—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento
Bronze angel atop a tomb,
folded wings, her steady gaze.
Her finger pointing groundward
skillfully sketches sunrays
flowing like crystal channels
through granite chunks and broom sedge,
bringing forth a brand new day.
CALL OF THE WATERFALL
—Carol Louise Moon
Mossy edge of turquoise stream,
palm-size rocks of granite gleam
and shimmer with the water
from a sparkling waterfall.
Corresponding sounds which seem
very far, yet closer still
draw me near; I hear their call.
—Carol Louise Moon
A bird shrieks, a jay squawks loud—
another wrong committed,
sounds filling in the still air.
In June’s heat a tree branch serves
as juror’s bench. Nature turns
a deaf ear to the quick flap
of jay wings fleeing the court.
—Carol Louise Moon
Close of day. Close of day—you
close beside me. I in my
chair, you in your crib—your crib
cradled in starlight. So now,
climb the stair of your dreams—sleep
contently. I promise that
Chanticleer crows tomorrow.
—Tom Goff, Carmichael
No woman I’ve been to bed with could quite lie
in a sweet afterloving after-cling.
Positions of all kinds, during the act, but I,
when we’ve finished the lavishly breathless thing,
I seem to come disengaged from, dispossessed
of, my partner’s body. My first would never dock
alongside me, her hull and my hull rock
where water would jostle and buffet as it caressed.
That is, we shied like scrapeable bumper boats,
scared of how ribs might graze, how nipples turn tender
where mouths have teased, how bodies abut like goats.
Would our pileup bend every existing fender?
So my she-heaven wouldn’t sleep, truly sleep,
with me, and I’d vanish, banished to a near bed.
My twirlaway next one would scroll up in blanket heaps
Cleopatralike, all bedrolled or carpetcurled.
Something there is that’s scrawny and juts out
in me, like bastions from a wall of skin,
that follows instinct or passion play with doubt.
What woman clings in surrender to four thin
canvas walls stretched over aluminum tentpoles?
As hard as I strain to relax and dissolve, no,
no liquid languid pair of legless tadpoles.
So have done with me, my loves, slough off and go.
But you might be different. Touch me delicately.
Before the delectable act or the disappointment,
first try out the wrestler’s hold that pins so subtly.
With you sheer nakedness is its own ointment.
My lotion, my aloe for everything that hurts,
that aches inside me and pokes her hard when at rest,
my woman of cloud, chiffon in all the desserts,
fling dream arms around us. This is your only test.
in its most sensitive, most life-giving parts.
—Leopardi, "Massacre of the Flowerets"
WHERE THE BEE SUCKS, THERE SUCK I, CRUELLY
One gets the impression Leopardi never knew
whether, or how, a woman’s sensitive parts
“imitate the action of the tiger” lily,
when luring a man’s mouth, or aching dart,
to the spicy banquet of the aroma dew
that pools in the aroused center, or wets the filigree
inwork, spiderweb-sensate, tufted around
the labia, cresting the Venusian mound.
I see your smile part lips and welcome open-
hearted: white teeth glare behind your lip-smile.
Your bee, I have experienced how to drone
and buzz around that smile, cajole soft tears.
Your canines glisten like stamens, and with a file,
it’s true, some tribal persons sharpen incisors
to points like yours, but every tooth. Alone
(yes, Leopardi) I smile ferociously in your teeth.
Will we find pain or ecstasy looms behind
this sucking kiss with fine-honed mandibles
—pain, or more fearful pleasuring in the waste?
But let me resume this torturing by taste
and suck up all your delights and chew the rind.
Then you do the same to me, for we’re adults:
I own a once-only sting, my life as a bee
one penetrant act, done swiftly, vulnerably.
Your antenna-trembling instincts are inbred
as is my rampage, brushing—or bruising—your flowerhead.
POLYCHROME EYES, ARCHAIC SMILE
Do you know, my purest-running honey,
that when you smile, lips drawn
like twin bows in the hands of Artemis,
but nowhere tense or unyielding,
you make the holy mouè of the archaic
Greek kōrè, your smile most sweet, solemn,
and mysterious? You cup the sacred
race of antiquity in your face, your poetry,
your devotion to the humane love that
bars your white shining limbs from Olympos.
Appoint me a flame-holder in your devotions,
darling demigoddess: in the temple of Athena
Parthenos, your skin of whitest Thassos
marble, carven by Praxiteles, the luster
in your moody polychrome eyes, all your
refinements outstrip your mentor-goddess’s
mere swart gold and crassly tinctured ivory.
If this is blasphemy, my lost one, let us
be devoured, bones crackling and black,
in a downpour of Greek fire and poison,
climaxing in a sexual and painful blaze,
starting from ashes potent as eggs a new
race of negative immortals!
(First pub. in Poetry Now, 2012)
—Michael Cluff, Corona
Maintaining the loose
nooses refract independence
into a tepid sallow cistern
Narcissus turns away
disappointed by what
he did not see.