Spring Tide​

It's Spring and she has planted fantasia

variegated tangs of peppermint

strawberry sage parsley essentials

​blooming midst crisp jade, wafts of lilac

​lavender chive with belvedere of mauve --

sweet rambling gardens

nourished by richness on primeval beds of ash

​elucidated by dangling stars in night air

​child's play of dreams buoyant in the sky

blissfully unconcerned that autumn even exists --

​and yet a wintering breeze lurks

​as she kneels in irreverent dirt

​refusing to acknowledge its enervating voice

​that small muddy gnome in her own vernal cafe

or an anonymous bespectacled star looking down

suspended between time zones

​watching antiquity's produce

​and the future's looming autumnal beauty

​which may compensate for spring's murder

​the flash and boom as love burst.

Copyright 2018. Christine Tsen. All rights reserved.​


​Taken unaware, in a moment you slip, and you can't

stop slipping

you want to seize but you can not

and it's not a bad thing, this glissando of your life

when you accept it, you gain profound humility

you must, because others do see you on smooth wood

​(they are pretending not to)

they look as you smile back and you look utterly foolish

but it's just this concern of others that you must 

over-come if you are to gain your humility

which you do gain in the end after a few cycles

as you absorb the brilliant image of people talking of you,

looking at you,

watching you fall

without reaching out their hands

​and you have sought in silent wailing for a hand

but there is none

and so you gain compassion

because if you see another begin to slip even an inch

you hear a whisper in your heart and you scoop them up

in your arms

because there is nothing in the world pulling you now

as strongly as compassion

there is no hot and cold, there is only that promised

out-stretched hand of love


riding back up and up on eagle's wings, in the silence,

you understand Rumi

no, you must not sit with indifferent people

because all of life is a most precious gift, 

from every vantage

the endless rise and fall, your breath, the tide,

​and you must bring your travel chest

step in bare feet onto pearls

know with full moon eyes

​how to recognize companions along the way.


My poems are in THRUSH Poetry Journal, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Requiem Magazine, The Bark, Utmost Christian Online, The Weekenders Magazine, Cyclamens and Swords, The Camel Saloon, Big River Poetry Review, The Artistic Muse, Poetic Pinup Revue, The Legendary Poetry Magazine, The Rusty Nail, Pyrta Journal, The Eunoia Review, Autumn Equinox issue of Mused, Broad!, Blue Lake Review, Defenestration, The Montucky Review, and Emerge Literary Journal.

O Fortuna

​A quivering in the dead brush, ghosting of a velvet flute

holds me close

scales up and down flickering wings through vanishing time.

Upstairs, a rock-a-bye atmosphere tinged with birdsong

my father in his soft shirt smelling of leaves and smoke

his song of wilderness flowing unfinished.

Mother is downstairs near a ruffling of curtains

rounding her shoulders at the sink, reddening knuckles

in her perishable world.

She worries as she hums, vigilant

over quotidian life and lump-free gravy

as my memory blurs into abstractions, a cigarette's final spark.

Here I lay

doubled up in the pitched tent of now, memories unfurling

captive to a glassy panache of my own Carmina Buranic notes

smashed flutes surrounding dammed up 'O Fortunas'

everything to experience in this precious life 

driven into words of carnality

notes of love singing with such intensity

that there's no stopping the glass shattering.


She’s obsessed with him
as we watch
her favorite man in literary history
it’s a very well made production by the way --

It excites her that his character is Aspergerish
has this fast way of talking, just as she does
and isn’t it so funny that no one can keep up
with him, or her, no one. Not one.

But I’m Watson, I can see that as I watch
her face, her amused bemusement, to her
I’m the commoner slow speaking 
made-with-all-the-ordinary hinges and bolts
mortal, but she –

she’s able to memorize dates, hairs 
on a pant leg or the Fibonacci series, prime number
calculations in her spare time
all the shadows, only taking what she truly wants
from the pantry or whichever cases challenge her

turn up the volume! I’m getting 
old and I’m trying to lip read
Watson’s hot, I like Watson’s
sweet nature, but she

she’s Sherlocked.


In spring’s quiescence she waits 
Misplaced and dreaming 
Until the whisper loves her 
Chopin’s Etude in E 
Gathers her as other girls might blossoms. 

In the fresh green scent of summer 
Her raucous passion mingles with a rustling of trees 
As Liszt’s Consolations run through 
The dark tang of turbulence and notes disconsolate 
Gather her as flowers might other girls. 

In autumn’s receding light 
Stripped to a kind of essence 
The girl wanders timeworn and bloodied 
A Brahms Intermezzo in B flat 
Gathers her like fallen leaves. 

Even in the exile of winter’s Golgotha there are notes 
Where your song-making stars are visible 
And she’s yours 
A wayfarer who’s always grabbing her hat 
Tripping along behind 
Trying to keep up 
The desperate lover, a child wanting to follow you. 

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