(after a child’s drawing)
The red fish fly around the spinning sun
in the painted water:
truest blue. The sun grows dizzy
and melts at the edges;
the water spins,
until it begins
to froth from the fishes’ mouths.
The red fish swim
—mouth to tail—
to mouth—in a blurry circle,
a red fish whirlpool—
whirl—the red fish are caught—
caught in their red momentum.
They don’t know how to stop.
All is blended—blended now.
into a churning circle of blue thought.
What is this affirmation made of doubt,
all contradiction and page-turning
of ideas and simple philosophy?
Now is the right time
for everything to evolve,
the only sharp edge of decision to allow.
One window looks out on the confusion,
harsh winds tearing at the glass, leaves
and birds struggling in the gusts of winter.
How long before shadows lie quietly again
on the ground, like whispering, like murmuring,
held in retrospect to fill the now with such consoling.
WONDERING ABOUT OUR FACES
IN RAINY WINDOWS
What do we know of rain upon the glass,
our faces blurred and moving in the way
that weeping moves them—the way the
rain distorts our features from within?
Should we look away
and watch ourselves
grow distant to the day—just close our
eyes and feel the actual rain run down
our faces? Would our hair grow wet, and
all the walls and floor, and all the moods
we cannot drown?
I wonder if the glass
remembers what it was before it grew in-
sensitive to rain—before it knew the
power it possessed—to mock our brooding
faces with a separation
Can glass become the rain? And can the
rain break glass with all its force? And
does the running-sound rain makes remind
the glass of rivers?
I wonder if they
know each other still—disparate now,
the way we are—the way we stand here
now—all rained upon and, through our
moody faces, stare out—stare out—
at the moody day through rainy windows.
(first pub. in Poets’ Forum Magazine, 1997)
“The black oyster of night opens
to release a white moon…”
—from “Desolation” by
Rosa Zagnoni Marinoni
The countless stars spill freely from the sky. The
white moon stares after them. The cold darkness
pulsates as the sea accepts the stars that pulsate
with sensation as the stars touch the water. There
is nothing lost from the sky—nothing to prove of this.
Children at bedroom windows recite their prayers,
then sleep under the restive sky. The sea makes a
hollow singing that sounds like the wind. The moon
is a luxury tonight—a white wish for those who used
to be sailors. The sky takes back the moon with a slow
gathering of dark clouds. In city trees, nightingales are
THIS GRAY HOUR
Above this sorry gossip-town
this slow emerging skyline,
this gray hour—Oh my love,
where you and I have stolen,
one more thieving time, ourselves,
away from obligations and disfavor
from those who censure us
who own a piece of us
who do not like the other.
Oh how it grieves the moment
to lose its hold on timelessness
no matter how we pray, deny, despair,
and vow defiance. Do we dare
yet linger for the blissful savor
of exotic time together? Look—
the shapes of things emerge—
the buildings and the trees, the very
road we took, unhidden now.
And now we face each other in evolving
light that does not pity our desire
or note the sudden way we shiver.
And now, that meadowlark—
that distant rooster—that crawl
of light your nervous eyes reflect.
And look, the stars have vanished,
and the full but fading moon.
Hold me tighter. Kiss me.
(first pub. in Poets’ Forum Magazine, 1998)
She is standing in the way of dying time in her torn
dress, the light behind her darkening her face. She
will not promise what we would have her say : that
beyond her the lions in the grass are gold lions of
heaven who will let us pass to the blue hills where
we can rest.
She says we have to know—have to trust—the
desire of lions—gauge their enigmatic stare at our
hesitation, her children playing amid them, dressed
in the same fragmented light she wears. We are here
for mercy and we bring no gifts. We have only our-
selves, weary and beyond redemption.
All we want is to reach beyond the gold lions to the
blue hills, which she says are full of blue shapes of
wolves who wait for our faith to reach them, and who
will then lay themselves at our feet like answered prayers.
TO ASK ABOUT OUR LIVES
To ask about our lives,
come through the door.
Sit on the chair.
Invent a topic we can use.
Ask if we care or do not care.
Ask us about our love.
the worst, the best,
our hearts can bear.
Avert your tender eyes.
The way we answer
is a snare,
the snare we make and live in
year to year.
(first pub. in Muse of Fire, 1997)
Let things become as they will be.
Fact then assumes fiction.
Dry facts. Exotic fiction.
Rituals need substance.
Holy and unholy. Iconic knowledge.
Let us bless. Let us pray.
The answers come as mystery.
Mystery assumes its own necessity.
Thus do we believe what we believe.
What is today?
Today is the little climb
What is tomorrow?
The light gone out—
the last caress of sorrow.
Many thanks to Joyce Odam, who continues to be a bit under the weather, for today’s fine poems and photos celebrating Curiosity, our recent Seed of the Week. For more about Arkansas poet/suffragette Rosa Zagnoni Marinoni, go to allpoetry.com/Rosa-Zagnoni-Marinoni-/.
Today marks the Spring Solstice, so our new Seed of the Week is The Death of Winter. Send your poems, photos & artwork about this (or any other) subject to email@example.com. 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.
A reminder that tonight, 6pm, on the Capitol Stage, 2215 J St. in Sacramento, 916 Ink presents Stones in the Road, the reading/release of their new student anthology. 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.
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