New Poetry

INTIFADA

The shadows reject appeals for calm;

a taut darkness waits in the hollows.

Narrow eaves overlook

the plazas where the pigeons feed on the discarded –

like us –

the piteous refuse of our fire-fevered modernity.

From the corner squats,

the stools support the weight of

the Watchers,

who understand what’s at stake:

There are black corridors which lead to questions,

and a labyrinthine set of deceits guide

the forlorn, on ragged knees, further afield,

back, away from listeners,

even away from recognizable answers,

all lifted, anyway, stolen and not

assembled along the edges of this urban blight

discarded from the Center, alight with another fire,

warming to the homeless hands who dare venture this far.

Wary eyes roll suspiciously this way and that.

A confetti´d stew of ash flakes and gray frozen rain fill the cups

while a scramble for position takes place on the roof.

From here, the grand fireworks display will be seen better.

From here, at least, all are closer to Heaven.

They never heard what hit them.

 

NO END IN SIGHT

The Solstice stood

as the end of the world

came and went.

No ear-splitting din,

crashing rocks, nor

Heaven shattering moments

held us in terror.

Streets were normally bare,

late Christmas lights bending with the wind

intimating

a sparkling glare of

bells and stars

over the land, but

along the ocean,

birds went about their

business with sagacious

unconcern.

Eager cats beheld the

spectacle from afar,

quiet among the bushes,

quiet in feral determination.

In quiet too, the first

light lifted

horizon to sky

on all sides, then

the blue crystallized-

revealing white dance flakes

hugging slippery roads

and angled corners.

The gas stations were

Lutheran solemn, local roundabouts

listless, as well.

Indeterminate echoes

crossed the faces of tourists

along Laugavegur.

The solstice stood, still,

as the end of the world

came & went.

As it would, again,

next year.

As it should.

 

A HRÍSEY MOMENT

Pick it apart:

A gnarled, murmured clacking of the rocks, smoothened black, is heard

as casual waves roll and recede, flashing silver splashy glints

of sun on the beach;

the thunder-like muffled clap of the cliffs

struck below the road in the cavernous salt-soured dark underneath;

the offending lupine, everywhere torn, shorn, strewn rudely before each

passing step

before the squat lighthouse;

to the left, an unsought aching raven caws, unnoticed;

up above, the far-away look on the eyes of the falcon atop the yellowed ridge.

Down in the harbor, before the ferry returns,

the squeal of the one metal palette in the middle,

tied fast to the boat

echoes with a strange, lonely passion, mimicking the occasional whales.

On their way home from school,

two nimble girls report the day’s events to each other vividly

whispering as they pass the stranger,

barely noticed,

lost in poetic thought.

 

TRAIL DANCE

I pass along the trail in the early summer air

after midnight, the breeze dying down,

a thin purple line pushing close from the West.

Along the ridges, several Kria chirps are heard,

late cries,

too late for consolation.

Not necessarily cruel,

but all trace of kindness concealed.

Just in front, along the rise, a

stone bridge squats above its

weakened trickle which carefully turns

down to the marsh

before the lake.

It is not past the season but

the anguish reveals itself

like reluctantly unfolding leaves

holding their enclosed treasure,

too tender for summer-

a sweetness in the air is momentarily tasted and then,

along the face,

another rivulet

runs down to

another storehouse

deep within, salt and sweetness pressed together

offering calibrated solace

and a pale, liminal hope.

What’s next is wrenching.

 

ASH FORGOTTEN, ASH FORSOOK

After the funeral

ash forgotten, ash forsook.

It had gone well enough.

The rain retorted bitterly at first though,

and he, grim-stiff, straightened his sore legs

and rested,

as if, once calmed, a different night could be seen

behind the clouds.

The window’s inner sweat beaded between its panes

allowing the traveler a moment to stretch

before switching off the lamp.

Tonight

he’d soak his heart in the sticky warm moonlight

pressing through the shaking prism drops on his face

and, eventually looking down at the arm

which wrote his words across each salted page,

let it all take its measure, one tear, after tear

at a time, revealing

the gap through which he might be seen someday.

The slow horses of the night rode more swiftly, now that he remembered…

In the morning the storm rolled west,

over the water, the wet earth smelling potent, alive.

Inside, the dampness lay flat all across the old wooden floorboards,

disturbing little yet stirring a chill above, on those bare feet,

making the trip downstairs the more immediate necessity.

Soon, roasted coffee wafted,

flexed its rich, warmly muscled hold

on the mind as he settled in the bench,

cornered by the window. Outside,

the bright flash and low roars swept the mind momentarily

of the early dullness which reluctantly passed with each sip.

There it was again: whip-crack –flash…boom!

Near the bottom of the cup, the thickened brown remains

jolted and swirled, grainy

and bitter dark as he turned, startled to look outside.

Shaking, then settling.

Shaking, then settling.

The rain began again.

The rain dropped its wailing symphony in

waves on the roof

as the storm rolled back landward,

bright this time, born of that

eerie light which made its arrival more solemn in its

deceiving shine before the next cup began and the

darkness passed over once again by noon.

Uncooperative gray and rolling black.

The sleep wiped eyes bounced low and laterally

across the room then,

wood secured, stomach warmed,

a question raised,

the retorts bitterly regular, again, and again,

“Ash forgotten, ash forsook?”

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