Ah, there you are, circling the lake
in the mountains uphill from the alpaca farm.
Yes the lake walked to on the trail through the trees
Grandfathers planted beside the river,
Trillium covered banks, foaming and/or placid water.
And you are looking down -at the poet, of course-
in the sun dappled shadows composing this poem,
like the hordes before and his spawn to come
who are not salmon but still, that too is a poem to do,
following this turnstile dream quest
upstream and flopping in the gravel.
Sorry, but there is no time
to scare up a grouse or two
for you to knock down dead and feed
their bloody livers to your fledglings.
I’d be happy to except this blister
must be lanced and the serum spread,
tracing faint lines in the well worn dust.
Inspiration could rise out of Venice,
green water, grey marble, or girls in red
drinking coffee in Parisian cafes,
ephemeral blinks in stark timeless eye,
too in your garden, where each flower’s tied
to your heart by soft strings which elude me
but un-needed for your clay crusted wands
to charm forth webs enlacing me also.
Now or anticipated, each in place,
but come away, come with me, come away.
Let’s watch smooth waves born south of Australia,
end three thousand miles on African shore
washed by shine of white northern moonlight,
drowned in the roar of ten billion insects
living and dying in forests behind
us, one more night under Southern Cross stars.
River monkeys will thunder across steel
roofs in our bright dawn and evening -laughing.
We shall eat dates with them, succulent sweets,
see white lions take their ease and I’ll learn to
say “Thank you” in the nine known languages,
for if you’ll come away, I’ll need them all.
Covering The Aide For Break
A man of substance dying
in a private room, charted
“Do not resuscitate”, old,
cheeks and eyes sunk so deeply
the skull seemed ready
to just leave, to go about
its pending business early,
lay quite still beneath pale sheets
mimicking his motionless
eyes under their ashen lids.
I watched an hour, while his Aide
went to dinner, timing pulse and
the gaps between each exhale
and next inhalation’s wheeze
stretching out like dead black night
waiting for a doubtful dawn.
Every 15 minutes I
gently swabbed the lips and tongue
Oxygen’s last embers dried,
but whatever comforting
he took also also slowed him more.
Much later, we washed and packed
lifeless substance abandoned
and wheeled the cadaver’s mass
to Mortician’s Holding Room.
Shift change led us to my place
where we, our pelvic bones bruised,
gasped for breath on wrinkled sheets.
This Is Not A Poem Called “Pugil”
I wrote a poem you cannot see
full of violent lust gone worse
and selfish gratification.
Being arty, I titled it
“Pugil” - root of “pugilism”-
which turns out to mean the amount
which can be grasped between thumb and
two fingers. Clench your fist and look,
an exceedingly small amount,
like the second a man dangles,
loose limbs dancing all akimbo,
a rejected marionette,
at the end of a great left hook
or the evening of sex it won
and post-coital cigarettes,
all exceedingly small amounts,
pinched between thumb and two fingers,
there in my poem you cannot see.