Black Silk

Black Silk

by Shay Cook
Black Silk

Black Silk

by Shay Cook


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Black Silk presents a poignant collection of humorous and heartfelt pieces of poetry and prose. Author Shay Cook shares witty anecdotes and earnest life messages in an assortment of rhyme and free verse, with words that sway and saunter into the heart. The title references the smooth, luscious feel of silk against skin. Her verse seeks to evoke the same sensations—sumptuous, sensual, soothing, and sinister.

Shay’s work captures aspects of the human experience, exploring an abundance of topics including love, forgiveness, and grief. Divided into four intimate sections, this collection ventures into the thoughts and emotions of all with poems like “The Pianist” and “An Impatient Winter.” Savor the opulence of silk in this new compilation of works past and present.


Standing close I feel the wind against this frigid sky,

I kick off my shoes, curl on the couch, with me, myself and I.

With lemon tea, a well-read book, I grab my warm afghan,

And nestle beneath the crocheted yarn and think about this man who is timeless.

Timeless as the autumn leaves which dance upon the foliage.

Like summer rain which grows the grain and tulips in the spillage.

Like music, like the painter’s brush which strokes his work of art,

As Beethoven and Chopin who plays upon the heart, this man is timeless. …

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781475940602
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 08/15/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 130
File size: 187 KB

Read an Excerpt

Black Silk

By Shay Cook

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2012 Shay Cook
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4759-4059-6

Chapter One

... Sumptuous

Continuously you cloak yourself and sneak inside my poems. I pretend not to notice thoughts of you incessantly.

    The Pianist

    The notes were playful and plentiful,
    Spinning and spiraling on the crisp, clear waves of air,
    And they were alluring.
    They hovered and danced and bowed,
    Then flipped themselves over and upward.
    Leaning forward I caught the scent of the love songs as they flew by,
    And was filled with joy and delight as the notes grew wings.
    Like birds of the air they carried the matter of love straight into my heart
    Leaving me faint and weak.
    While I stood helpless the pianist juggled each note with his fingers,
    Tossed them into the night air with abandon,
    Then flung them at me with full force.
    I staggered drunk and intoxicated in the aroma of the love songs
    While the pianist looked on satisfied.
    That pianist was ruthless.
    I shall return to him again!


    I am the height of the pine tree.
    I am crab apple blossoms pirouetting their leaves,
    Frosty wind howling through naked willow trees—beautiful.
    I am hyacinth moist with June's new rain,
    Sleeping Blue Mountains stretching their veins,
    Moonlight floating across milky white fields,
    I am women in high heels—beautiful.

    Beautiful as the aroma of potent perfume,
    As the certainty of my steps as I enter the room is beautiful.
    Like the stallion in his majesty and hoofs,
    As soft as summer rain hitting against tin roofs is beautiful.
    Beautiful as winter silhouetted against time,
    Beautiful as life sublime,
    As a new born cooing,
    As romance and wooing,
    As sweet and smooth as butter soft kisses,
    And hopeful wishes are beautiful.

    I am white diamonds, black pearls,
    Daddy's baby, mama's girl,
    I am the fresh sap on a wet dew morning,
    The fiery sunset at evening tide,
    I am the arms you run into,
    And the peace you find there when they are open wide to you.
    I am the place you lodge and the warmth you wrap yourself in,
    I am the listening ear and the calm of a gentle friend.
    I am full enough to hold your dreams and pain,
    And empty enough to fill you up again.
    I am enough in all you see,
    I am all you need and all I need to be—beautiful.

    He's A Man

    Look at him gently lying there,
    Caramel skin, silky smooth hair,
    My heart is in his hands for safe keeping,
    Prayer is in his soul while he's sleeping,
    He's a man!

    He's a hard-working, loving, caring,
    Soft-spoken, never swearing,
    Kind-hearted, giving, sharing,
    Good-looking, blue jean-wearing man.

    He's a root beer drinking, chocolate eating,
    One woman, never cheating man.
    The only cheating that he does,
    Is from Sunday church and that's because,
    He's plowing the fields, shucking the corn,
    Feeding the baby calves that are born.
    He's a man!

    He's a hard-working, loving, caring,
    Soft-spoken, never swearing,
    Kind-hearted, giving, sharing,
    Good-looking, blue-jean wearing man!


    Yesterday, a year ago, today, I forget, I bumped into David.
    There I was standing on the corner of Tenth and Elm,
    My thoughts on a million things to do and light years away from David
    When he surfaced on the sidewalk,
    Breath swirling hot circles against my shoulders.
    He was still beautiful—olive skin, gray flecks of hair, statuesque,
    Hovering over me like the skyscrapers surrounding the downtown hub.
    He touched me on my elbow with the crispness of snow,
    The residue from his fingers dripping with poetry,
    Memorable, familiar, recognizable, proverbial.
    Then as quickly as he surfaced he disappeared into the crowd,
    Leaving me alone with once upon a time and my fingers in my face,
    Tracing my lips, wiping my tears, and remembering yesterday,
    A year ago, today, I forget.

    A Small Still Place

    There is a small, still place inside of me,
    That is mine and mine alone,
    For the safe keeping of my dreams,
    For the centering of my soul.
    For the rebel, defiant woman mounted on the wild, untamed horse,
    Riding the stallion fast for all he is worth.
    Airborne atop his strong frame of muscles and power,
    I hold the stallion firm as I dare against the wind.
    Dust in my face,
    Courage in my eyes,
    Grit on my teeth,
    My legs against his strides,
    Unruly blood gushing through my veins,
    While he kicks and bucks and jolts and gallops and all that remains,
    Is the power of my resistance.
    I hold him fast,
    I hold him tight,
    I hold him strong with all my might,
    Until he is broken,
    Until he is free,
    Until I bring us both to our wildest.

    Blow Torch

    In the gray misty gloom where withered summer roses,
    Clutch a thousand wintry chills,
    And frost bitten moments come to paralyze your will,

    Breathe visible birds of fate and song,
    Breathe yourself into the flute, the piccolo, the violin, that you belong,
    Until your fingers know their place,
    Like the dancer's feet, weave body through space,
    Until your hands know the feel of skin,
    As the grace of the poet's pen,
    On leaves of silver and brass and string.
    Blow until fluid music you bring,
    As soft as love and joy and pain,
    Then do it all over again.
    Open your mouth and breathe.

    Like glass blowing in a velvet blur of gold,
    Hold on to the visions which gust inside you,
    Hold on to the music which glides you,
    As a skater's blades on infinite ice.

    Blow once, then twice, then thrice,
    Until sounds break through your fears and imaginations,
    Until your words are more than loud vibrations,
    Until you turn your dream into living, liquid form.
    Open your mouth and breathe.

    Growing Old

    When I grew old God was there,
    Like a foreign country I had not visited,
    Filled with cobblestone streets meandering through luscious green valleys
    that guided me to quaint little vegetable markets in the heart of town.
    There I took in the smells of spices and curry,
    Sniffed the newness of the unfamiliar,
    Taste-tested foods I had never eaten,
    Then filled my basket with succulent delights
    To concoct the most scrumptious stew.


    Does the fire of your dream awaken you?
    Does it burn like a torch in the night?
    Like flames does it set your soul ablaze?
    Like fire does your dream ignite?
    Does the dream you once had still follow you?
    Does it whisper to your spirit and soul?
    Does it lay down with you at midnight?
    At daybreak does your dream unfold?
    Does the fire of your dream still beckon you?
    Does it call to you from black smoke?
    Does it linger deep down in your spirit?
    Do you still see your dream as hope?
    If the fire of your dream still troubles you,
    If it hits at you like a fist,
    If it beats against your being,
    If your dream never gives you rest,
    If the fire of your dream still summons you,
    If the dream you have never die,
    The best thing you can do for your dream,
    Is to give it wings to fly!

    Cooking Classes

    I cut my culinary teeth on the skirt tail of Mama's white cotton aprons,
    Drenched in fried fish and day old Crisco oil.
    Speckled with corn meal and garlic,
    My hands were covered in self-rising flour,
    Just pasty enough to coat the fritters.
    Burners pre-heated on the cast iron stove,
    I learned much about life and love,
    Passion spilling over out of every pot,
    With wisdom spattered on teachable moments,
    Of generous helpings served to a child.


    Standing close I feel the wind against this frigid sky,
    I kick off my shoes, curl on the couch, with me, myself and I.
    With lemon tea, a well-read book, I grab my warm afghan,
    And nestle beneath the crocheted yarn and think about this man who is

    Timeless as the autumn leaves which dance upon the foliage.
    Like summer rain which grows the grain and tulips in the spillage.
    Like music, like the painter's brush which strokes his work of art,
    As Beethoven and Chopin who plays upon the heart, this man is

    Like violins which pluck their notes and strum in splendid measure,
    As melodies and symphonies and words which give me pleasure,
    Like a little piece of chocolate, like well fermented wine,
    And as the Stradivarius he gets better in his time,
    Like Versace and Gucci and Vera Wang,
    As Davinci and Latte' and class in simple things, he is timeless.

    Timeless like the mustard seed which metamorphose in bloom,
    As moonlit nights and candlelight illuminates a room,
    Timeless as the Yellowstone and as the Cedar tree,
    As New Year's Eve, Auld Lang Syne, and down on bended knee are

    Timeless as the hues in autumn—browns, reds, and yellows,
    As daffodils and little feet which scuttle through the meadows.
    As days and weeks and months and years and insurmountable hours,
    As dogwood trees and maple leaves and scents in orchid flowers,
    He is timeless.

    Like Versace and Gucci and Vera Wang,
    As Davinci and Latté and class in simple things.
    He is timeless like the warmth I feel when wrapped in my afghan,
    Which comforts me and totals up the measure of this man who is

    Yellow Majesty

    A moonlit night.
    A sunflower.
    A yellow tulip.
    Sunrise in its new hour.

    Yellow as fire,
    As passion's desire,
    As sweet lemonade on a summer's eve.
    Like an autumn morning, crisp and brisk,
    Filled with orange and yellow leaves.

    Yellow as the colors in the rainbow,
    As gold fish gurgling in a lake,
    Like lemon drops and gummy bears,
    And banana crème pie for goodness sake!

    Like honey bees dancing on golden daffodils,
    In a springtime meadow full of children,
    Wearing smiles of yellow happiness,
    As bright as laughter and lemon fresh air,
    As majestic as God and prayer.

    Miss Emma's Cooking

    Collard greens, corn bread, macaroni cheese,
    I wonder why my hips keep looking like these.
    There's nothing in the world like a country old woman,
    In the kitchen just looking and cooking and plundering.
    Pat a cake and bake a cake and put it in a pan,
    Roll those fluffy biscuits and pat them in your hand.
    Gingerbread, crackling bread, any kind of bread,
    Miss Emma gets to cooking whatsoever's in her head.

    I know that I can stand to lose a pound or two or three,
    But Miss Emma's cooking keeps sabotaging me.
    Pound cake, chocolate cake, red velvet cake,
    She'll fry it up or stir it up or use her shake and bake.
    I know that I can stand to lose a pound or four or ten,
    But Miss Emma's cooking makes me come back again.
    Lemon crème pound cake, sweet potato pie,
    The way that woman cooks, my oh my!

    I know that I can stand to lose a pound or twelve or twenty,
    But Miss Emma piles my plate with plenty,
    Peach cobbler, rice pudding, angel's food cake,
    Sweet corn, lima beans, and country fried steak,
    I know that I can stand to lose thirty five or forty,
    But Miss Emma's cooking, my lordy, my lordy!
    Meat loaf, pot roast, and southern fried chicken,
    She'll make you smack your lips and your fingers you'll be licking.

    I know that I can stand to lose forty-five or fifty,
    But Miss Emma's cooking just taste so nifty.
    Self-rising flour, corn meal, and cooking oil,
    She'll fry it up or bake it up or bring it to a boil.
    You know Miss Emma's cooking, it just ought to be a crime,
    How that woman bakes from scratch and she can make a key-lime.
    There's nothing like a country old woman in the kitchen,
    Looking and cooking and carousing and fetching.
    I know that at some point at myself I should be looking,
    But why do that when I can blame Miss Emma's cooking?


Excerpted from Black Silk by Shay Cook Copyright © 2012 by Shay Cook. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


... Sumptuous....................1
... Sensual....................29
... Soothing....................53
... Sinister....................81
About the Poet....................109
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