Poetry

Poetry

Waiting

          As for me, I can explain nothing,
          but stammer with the fire that burns
          inside me, and the life that has been
          bestowed on me.
                                         Lorca

It is no mistake that what bears us up has the power
to draw us under—and the melody of either sphere
can deflower the heart with pitiless persuasion.
We are always stringed things waiting to vibrate.

Do angels lick their lips in the full-heat of noonday
or shudder as the clouds pass over the sun? Yes,
is the only word they know when the hems
of their robes are singed and their feet become ash.

Still they ascend and descend, heavily winged
and hovering in sublime indifference.
Which is why

Yes, is the word I most like to hear you speak.
When you say it, I know I will wait
for your next call. . . .

I am standing now and lifting my arms to the sun,
arching my back and tilting toward the shadows.









The state lakes at Alexandria

I have never stopped thinking of myself as a beginner.
                                                                     Auguste Rodin

Now that I’m retired and done being chosen
Or rejected, respect mine to give again,
I want to grow large, as large as the twelve
Year old who dived off a wooden platform under
Weeping willows and swam the longest of
Man-made lakes to impress Rachel Kerwood,
Not sure he could make it an acceptable risk,
So that when he climbed out on the other side
Green pond scum clinging emeralds to a milk
White back, he sat beside her in the sweet grass
Eating black walnuts cracked open with a rock,
Talking of things he could only speak of
Because he’d swum through the silken stillness
In the middle of the deepest lake, where
Pure artesian springs turned the water cold,
And sullen bullheads grew twice normal size.

Lillian, Althea, Hattie, Zada

Praise all folds, crinkles, gathers,
pleats both sharp and rumpled,
corrugated cardboard’s columned smocking.

Praise sun-dried blue jeans and raisins’
ancient sweetness: old hymns’
complex thought clothed in easy rhymes.

Praise creases: English walnuts:
each human brain dreaming a future
while claiming the past. Now, praise

time’s thousand cranes: wrinkles
and grandmothers’ recycled names.





Limits of the human

One might be weary of flesh. One’s own, another’s.
Flesh of neighbor, stranger, passerby.
Flesh of the real or the imagined lover,
or secret flesh that mind and heart deny.
One might be shut of it, freed from the nerve,
but flesh is merciless, confines us, binds us
to our servitude to cleft and curve.
Even You have been a slave to this,
true Spirit, on that wild night, delirious,
piercing the meat of life. And since? Scandal
to our atoms when flesh, merging with flesh,
happens on You in single, paradoxical
bliss. Perhaps all earth shall plunge toward sun,
savage with desire to be One.

O afterwards

And may the old life, that rotting flesh and treasure
find in the good pleasure

of Christ, a forgetfulness complete: that these sins, however
humanly deliberate my misbehaviors,

be blotted from the record of God, raptured like the night’s thief,
forever gone, newly clean.

And may this new self shine like the moon shone, long ago, before
she was rent by the devil’s incisor,

a whole, round body not meant to be broken in phases.
And may she sing your praises

like Golgotha sings of a tree: for there is nothing empty
that cannot be filled. And may the sea

and all things swimming it thirst no longer for Living Water.
And may the Father

know the Daughter, even as the end of the earth unfolds.
And may I turn to gold.