CHACONNE Y PASSACAGLIA
There had been vague sounds
Coming from the basement when I
Entered the building. Through the half-
Opened doors I could see someone
Sweeping up bones into piles.
They were whistling the opening of
The fourth movement of
The Brahms Fourth Symphony.
I looked up and down the halls
To see if anyone else was present.
Every five steps I would glance
Into half-opened rooms.
A couple arguing, both of them
Holding a fairly large fish,
Waving them furiously at each other.
A man hastily nailing wooden canoes to
The walls, floors and ceiling of a large room.
A woman with a large net trying to
Capture tiny clouds scooting around the
Room like fireflies.
Four boys dipping water from a stone
Well with small metal dippers, filling
Buckets. They were silent.
A room completely filled, floor to ceiling,
With brightly colored blankets.
The next room was full of babies crawling
Over the floor. Each child had a different
Symbol on its forehead. Some were
Yellow, some were black and a few, bright blue.
At the back of the next room, a pair
Of beautiful tigers paced back and forth,
Staring at the slightly opened door.
An entire room covered with pennies.
In the middle of the room were three
Sheep in an enclosed wire pen.
The last room was filled with thousands
Upon thousands of birds murmurating
In all directions.
This was a place I chose to be.
It was the place the moon chose to be
When the sky is without her.
One can feel the smooth breezes
Of the planets as they spin through
The nervous system we call our
Solar system. There they could come
All the doors began to close.
I started down the stairs to the basement,
Kicking the bones off the treads as I did so.
AN EPIPHANY OF CIRCUMSTANCE
Lonesome has its big boots on.
Someone had been collecting as many
Beautiful birds as they could.
The fluttering of wings and a myriad
Of bird sounds come from the adjoining room.
I never expected it to be that way.
We had been told that the travelers
Were kings from distant countries
And were bringing gifts that would delight
The newborn, create songs in the sky.
They were wrong. Dead wrong.
When we left the building the sun
Was still shining. Two men were sharpening
Knives but quickly boarded a bus
As we approached. “Jesus Christ!”
“What are you looking at?” I replied.
“The men with the nets full of birds,
Throwing them into the trash compactor.”
“No.” I replied. Cars began to catch
Fire in the parking lot across the street.
Found it on a steep bank of the creek.
It seemed to have been there for quite awhile.
There was a fine green moss covering most of it
Except for some parts that still
Looked away from the world.
I hadn’t realized it was gone
Until Taylor’s rescue dog began
Behaving strangely in a poem.
It kept moving close then away,
Whining and whining to get attention.
It took hours to get it up off the ground
And back to where it should be.
The night glistened like wet souls
When it saw it in place again.
The moon looking at us as if this
Was some kind of cosmic game.
A curtain made of fish.
Oh they were so bright and silver,
Wriggling and flopping all over
The net and that dance.
Oh that crazy, marvelous dance.
Only fish do this, you say?
Well I’ll give a tin whistle
And a merry, merry dawn
Just to see those fish
When they lay that down.
When I reached into my pocket
I did not expect to feel my heart
Beating there. I pulled my hand
Out of my pocket clutching it.
It was beating full bore and I
Was watching it. The fish danced
On the nets. My heart
Beat time, eyes wide open.
STEALING PART OF FOREVER
Can you tell me what you see?
The sea, we see the sea and it is
Lee to the wind as the ships
Come in and they are so many
We can no longer see the sea
For they cover the waves as far
As the horizon, so many are these
Great ships. Their sails are golden
As are their hulls and their masts
Seem of alabaster, so white they
Might be made of the stuff of white-
They bring gifts to us, beckon our
Quiet pastures and we prepare
Feasts for them with lambs and
Hinds and cattle and birds and fowl.
A great smoke lifting above this
Golden navy come to us.
FOG FOG FOG
“At the edge of the world there are stairs
Leading down to the halls once inhabited
By the gladsome beast.”
The fog shut down the world.
At least the roads between here
Same roads with creatures that moved
As if they were human and moved
In the gray body of this mist
As if on some mission, as close to
Being unknown as was possible.
I saw them gathered at street corners
With their burning cigarettes, their hollow
Eyes beneath hats and hoods. Their
Voices were as thick water trickling
Down a drain or the barking of a stray
Dog searching for a place to lie down.
I had been here much before and knew
These were not but manifestations
The fog itself produced. Should the mist
Lift, there would be no such creatures.
They would melt as the fog itself melted.
I must continue through this place
For I have to reach that sea
Before this fog disperses and find
A ship that too is of fog, as dreams
Are fog and dissolve upon our waking.
And I must board the ship to go
Where those who wait the sun
Will never go. There I will find
A firmer body I can wear, a voice
That works to talk and exclaim.
There I shall, hopefully, be.
Or else, a half-spirit thrown into the sea
Unable to think any further than the fog.
THE SMALLEST ROOM
One wall was of eyes.
One wall was of thunder.
One wall was of lies.
One wall was of wonder.
One window looked upon the sea.
One window saw the sun rise.
One window looked beyond the trees.
One window looked back inside.
One wall held a painting.
One wall held a clock.
One wall had a doorway,
but the door was always locked.