Tag Archives: poem

Crust of Pumpernickel

Crust of pumpernickel
Reminds me of Mom
Though the reason for this
Escapes my deserted mind

Was it the flood from teenage trips
Across the soon-sprawling suburbs
To a German delicatessen
With rare meats and names too long
For my young tongue?

However, noting
Tongue is available
By t
he pound or
Even an entire kilogram

 

A Cartographer, I Considered

A cartographer, I considered:

Spectacled, heavy on a rosy face, hidden among stacks, drawing inventions of maps – delineating frontier is between playful apparatchik and fields where the healthy and husky scrambled games I couldn’t be bothered to learn the constructed rules of play.

Name in regions of gravel and grass in derivations of Iowa towns and possibly Balkan enclaves. Tracing roads across trucking routes and Roman ruins built to the width of chariot wheels-cemented as standards for mine entrance bringing a horse to Shores, away from CPS relations to new lives, absent from home still never know I can-beyond memories, Serio-graphed into filtered ideals.

Yet an unsteady hand and overall disconnect, or even indifference, which led to a place to “settle”-build a house dead June from cures logs, and seasoned by time, after hewn, nailed and assembled by saw blade and heavy sludge, forge by a possible cousin could always remain a stranger.

The blade remains anonymous as an un-muttered pithy quote en route to cliché.

Neither did exploding suns, brilliant and fleeting, assembled in patterns, ~ shared by the patient and measured in Newtonian units – still could not muster a journey – hence gazed, but ignored as impractical, nigh impossible.

Translucent ayers, super-imposed and stacked, detailing azimuths, trajectories and elevations – separating fertile valleys (thought subject to floods) from talus slopes too steep but for mountain rams on the shady flank of Timpanogos.

Dotted dashed and surveyed, specific dots explained in legend denoting assigned capitals, provincial outposts and occasionally hamlets determined by polled populations, overseen with constructed superintendents, supported by varying address of retainers.

Intrigued by absence of obvious order though not my task to chart.

Instead, as per instinct, selected committed to memory, devoid of context, thin slices of knowledge swirling in a petri vacuum – accurate as such but irrelevant

So i journeyed to wonder about likely motivations which took Normans, Pharaohs and troubadours beyond the point of unknown return. Capes left in wakes with dates and hard-track to fortify a quest alleged to diagram flora. Among them, I reference guide notes from decades past – a vague as possible to acquire allowing white-space and risk. Packed in burlap next to a survivor’s stove and pouch of seeds and spices and an important black pencil. Only planned to go one way, impartial to return rather to chronicle the unfamiliar.

The familiar left far behind as physics might allow – exchanged possible comfort in normalcy for uncertainty contentment in ambiguity. Meandering concentric routes, devoid of patterns or ready purpose.

Answers are easier in cliché, ergo:

“I’ll know when i get there” –
Town to creek to roadside conundrum – I swirled each in mouth , pretending my palette featured a vocabulary to explain to unseeing why I hadn’t settled for seemingly ideal locales, situations and specific circumstance to flourish.

Eventually, after farm toil, beach frolic, rough nights in dangerous morass, leaping turrets of ruins and painful heaving, missed junctions and forgotten aims, at a campfire in a lake-forest with a khaki-scout familiarity, I stumbled through an unfavorable gale, onto the intended coast

I mocked myself for mis-named non-discoveries, i assumed as fragrant promised lands of plenty allowed to the intrepid erstwhile accidental navigators.

Teased over misread hieroglyphics and misappropriated meaning to stone wheels quarried a far, hauled by double-hulled craft powered by taro and current and fickle breeze.

I could no longer mock with unearned disdain, the vaunted and faulted explorers, stolen secrets leading to some anomaly errantly pro-claimed as new or proper or divine.

Earnestly deterred, i occurred to was to map a universe of flesh and thought. Breath and sounds assembled into meaning.

The crease on cheek, the measure of brow, the angle of toes, magnitude of halo surrounding chameleon eyes and the mysterious enthusiasm of all which exists between.

Thwarted, not ny scenery but by shaking confessions, fumbled after a stealth crossing at an indifferent frontier town. I’d escaped to my holy land I presumed for an instant before minor catastrophe.

Stalled at an unwelcoming inn where i laid myself bruised and bare to a lover temporarily transformed to a stranger after i let the truth languish, vanquished by the uncertainty of resolved and fear or wounding the occasionally innocent.

She walked out vested, blithely, pithy saying “I know” unwittingly perhaps offering just enough loft to push a tattered sail across a colour-coded sea mis-named as somewhere calm.

The explorer hides. Alone, entirely lost and surrendered to fates incomprehensible to the battered. Uncontrollable b y the hostage. Yet clinging to an adrenaline determination to manufacture strength to another foray.

Monk-like, minus faith, discipline, dogma or skill at ringing bells, relying on rice gruel and fragrant hope, the cartographer gathered charcoal, fired for unsteady hands, and a redrew boundaries to conceive an entirely new Pangea with concessions to speculate, plunder and chart assigned exclusively to only two.

Change the World with Walking Sticks

Of course i wanna change the world, not just ‘my’ world but ‘the’ world. Not force *anyone* to do *anything* but maybe somehow effectuate positive change on a global scale. Not by guns, torture, fascism or force but by walking sticks, paintbrushes, backpacks. Not 2 cars in every driveway but 2 warm lovers in every bed. Model behaviour of what i want to be and see in the surroundings lands.

All naïveté aside… While i do long for squadrons of mercenaries clad in corduroy-patchwork pants armed, with Thoreau and flowers – sleeping bags & kind words, i do realize, “Oh shit! Sounds like M0rm0n missionaries with different books.”  

If i miss you though, do not take any reason for concern from my thoughts. You are scintillating and mighty and I do not question *anything* that you do – i express my sentiments to quell your fears of loneliness and/or longing and confusion during your search for well… what you seek: love, beauty, nobility and thrill.

Chicago, Observed

Wide and board
buildings large and unashamed
piled and stacked
to display uniqueness

Dollop coffee
C-train, L-train
Deadheads at museums, bars, zoos and parties
on Lake Shore Drive

 

20 Mule Team (for Smoke Blanchard)

1

Whip that 20 mule team
“just so” he declared

They’ll drag up
to the pass
to commune with
the ghost of
ole rambler Smoke

2

Peanut butter
wrapped in wax
wooden staff
machined to the end

Wanderer equipped with gaiters
bearded mischievous serene
the Sierras to the Wasatch
forays to box canyons
hidden from those who see
trees stunted by degrees

But clear to those who keep
their Sanskrit skrimshaws
bundled up in rock and sage

3

Gathered in a desert
witnessed only by peregrines
and rising orbs
named for Roman lords

4

O’er the pass
20 mule team
Mojave plateau
to the spaceport
shiny glassy steel

5.

Passing Shasta and the sidekick
– noble in diminution
~ shaggy crags below
Shasta’s silver flank…
the signs point to Weed

6.

Somehow Jupiter and Venus
came along – glancing from the high right –
mighty mass of glorious gas

the longhaulers swing before the
end of the Cascade blowers
Baker to Lassen
with all peaks between.

Say Your Name Softly

I say your name softly
hear the gracious sound
drift with my breath

I watch the sounds float
above me, towards mountains
over lakes, down rivers, across oceans
to find you when i am far

I voice the sound which
describe you, when i am weary
or afraid in need of a mantra
to strengthen me, to steele me from fear
a protective spell unburned, unheard
too sacred for others

How would another understand
an explanation, halfhearted –
how do i describe you? describe us?
to someone, anyone – in a brief phrase, a stanza, an essay
a poem

How many words required to elucidate
these two searing syllables i say
so i don’t say
but i might say,
my grace, my prayer, my hymn, my exultations
my fantasy in times of pleasure
my relief in moments of panic
my security when confused
my homing beacon, signal-fire
my rescue, my escape

Shall i say to them
your name loud enough to hear?

So they will assume who you are with an easy
definition, a convenient descriptor?

No i shall and will keep you mine. like Nefertiti’s treasure
hidden
known only to the wisest, behind the wall
in Tutankhamen’s chamber

Like shards of pottery
missing from an ancient grecian antalect or decree
the space between Mile’s notes
the breath between Baker’s croon
the noise behind a sonic boom

Be the she of my story
the only part of me
i protect without mercy
without thought
you are my essential
no compromise will i offer

You are my magician
i willingly climb into the box
to be sawed in two
there and then
i will say your name aloud
fall in with the rhythm
with each saw stroke
confidence from the obscurity
foisted by your powerful hand

I am not ashamed
but also i am not foolish
to trust my treasure
to errant mortals
to those who quickly determine
how to place you by my side

You are not for them
you are for me and for you
and for we
to savour us

California Plateau, Eastward

Winding weary roads
high desert farms of
wind and pistachios
backtrack county roads
beleaguered edges of
parts unfeatured
by geography or films

California’s high plateau
39 degrees dry
oil wells and water machines
rest like dinosaurs
and their empty gas stations

Did you see the shows?”
he sells artish bits
stretched canvas
with stucco and shells
and shellaced print
of steal your face
they lament and encourage Chicago
and we all wish yesterday could last forever

Lead to Vegas 1AM
Sasha dog, M
exican food 114 degrees
road, desert, red rock

Home is the road. Art, crafts, highs and music.

First Morning Back

Like the first morning of
the first day of school
the bus driver doesn’t even
acknowledge my absence

i cough good morning anyhow

Drawing Room, Sunday

Drawing Room, Sunday
Find me in the drawing room
At the Majestic Hotel
Hot toddy made with
The second-finest single malt
Curl smoke from roughest Beedies
Rather than clumsy cigars
Red velvet belted robe
Replaces the glen plaid
Hung behind the hardwood high back

The barman named Sunday
I tell him the day i was born
6:45AM if i recall Mother’s story
However unnecessarily, continue to explain,
I’m not sure exactly
Of the time in Kuala Lumpur or
Kinchasa where his family waits for
Remittance he exchanges as salve for
Pain of separation and expectation
And aching tolerance of the unroyal man
Who explains old culture and
Stumbling billiards to all within
Without hint of invitation, irony
Or a scrap gentle restraint

(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2017)

Rome, Lonely

In a bar named for Bukowski
With kisses on cheeks for all
Excepting me of course
Anonymous as an empty wall

A beat down wanderer
Forgotten in eternal places
With candle wax on wine bottles
Espresso in martini glasses

Mirrors reflect arty photos
Of curvy/bushy Italians nudes
Next to the usual movie posters
Audrey exquisite as she broods

Haven’t heard a bluebird call
Over constant squelching siren
Distant choir interludes and
Swiss guards ordering me to run

Skipped the Sistine Chapel
And internient related dogma
Head instead to a tiny post office
Send a postcard of my mind
Pet the stray cats begging
By a red checkered table
Where i alternate small cigars
And large glassses
Of cheap red wine