Change of hearts
The white dress
Green park bench
Sunshine lost in the trees of the lowering sky
Heads turned away
Legs crossed over
No more love
No tears for this
It is mine,
give it back
It is mine,
What are you waiting for
(From “The Cubist Poets In Paris” by L. C. Breunig)
“At the back of the room a Christ was taking off
Someone had a ferret
Another a hedgehog
People were playing cards
And you had forgotten me”
. . . When she let the opportunity escape
she went into a rage
became obscene and unbeautiful
the small flowers
on the glass
in their delicate vase
Trembled in the sun-
light that traveled to them
from the far window
not even the soft evening tones
too soon gone
was always close
as Light is to Darkness
or as any one thing
is to another
when one reaches for the specific
or totally opposite
what quarrels love . . .
What if they are meant to be like this,
friend and foe, need and provider,
gravitational, as to fate or desire,
as to complaint or blessing,
when what they need
is each other,
like it or not,
and they sometimes like it
and sometimes not.
And one is the bearer—and one is
the borne—a burden, and a last straw.
And one is the tolerator—and
one is the squeaking wheel
the other cannot oil—
but stand by when patience
is thin as an old nightgown in
winter, and they suit each other,
the flaw that each chose to marry.
HOLDING THE FUTURE
Soon they will pleasure to the night and love,
holding the future closer than it is,
burning that far together with their eyes—
all that they mean and want, hot in their eyes;
all that they give to trust, wild in their love.
What they will learn is what the difference is.
Passion is what the first compulsion is,
and what remains will suffer in their eyes:
infatuation stays in love with love—
and love, before it is, will haunt the eyes.
Such a blue moment,
A little streak of light—
the size of a small blue mouse
at the peripheral,
but it wakened you from
a momentary stupor
where you lost something of value
but cannot say what it was.
something innocent and dear.
You almost felt the love it bore away,
like a small regret.
It caught you by surprise.
You want it back.
It took the time you needed to reclaim it
like a lost beat of your heart—
a flutter of thought that
escaped into heart’s loss.
They were never for this symbol
—not the tender image of a poem,
softly jeweled by a glint
on a smooth face—but a
smear of dark feeling, salty to the taste,
making wet stains upon some pillow.
I don’t cry any more. My face is not
allowed—I have refused my mind
to send such messages—
no fragrant tears—full of salt.
I touch the no-man’s-land of your face.
How strange. Even your eyes speak
gravity of distance. I dare not ask. I use
the desert of your mouth for answer :
this time I go away—find where light
meets dark—enter where I fit and become
new—you stare for awhile at the point
of vanishment, then turn away and enter
your own opposite direction :
I soar through the distance in my blue
wings—dream flight, maybe—I’m not sure.
I have already fused light and dark
to lock time in place, name it mirror and
go through as image. Always I approach
you as I recede from myself. Remember?
Your face turns back into my touch—a
map of readable and unreadable messages.
Your eyes are blue. Then gray. Then green.
Your cheek hollows with shadow.
Your brow retains its deep furrows.
It is no longer safe to love you.
PLEASURE MY FACE
Come touch the night
with your day fingers,
and when you know,
pleasure my face
beneath your hand
may never fear the dark
(first pub. in Signet, 1962)
THE QUIET GLADES OF NIGHT
In the quiet glades of night—
a signature, writing its name through
the trees—fluttering ever forward
toward some depth of its own—a white
butterfly that shone
in the moonlight and seemed tireless.
I followed, and found myself
at a lake that was not there before—
or was I lost—
a small lake that held the wavering moon
and the quivery path
of the white butterfly—and I waited . . . .
WALKING THROUGH WALLS
Walking through walls is just as easy as want,
which is powerful.
Consider force against force—
or lack of it.
Doors are not so sure of this; they have to chance
being left open or being locked.
Consider Welcome and Keep Out—those signs
of opposite message.
Going through emptiness has no reference
to guide the aimless.
Consider an open space, a mirage, a goal so far away
you have only the yearning for it.
Your subconscious is not the same as memory, consider
the dark power of amnesia.
A black hope in a patient mural of darkness upon a wall
is what you are part of.
Simply walk through the wall into the amazed room,
which surely will open to receive you.
Nothing leads me to words
though you speak
though I listen
though I travel what you say
and arrow nowhere . . .
How can this lead the dumb
into eloquence, there is
only the long line of silence
thinning like a road
into a receding horizon . . .
How can the shining silence
reach the urgency of thought
that struggles to transcend
the locked mind that cannot form
the words that poetry demands . . .
A TITLE : UNKNOWN.
"Title Unknown" by Will Barnet, 1912-2012
Yes, that is true, words that are wasted now.
How say the unsayable, let alone dictate
some meaning into the poem?
Where you are now
is loneliness in its aftermath,
and on the mirror a strange image
turns its back on you. A stranger to you.
Your hair falls through the comb
as you count the strokes.
You bend your head and let
your hair fall into your face.
The oval mirror can only hold so much
of your toilette.
It expands into the shrinking room.
The room breathes
and exaggerates the breathing to a sigh,
You step through the mirror
into the other side.
The mirror breaks. You name yourself :
Broken Poem Number Three.
It is as simple as this:
words will do it—
speak for the unspeakable
—the dark thought
uttered and believed.
Truth is like that—
filtered through the strength
of opinion—given with
great influence of passion.
Oh, my poems . . .
Old men, sitting on
Park benches . . . I wonder what
They are thinking of . . .
With their strong faces, and eyes
That stare into yesterday.
Our thanks to Joyce Odam for today’s take on our ekphrastic Seed of the Week! I’ve stolen her “Walking Through Walls” poem for our new Seed of the Week: Walking Through Walls. Unless you have talents the rest of us don’t have, you’ll have to think metaphorically here. Send your poems, photos and artwork about this (or any other) subject to firstname.lastname@example.org. No deadline on SOWs, though, and for a peek at our past ones, click on “Calliope’s Closet”, the link at the top of this column, for plenty of others to choose from.
Cynthia Linville writes that the new issue of Convergence is now available at www.convergence-journal.com/spring17/.
And Poetry Off-the-Shelves will meet in El Dorado Hills tonight, 5-7pm at the Library. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.
Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back