Saturday, March 26, 2011

Senryu Series III: Sundown at Altas Lakes

Trek in summer's heat:
we're lost, dizzy in thin air -
suddenly, a path.

Deer droppings lead us 

to pool's edge: shh, not alone!
the pair bends to drink.

Ears twitching, alert
for danger. Sniffing us out,
they leap... blur of brown

Snow melt cascades here:
wet prisms break sunset hues,
many rainbows.

Damp clothes hang on shrubs.
We bathe naked in cold lake.
Dust, sweat wash away.

Under waterfalls
I drink from your golden skin -
My thirst, unquenched.

Path leads back to camp.
We eat cold snacks. Who needs fire?
Aflame with passion.

Friday, March 18, 2011

First Car Totaled

 Pink stickers appeared on our block
One Sunday morning.
My old wreck along with the others
Looked as if it had been kissed by some painted hussy,

A cheap trick -
Twenty-four hours to move or be towed
Away with all the other jacked-up,
Tireless, mangled heaps parked on the street.
I guess it was just our turn.
I had procrastinated three months,
Knowing a deadline would finally break
The bond of guilt and ownership.
But I would not sever it myself.
If I had sold it at my leisure
With an ad in the Sunday Trading Post,
I could have gotten a hundred and fifty, ... perhaps.
But no, greed could not be our parting word.
So it went to a man for seventy-five bucks.
Walking to my local bar,
I bought drinks and had a proper wake.

May 1980

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Lost Language

When I gave myself to him,
It was the perfect rhyme of couplets.
He: the smack of consonants against teeth and lips;
And I was all the vowels in long sighs and high-pitched pleasure.
The words we formed now buzz in the silence,
Almost audible in this empty apartment, humming me to sleep.
A lost tongue never to be spoken again -
No matter how many tongues of how many lovers
Touch so lightly this skin again
And drive from this vacant throat a groan.
It isn't the same. Lost is that sudden breathlessness
Of not knowing what to expect.
And a different sound is added:
A rising inflection like a question,
'Is this the one? Is this the magic again? '
And another sound muffled,
A holding back, waiting for disappointment,
Fighting against letting myself be taken,
Remembering the pain of losing that private language.

Written May 1978

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I Pierce the Mist

On my way to meet you
I remember our first
Encounter months ago.
Again I drive through the night
For the second time,
Making my way from the coast
To the Hill Country
With fog enveloping my car.
As a canoe would pierce
The delicate skin of water,
So too I pierce the mist and the fine
Membrane of time that is tomorrow
And part its sensual lips --
So moist and so mysterious,
I am tingling with anticipation
As I enter into unknown territory
Like a diver into the darker depths
Or like your kiss that sucked me into
Your world where I move eagerly
But quietly into your body --
Full of awe and reverent
In the presence of this soul
So much like me and so different.

February 2004

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sermon, Accompanied by Woodwinds

I know why all the bones are hollow.
Pick up any vertebrae or rib,
Any os or fossil. Don't matter whose -
Bird, ox, lizard or saint -
You can peek through them all,
Use one as a spyglass on the world,
Or make a whistle or a flute.
Maybe that's why the Good Book says,
'And God breathed into man a soul...'
Breathed into him!
Blew his moist breath right down those tubes,
Played a tune upon those pipes,
Then left it there.
Where else would it fit?
Not in that cramped skull
With all that gray mass,
That's for sure.

Of course, we talk as if
We got a monopoly on soul.
But just think about those bones -
Bird, ox, lizard or saint -
Any of them can carry a tune.

written April 1977, published on Poem hunter April 2009

Through the Windows

Through the windows
Of my body you enter--
And suddenly I see my world anew:
My drab house is full of light.
Through the half-opened skylight
Your energy streams.
Through these apertures
Your aura slips.
Through fenestra
Your music flows
Like cool fresh air.
Through my secret portholes
your plasma swims.
Some of these hatches
Have been locked so long
I've lost the keys,
And the tumblers have rusted.
But you have come
Armed with your own master key.
With aromatic oils,
You anoint the inner workings
Until the right movements crack the vault.
You have pierced my inner sanctum,
And my heart's doors are standing agape,
Unfurling as the wings of the dove.
You can feel the flutter
As they beat the air before flight.
And we will rise together in the updraft
As the heat of our passion
creates thermals for our souls to soar
Through the windows.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Beauty Of Imperfection

Hard shelled,
Smoothed by many currents, many tides,
Buffing it with all that sand
As the waves cycle through,
A cool fleshy lump of life
Lifts a finger
To get the weather report
On the motion of the seas;
Lifts a hand to grab morsels
From the smorgasbord passing by.
And deep within the briny, sweet pulp
A tiny blemish enters,
Creating a dimple
In its silken, delicate skin.
And the seed of sand --
Like the pea under the princess's mattress --
Worries the oyster,
As it turns and turns the fragment,
Bathing it in tears,
Coating it with slime,
Layer upon layer of pain and angst,
Rubbing it like worry beads
Until it is polished to a fine luster,
And now this irritant emerges: a pearl.

In a lifetime of imperfections
Can we make even a single pearl?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sound of the Downpour

So much rain has come down
Seems that everything has melted
And become a liquid.
The sound of the downpour
Has been embedded in my ear,
Like the muted downbeat of breakers
In the curling innards of the conch shell,
From so many years sitting empty
On the ocean floor, being nudged along by currents,
Then bobbing ashore with dead fish
And purple blobs of Man-o'-wars,
Caught in tangled nets,
And finally thrown deep into dunes
By a rogue wave or tsunami,
Where it waits for tides to return
And take it home to the sea.
And all the while it hears that drumming surf
Echoing down its spiral staircase,
And it whispers back the sacred chant of waves.

So this rain remains in me
As the underlying wisdom I have learned
And becomes -- like breath, like heartbeat --
The rhythm of my poems.