Saturday, December 28, 2013

October Air

Wind and water whip up the sandy soil
where trees sprout and grow,
until leaf by leaf they turn the October air to art;
and each breath exhaled, nailed to nothing,
animates the words we speak -
as our hands rub the shadow of lamplight,
wishing this day could hold the night at bay.

Friday, December 20, 2013

When the Topsoil is Gone

The dirt under her nails isn’t chic.
She comes by her red brick lips the hard way,
which is fine if you don’t mind clay in your throat.
That hardpan doesn’t even know she’s there,
scratching with her pencil, trying to form words.
The wind and water made it look so easy,
etching a coastline one grain at a time.
How do you learn to make bricks with mud
when the rain won’t let up? Or how to make
mud when the rain won’t come? The straw is
only an afterthought, unless you’re a swallow.
Yes but then we are not birds and our instincts
take us into layers they never dreamed.
So come with your soiled nails and clay lips,
we’ll be the envy of windblown waves.

Penniless Takes Its Toll

Sobs don’t come because the sex is good.
It is bad news for the pimp if his girls are laughing.
It means they don’t take the game seriously,
or even him, in his cream suit with matching socks,
but always the black hat and shoes.
Though really the whore’s life is no laughing matter.
It’s tough but someone has to entertain the troops,
keep the boys marching like men who can’t see the meat grinder.
Sometimes the boys whisper French into a girl’s ear,
it seems to make them more pliable, but of course
it only seems that way, a trick of the imagination.
Like the chaplain’s sermon makes it easier to die for the cause.
They pray he’s right but really it’s just a trick,
a way to keep from crying because the sex is good.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Some Idle Talk at the Y

Something To Do With Life
The living take up residence – claim jumpers really,
Inhabiting played out mine shafts,
Sharecroppers occupying cotton fields that should fallow for a year,
But the temporary is where fear and desire live  –
They make us want dust filled lungs, hands full of dirt, our minds on fire with
All that is temporal – the hard scrabble of life in lean years,
The resurrection it becomes with love, conception, birth,
The memories that annex idle moments –
Anything to forestall closure and putting effort aside
Hoping to find something gilt-edged,
Say the final scene of La Boheme,
The bittersweet beauty of death as art.
Something To Do With Faith
What is it the faithful know? What do the faithless believe?
What is the expectation of suffering less, or suffering at all?
What is the question why? What is the question when?
They are the curtain waiting to come down.
They are the finale, pregnant with doubt,
Anticipation, longing for understanding.
The word death carries its own weight.
The word life is borne in the hands like a chalice of wine.
The word hope is our faith.
The fire is on our tongues.
Our heads are anointed with the ash of generations,
And we are the instruments of our salvation.
Something To Do With God
The existence of God explains everything
Except the existence of God, for that you need humans.
God is either a physicist or a junk dealer,
Or maybe a gambler shooting craps with loaded dice.
God really must exist, who else would we blame for our folly?
Good and Evil don’t require God –
There’s enough of each in your average human to fuel the universe.
Silence on God’s part is simply mean spirited.
Silence on our part is surrender.
On second thought I’m not sure God’s mere existence explains anything,
Unless of course you believe what you read.
I am not sure why I felt compelled to write this poem. In fact I’m not certain it is a poem; but it is what came out when I sat down to write one “…so I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.”
The quotation is from Carl Spackler

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Happy Birthday

Fractured before we are born.
Shattered, maybe crazed at the end.
In between all is light and luminaria,
except in the northern reaches of New Mexico
where the Tradicionalistas insist on lighting
small fires in the farolito lined streets,
causing dark spots before my bedazzled eyes.
Rattled by your flashing badge,
red and blue over and over again,
what can I do but plead guilty
in the face of this third degree light,
mend the chipped surface of my conscience,
and behave as if nothing happened on the way
to pick up the cake at the bakery –
its tens of candles sparkling
like stars hanging on the lip of sky over the Sargasso Sea.
The same sea our ancestors feared for the monsters
harboured in its darkness as they lay at anchor
under a gibbous moon in all their mothic finery.
When the air clears and all the gifts have been opened,
we see our glass etched by the spider’s web,
we see that fashions change,
and the brighter candles burn the less we see.

Lights are on over at dVerse prompt night

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Morning, Timberline and Possibility

From the dark stone of slumber,
stumbling out of ancient ruins
where the dogs bark for release,
the finger of a shadow across your eyes - 
you walk out to the timberline.
With the wavering transience of a reflection in rainwater
you see the candlelight white of a deer’s tail
disappearing into the pine colored light,
unnoticed by dogs with noses to the ground.
Taking the hill with an awkward stride,
each frosting breath exhaled for its twin,
you notice the rushing bunching of clouds ahead of the storm
as the dogs, with noses now in the air, turn for home.
The almost cruel sting of bitter cold,
the resilience of high thin branches in the churning wind,
the rolling grace of horses painting the hillside brown,
the glazing rain trying to answer the murmuring rhetoric of the stream,
bring to mind questions that will trail you throughout the day –
Will unseen bones return as ghosts
Why such longing for vanished things
Must one moment murder the next
What is the purpose of the body’s dazzling dreams?
Though you are yet unable to discern the answers,
you turn for home where you will write them in your book –
take them as a sign of possibility.
 dVerse open link night…drop in for a cup of cheer

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Inertia 2

Something was needed,
a weight bearing substance
or a strong back.
Only children answered the call.
Only the children stepped forward.
Only the children were called by name.
They were stacked like cordwood.
Their bones burned with
the fierce heat of a black locust.
They became the fulcrum.
An indifferent world
would not be moved.

Adapted for dVerse 55 word poem prompt.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Prayer For A Day

Though I know the rustling of the newspaper cannot be heard above
the crumbling of a bombed out street, I can let myself hope the
soothing strains of violins and woodwinds drifting across my
garden might carry over lines drawn in the sand, smooth them,
erase their every trace with peace.
On this bootless day in a garden where fuchsia reigns over
yellow cups and white bells of honeysuckle my thoughts may
turn to colors, bare feet in air-cooled grass, the soothing swing
of laundry on the line. Still I can hope for a cease fire amid the
rubble of towns and lives. The luxury of an idle day.
A moment's breath to remember the scent of roasting lamb,
the peppered sweetness of mango in curry.
The resonance of the Muezzin’s call to prayer –
Azan, the first call to a new day.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Childhood Country*

It was another time, an age ago.
Now I wonder where we are
when we lie together late in this supernal night.
Beside me in graceful repose,
there is an air of the numinous
in the light on your skin.
Our world is reeling through a wind shaped nimbus.
From beginning to end we know nothing beyond
the ecstasy and the dread.
Outside the engines, denizens and fauna hum –
a country
for children.
*The title is from “The Abduction” by Stanley Kunitz 
Open link night at the dVerse Pub, come on in and enjoy.