piece, a feeling of mixed emotion, pain, anger, sorrow okay enough to describe the dark feel, but it was well done, well said. Nice one…

  45. Beautiful words, excellent words of wisdom spurred from within this poem, great!=D

  46. Dear Dustus

    Very strong and very well crafted. It made me think a lot…

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya
    Twitter: @VerseEveryDay

  47. Fantastic word play. I really enjoyed this poem. It flowed so eloquently as well. Perfect for the picture. Thank you for sharing.

  48. betweenhearts75 Says:

    Very well-written and well read! So many wonderful flowing lines that amaze me!!! “Our sphere surreal” wow that seems to really hit me….of course the entirety of it so drawn into. Excellent!! 🙂 April

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: