—Poems by Linda Klein, Los Angeles, CA
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA
"Come away, love, with me.
Let's get down and dirty.
I'll steal your heart and soul,
tickle your complexity."
He whispers soft to me,
his chromatic notes, flirty,
"I'll thrill you to your toes,
test your flexibility."
There's a spell over me,
I feel wild and unsteady,
my mysterious lover knows,
Let's go for a swim, he said,
where azure sea meets indigo sky,
and the moon lolls easy overhead.
We will find our bliss if we try.
Under the light of that golden egg,
we will weave our way through sparkling waves
with gliding arms and kicking legs,
glazed by splashes of moonlit laves.
The lure of his words truly enticed.
His sure arms drew me close to him.
He cast a spell of exotic spice.
We moved toward the blue to sink or swim
and swam like creatures of the sea,
wild in the sky's watery reflection,
and one with nature, refreshed and free,
the essence of perfection.
There is a painting,La Gare Saint-Lazare,
my favorite of Monet's.
A train arrives at Saint-Lazare station
in a northern Paris suburb.
I am one of the commuters waiting to board.
It appears to burst through the morning mist that
surrounds a brilliant Spring sun as though
it originated from that golden orb.
I am my way to a new job in the city.
I share the excitement of the other commuters,
and expectations of a glorious day ahead.
In my long, rose-colored, velvet dress
with its short, waist-length matching jacket
and a wide-brimmed hat,
I watch the people around me.
A mother waits with her squirmy toddler,
as he pulls at her arm.
A somber businessman,
in a derby and fur-collared coat,
is impatiently red-faced and puffing.
A station employee wheels a coal cart.
The train pulls in slowly.
A conductor emerges from a doorway
to guide us aboard.
He leaps out onto the platform.
There is a clanging sound
and the train finally stops.
Removing one hand from my fox-fur muff,
I lift the skirt of my dress as I step up.
I feel the touch of a hand at my elbow,
and look around to see the young conductor
smiling at me kindly.
In the car, I settle in a seat by a window.
Soon a whistle blows and the train begins to move.
I gaze out at the green, wide, flat countryside
that stretches as far as I can see.
Occasionally, there is a cow
sitting in the grass grazing lazily.
My reflection in the glass
is a rose-colored haze,
layered over a banner
of blue sky and green grass.
I am reminded, then,
of where this train is taking me:
Paris, city of light, city of promise.
I've been dreaming of a cherry wood cello,
polished to a brilliant gleam,
leaning against a dark mahogany table
in my living room. The bow lies
vibrating on the tabletop
inviting me to pick it up and play.
This cheerful cello assures me I am able,
though I have never had instruction,
to take up the bow, stroke deftly over the taut strings,
and draw from them honey-drenched melodies,
rich, raucous rhythms.
The cello's stance is so convincing.
I feel music begin in my heartbeat and
flow through my body. My fingers and toes tingle
with the harmonious cadence. I sing and sway in a fantasy
of perfect golden splendor, where lovely sound is
the answer, and I am the one chosen.
It all depends on me. My instrument awaits.
When I awaken from this dream, there is no cherry cello,
only the mahogany table standing alone on spindly legs.
Upon one toe she spun, en pointe, balanced despite the burn,
the other toe poised en passé with every graceful turn
to execute her pirouette, the ballerina, Alouette.
A daffodil in wind, she swayed and fell into the rippled arms of Rafael.
Stage lights lent an aura of a romantic time.
They danced in golden haze sublime.
Their bodies moved to rhythms of splendid Arabian nights.
Lou wore an ecru net tutu, and Rafi, ochre velvet tights.
VENICE, GELATO, AND GLASS
Carlo and I were on our way
to watch a glassblower
practice his wondrous craft,
when he suggested we stop for gelato.
In Italy it is sempre gelato,
in flavors and colors that exceed the imagination.
There is a stand on every block
in today's highly commercial Venice
that could shame Baskin Robbins.
Italians don't bother with mere ice cream.
They partake of a creamier version.
We stood in front of a scratched, glass counter,
looking down at round cartons filled with pastel
mounds of gelati, each with a small card
indicating flavor, vaniglia, pesca,
pistacchio, cioccolato, and so on.
Carlo looked at me smiling, waiting
for me to choose. I settled on a scoop
of chocolate and a scoop of hazelnut,
for each complements the other.
He ordered my cone and one with
pineapple and cherry for himself.
We ate as we walked, not easy with
people hurrying passed us, bumping elbows
and shoving shoulders.
I licked my top scoop, chocolate, dense, dark,
cold, thick cream, sweet, smooth, and milky,
with a slight underlying hint of bitterness,
Then the hazelnut for contrast. Nut pieces hidden
inside were still crisp and crunchy, as if freshly roasted.
Gelato on a warm afternoon is a treat to tongue and soul.
I held onto each mouthful to keep its sweet coolness
for as long as I could. As the tastes mingled,
I felt cool, calm, and refreshed.
By the time we reached the glass factory, we had finished our gelati.
Merging with other visitors, we watched the glass artist
mold a multi-colored vase, moving it, attached to a metal rod,
in and out of a stream of fire, slowly forming its shape
with a second rod in his right hand.
The liquid flow of the vase's pastel colors recalled the greens
and pinks of gelati, but for the glass being molten, and gelati cold.
They were different, yet oddly similar.
Carlo's thoughts were the same as mine.
He turned toward me and we kissed,
our lips still sticky and sweet from gelato.
TANGO OF SLEEP
I wait for sleep to come and dance with me,
to lead me down a path of fragrant roses,
and twirl me 'round till all that I can see
is the blur of dreams my weary mind composes.
Each night I need to make my great escape.
Only the, can I face another day.
Sleep is a dancer with black cape.
He'll sweep me up and carry me away.
If he is swift to end my toss and turn,
my agony of thoughts and reminisces,
forevermore my soul for him will burn.
As sleep envelopes me, I'll lavish him with kisses.
I'm eager for this tango to begin,
so much so, it surely is a sin.
ALL I HAVE OF YOU
We sit opposite each other, silently.
I count creases in your face,
lines I want to remember,
their depth and place, the folds,
unique, speak of a life
like no other I have known.
Time now to examine, to study,
commit to memory and heart
the glint of eye and slant of nose,
the turn of mouth that forms a smile
elicited by thoughts and feelings,
yours and mine, as our fingers touch.
I want to record it all forever
on the photo sheet of my mind,
a string of lovely pearls to adorn
lonely times when you are far away
and they are all I have of you
until we meet again.
The poet is the priest of the invisible.
—Wallace Stevens, from Opus Posthumous
Welcome to the Kitchen today to newcomer Linda Klein from L.A., and many thanks for her fine poetry! Linda writes, “I’ve been writing poetry since the age of fifteen and I'm now quite a bit older than that. I didn't write much in the beginning, but for the last eight-and-a-half years I have attended a poetry workshop. Nine of my poems have been published.” Thanks again, Linda, and don’t be a stranger!
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