Winter 2012

The spoils

When you have been torn

to pieces by love, by war,

it’s easy to mistake wine

for glue. It’s easy to

allow the winepress

to squeeze and chew

whatever’s left of you and

retreat from the arrows,

the cannons.

For a season, for us,

wine was oil and

we were her faithful

lanterns lighting up

the battlefield and

giving the vineyard

a soft gentle glow ...

But even in peace time,

love is a hard-fought commodity

For years I had been

caught in the crosshairs

of your crossed legs; your

navel a barrel pressed

softly against my forehead

at point blank range

me, on my knees

gripping the pearl handle

begging for your sweet life

to pour into my own

You pistol whip me

you take me for all

I’ve got and leave me

drenched in a puddle,

a blend of both of our wines

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You’re a warrior.

You’re the rebel that

everyone is after.

You’re beautiful to me.

but I couldn’t simply

call you pretty..

Pick-up lines

about dimples and shells

are often hollow and empty

I always fall in somehow.

Don’t be mad at me

just take this as

free music or

poetic flattery,

take this the way

I took your body,

your heart a loud war

drum and delicate

xylophone-like ribs

in perfect tune ...

Love is friendly fire,

a constant tugging

and strumming

of the heartstrings.

I can no longer fill

songs with words,

you’ve got my vocal

chords wrapped around

the tip of your sword.

I surrender; I’m yours.

I’ve been scorched

by the light of my own


Cashed in love, for ammo.

Lit my stove with

old poems even.

Now we’re at war and

You’re a warrior

you are the revolutionary

that I have always wanted

in my circle, on my side,

from day one I’ve gobbled your

propaganda up like scarce rations,

begged for indoctrination, stared

blindly into your eyes so I could

see myself in a new light,

I almost sold out, came close.

Even though I can’t go with you

I want you to know that I believe

in your vision.

Now, my heart beats like

street riots; you smash

my windows, kick over

the lanterns and set fire to

my prayer rugs and temples.

Beautifully cruel; spotless.

Your eyelashes are weapons that

bat arrows into my quiet peace.

You were built for conflicts like these.

So colonize me

maraud my huts,

loot my throat

for all of its metaphors

You leave me speechless.

You’re a ripe peach

an orchard’s high priestess

you bonfire the trees

just to free your flames

nobody can handle

your sweetness.

Though I’m glad you came.

Astral artistry you come

from stars obviously

you’re beyond a work of art

polished and carved marble

Mona Lisa be damned

a broken dam

your beauty has

flooded my lands

Once again

I would sack a continent full

of the richest cities

for just one more sip

and if I could I would trade

all of the world’s grapes just

to be in your skin again

The past

has left me scarred

and I know that girls

from the future dig scars

way more than fancy cars

and here we are

so I’m moving on,

up, out and far away

to take new loot.

Jordan Chaney is a spoken-word poet who lives in the heart of Washington wine country.

This story was originally published December 20, 2012 4:00 PM.

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