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Friday, March 23, 2012

BAD GIRL, Reread, March 2012

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Her disease, it said,
“Dark around and within,
But outside, far outside, it’s all light.”

It said,
“I’m a beggar,
My richness, my excitement, my genital,
All that shines outside,
I am empty.”

Sunday, March 18, 2012

TO SEE HER AGAIN, After Gabriela Mistral's Love Poem's

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After Gabriela Mistral's Love Poem*

And never, never more to see her form,
Not even a glimpse of her,
Not in the nights filled with trembling stars,
Or at noon when bright light
Feeds and graces every living thing,
How do I believe that I may never see her again?

Never, never, again, to witness her walking
Upon the kicked up dirt of the bridle path,
Along the river, underneath the shadow of trees,
Never, her body, her feet, leaping up, then to trod
The white-washed stones of the causeway?

I wonder if she remembers the bridge, the one
Topping the low-rise concrete dam,
I told her as we looked to the river below
That nothing had sufficient strength,
That no material exists to control the overflow,
Is there nothing to contain my flood of feelings for her?

How else might I relate my mood?
Ask the pertinent question?

Never, never, again, to eye her fleshly presence,
Entangled, standing in the tresses of the forest,
Or stooped to gather strawberries
Picked from rows and rows of fruit in the truck-farm field?

And here at home I forget I walk big-city sidewalks,
Yet while the night, the late hours envelop me,
My cries echo, repeat my anguish.

Through the empty parking lots and off the brick walls,
Against building after building,
My voice carries, yet it registers with no one.
Though some stare and wonder,
Shake their heads from side to side at my sorry spectacle,
Most walk past, eyes down, as if I do not exist, yet
Over and over, I hear myself implore her to return to me;
Should I not, and is it not better to forget her?

Oh, no! To see her again,
Not important, makes no difference, where,
It does not matter when
-- My, my I beseech Mercy to grant my wish! --
If today I should see her against a deep, blue patch of sky,

Or perhaps tomorrow in the vortex,
Within the swirling ocean power,
The whirlpool force which carries all kinds of debris,
When a ship and all its glory sinks,
Down, down into the Sailors’ Locker,
Would it be possible that image of her still surfaces,
Though all else disappears, though sun has set,
And moon light is the scene's sole illuminate?

Oh, no! To see her again, and to view her in the moment
When the volcano opens
And I am there before the lurid, red hell-mouth,
And witness its demons’ roaring spew of steam and ash.

Yet I do not flinch, I am steadfast,
I have no fear of misadventure.
I look into the conflagration.
I do not plug my ears, I listen,
And from within earth’s deep, far-away core,
Amidst the Hurley burly of all the explosions,
Within the lightning claps and clamor,
The mad noise of boulders being thrown
I hear it! I hear her name, Etta, Etta!
I see her face and lovely shape,
She, she dances above the fires!

Yes, I admit her deviltry besets me.

And to be with her in all the spring times,
And in all the winters,
Entwined in paroxysm of mighty-muscle clench,
While I suck up the blood from her neck,
And spot her flesh all over,
Make it black and blue with the power of my caresses,
Should I ever hold her in my arms,
Might Hope let me see her again.

*The Chilean and Noble Prize for Literature, poet, Gabriela Mistral had entitled her poem Volverlo a Ver, "To See Him Again". I address my poem to a woman. I know some Spanish but do not hope to translate her great poem. Yet hers was the inspiration for my own verse. Here and there I adopted some of her imagery, words and phrases, though the overall sense and sensibility of Mistral's poem, I believe, are different from my own.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

ETTA, 1958

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ETTA, 1958

He had twisted his ankle.
His foot was swollen and it ached.
It hurt to the degree that he could no longer concentrate.
He had lost the capacity to figure.
His mind could no longer grasp even very simple things.
He was preoccupied and his eyes seemed vacant.

He was young. He kissed the back of her hand,
He kissed her about the face,
He kissed her eyelids,
And he rested his lips at the base of her neck.

He had fervently kissed the skin
All-over both her shoulders.
He and she were minors, and their ardency,
Its possible consequence concerned their parents.
There was no question about the boy being strong.

They stood next to the side of a Sycamore ,
The tree grew along a muddy creek,
Which emptied west into a river,
A river the early French settlers had named Des Plaines.

He thought that they might sail away upon the waters.

Yet more, much more,
It was much more than the taste of salt,
The tiny sweat along her brow, the moist of her shoulders.

It was a night whose such awesome, absolute clarity

Enhanced a once-in-a-life-time, white light streak,
At its end a mighty bright flash erased the sky.

Though now near midnight, all nature cast a quick shadow.

In the light of that warm, late, August evening
Upon the bank of a muddy creek, a small water,
A nameless feed to the river,
The early French settlers had named Des Plaines.
The youths saw their silhouette,
They were merged as one,
They saw themselves fused into a single shade.
They had come to believe that memory of this event
Would grant them life in eternity.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

IMPOSSIBLE DREAM, A Lover's Question

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A Lover’s Question

I have an astounding dream to report.
It has me running down a long hall in the semi-darkness
With a key in my hand. It's a cylindrical key,
And on its end it has a single, protruding notch,
The type of a key used to wind an antique clock.

Mounted to the wall at the end of my run stands
A giant, three-dimensional cartoon heart.
Although hand-painted, yet its color so natural,
It rivals the red of a Red Delicious apple.

On the right at the top of this wondrous heart
A gold-metal strike plate sets up over against
An aperture, the channel; I wonder if it leads
To the lock that might open, release your heart?

Have I the key? Or do I dream only to wake,
Awaken to nightmare day of awful longing and ache?

Have I lost my mind? Has logic betrayed me?
Do I confuse dream wish with reality?

Darling, answer me soon! Does my deep desire
Verge on truth? Will anxiety cease?
The promise of a new, peaceful kingdom
Is it to be fulfilled, here, in the affirmative today?

Now I stand before you, You, my Higher Power,
And the congregates sense the blasphemy;
They whisper calumnies.
They say that I am my father’s son,

“He is the boy from the hardware store!
By whose authority has he the right to reveal,
Who does he believe, who might he think
He is when he informs us his midnight imaginings?”

And me, their belligerence,
The hostility of the locals does not concern me,
Not a whit, though they rise up
And ready to condemn me.
I pray ... I might have definite answer,
That I am prophet in this house,
That I may begin this, my public ministry, positive,
Carry hope for life anew,
And have news extraordinary, good, for all to hear.

Down a space eclipsed in semi-darkness, I run.
I have a key in my hand. It's cylindrical;
A single, notch protrudes at its end.
It is the kind of key that winds an antique clock.
Darling, please, your answer!
Have I the key to open your heart,
Or do I dream the impossible dream?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

THE WORD, A Lover's Exhortation

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A Lover’s Exhortation

Well! Was sagst du?

I believe that I say it right.
It is God alone Who knows
The one dimensionality -- the real tragedy --
The empty when we call upon the soul.

Only He can quell the hunger, quench the thirst.

But, sweetheart, hey! I tell you now.
Forget it! Fly straight!
Think of the Frick with its fabulous El Greco,
Small though the painting is, it amply captures the fury,
When Jesus castigates the money changers.

Das Wort ist klar!

No man may serve two masters.
God loves the prisoner, the downcast, the lame.
He loves the lilies of the field.
Grass need not care how it may clothe itself.

Though great it may be to be King, what profit in it,
When the first shall be last and those with least,
Most, and beggars shall inherit the earth,
And children be fountains of wisdom?

Priests and magistrates have not known the Lord
Though He stood right before them.

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