(forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press, 2013)

 

 

ROMANTIC FIGURES

 

I dream mother and dad home to Miami Beach
he’s leaving for his second round of card-playing of the day

she’s dressed him in a black polo shirt and matching slacks
stylish if funereal

about his winning hand and her helping hand
pink and melon oleanders

married fifty years
thinking they’ve been poisoned

I jump sweating into Mirabello Bay
quivering glass hotels on the water

 

 

 

 

 

QUIVERING GLASS

 

I pad about naked in the imaginary worl
carrying liquid in my sieve

what time is it?
400 kisses o’clock

after twelve hours of sleep
Valyntina probably will be girlilicious

she’s like making love in the afternoon with rose crystal
your mouth warms into pink sugar

granted the romantic figure for love
is not the simile it’s the paradox

that she wakes herself snoring

 

 

 

LEAFLESS

 

At my age I’m approaching life
like a mosquito or a hummingbird

party to a great wind I remember
when I stayed up north with mother

on a visit to her sister they howled with laughter
a veritable monsoon cracking now

I’m lonely without them as they were without husbands
You cannot imagine what I dream her sister said at ninety

it is like entering enormous rooms and furnishing them
with mountains of fire and fiery fountains
I thought I’ll try

 

 

 

 

STREET OF DREAMS

 

Whoever covered Garcia Lorca
never identified his shallow grave

but finally one summer the mystery is told
it turns out he is likely very nearby

as a red poppy with a black heart
a field of him enchanted the site

until he was gathered
god is my witness thrown into a sack

and swung like a bag of cement into a trench
dug by some old soul seeking water in the countryside

huddling close by pomegranates or figs and possibly lemons
almonds and olives too are not uncommon

far enough from the villages to be out of sight
but you get there by car

since they would have needed headlights to shoot people at night
a firing squad of career policemen and volunteer executioners

half afraid for their own lives murdered three others
and a poet for five hundred pesetas

one skank bragged
I gave that idiot a shot in the head

irony of ironies
while you attract fireflies gnats and other pests

nearby your own head

a hacked melon of red flesh
sweetens an empty marketplace

 

 

 

 

 

WRITTEN ON WATER

 

A little music from a missing flute
recites the events of the day

I could go to Los Angeles
that rowdy orchestra

or stay here like Hokusai the old man
mad about drawing

a little thistle or bellflower
a nervous wagtail in a snowfall

nothing gets written down
but someone must share it

while my skin ages and dries I empty
the dream bucket for my drinking friends

breathing is also easy
and cannot be thought

of reading and writing
the same can be said

 

 

 

 

A YOUNG POET

 

For begging beauty
one can hardly blame the artist

sleeping like butter in the sun
taking no action for action

some prefer being a yellow rose petal
I learned when I traveled

the young poet saying a prayer
is a form of panic

 

 

 

 

 

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