I believe in the mystery

I believe in the mystery,

—of what the frog choir sings

as they vibrate sound oscillating
breath from lung to vocal cords
in late summer evening light,
the throaty croaks in full sermon
at the pulpit of love.

—of how a wrist to elbow

measures the length of your foot,
or fingertip to fingertip is my height
And the width of your mouth
Maps the distance of pupil to pupil.

—of the steam rising from tomatoes.

Beans, grape, radicchio, cucumbers,
And basil after the mid-day heat-pour
Or the churning earthworm writhing
To the sound of five beating hearts.

—of the soulless men who’d peculate

Our children’s futures on a handshake
Rob their health for pocketed pennies
By those who love their babies too.

The Cosmos Cops

If the world stopped spinning,
You with shallow grips on realty
Would hurl to space, flora and
Fauna: trees, mountain tops,
Cats, mothers, SUV’s, and dirt.

Or the endless day burning on
Would singe sight, burn stars
And the Northern Lights? Out.
The moon, introverted admirer,
Would silently spin out alone.

The earth’s sudden surcease
May clear the planet of drift
And all living slack and softly
Yet we who levitate, risen up,
Afloat on lily pads and dust…

The cosmos cops wave us on.

One More

Scolding our waitress, “Last time I asked for three olives.
It came back with only two, just like this one.”
Surprised, she apologized, and replied, “Be right back”

Sure enough, one server returned, martini in hand,
Four green swimmers decorating the ginned vodka,
Only my dirt sat aside soaking a stained soda glass.

”Why separate them like that?” inquiring minds ask.
Well, that new bartender makes them dirtier than scum
So aproned Sophie confessed (tattled) all a’ flutter.

Five last drops glugging down a salty gullet, “ahhh,”
Smacking briny satiated lips audibly, complainer
No more noted, “I’ll mix another, please.”

Giggledy Jig

When we hung the babies from the door jamb,
Perched in a canvas seat, their turkey drum sticks
With plump sticky toes decorating the bone, leapt,
Pushed off the Pledge-polished wood floors, with the
Strength of an Olympic dead broad jumper in flight.

There, they’d pop up and down, jolly as Irish jiggers,
Songs I often clapped in time to their rhythmic throes.
And so, when I hear fiddle and penny whistle squares,
Baroque hints of ornate mantles and powdered wigs
And gardened promenading intrigue, I see red waddles.

Not the terraced, mossy ridges or jutting rocks on plains,
Not the low clouds, cushioning the sky for its safe landing,
Heavy with burden, nor Shetland sheep grazing meadows,
No, not the smell of salt and sea, as the swallows return,
But the scent of talcum and apples, the toothless grins
Of guileless giddy girls in flight, the heart of a giggled jig.

Orange and Blue

I painted at your feet plaid in orange and blue, while you called me “whore” and “cunt,” your toes brimming like the koi pond pressed in concrete, center square of the shopping mall.

Like, small eruptions, they blazed the fire of God’s scorching tongue dimmed only by man’s grey blunt greed.

You promised to cut me, bleed a poem to my thighs, while I raised my glass to meet your eyes, full of razor smiles slicing suggestion.

And while we slashed each other so, the violet poison misting our ears, making rhymes echo and crash the canals, cascaded down to pool in pelvic hollows of warm, viscous amethyst paramnesia.

Ending, our ruby sighs flushed pink, sailing me home to harbors bottom deep, I whispered in your smile: “Let me paint the coral’d sea beneath you orange and blue.”

Oh Arachnid

Oh arachnid, I bear you or your arthropod phylum no ill will.
You weave your webs of tales told, widows and recluses,
Daddy long legs of venomous myth, lies that weaklings tell.

Nature’s thugs, built for brutality, ghastly and creeping stalker,
(Like a few Homo sapiens I’ve dated), I’ve seen the hour glass.
Time ticking for the feeble, sick, old, young, and unsuspecting.

In Hawaii, your island hoppers take a running start and jump
Clinging to a pant leg or arm, terrorizing victims resisting a ride.
I give you this: your infinite array and your wily traps stabilize.

The ecosystem won’t eco without you, no Librium in equilibrium.
So here’s to you my eight-legged, fanged, funky frenemies galore,
Peace and abidance: I’ll ignore your dark watch; you do the same.

 

Rise

You always joked at your own expense: fat, ugly, high school dropout. We
Never questioned your self-debasement, your children, who would Never
Believe you’d lie, leading us astray, you, who we trusted just had to Know
Everything—you taught us the world, what it looked like and meant. How
Were we, your daughters and son, to foresee despite your chains, how High
You’d soar with crippled vision and mountainous, inherited neglect. We
witnessed the endless dig and grind, dig and grind, as you broke ground. Are
You as proud still, your skin-prick wit gone dry as your withered brain? Till
I stare death down, I’ll imagine the grin, your grip, the rolled diploma, as We,
your fans, stood on folding chairs, hands clapping above our heads. Are
You awake, Mom? A random sound among the quivers and quakes. I Asked
Your skeletal frame this morning, hoping to hear the familiar sharp reply To
An ever-child, “Do I look awake?” Follow your heavenward stares, Mom. Rise.

 

We Never Know How High We Are
Emily Dickinson

Inside Out

It’s dark in here.
Turn on the light.
I can’t see.
It’s wet and warm
I touch slime,
Viscous rubber,
Throbbing hum.

My eyes closed,
No they’re open
What’s wrong?
Am I blind?
Muted pours,
Flowing chutes
Chug like clocks,
Syncing me.

I’m floating,
Still, vibrating.
My legs kick
Weighty slugs
Miming a jog
As bionic man
In a slo-mo shot.

My arms too,
Tossing sludge
Through fingers
Spread wide open
To grasp the idea
Where am I now?
Which way is up?

I’m not drowning
But I can’t breathe,
Don’t breathe.
Don’t gasp,
No air
Yet, no worry,
I’m here still.

No push no pull,
Motionless now,
The light dawning,
I’m not inside.
There’s nothing here.
I’m outside—and in,
Above and below
I’m all there is.

Countless Time

Time is neither enemy nor friend, false or true.
She’s what we came for and left behind, all at once.
But once is twice, and three becomes four more.

I don’t believe her, arrows, lines, trajectories, and horizons,
Exes and why’s, yesterdays and good byes, marital vows
All time passers and lies to the one true word, the eternal wink.
I’ve felt her fancy inside my third eye, my one true love’s belly.

Yet here I sit, fingers to screen, turning make believe dials,
Flipping numbers like pancakes to the sky that never return,
These ones and zeroes of the minds far greater than mine.
I count words and seconds as if, although, and despite it all.
The continuum tires of our tedious accountings and ledgers.

Mordar

It was behind St. Joseph’s, across an open field, hay and earth,
The last traces of green gone, poised toward the vernal equinox.

We jumped the fence, lugging a six-pack of Schmidts and a pipe,
A small bag with something, maybe hash or Thai Sticks or the like.

My heavy coat and construction boots (the original Doc Martens)
Made the climb arduous, my frosty breath smoking the fence links.

Once inside, we padded hard earth silently beckoning the woods
But we stopped short of the line of its entry, dark and foreboding.

There we found a rock or a wooden crate I imagine 40 years later;
We were only 15 and 17 but our imaginations were medieval, dark.

Our laughter echoed midway between the shadows of forest and
Tombstones, an open field bordering pine trees and the cemetery.

In our inebriation, we told stories and giggled tirelessly, of Mordar
And the one true ring, borne by a stranger and thief; we spoke Elf.

When the laughter turned fear, our hilarity distorted into wild flame
Of lying youth, blood pumping black hash and cheap beer illusion.

We fled like bandits past Gollum and ghosts, teen-age and death,
Flung over metal chains clanging on that chill, October night’s end.

The 31st, in fact, all Hollow’s Eve, we, two time leapers in flight,
Memorized the words emblazoned on our half-baked wild minds.

Like wind we inscribed air with our fright, leaping child over adult,
We two, Puerto Rican-Mexican-Irish and Russian-Rumanian-Jew.

Though you stayed in New York, and I moved across the nation,      our frozen fingers touch in dreamless daymares of loss and time.

We chuckle yet, our minds’ eyes gleaming with the thrill of it then
As we dream the deceit of a linear past; I know you’re with me still.