Friday, January 11, 2013

No Shelter

Moai with Lichen
—Photo courtesy of Lynn Hansen, Modesto

—Caschwa, Sacramento

       There he was
    sunk into the sofa
  larger at the bottom
narrowing toward the top
     just sitting there

         remotely akin to
    the pearamids of Egypt
  one a wonder of the world
the other just enjoying a sweet
     moment of wonder


—James Lee Jobe, Davis

It wasn't under the messy birdcage, where the morning sun mingled with the discarded feathers and the spilled birdseed on the floor that I usually ignore.

It wasn't on the coffee table in the stacks of old newspapers, mail (bills), rumpled magazines, empty forgotten glasses of iced tea, and a 3 foot long back scratcher.

I tried the desk, there were poems there, alright, but not the one I was I looking for, though I dallied for an hour with 4 or 5 other poems I didn't remember writing and a copy of Robert Bly's COLLECTED POEMS that I hadn't seen since the first Clinton administration.

And the poem wasn't in the garage, the laundry room, my grown son's empty bedroom, my briefcase, the dining room, the full-to-the-point-of-bursting hall closet, or mixed in with the collection of magazines and anthologies containing my published poems.

And in searching, I started to forget the details of the thing; what did I title it? How long was it? Wasn't it about my mother? Or wait, wasn't it political?

Back into the living room with the TV set left on, I see that the Giants are up 3 runs over the Dodgers in the 8th, but wait - the Dodgers have guys on base, then a hit! And 2 Dodger runs score! Another hit! Damn! The Dodgers have tied it! I curse and pace the floor.

Goddamn poem.

[Editor's Note: If you think you've read these poems before, it's because you have. They were posted on Monday, both with errors in them. Carl Schwartz's "Pearly" was supposed to have "pyramid" spelled "pearamid", and my cut-and-paste error cut off the last line of James Lee's "Looking Everywhere". Sorry, guys.]


—David Iribarne, Sacramento

Quietly there is a storm brewing
wind gathering at my back
twisting and turning
pushing me forward
it slithers like a snake
meanders up on me when I least expect.

Little pebbles of rain grace my skin
and I have no shelter.
walking wet, my legs become heavy
steps of pain felt like stone
slowly try to get to safety.
try to find my way home.

Shaking from the cold
my teeth chatter, eyes squint
it is difficult to find my way.

Think of times with you—
it is what motivates me.
it is my refuge. my umbrella.
Warm smiles come over me
as I trudge on, gain momentum.

Remember first time we met
the corny jokes you would tell
I would chuckle
you would comment on my beautiful smile
My breath was taken away.

Suddenly, the gusts are not so strong
the breezes lighter
the current of air not as fast
the air becomes clear.

You have helped me to be louder than the storm.


—David Iribarne

Something sexy about showering
in the dark having your hands touch
every inch of my body.
Naked skin touching
lips moist every time they
kiss my breast, smooth every time
they move slowly down my forehead
to my cheeks to my neck.

Something electric about your body
being that close to mine
in the blackness.
I am able to light a fire within you
as I trace every corner of your body
with my fingers.
It almost feels sinister
as I hear you moan and scream
but then ask for more.

I can smell you
I can taste you
I love having to search you out
find out what I love most about you.
Being able to go over spots
of you over and over
just to find the spot you and I love most.

No words spoken just love.
I know that there’s something sexy
about showering with you in the dark
and I know that there is
something forever beautiful
about loving you blindly.

—Photo by Richard Hansen, Sacramento

—David Iribarne

“Don’t blink” the old man said
“You may miss that moment.
Blinking may cause you to miss beautiful.”

Blinked only for a second
happiness lost, destroyed.
Fleeting moment remains mystery.

Felt like eyes were sewn shut
permanent, outcome permanent.

Repeat repeat “don’t blink”
everywhere afraid of what I may miss.
Would beauty be missed, clarity, smile
happiness would it be gone?

I look at you for a second
left broken…both of us.
Everything rigid, cracked.
You do not glow as you once did. 

Ask for silence, your words are like bullets
O how they pierce my skin.
Eyes once vibrant, now dull.
No more do surroundings glimmer.

At one time, your body swayed
wooed me from to and fro.

Look again, fleeting had come and gone.
Moment had come and gone.  
Happiness faded.

You say you want to go forgiven.
Wonder if I had not blinked
what would have changed
stayed the same.

—David Iribarne

I covered you with a blanket
watched your still body
silhouette in the moonlight.
I wondered if you truly saw me.
Do you see me as your son?
Tall and slender
six foot five playing basketball
until dusk just me and my shadow.

I wonder if you remember those nights
you would yell again and again
for me to come in for dinner.
“Max, c’mon in, your meatloaf is gonna get cold!”
“Oh c’mon mom let me make just one more shot!”
I would plead until I felt
your stern eyes staring at me.

I swore your eyes were able
to make me miss my shot
seems as if you could control the ball.
Do you remember those days?

I remember your meatloaf
how succulent and delicious
the juices just dripped off your tongue
and swam to the back of your throat.
do you remember?

I lick my thumb with my tongue
fix your white hair making sure your bangs
are even and in line with your other hairs.
I glide my hands down your arms slowly
and then down your legs
hoping it will build up some memories
memories of my childhood,
memories of the day I walked down the aisle
with the love of my life
memories of the day you watched me
turn the tassel to my hat
throw it into the air.

I cry wondering 
Do you see me as I once was?
What I am now?
Where do we go from here?

I give you a stern stare
hoping that will help.


—David Iribarne

Every night I listen to our song
The music is less sweet
without you here.

Guitar is out of tune,
voice faint, difficult to make words out.
not able to sing along
like I once did.

Seems bass is deeper
it echoes in my head
sometimes it is all I hear.

I am not able to dance anymore.
I have lost my rhythm.
No one to take the lead
I constantly miss the beats.
Trip over my feet
as there is no one to guide me.

Sometimes I just try to listen
without trying to dance
try to hum the tune
but all I hear is murmurs.
I tweak the antennas
thinking it will help—

I close my eyes
rocking back and forth,
breathe in and out.

l try to say all those things
I forgot to say,
they're all wrapped up
in boxes in my brain
waiting to be delivered to my mouth
Open my mouth nothing comes out.
My throat aches, voice gone.

I yearn for a time
when I will be able to hear our song
have the guitar to be in tune,
be able to keep the beat,
be able to hear the words
and be able to dance again.


Today's LittleNip:

—Olga Blu Browne, Sacramento

Grief or glory, a place of beginnings
or endings,

where poetry is born and distance
is the soul of beauty,

where remembrance is of things
that were.


—Medusa, with a reminder that David Iribarne and others will be reading at Sac. Poetry Center this Monday night; scroll down to our blue board at the right of this for details. David will also be hosting the Second Sat. opening at SPC this Saturday, and he will be reading (with others) at Time Tested Books in Sacramento on Jan. 24.

Note: Somebody mistakenly walked off with Victoria Dalkey's raincoat in place of their own at the Sac. Poetry Center fundraiser in December. Please check to make sure it wasn't you, and let me or someone else know if it was.

Cat in the Planter Box, Folsom Historical Museum
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento